The weather really took us for a ride today. It was snowing hard on the drive up to the pass and during the first hour of touring. After tapering to showers, the snow stopped and sunshine and blue skies popped through the clouds. The wind was minimal during my time out. When I left the field at noon, it was warmer than expected in the BTL.
Noticed fresh debris coming from the waterfall area on the ascent up Commonwealth. Uptrack tests were not producing much in terms of slab characteristics, the snow was very cohesionless. As I neared the top of the trees and peaked out at Kendall, noticed a shallow slab on a rocky unsupported slope had failed. A few other dribblers and some wind textured snow surfaces, but not much in terms of avalanches. After digging and jumping on some test slopes, I made my way back up the skintrack to the same location and found that multiple Dry Loose avalanches had occurred in the last 20 minutes. These were most likely caused by the sunshine heating up the rocky slopes of upper Kendall. As I exited, the snow was much more consolidated than in the morning and hand shears were producing more consistent results.
Found 16" of new snow above ~4500' and much less down in the trees -closer to 8". As noted above, the snow was light and mostly cohesionless first thing in the morning, becoming noticeably more consolidated and firmer as I exited the field around noon, with hand shears failing more easily and some isolated cracking. In my pit at 4800' on a SW slope, compression tests highlighted failures down ~10" on a mid-storm layer and about an inch above the old/new interface (2/19). I found some rimed precipitation particles at the lower interface. The 2/19 is barely above the V. Day Crust and in between the two is some snow that bears watching in the future.