Snowmobiler Killed in Avalanche Near Cooke City
A snowmobiler died in an avalanche near Cooke City over the weekend.
The slide occurred on the southeast face of Sheep Mountain between Lulu Pass and Round Lake, according to the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. The victim had an airbag but was unable to deploy it and was buried about six feet deep, the GNFAC said in its report.
The slide also caught two other party members who were parked in the run out zone. One was buried up to his chest while the other was completely buried. They both deployed their air bags and escaped without injury.
This is the first avalanche fatality in Montana and the second this season nationwide, according to the GNFAC. This slide was one of many that occurred over the advisory area in the past week (photo page).
Another avalanche occurred Sunday on the Football Field south of Bridger Bowl (photo).
“This slide was triggered during control work by the Bridger Bowl Ski Patrol, but it's a good reminder of what's possible in most backcountry locations. There's no question this avalanche could have been triggered by a skier or snowboarder. Fresh avalanches were also observed yesterday in Carrot Basin in the southern Madison Range and on many peaks around Big Sky. Skiers near Hebgen Lake north of West Yellowstone also experienced widespread cracking and collapsing and remotely triggered a large avalanche,” said Eric Knoff of the GNFAC in his report.
The GNFAC warns that natural and human-triggered avalanches are likely on wind-loaded slopes and slopes steeper than 35 degrees, which have a high avalanche danger. There is a considerable avalanche danger on less steep, non wind-loaded slopes.