The day started clear and cool with a solid refreeze above 5000 ft. As the day progressed clouds started moving in and temperatures warmed above freezing at ridgetop.
On Wednesday rangers traveled up to Colchuck Lake to check current conditions and to start digging out toilets around the lake.
From the Stuart Lake Trailhead, we found mostly continuous snow all the way to the Lake. However, the lower elevation snowpack below the lake is melting quickly and travel is quite rough. During the early morning hours, we found supportable snow along the trail, but this changed as the day progressed and temperatures warmed. Having flotation is still advised, otherwise, you may encounter some deep post-holing.
Colchuck Lake is still mostly frozen and completely snow-covered. That being said, be on the lookout for changing conditions with the incoming heat wave. Rangers dug out the first toilet at the Lake, so please please use this toilet or plan on packing out your human-waste.
The recent warm temperatures are starting to leave its mark on the upper-elevation snowpack. We found recent wet debris in most chutes/couloirs around the lake. Travel on the Colchuck Glacier was better than anticipated. The lower half of it consisted of softening spring-like corn (at 11 am) while the upper half still held 2-4 inches of settled new snow sitting on a melt-freeze crust. Having crampons and ice axe is recommended if you plan on traveling up Colchuck Glacier or Aasgard Pass since snow conditions are firm during the early morning hours.
The Aasgard Pass waterfall hole is not open yet. Although, this will likely change with a long period of warm temperatures knocking on the doorstep. The best practice will be to climb and ski on the climber's left side ( following the summer trail) to avoid this dangerous spot.
Comments: This problem is mainly confined to upper elevations at this point. Above 7000' we observed rollerballs on most aspects entraining the 2-4 inches of new snow that recently fell. As the day warms be on the look out for larger wet loose avalanches.