Starting to look a lot like spring these days. Pockets of convective showers passing mostly to my north (Boulders and Pioneers) but a few graupel grains fell in the east fork. Light to moderate winds without much snow to transport.
Went looking for surface conditions/extent of ambient temp crust that I observed the previous day in Adam's Gulch. The crust was present in the East Fork but was a bit less pronounced here. Still, I found this crust as a 3-4mm water ice lens on flat slopes along the valley bottom. Unlike previous day in Adams Gulch, the character of this crust remained as a water ice lens that thinned as I climbed (on shaded aspects). I observed this crust up to around 8,000'. On solar aspects the crust was thicker, up to 2-3cm, K hard, and still slick/icy on top.
Dug on 7,800' on NW aspect where HS=90cm. The entire snowpack has faceted significantly. There is still enough structure in the upper slab (1/27 snowfall, up to 4F+) to keep one from skiing on the ground, but boot pen=ground on shaded slopes. 12/11 is dry, 4-6mm cupped, chained DH xtals, 1/27 interface is 2-3mm FC below slab, no crust (shady). Faceted slab yielded mostly ECTNs on 1/27 and 12/11, but had a solitary ECTP on each (14 on 1/27, 21 on 12/11). CPST yielded a mix of slab fracture and propagation to end on 12/11, with cut lengths in the mid teens to low 20s. In one test, the fracture initiated on 12/11, then jumped up through the slab to 1/27, where it propagated to the end of the column. Neat. It is going to be a bit frightening to watch this slab reconstruct itself when we start to see an extended period of warm temperatures. Even prior to the onset of wet slab issues (ie, before melt water is percolating through the pack), it isn't hard to imagine seeing a non-negligible increase in the likelihood of triggering slides on slopes with a snowpack like this as warm temperatures cause slab consolidation. And of course, all bets are off if/when we get a multi-day above freezing stretch pushing water down to 12/11. Yuck.