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Backcountry avalanche conditions unfavorable as storm hits Northwest Montana

Avalanche danger across the Flathead is currently forecasted at considerable — a level three out of five.
Flathead avalanche
Posted at 8:34 AM, Jan 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-12 10:34:10-05

HUNGRY HORSE — Avalanche danger is always something to be aware of if you plan to go into the backcountry but with all this new snow and freezing cold temperatures, it's more important than usual to be aware of the risks before heading out.

“The weather definitely plays a role in it. We've had a lot of new snow in the last week and also the last few days the winds have really picked up and they've affected almost all elevations and they're drifting snow and thicker, more dangerous slabs,“ said Flathead Avalanche Center avalanche forecaster Cameron Johnson.

Avalanche danger across the Flathead is currently forecasted at considerable — a level three out of five.

According to the Flathead Avalanche Center, conditions are complex and dangerous due to changing weather conditions.

“If you do travel into the backcountry right now it is really important to be able to identify avalanche hazards...to stay off and out from underneath steep slopes,” said Johnson.

The extreme cold will complicate any rescue efforts, so it is important to be prepared if you plan to go into the backcountry.

The Flathead Avalanche Center reminds people who do head out to wear extra layers of clothing, bring plenty of food, and to carry an avalanche probe, beacon and shovel.

“Temperatures are dropping into the negative 10s 20s with high wind chills. So really any small issue you have, whether it's an injury, or broken equipment can make for a really high-consequence situation. So keep travel plans really simple and short is a good way to stay safe,” said Johnson.

The Flathead Avalanche Center website is updated at 7 a.m. with the latest conditions daily

Be sure to check conditions before heading into the backcountry.