I broke out of the low elevation clouds at Gold Bar, and skies were clear for my trip. There is a stark contrast between sunny and shady slopes- long wave losses are keeping shaded surfaces very cold.
I only saw signs of old avalanches from about a week or more ago. One was very large, running about 50 feet into thick, moderately-aged trees.
Today I attempted to gain some elevation in the Highway 2 corridor near Skykomish. I found firm surfaces while making my way up valley bottoms early in the morning. I dug a small pit on an open north-facing slope at a shockingly high elevation of 2200 feet. I used my snow saw to cut the wall and isolate blocks to shovel out, as the snow was nearly too hard for the shovel. I found 30cm of a knife-hard crust before moist, loose melt forms took over beneath. My goal was to investigate terrain up to 4-5000ft, but accessing that area from a northerly aspect was too dangerous, as I would have needed crampons and an ice axe to feel comfortable traveling up the slopes I was planning on using. I made it up to 2500 feet before turning around. I saw a lot of large piles of old avalanche debris, which likely ran during the rain event. All surfaces, whether coated with slightly-smoothed debris or not, made for very teeth-chattering skiing. Upon return, the snow in the valleys and areas in thick trees was starting to soften and was punchy in spots. However some areas, especially if remaining in the shade for the day, stayed very firm.