Beautiful day in the mountains. Low clouds in the valleys gave way to mostly sunny skies above. Temperatures were cool (20-27F), but, despite its low angle, the sun felt much warmer.
No new avalanches observed.
Moderate west winds were transporting snow along exposed ridgelines, but were not really building any new sizable wind slabs that we observed.
Surface snow remains soft on all but steep southerly slopes where a very thin and breakable sun crust formed the past two days. The upper snowpack feels right-side-up, however, snowpack tests (handpits, hand shear, shovel tilt, compression, and extend column tests) consistently show at leas one layer of buried surface hoar and preserved large stellars about 12-15in (30-40cm) below the surface. This layer routinely failed suddenly and propagated to the end of the block in large column tests.
In some locations, a second layer of buried surface hoard was observed 4in (10cm) below the first. While we could make this layer fail, it never released in standard tests, and took quite a bit of force.
The remainder of the snowpack appeared quite strong.
Layer Depth/Date: 12/8
Weak Layer(s): Dec 8, 2022 (SH)
Comments: We did not observe above treeline terrain.