Avalanche experts say the way this warm up followed last week's record breaking cold snap has raised the avalanche danger in the Flathead and Gallatin mountain ranges.
According to the Flathead Avalanche Center there's a considerable avalanche hazard on slopes steeper than 30 degrees. On all other slopes the hazard is moderate.
The chances of people triggering an avalanche are likely on steep slopes with sensitive wind slabs and possible on other slopes.
Evaluating an avalanche:
- Extreme means to avoid all avalanche terrain.
- High means very dangerous avalanche conditions.
- Considerable means to be very careful and cautious when out on the routes.
- Moderate hazard should be looked at with some concern but mainly on specific terrain features.
- Low means it's generally safe avalanche conditions.
Bozeman’s avalanche advisory on Gallatin National Forest is considerable on all wind loaded slopes and moderate on slopes without a wind load.
One avalanche specialists informed NBC Montana what people really need to look for when out on the routes so they remain safe.
"Getting educated, checking the advisory but then having the proper safety equipment. So that includes an avalanche beacon, a probe and a shovel. Those are
sortive the three main pieces of gear that you need before you recreate in the back country," said Erich Peitzsch, the interim director at Flathead Avalanche Center.
Peitzsch strongly suggests going to an avalanche course before going out on the terrain uneducated. You can check out flatheadavalanche.org for dates and times.