Clear skies at start of tour (afternoon), high stratus pushing in by mid afternoon. Moderate wind blowing out of the west with period strong gusts. Pretty quiet for the Boulders.
|D2||HS||O-Old Snow||N-Natural||Didn't get a good look at debris, but based on location (heavily wind loaded, alpine) the slab was probably fairly stiff. Poor light, but bed surface looked dark/dirty - may have run on 11/26 interface which was likely preserved but fairly thin in this area|
No avalanche activity observed on the west side of the range, but it looked like the wind had been blowing so hard that evidence of mid-storm slides would have been erased. Light was not great by the time I got up high and my time was limited so I didn't get to do an exhaustive search. Avalanche on 11/26 DH (?) is worrisome, we're already playing the cumulative loading game and I'm looking at this sort of activity as an indicator of what may be to come.
Boulders are off on their own program, as usual. 12/7 surface hoar seems to be reasonably well preserved down in the foothills (watched it get buried live on 12/7), but distribution became pretty irregular as you enter middle elevations, though I was traveling in the trees in these elevations at the change in radiation balance there may have been responsible for this. Down low, 12/7 interface was probably too "rough" (think sagebrush and rocks) on solars to produce widespread problems, but I'd imagine it could get touchy on low elevation shadies. 12/7 interface isn't particularly attractive even in the absence of SH. Thin MFcr+FC exist on solar aspects, small FCs without a crust on shadies. Need to find relatively sheltered, middle elevation terrain to find these layers preserved well. If you have favorite mid elevation powder stashes in the Boulders they probably won't behave nicely when they get a big load. Up in the alpine the depth and character of snowpack is primarily a function of wind, with many areas scoured down to talus and other with meter plus, P-hard, stiff wind pack.