Saw lots of evidence of slab avalanches that occurred during the last storm. Most of the debris had 6" (15cm) of snow on top of it. These occurred on several aspects in the near treeline band where I traveled today.
I also saw 2 natural winds slab avalanches (NW and NE 6500") (Photo). Sadly i didn't get a good picture of the larger one.
Numerous natural small cornice collapses. NW-NW aspect.
Signs of Unstable Snow
Terrain: I traveled through several different drainages and basins today covering multiple slopes on all aspects, mainly between 5400' and 6700'. The goal of my tour was to see as much terrain as I could. I wanted to look for wind slabs and recent avalanches, and observe how the snow is bonding to the 12/21 crust.
Snowpack: On average 10-15" (25-35cm) of recent snow sits over the 12/21 crust. In wind-scoured locations, the crust was very shallow or even on the surface. Wind scouring was most prevalent on SSE-S-SSW aspects. This corresponds well with recent wind directions. In wind drifted spots it was as much as 30" (75cm) deep. The recent snow is rather firm (4F) but this actually helped travel conditions, keeping me from hitting the crust.
The crust is an Ice Form rain crust in many locations with additional strong melt-forms below. This icy top makes for slick conditions when it's exposed or near the surface.
Weather: Overcast to obscured in the morning, becoming broken around noon. Very light snow until 9am. Winds light to moderate southwesterly with light blowing snow.
Observed Avalanche Problem #1:
Significant wind loading on NW -N- NE aspects. With cross-loading evident on westerly features. Wind slabs were stubborn. The only aspect where I got consistent failures was NW. Any failures occurred within the wind loaded snow and not on the 12/21 crust. However, I actively chose to not travel on several slopes today because they were obviously wind loaded.