Overnighted near Reflection Lakes Sat/Sun. Sunny and warm Saturday, left as the storm began Sunday.
Saturday : After setting camp, roamed the sunny side of the Tatoosh for the views in the afternoon, managing terrain conservatively in the soft warm snow. Upper meter of the snowpack flirted with the isothermal transition, with extensive pinwheeling and some loose wet slides. The pinwheels were remarkable for their bulk, occasionally reaching a cubic meter after rolling down impressively short slopes. By late afternoon, pole penetration exceeded a meter in spots. Returning to the shady side, there was still the occasional turn of dry snow left to be found.
We were surprised to see that the climbers who had assaulted the Castle for much of the day were just topping out ahead of sunset -- ping me for photos.
Avalanche activity: We heard a couple of large growls from the hills, but didn't see any large slides taking place. Snow wasn't quite ripe for extensive response to skis, but it would move occasionally. Cornices remain gigantic in spots. Overall impression is that avalanche activity didn't go nearly as large as the mountains can right now.
Sunday: As expected, the snowpack had locked up tight. Skiing was edgeable but very firm, making for excellent long-distance low-angle travel. Roamed where we could without risking slide-for-life terrain or getting under large cornices before the impending storm turned us for home. Storm arrived right on schedule just before noon, per Friday night's GFS 1.3km run. The first hour's 5-7mm accumulation was all 1-2mm graupel, rolling across the snow amidst moderate/strong winds. Goggles were very welcome, approaching requisite, in the wind on the skin back to Narada.
Avalanche activity: none seen.
Looking forward, it is hard to tell how well the graupel might have bonded with the textured refrozen snow surface. Time will tell.