Arrived late morning (11:00) to the N side of Exit 42. Snow was consolidated below treeline around creek, but was low coverage approaching forestry road. Lots of running water, so I balanced mitigating some of the risk vs walking up the standard trail by going up a ridge a few hundred feet, intersecting with the trail, then going up Mason Creek drainage (Old Mason Lake Trail). Snow was compact from use, but there were a number of bare areas (like of exposed brush, e.g., salal). Around 3.7k' the depth increased a bit, as well as the boot pen (went from ~0.5" to 1.5"~2"). Didn't consider route up NW ridge (by Ira Spring overlook) viable, so I went up the drainage which was a bad idea. Luck and timing was on my side, so I didn't get caught in wet loose avalanche, but I felt like I was close to needing to bail (trees were starting to shed snow; old wet avy debris was visible on uphill slope).
Once I got up to the lake, the trees were shedding a ton of snow. There was lots of melting precip, resembling rain, and tree bombs. Donned climbing helmet for safety and hardshell jacket for comfort (soft-shell pants and boots got soaked).
Ascended up West Bandera W ridge from SW side of lake. Treecover was high, but purchase was difficult due to surface layer instabilities with wet loose snowpack (snowshoe crampons wanted to slide really badly). Stayed in shade along ridge as much as possible over to West Bandera, balancing between stout wind slab concerns on the N side and slippery wet loose conditions on the S side of the ridge.
Booted some sections but postholed up to 2' near unavoidable tree well, so I donned the snowshoes again. Much of the remainder of the traverse was not noteworthy (just a lot of rain shadow/snow shedded areas under tree cover, which was nice).
Some small cornices along the N side of the ridge between the two Banderas.
Saw some visible D1 wet avy debris shedding off Bandera summit around 16:00 on what looked like a past avy chute. Apart from the avy debris on E Defiance, I didn't see any obvious instabilities on other area mountains (McClellan Butte, Granite SW/W face, Pratt Mt S face, Revolution Peak).
Going down was difficult with snowshoes (they wanted to slide a ton). I gave up around 4.7k' and booted the remainder of the way.
Ran into some nasty voids near boulders by Ira Spring overlook (4.2k'~4.4k') when walking the lower section of the W ridge (postholed 1'+). Otherwise, it was standard heel plunging downhill through trees.
Snow firmed up slightly after dusk descending down the ridge/creek, but was still a bit punchy and slippery in areas. Fun heel plunging for the most part with microspikes, except in areas around 2k' around the creek. Lots of holes/voids near buried trees and around rocks. Made for slightly slow going downhill.
Weather was mostly clear with some cloud cover moving in around/after dusk. Temps were ~41° at 11:00 and ~37° at 19:00 at Exit 42.