The warm weather did exactly what it was expected to do. We observed numerous avalanches that appeared to be either wet slab or wet loose.
My friend and I skinned up through the Commonwealth Basin to the base of Red Mountain. Along the way we observed several slides from a distance out and one from the ridge above the slide path (pictured). They appear to have been wet slabs that ran the day before. The snow was reasonably firm from 6:00AM to about 8:30 AM, when it started to rapidly soften. Our hope was to get to the top of Red Mountain and see if conditions were safe enough to ski the SW face. This would have required near freezing temperatures combined with windchill to produce a crust that could soften into corn. It became increasingly clear that this hadn't happened. We were navigating the treed ridge up to Red Pond around 8:30 when snow began to sluff aggressively out from under our skis on switchbacks. We also observed the previously mentioned D2 avalanche from the ridge of the gully that it ran through (pictured) and remained high on a ridge whenever possible as a result. These factors prompted us to decide to turn around at the base of Red Mountain. We continued to avoid avalanche terrain until we reached Red's base, where we unexpectedly found ourselves unnervingly close to the runout of a D2 avalanche that had run the day before (pictured). There were also 2 other D2 slides nearby that were clearly visible (pictured). We retreated to the dense nearby tree line beyond the reach of slide paths, transitioned, and skied down. While we could not
In retrospect, I wish that we'd hugged the tree line below Red Mountain more closely. Despite our efforts to avoid avalanche terrain, as we approached Red's base, we came into a clearing that clearly defined the limit of past slide paths. We should have immediately recognized this, but didn't until we rounded a bend and saw the avalanche mentioned above. There was less hazard overhead until we saw the avalanche, but this probably caused us to under appreciate the exposure of our position. Fortunately, nothing broke loose. Dense trees were not even 30 yards to our left. We should have remained in the trees or at least along them. It would have likely put us beyond the reach of must avalanches. As tempting as it can be to skin through a nice open glade, it's important not to loose sight of the hazards that you were watching for in the first place and wind up accidentally exposing yourself as we did.