We drove to the Ballard Ridge Trailhead and began hiking up the Walt Bailey Trail. Consistent snow cover didn't start in areas with tree cover until about 3300ft, but then gained quickly, especially as tree cover thinned.
We made it up to about 4300ft where the snow height was around 150cm. The 12/21 melt freeze crust was about 30cm down, and I'm not concerned with avalanches failing below that layer at this time. A few thin crust/decomposing forms layers were present in the top 10cm of the snowpack, which broke in small chunks (1-2ft) around us as we were skinning up northerly slopes, but this did not cause concern for failure on a slope-wide scale where we were.
Surface hoar was found on all treeless areas 3500- 4300+ feet on the snow surface, 3mm on N aspects, 1mm on S slopes. This layer may cause a problem when buried with this week's new snow.
A search for persistent weak layers above the 12/21 crust and on more recent interfaces yielded 1F rounding facets just above the 12/21 crust at 4300ft, N. It was unreactive in tests, but it is a sign that there may be more weak layers at higher elevations which could possibly be more reactive.