-12 F in Mazama upon departure. Nice to feel the teeth of winter. We traveled under the cold overcast until early PM, when some clearing allowed a welcome dose of sunshine. Very light snowfall and very light winds. Snow surfaces did not experience warming today, although a very weak crust was formed on steep solar micro features, presumably from 12/1.
No avalanches observed
Consistent with many local observations, our group experienced some collapses, which were confined to valley bottom. Strength, depth, and supportability of snowpack generally increased with elevation. The low-elevation snowpack structure will likely remain poor for some time, given the dry and cold days ahead. Valley bottom snowdepths in Cutthroat were generally around 70-80cm, with boot pen pretty much to the ground.
A profile at 6800' on a S aspect had a depth of only 110cm. The upper 50cm was right side up, F to 4F hard, and well-bonded to the late Nov. crust. Facets (weak snow) exist between and below the crusts, but stability tests were unremarkable.
Ski testing on steep, unsupported features produced loud granitic grinding but no avalanches.
Comments: Lots of weak snow surfaces out and about
We observed minimal wind effects at ridgecrest today, with no resultant slab structure.