Avalanche kills 2 snowmobilers near Cooke City

Two people died Monday after being buried by an avalanche in Park County, just north of Cooke City.

The two were among four people riding snowmobiles on Scotch Bonnet Mountain, according the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center.

The avalanche broke five feet deep and approximately 300 feet wide on a southeast-facing slope of the mountain. Two of the snowmobilers managed to escape the slide, while two others were buried. The center, which regularly publishes safety conditions for the region that includes the mountains around Cooke City, reported the four four were a part of a group of eight.

Park County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue assisted in the response on Scotch Bonnet Mountain.

The danger of avalanches ranged from considerable to moderate for southern Madison, southern Gallatin, Lionhead Range and Cooke City mountains, according to Tuesday’s forecast. Snowfall over the past several days has created conditions throughout those ranges similar to those that caused Monday’s avalanche. Avalanches run across slopes of 30 degrees and steeper, or areas immediately below those slopes. Those heading into the mountains can use inclinometer to check slope angles.

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