Snow below treeline and near treeline in the morning was very firm—almost resembling Cascade concrete. Was able to boot the entire way up to 4.2k’ with minimal difficulties. Put snowshoes on for additional grip purposes mostly, but they came in handy dealing with fetch in upper basin.
Encountered wind slabs/hard slab in upper basin as described previously. The slabs were extremely touchy and easy to make fail. I got surface layer fractures using my snowshoes and trekking poles on slopes approaching 30 degrees. No other issues were seen with snowshoes.
A quick pit at 6.2k’ on a north facing aspect showed that the snow was mostly right side up, minus a weak layer sandwiched between two stronger layers (4F+ vs Fist). The weak layer was approximately 5cm high, was 85 cm from base, and was buried approximately 15cm down. The failure was difficult to trigger (5 CTH), the slopes has been recently traveled by skiers and boarders, and we hadn’t triggered the particular failure snowshoeing, so I gave my assessment and my partner and I agreed to continue on, mitigating risk by not traveling below one another, communicating, and conducting additional quick tests along the way.
We attempted to summit, but runout was poor and snow conditions weren’t amenable to climbing with crampons, ice tools, and ice axes—low/variable coverage and hard crust over unconsolidated powder without support.
Successfully wore crampons down to 4000’. Postholing was variable, but mostly minimal (2” deep), except when I postholed down 1’ in upper layers.
Snow below 4k’ had refrozen on the walk out. Taking off crampons was a mistake, as some of the snow was sheer ice.
Other notable observation was an old D2-D2.5 wet loose avalanche that seemed to have slid somewhat recently on a eastern facing aspect above 4.3k’ the slide had gone several hundred feet.
Weather was bluebird day until late afternoon, when a weather inversion moved in below 4k’ and remained in the area for the remainder of the evening. S-2 drizzle/snow was falling on the walk out.
Temperatures were in the low to mid 20s near the car at 8:00 and 19:00. Temperatures were somewhat warmer above the basin (6.2k’); anecdotally it felt like it was near freezing in the sun.