Experts from the West Central Montana Avalanche Foundation visited Mount Jumbo on Saturday at the request of the City of Missoula and found continued dangerous conditions. The snowpack is 4 to 5 feet deep in places and unstable. Limiting the danger of avalanches is very dependent on people staying off the mountain. The avalanche experts saw fresh ski tracks from the past 24 hours.
Avalanche Foundation director Travis Craft and his crew found new snow loaded into gullies and potential avalanche starting zones by last night’s winds. They also observed wind blowing snow into potential start zones, with “gale force” east winds continuing at 30 to 40 miles per hour on the ridge. They found some small natural slides that had occurred in the past 24 hours that were 1 foot deep and ran onto the valley floor in back yards on Lilac Avenue and Holly Street. These slides did not pose a threat to structures but could partially bury a person.
The avalanche conditions should not get worse without a change in the weather, Craft advised. The forecast is for frigid temperatures but little to no new snow tonight. Property owners at the base of the mountain from Missoula Avenue to Elm Street should stay out of their back yards and call 911 if they see snow slides. Residents should also call 911 immediately if they see human activity on Mount Jumbo. The entire mountain is closed.