Temps were mid-30s at the Middlefork Snoqualmie Trailhead at 07:00. Snow was consolidated and supportive in areas and icy in others to booting. Boot pen was maybe 1"~2" at best.
Snow continued to be supportive until we got to the first open boulder field, where the snow resembled extremely hard refreeze crust over large faceted grains. Put on snowshoes at 2.1k' due to concern over postholing (from other users) visible in the boulder field.
Snow softened a tad, but snowshoe penetration was minimal up and down from the lake--especially when we stayed on the old bootpath/snowshoe track. Was doing relative pressure tests with the butt end of my trekking pole and snow was soft, then stout down 3".
Snow firmed up more as we gained elevation up the ridge, becoming icier around 5k'. Snowshoes (MSR Revos) were having difficulty purchasing on snow; Lightning Ascents or actual crampons would have been much better. No visible wet loose debris up the ridge to the summit, however, there were plenty of sun textured slopes until the final 200', where the cornices, wind texturing, etc, became more apparent. Did a quick hand shear test at Little Rainy Lake and found the surface snow to be the primary area of concern: the refreeze crust and another firm crust (likely the same layer) below it broke in a planar manner. The refreeze crust was more consolidated and the layer below it resembled wet loose snow. The snow below those 2 layers seemed like storm snow starting to consolidate. Made a judgment call to not disturb the hard crust too much on the way up since we were passing under a steep slope with poor runout; even though the depth was small, the snow seemed weak enough and deep enough that we could get buried in a wet loose avalanche--either above us (seemed unlikely given temps and stability), or below us if we fell and entrained snow (seemed likely if we lost balance). The refreeze crust was extremely stout though and I was able to kick in a wider track on the way up and down to avoid falling potentially.
Snow above 5.6k' was considerably icier and demonstrated more of a consolidated refreeze crust between the two layers of concern with slightly drier snow underneath (seemed like storm snow).
We approached the summit with abundant caution due to the ridge width, previous observations, and poor runout. I felt nervous, but wanted to send the summit, so I got there and back quickly (nothing happened; I was being extremely cautious).
On the way down a storm came in and dropped some precipitation at the lower layers (mostly) and upper layers (limited). This combined with the temperatures led to water saturated snow which was a pain to travel in. The slope angle made snowshoes want to slide; booting seemed risky above Rainy Lake, but I did the last 200' safely (asking my snowshoe partner to get clear of the fall zone first). Snowshoes were a must below 3.5k' due to postholing. It made for brief fun telesnowshoeing/snowshoe skiing ☺️ (the highlight of the descent).
Below that the snow was hot garbage. Snowshoes were dangerous in areas with poor runout (surface snow wanted to slide). I entrained a limited amount of large faceted wet loose on the boulder field from earlier after I slipped and fell a few times trying to get downhill.
We took the snowshoes off after 2k' and it was pretty painful postholing the rest of the way.