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Avalanche danger moderate to considerable in southwest Montana

By Katherine Mozzone, KTVM Reporter, kmozzone@ktvm.com
Published On: Dec 08 2012 05:49:14 PM MST
Updated On: Dec 08 2012 06:43:51 PM MST

Courtesy Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center

BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Experts with the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center say wind slabs are the main avalanche problem, Saturday.

They say two separate groups of ice climbers triggered eight to ten inch slabs in Avalanche Gully in Hyalite Canyon, Friday.  

Avalanche experts say Another problem is weak, faceted snow near the ground in some areas.  

They say it's important to pinpoint these areas if you're out recreating by digging a snowpit and choosing slopes without wind blown snow.

With strong winds and 20 inches of new snow in the last 48 hours, experts say avalanche danger is high in Cooke City on steep, wind-loaded slopes.  On other slopes in the area, the danger is considerable.

For the rest of southwest Montana, they say avalanche danger is considerable on all wind loaded terrain. On slopes without a wind load, the avalanche danger is moderate.

Experts say folks can manage the hazard pretty easily right now because there's a strong snowpack in most places.
     
Yet, they say it's important those recreating stay off of all slopes steeper than 35 degrees and wind-loaded slopes.