Mazama and much of the Methow Valley remains under valley clouds. As I ascended highway 20 I traveled through the clouds and popped out in clear sunny conditions at Washington Pass (5400'). Dark clouds were seen to the west. As the day went on high clouds from the west came over the Washington Pass area. Generally calm conditions with several gusts to moderate in the middle of the day. Some light blowing snow was seen coming from the SE over Blue Lake Col.
I observed debris from the small wind slab triggered yesterday in a WSW facing couloir in the Liberty Bell. A couple similar small debris piles were spotted in the same zone. Taking advantage of the great visibility I scanned the mountains to the West and North and wasn't able to see much in way of avalanche signs. Some small possible dry loose debris were seen off Whistler.
About 35 cm of snow sits atop the Christmas Crust. Near tree line the surface snow was light and low density. As I ascended above 6600' the snow surface picked up a subtle wind skin. Where I traveled, this 3" wind stiffened snow didn't crack or show signs of instability, but near ridges the story may be different. I dug to the ground at 7200' on a NW aspect in a 145cm snow pack. An extended column test and a compression test yielded mostly unremarkable results (ECTX, CTE RP @ 8cm, CTM RP @ 35 cm under the Christmas crust). What does stand out to me is that the old facets against the ground are harder and more settled that they were before (1F hardness through the whole lower and middle snow pack). A heavy load of precip around Christmas and warmer temps are to thank for this. Let's keep an eye on the weaker snowpack further east and lower elevation.
Layer Depth/Date: 4-6"