Apr 30, 2010 @ 12:00 am

An even later season note and a word of thanks.

This is Dudley Improta from the West Central Montana Avalanche Center with another late season note and a word of thanks.

Steve Karkanen issued a late season report on April 12 with a reminder about spring backcountry skiing and riding hazards. It will not stop snowing in the high country in West Central Montana so we thought we’d put out one more reminder for the hardy few who are riding and earning their turns.
Yesterday the North Fork of the Jocko Snotel (Southern Missions) recorded 35 inches of snow in 24 hours. Wow! Other snotels in the region recorded significant accumulation as well. Most natural avalanches run during and immediately after snow storms. So, there is more to pay attention to besides snow moving in the heat of the day. If any of the big cornices have lost strength; this new load could put them over the edge.
You should prepare as if it is full on winter if you are heading out. As Steve mentioned don’t forget to take all your avalanche safety equipment with you and have your transceiver strapped on and turned on.
The north or more shaded slopes this year are most likely still holding the buried facets responsible for a fatality and many close calls in our area.
Check out the fresh slab photographed on Mormon Ridge near Lolo Peak just 14 days ago.
Mormon Ridge avalanche

The Avalanche Center extends hearty appreciation and thanks to the following folks and organizations for support and assistance for the 09/10 season:
(I hope I don’t miss anyone and this is in no particular order)
The National Weather Service in Missoula
The Missoula, Superior, Powell, Darby Ranger Districts
The Bitterroot, Lolo and Clearwater National Forests
The University of Montana Campus Recreation Department
The West Central Montana Avalanche Foundation Board
All those who bought banner advertising
All those who sponsored an advisory
All those who helped organize, produce and who volunteered at the Burning Dog Pray for Snow party at Big Sky Brewery
(the Burning Dog won best float in the UM Homecoming parade!)

Of particular note we received numerous informative reports from many backcountry enthusiasts. These reports contribute immensely to the product we are able to deliver. A giant thanks goes to all those who sent us observations this year.

As Steve mentioned April 12, have a great summer and we’ll see you in December.

For more general information about backcountry conditions or questions about access and travel, please contact the local Forest Service Ranger District Office in the area where you plan to recreate.


This information is the sole responsibility of the Forest Service and does not apply to operating ski areas. The avalanche danger rating expires at midnight tonight but the information can help you make a more informed decision regarding travel in avalanche terrain for the next few days.

Our advisory area includes National Forest System lands in the Bitterroot Mountains from Lost Trail Pass north to Granite Pass, the Rattlesnake Mountains north of Missoula and the Southern Swan and Mission Mountains near Seeley Lake, MT. Avalanche information for the Lookout Pass/St. Regis Basin area is available from the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center.