The weather was clear and the winds were light below treeline. The nearby Mt. Hood Meadows weather station at 6,540 ft, recorded a high temperature of 33 degrees at 3 pm. Once above treeline, the northwest winds ramped up into the moderate range, which productively drifted snow on adjacent ridges and the upper mountain.
Today was a beautiful day to tour the Vista Ridge area and get eyes on the upper mountain.
Below treeline, I found approximately 7 inches of new snow from 12/4, which appeared well bonded to the pre-existing snow surface. Due to the cold and clear nights, most surfaces below and near treeline have developed a layer of near-surface facets and surface hoar in more open areas.
I dug a test profile on an east aspect at 5700 ft to take a deeper look at the crust interface that was buried in late November. In general, this crust is approximately 4-5 ft below the snow surface and appears well bonded to the snow above it. At this location I found a HS of 165cm with a favorable right side up snow structure.
Once above treeline, this weak surface snow was non-existent and the effects of strong west winds were prominent. Surfaces in the alpine consisted of smooth, chalky wind-blown snow or sastrugi on more exposed ridge-tops.
I stomped on a few test slopes above treeline to test the sensitivity of the wind drifted snow and found these slabs to be stubborn and firm ( 1F to P hard) due to the strong winds.