Travelled from Heather Meadows over Herman Saddle to Iceberg Lake and back. Overall, low visibility and blowing snow kept us to mild terrain, although snow stability seemed overall quite good and with better conditions would have felt better venturing into more consequential terrain.
Up to about 4700 feet we noticed about 5-6 inches of soft snow over a more consolidated layer, likely due to warming from the day before. This top layer would sluff easily but early in the morning (9-10am) was not slabby. Above this level the snow was cohesive, soft, and not reactive to hand shear tests on S and W facing slopes.
Wind slab was evident, but not just in the expected places with predominant S winds. We were surprised throughout the day by the direction and strength of winds in micro climates. We encountered some areas scoured to icy hardpack while other wind deposits had over 40” of soft powder.
Dense clouds with blowing snow dominated the day. We encountered far more fresh snow than the 1” reported by the NWAC gauge. From 1-2pm the sun broke through and was surprisingly strong. On S facing slopes this quick hit of sun was enough to cause the soft top layer of snow to start forming into more reactive slabs. Late in the day the precipitation type turned to graupel for a while before turning back to heavy snow around 3pm.