CAIC: Colorado Avalanche Information Center

2019/01/05 - Montana - Waldron Creek, west of Choteau

Published 2019/01/11 by - - Flathead Avalanche Center


Avalanche Details

  • Location: Waldron Creek, west of Choteau
  • State: Montana
  • Date: 2019/01/05
  • Time: Unknown
  • Summary Description: 2 snowmobilers caught, 1 partially buried and injured, 1 buried and killed
  • Primary Activity: Snowmobiler
  • Primary Travel Mode: Snowmobile

Number

  • Caught: 0
  • Fully Buried: 1
  • Injured: 1
  • Killed: 1

Avalanche

  • Type: HS
  • Trigger: --
  • Trigger (subcode): --
  • Size - Relative to Path: --
  • Size - Destructive Force: D3
  • Sliding Surface: --

Site

  • Slope Aspect: E
  • Site Elevation: 7900 ft
  • Slope Angle: --
  • Slope Characteristic: --

Accident Summary

PRELIMINARY: The avalanche occurred in South Waldron Creek, 0.75 miles north of Teton Peak, Teton County, at approximately 15:42 on January  5, 2019.  This was a very large, hard slab avalanche (could bury/ destroy a car and break trees). The crown extended approximately 1750 feet across two east and east-southeast facing bowls at about 7800 to 7900 feet elevation. It varied from 1 to 5 feet deep, with an average depth of roughly 3 feet.  The debris ran 700-800 vertical feet.  The slide was a persistent slab avalanche that broke on weak, faceted snow above a crust roughly 11 inches above the ground.  The slide paths were convex, with variable snow depths and numerous trigger points.  When the slide released, 1 rider (Rider 1) was on the slope. A second rider (Rider 2) was off his snowmobile lower on the slope. Rider 1 was caught, carried, partially buried and injured. Rider 2 was caught, carried, fully buried and killed.

Flathead Avalanche Center report and images