Skied Cocaine Couloir on Saturday. Crossed the river at the log, but went down through the river on the way there, and over the log on the way back. Broke trail all the way up to Lundin. Amazed at how filled in Cocaine Couloir was. We were on alert for wind affected snow as it looked wind affected from the valley, but as we got up there the actual transport was quite minimal. As we ascended the sun softened the snow until about a 1/3 of the way up when the light breeze kept the surface cold. On the way we found a thin wind skin with some pockets up to 2-3" with very mild cohesion. We regularly were conducting hand shear tests while ascending and no shooting cracks or other avalanche warning activity was observed until the choke point where hand shear tests indicated a mildly cohesive slab of about ~12" inconsistently breaking on a rough interface of dry snow. We decided to dig a rough pit under a large rock formation believing it to be safe enough to do so.
Pit results were:
5520 ft S
110-105 Soft dry snow (interface)
105- Ground, Strong well bonded snow
No shear result on a CT test
Based on the pit we went up slightly further with increased caution but soon decided to descend as the snowpack was much thinner up there. The snow quality on the descent was excellent. Compared to other reports from friends and observers here, we were surprised to see clear, but minimal wind affected snow compared to Alpental Valley and closer to the highway in Commonwealth Basin.