Trip Planning for Lionhead Range

as of 5:00 am
May 11″ | NA
Apr 30 2″ | NA
Apr 29 0″ | NA
9420′     04/12 at 12:00
32.0℉
N - 0mph
Gusts 0 mph
7750′     07/14 at 09:00
69℉
0″ Depth
Bottom Line: Spring weather can be highly variable and create a mix of avalanche problems to watch out for. Snow conditions and snow stability can change drastically from day to day or hour to hour. Anticipate rapid change and plan accordingly. Plenty of snowfall over the winter with more spring snow to come makes avalanches possible into summer.

Past 5 Days

Fri Apr 19

None
Mon Apr 22

None
Fri Apr 26

None
Mon Apr 29

None
Thu May 2

None

Relevant Photos

Displaying 1 - 40
  • From obs 5/23/24: "shooting cracks in the top 4 to 5 inches of new snow in middle basin" Photo: N. Greiner

  • From obs 5/23/24: "Toured to the top of PK during today’s storm. Snow was very wet and heavy. We saw no other slides or signs of instability on the way up. Coming down skiers right of flippers, all 3 of us caused small slides and cracking within the new snow. I triggered the largest slide, which was 6-8” deep and 12’ wide." Photo: T. Jordan

  • On 5/4/24 Skiers triggered large wet loose slides on the Fin near Cooke City

  • Photo: GNFAC

  • These roller balls and a small wet loose avalanche near Ski Hill that likely happened between 04/03 and 04/04/2024. Photo: GNFAC

  • Photo: GNFAC

  • We rode from the Buttermilk trailhead up Denny Creek to Lionhead Ridge, along Lionhead Ridge through Watkins Creek and to the motorized boundary at the head of Targhee Creek. 

    There was a ~1" crust at the surface when we left the trailhead, with dry snow beneath. We saw our first wet loose avalanche of the day running around 11 am. By 12:30 there were dozens and many rollerballs. None of them ran particularly far or picked up too much volume.  The snow surface was moist on sunny slopes by late morning, but not more than a few inches down.

  • We rode from the Buttermilk trailhead up Denny Creek to Lionhead Ridge, along Lionhead Ridge through Watkins Creek and to the motorized boundary at the head of Targhee Creek.

    We saw one small slab avalanche that occurred since this weekend's snow. It appears to have been triggered by a snowmobile yesterday (4/1/24). It broke 10" to 2 ft deep, 50 ft wide, and ran ~50 vertical feet. It broke on a thin layer of facets beneath the new snow. Digging in the crown, dry facets at the ground were along still present and weak (fist hardness).

  • We rode from the Buttermilk trailhead up Denny Creek to Lionhead Ridge, along Lionhead Ridge through Watkins Creek and to the motorized boundary at the head of Targhee Creek. 

    There was a ~1" crust at the surface when we left the trailhead, with dry snow beneath. We saw our first wet loose avalanche of the day running around 11 am. By 12:30 there were dozens and many rollerballs. None of them ran particularly far or picked up too much volume.  The snow surface was moist on sunny slopes by late morning, but not more than a few inches down.

  • Large cornices on Lionhead Ridge. 4/2/24 photo. GNFAC

  • A group of snowmobilers watched a pow surfer trigger an avalanche. The individual was buried to his chest and thankfully uninjured. 

  • We noted four storm slab avalanches along Lionhead Ridge and two larger slides that broke deeper on wind loaded slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • We noted four storm slab avalanches along Lionhead Ridge and two larger slides that broke deeper on wind loaded slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • We noted four storm slab avalanches along Lionhead Ridge and two larger slides that broke deeper on wind loaded slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • We noted four storm slab avalanches along Lionhead Ridge and two larger slides that broke deeper on wind loaded slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • We noted four storm slab avalanches along Lionhead Ridge and two larger slides that broke deeper on wind loaded slopes. Photo: GNFAC

  • From IG:

    Very large natural avalanche in the Lionhead Area. Multiple other smaller naturals as well.

    Pics taken 03/05/24

  • From IG:

    Very large natural avalanche in the Lionhead Area. Multiple other smaller naturals as well.

    Pics taken 03/05/24

  • From a phone call:

    A rider saw a large avalanche in one of the bowls around the corner of Lionhead avalanched. It likely occurred on Friday, March 1. There were holes dug in the snow indicating a buried person or sled. This is the same slope that killed a 19 year old from MN on December 28, 2006. They conducted a beacon search on the debris to make sure no one was buried.

  • From a phone call:

    A rider saw a large avalanche in one of the bowls around the corner of Lionhead avalanched. It likely occurred on Friday, March 1. There were holes dug in the snow indicating a buried person or sled. This is the same slope that killed a 19 year old from MN on December 28, 2006. They conducted a beacon search on the debris to make sure no one was buried.

  • From a phone call:

    A rider saw a large avalanche in one of the bowls around the corner of Lionhead avalanched. It likely occurred on Friday, March 1. There were holes dug in the snow indicating a buried person or sled. This is the same slope that killed a 19 year old from MN on December 28, 2006. They conducted a beacon search on the debris to make sure no one was buried.

  • From a phone call:

    A rider saw a large avalanche in one of the bowls around the corner of Lionhead avalanched. It likely occurred on Friday, March 1. There were holes dug in the snow indicating a buried person or sled. This is the same slope that killed a 19 year old from MN on December 28, 2006. They conducted a beacon search on the debris to make sure no one was buried.

  • From a phone call:

    A rider saw a large avalanche in one of the bowls around the corner of Lionhead avalanched. It likely occurred on Friday, March 1. There were holes dug in the snow indicating a buried person or sled. This is the same slope that killed a 19 year old from MN on December 28, 2006. They conducted a beacon search on the debris to make sure no one was buried.

  • From a phone call:

    A rider saw a large avalanche in one of the bowls around the corner of Lionhead avalanched. It likely occurred on Friday, March 1. There were holes dug in the snow indicating a buried person or sled. This is the same slope that killed a 19 year old from MN on December 28, 2006. They conducted a beacon search on the debris to make sure no one was buried.

  • While riding below Lionhead Ridge we observed a wind slab avalanche that likely happened a few days ago. This avalanche looked to be 12" deep and broke 100' wide. Photo: GNFAC

     

  • Riders spotted this large avalanche on a west-facing aspect in Targhee Creek in the Lionhead area on Saturday. Photo: K. Stahl

  • From email: "We noticed a multitude of slides on north- and east-facing slopes, many of which seemed to have been from the prior weekend. I snapped a picture of one on the opposite side of the drainage that was a couple of feet deep. Adjacent to it was some more debris." 

  • On 2/16/24 we saw a lot of old and recent avalanches that happened at various times over the last week, and in a wide variety of terrain. On lower elevation, generally non-wind-loaded terrain in the trees we saw at least 4 avalanches that were 1-2' deep and at least 100' wide. Near ridgelines there were many avalanches, harder slabs, at least 1-2' deep breaking hundreds of feet wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • On 2/16/24 we saw a lot of old and recent avalanches that happened at various times over the last week, and in a wide variety of terrain. On lower elevation, generally non-wind-loaded terrain in the trees we saw at least 4 avalanches that were 1-2' deep and at least 100' wide. Near ridgelines there were many avalanches, harder slabs, at least 1-2' deep breaking hundreds of feet wide. Photo: GNFAC

  • We saw a fresh avalanche in Watkins Creek that we think was triggered remotely during the day on 2/16 by a group that was riding in a flat meadow above, where we saw their tracks at least 150 feet away (photo). This slide was 2-3' deep and 100-150' feet wide, breaking on old sugary snow. HS-R3-D2-O. Photo: GNFAC

  • A pit in the flank of an avalanche above Hebgen Lake. The stripe in the picture delineates the new snow over the unstable, old, faceted snow. This interface is where avalanches are occurirng. Karl Birkeland was using his 100 cm long Norwegian Battle Saw...a bit overkill. Photo: GNFAC

  • Crossing onto the debris of a large avalanche that likely released a couple days ago above Hebgen Lake. Photo: GNFAC

  • Skiers saw an entire bowl filled with shooting cracks where weak layers failed but the slope was not steep enough to avalanche. Photo: H Darby

  • An avalanche that failed a couple of days ago at Hebgen Lake. Photo: H. Darby

  • A group of riders triggered this large avalanche on Lionhead Ridge as they traveled in nearby terrain that was much less steep. Photo: T. Urell

  • From obs: "There were shooting cracks everywhere, and it looked like the cracks propagated into a slab that would have broken up more if the slope had been steeper. It almost looked like a crevasse field with how many cracks there were. Photo is included but I don't think shows just how broken up that "relatively benign" terrain was. I have never seen anything like that before! " Photo: H. Darby

  • Two natural avalanches that likely happened in the last 24-48 hours. 500' wide. "Crown line extends basically the entire ridge in the background." Photo. H. Darby

     

  • The crown of a natural avalanche likely happened in the last 12 hours. This avalanche broke 200' wide, 3-4' deep, and ran "almost full path" to the trees below. Photo: H. Darby

     

     

  • Avalanche along Lionhead Ridge that appeared to be several days old. 1/26/24 Photo: GNFAC

  • Avalanche on Lionhead Ridge that appeared to be several days old. 1/26/24 Photo: GNFAC

Videos- Lionhead Range

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Rendezvous Ski Trail, W. Yellowstone

Snowpit Profiles- Lionhead Range

 

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Weather Forecast Lionhead Range

Extended Forecast for

10 Miles WNW West Yellowstone MT

  • Today

    Today: A chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after 3pm.  Widespread haze before 2pm, then widespread haze after 4pm. Partly sunny, with a high near 75. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 22 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 40%.

    High: 75 °F

    Chance
    T-storms

  • Tonight

    Tonight: A 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 5am.  Widespread haze before 8pm. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 54. West wind 7 to 13 mph becoming north in the evening. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph.

    Low: 54 °F

    Chance
    T-storms

  • Monday

    Monday: A chance of showers, with thunderstorms also possible after noon.  Partly sunny, with a high near 70. Southwest wind 6 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 30%.

    High: 70 °F

    Chance
    Showers then
    Chance
    T-storms

  • Monday Night

    Monday Night: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly before 9pm.  Partly cloudy, with a low around 50. West southwest wind 6 to 11 mph becoming north northeast after midnight. Winds could gust as high as 18 mph.

    Low: 50 °F

    Chance
    T-storms then
    Partly Cloudy

  • Tuesday

    Tuesday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 71. North northeast wind 5 to 9 mph becoming west southwest in the afternoon.

    High: 71 °F

    Sunny then
    Chance
    Showers

  • Tuesday Night

    Tuesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 52. West wind around 9 mph becoming northeast after midnight.

    Low: 52 °F

    Partly Cloudy

  • Wednesday

    Wednesday: A 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 72. Northeast wind around 7 mph becoming west southwest in the afternoon.

    High: 72 °F

    Sunny then
    Slight Chance
    T-storms

  • Wednesday Night

    Wednesday Night: Partly cloudy, with a low around 54. West northwest wind around 8 mph becoming northeast after midnight.

    Low: 54 °F

    Partly Cloudy

  • Thursday

    Thursday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms after noon.  Mostly sunny, with a high near 74.

    High: 74 °F

    Sunny then
    Chance
    T-storms

The Last Word

We began daily forecasts on December 7. 130 daily forecasts and 464 reported avalanches later, we wrapped up our daily forecasting season on April 14th. Read our SEASON SUMMARY to look back at the 2023-24 avalanche forecasting season.

Thank you to everyone that sent in observations, read the advisories, took an avalanche class, or donated money, time or gear. Our success is directly related to support from the community and the Forest Service. Have a safe spring and summer!

4 / 29 / 24  <<  
 
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