Trip Planning for Cooke City Area

as of 5:00 am
Today1″ | 10-20 NW
Jan 17 0″ | 10-25 W
Jan 16 0″ | 5-25 W
10,000′     01/18 at 17:00
17.2℉
W - 16mph
Gusts 29mph
9100′   01/18 at 17:00
25℉
63″ Depth
Bottom Line: The snowpack across the advisory area is generally stable and the expected snow won’t be enough weight to change this. However, new snow will likely bury a feathery layer of weak surface hoar that will be our new layer of concern until proven otherwise. Human-triggered avalanches are unlikely to break deeper than the 1-2” of snow falling today. Test the snowpack, assess for isolated instability and employ safe travel practices if you chose to enter avalanche terrain.
Primary Problem: Persistent Weak Layer

Past 5 Days

Fri Jan 14

Moderate
Sat Jan 15

Low
Sun Jan 16

Low
Mon Jan 17

Low
Today

Low

Relevant Avalanche Activity

Cooke City
Sheep Creek
A few natural new snow/wind-slabs
Sheep Creek
SS-N
Elevation: 9,700
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 45.0344, -109.9840
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From skiers in Cooke 1/9/21:

"Observed a couple of recent, new snow, wind slab avalanches that appeared to occur during the storm.  Upper elevation, N-E aspects, all very steep, wind loaded terrain.  Most appeared to be triggered by cornice falls, and nothing propagated very wide from what I could tell."

"Wind slab on East face of Sheep mountain today. D1.5,mid slope".

 


More Avalanche Details
Cooke City
Republic Creek
Natural in Republic Creek
Incident details include images
Republic Creek
SS-N-R1-D2-S
Elevation: 9,700
Aspect: NE
Coordinates: 44.9855, -109.9410
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

From obs: 1/8/21: "...One minor avalanche observed in Republic Creek.  It was on a steep and rocky E, NE aspect around 9700'..."


More Avalanche Details
Cooke City
Scotch Bonnet
Natural near Lulu Pass, Scotch Bonnett
Incident details include images
Scotch Bonnet
SS-N-R2-D2-S
Elevation: 10,000
Aspect: S
Coordinates: 45.0566, -109.9510
Caught: 0 ; Buried: 0

Skiers reported on 1/8/21: "Observed natural north Scotch Bonnett"


More Avalanche Details

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 40
  • On January 18, 2022 a weak layer of surface hoar was buried by 1-2" of new snow near Cooke City. As more snow builds a slab over this weak layer it will cause avalanches. Photo: GNFAC

  • On January 18, 2022 a weak layer of surface hoar was buried by 1-2" of new snow near Cooke City. As more snow builds a slab over this weak layer it will cause avalanches. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw surface hoar on all aspects near Cooke City on January 16, 2022. Photo: GNFAC

  • Settlement rings around the base of trees near Cooke City, January 15, 2022. Photo: B. Fredlund

  • A cornice collapse likely triggered this large natural avalanche on 27 Dec 2021. The crown was 4-6' deep. Photo: S. Culotta

  • From obs: 1/8/22: "...One minor avalanche observed in Republic Creek.  It was on a steep and rocky E, NE aspect around 9700'..." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • From obs: 1/8/22: "Observed natural north Scotch Bonnet". Ran during storm 1/6-1/8. Photo: D. Wycoff

  • Large, deep avalanche on East face of Mt. Abundance. Photo from 1/2/22: S. Strenge

  • Large, deep avalanche on East face of Mt. Abundance. Photo from 1/2/22: S. Strenge

  • Large, deep avalanche on East face of Mt. Abundance. Photo from 1/2/22: S. Strenge

  • Snomobilers observed this natural avalanche on a NE aspect on Sheep Mountain on 1/1/22. It appeared to be more than 48 hours old. Photo: J. Fritz

  • This photo shows where people and their machines were buried. Photo: S. Strenge

  • Upper portion of the fatal avalanche on Scotch Bonnet. 12/28/21

    Photo: GNFAC

  • Crown of the fatal avalanche on Scotch Bonnet. 12/28/21.

    Photo: GNFAC

  • GNFAC Forecasters Ian Hoyer and Doug Chabot at the crown of the fatal avalanche on Scotch Bonnet. 12/28/21 

    Photo: GNFAC

  • Snowmobilers riding near Mount Abundance north of Cooke City triggered two avalanches on Dec. 27th. No one was caught or injured. Photo: Anonymous

  • Snowmobilers riding near Mount Abundance north of Cooke City triggered two avalanches on Dec. 27th. No one was caught or injured. Photo: Anonymous

  • A sled was recovered uphill of the 2 avalanche victims in the same area it was stuck. The sled was found with a probe line and is buried 3-4 feet deep. The avalanche crown can be seen in the upper slopes above them. Photo: GNFAC

  • The crown of the avalanche that killed two snowmobilers on December 27, 2021 was 300 feet wide and 4-5 feet deep. Photo: GNFAC

  • These are the two sites where the 2 snowmobilers were recovered. They were buried 4-5 feet deep in debris piles that measured 9 feet deep. Photo: GNFAC

  • Ian Hoyer stands next to the crown where we dug a snowpit and investigated the snow structure. The crown averaged 4-5 feet deep. Near his right knee is the layer of weak faceted snow that broke 40 cm above the ground. Above this layer was a thick slab of windblown snow. Photo: GNFAC

  • Skiers reported this natural avalanche on a wind-loaded slope on Henderson Mountain. They estimated the maximum crown depth to be 4-6' likely triggered by a cornice fall. Photo: W. Miller

  • We are sad to report that on December 27th, two snowmobilers were caught and killed in an avalanche on Scotch Bonnet Mountain to the north of Cooke City. The avalanche broke 5’ deep and approximately 300’ wide on a southeast-facing slope.

    Members of Park County Sheriff Search and Rescue arrived to assist with rescue and recovery efforts. 

    Our deepest condolences go out to the victim’s friends and family, members of the group, and the search and rescue community. We will release further details as they become available.

    Photo: B. Zavora

  • We are sad to report that on December 27th, two snowmobilers were caught and killed in an avalanche on Scotch Bonnet Mountain to the north of Cooke City. The avalanche broke 5’ deep and approximately 300’ wide on a southeast-facing slope.

    Members of Park County Sheriff Search and Rescue arrived to assist with rescue and recovery efforts. 

    Our deepest condolences go out to the victim’s friends and family, members of the group, and the search and rescue community. We will release further details as they become available.

    Photo: B. Zavora

  • We are sad to report that on December 27th, two snowmobilers were caught and killed in an avalanche on Scotch Bonnet Mountain to the north of Cooke City. The avalanche broke 5’ deep and approximately 300’ wide on a southeast-facing slope.

    Members of Park County Sheriff Search and Rescue arrived to assist with rescue and recovery efforts. 

    Our deepest condolences go out to the victim’s friends and family, members of the group, and the search and rescue community. We will release further details as they become available.

    Photo: B. Zavora

  • We are sad to report that on December 27th, two snowmobilers were caught and killed in an avalanche on Scotch Bonnet Mountain to the north of Cooke City. The avalanche broke 5’ deep and approximately 300’ wide on a southeast-facing slope.

    Members of Park County Sheriff Search and Rescue arrived to assist with rescue and recovery efforts. 

    Our deepest condolences go out to the victim’s friends and family, members of the group, and the search and rescue community. We will release further details as they become available.

    Photo: B. Zavora

  • From Beartooth Powder Guides: Saw this small natural avalanche today while coming back from the yurt. While being small on the relativity scale, it seems to have broke fairly deep.

  • We generally stayed away from wind-loaded slopes today in Cooke City; however, we triggered this crack while crossing through a large drift of snow on Scotch Bonnet. This is an indicator of issues we will find on wind-loaded slopes right now. Photo: GNFAC

  • New snow in Cooke City on December 20th. Photo: GNFAC

  • In shallow areas near rock bands and wind-scoured slopes, we found a more developed weak layer of depth hoar. These shallow areas will be areas of concern when they get loaded by a larger storm or wind event. Photo: GNFAC

  • Cooke City Beacon Checker.

    Photo: R. Youngbar

  • New snow was blown into thick drifts that can be triggered by skiers or riders. Cracking like this is a sign that drifts are unstable and could slide on steeper slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • This small natural wind slab was observed north of Cooke City on 12/7/21. Photo: GNFAC

  • From email (12/5/21) : "Small avalanche triggered while approaching ice climb in East fork of Hyalite basin. 

    Another D1 natural avalanche was observed later in the day similar aspect/elevation

    NE @7600’
    SS-AFu-D0.5-I"

    Photo: A. Schoening

  • Skiers on Mount Blackmore observed cracking within the freshly wind-loaded snow on a southeast-facing slope just below the ridge (11/24/21). Photo: J Schack

  • From e-mail 11/15/21: "east Henderson had a fresh slab avalanche- on a NE aspect around 10,000'.  It appeared to have failed on a weak layer near the ground, and I'd guess it was about 2-3' deep and 300'+ wide." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • From e-mail 11/10/21: "an east aspect around 9900'.  HS 63cms.  ECTV on facets at 19cms." In this snowpit the slab collapsed above the weak layer when the observer isolated the column to perform an extended column test (ECT), hence the score ECTV (ECT-very easily collapsed and propagated). Photo: B. Fredlund

     

  • From email 11/10: "Wind effect: significant in most upper elevation exposed locations.  Westerly winds were moving a lot of snow off the high peaks all day today." Photo: B. Fredlund

  • From e-mail 11/7/21: "...Once in airplane bowl we saw multiple large slides that ran last night, syn-storm. Most of which came down from the East face of Sac. A few 200-300’ wide and running the length of the bowl.,,, attached is a grainy cell phone pic of the slides in Airplane Bowl." -Anonymous.

  • From email 11/4/21: "...noticed two small wet loose avalanches in the east facing bowl between Pomp and Hardscrabble Peaks." Photo: H. Darby

WebCams


Soda Butte Lodge, looking East

Soda Butte Lodge, looking West

Snowpit Profiles- Cooke City Area

 

Select a snowpit on the map to view the profile image

Weather Forecast Cooke City Area

Extended Forecast for

2 Miles NNE Cooke City MT

  • This
    Afternoon

    This Afternoon: Snow likely.  Mostly cloudy, with a steady temperature around 20. West wind around 17 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. Total daytime snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Snow Likely

    High: 20 °F

  • Tonight

    Tonight: Snow likely.  Mostly cloudy, with a low around 12. Wind chill values as low as -5. West wind 9 to 16 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Snow Likely

    Low: 12 °F

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: A 40 percent chance of snow, mainly before 11am.  Partly sunny, with a high near 22. Wind chill values as low as zero. West northwest wind 8 to 14 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 22 °F

  • Wednesday
    Night

    Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 10. Wind chill values as low as -5. West wind 11 to 13 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 10 °F

  • Thursday

    Thursday: A 50 percent chance of snow after 11am.  Partly sunny, with a high near 21. West southwest wind 11 to 21 mph.  New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.

    Chance Snow

    High: 21 °F

  • Thursday
    Night

    Thursday Night: Snow.  Temperature rising to around 17 by 2am. West southwest wind 18 to 21 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of around 3 inches.

    Snow

    Low: 14 °F

  • Friday

    Friday: Snow.  High near 22. Northwest wind 7 to 13 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

    Snow

    High: 22 °F

  • Friday
    Night

    Friday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 9. West wind around 10 mph.

    Partly Cloudy

    Low: 9 °F

  • Saturday

    Saturday: Partly sunny, with a high near 26. West wind 9 to 11 mph.

    Partly Sunny

    High: 26 °F

The Last Word

As we wait for the next dump of snow, now is an excellent time to practice avalanche rescue. Are you fast and efficient with your beacon? Is your partner? Even the sharpest knife needs an occasional tune. Check out this BCA video to hone your skills.