Beautiful blue skies, little to no wind, and unseasonably warm this morning. Clouds rolled in mid-morning and by noon it was grey and a bit breezier. Still plenty warm enough, though.
Saw plenty of recent Wet Loose avalanches from the last 48 hours, but didn't seem to find many that occurred today. If the sunshine had continued, we may have gotten there. I was out of the field by 12:30, maybe something happened after that.
I traveled up the Alpental Valley and ascended Chair Peak fan past the Thumbtack to the North Slope. Took a few laps down to the natural bench above the cliffs before descending the North Slope proper down to the Lake. Traveled across the lake, before heading up and over the divide back to the car around 12:30.
As expected, any slope that saw direct sunshine the past 2 days had plenty of signs of solar input - rollerballs, pinwheels, Wet Loose avalanche debris, firmer "frozen" snow first thing in the morning, and wetter/stickier snow as the sun once again softened the surface. Not much else to report in these areas.
On shadier slopes at upper elevations, we found surface hoar and colder, drier snow. The first lap was powder-like and skied extremely well. As we came up for a second, the snow was already getting warmer and wetter on the surface, even on the northerlies. They did not fully reach the point of producing wet avalanche activity, but it did help to knock the surface hoar down. I suspect in more protected shady areas, it held drier snow for longer, but the temps probably got to most spots today. As we descended to the lake, the snow got progressively heavier and wetter.
Dug a quick pit [N 4850'] to look at the upper snowpack above the 2/3 interface, which I believe was ~3.5 feet below the surface. There's roughly 4 inches of snow above the wind-stiffened 2/9 interface. About a foot below the surface I found a graupel layer that showed up in small column tests and tilt tests. And about a foot and a half below the surface I got repeatable hard results in compression tests and shovel shear tests. No layers propagated during an ECT.