Snowpack: We observed Surface Hoar (SH) 4-5mm on most open slopes. SH was being beaten down on E aspects by moderate easterly winds in the afternoon. Similarly, the sun was melting the SH on very steep southerly slopes. Small near surface facets (FC) were observed on the few slopes where SH was not present.
We found about 6" (15cm) of recent snow over the last interface (12/09) crust. This crust is very thick and strong. It was ski and boot supportable.
Last weeks strong westerly winds stripped many westerly slopes near and above treeline scouring down to the rockes in some areas. Lots of unburied rock obstacles to navigate.
Weather: Clear skies in the morning with a few high thin clouds in the afternoon. The winds were calm when we started the day, but quickly turned easterly and increased to moderate by mid to late morning. This caused light to moderate blowing snow, with very minor wind loading on west aspects. Temperatures were cold in the morning (23F) but increased in the afternoon to near freeing at the trailhead.