Most areas, especially in the west half of the state received upwards of a foot or more of new snow this past week, and in many spots that was driven by hard winds again, creating more unstable conditions, especially on steep, open slopes.
The West Central Montana Avalanche Center reports there is a “moderate” avalanche danger above 5000 feet in most areas of the backcountry around Missoula and the Bitterroot valleys. However, forecasters say there’s a “considerable” avalanche danger on slopes steeper than 35-degrees in the Northern Bitterroot Mountains from Hoodoo Pass to Lookout Pass where numerous natural slides were seen this week.
Further north, the Glacier Country Avalanche Center says there is “considerable” avalanche danger from 5,000 to 7,000 feet elevations on steep, open slopes and gullies, especially in areas with new snow. There’s a “moderate” avalanche danger below 5,000 feet in the mountains of Northwest Montana.
Snowfall totals have been less in Southwest Montana, but experts with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center say snow continued to fall Friday with strong, gusty winds in many areas of the backcountry. There’s a “high” avalanche danger on steeper, open slopes in the Lionhead area around West Yellowstone. Avalanche danger is listed as “considerable” in the Bridger Range, and in the higher elevations of the Madison and Gallatin Ranges, as well as the peaks around Cooke City. That’s where several fatal slides have already happened this winter.