Departed Timberline around 0630. Pleasantly suprised to find a very hard freeze that served me well all the way until first time up upper Leuthold.
For the most part, will let sometimes annotated pics speak for themselves to those seeking beta. Long and short, evidence of a VERY warm May was unfortunately omnipresent. Despite lower Leuthold clearly a problematic ski route currently, persisted out of curiosity and as a Memorial Day homage to my wayward ski (and skin) which capitalized on a warm snow failure crossing Reid last June to go on walkabout (per topo, possibly to Astoria).
Warm snow avys noticed off of Crater Rock, Reid apron, Leuthold apron, below lower Coe Icefall (vuew from summit rim), etc. Evidence of (often old) instabilites most places too. MANY (sometimes HUGE) runnels, with channeled rockfall noticed on multiple occassions (esp coming out of hourglass late morn). Frankly, the mess that is the Leuthold apron is hard to tell where runnels end and avys begin. Dirtiness of debris and a sorta crown like feature at location of last season’s Headwall access implies “slide to ground”…but then again maybe just an endless tirade of debris gouging out the sometimes many feet high runnels? Who knows just be aware of what you are exploring into (frankly its fun - if slow - if like route-finding/problem-solving).
Upper Leuthold climbers leftside was still in good shape, enough so that combined w classic couloir aesthetics warranted a well-worth-it 600’ lap (esp given doubt many will bother unless they want an extra lap after climbing Sunshine…whose rim seemed intense to surmount, but first time to the area so possibly not looking to the right spot).
Summit rim was a beautiful, airy, bit-concerningly-gusty in a couple catwalk-like spots w phenomenal views down to Eliot and Coe, a pic of which I’m including for beta benefit of coverage, crevasse situation, etc. And finally no afternoon whiteout!
Descent via my “West Crater Rim” ascent locale was a ski-sidestep-ski adventure since I chose to leap before I looked months after my beta ascent. Snow was (thankfully thru the tight crux) VERY stable however, even late afternoon. That said, would choose a different (time a/o locale) option in the future. Remaining skiers high right descent out of Coalman was stable and fun, as was Upper Zigzag.
Decided to give Lil ZZG a go out of curiosity. Quickly aborted due to stickiness even high shaded skiers right side gully wall. Back to TH bit before 1800.