Well, it isn't as bad as it was last year...right now at least.
Light, intermittent winds on upper elevation exposed terrain (Boulder calm). Felt about 8-10 degrees F cooler than it's been the past few days.
Continuing my hunt for snow on cold aspects. Pole probes revealed a typically variable snowpack in the alpine. In areas where the snowpack is a bit thicker (~80-90cm) I found a surprisingly strong snowpack. The base of the snowpack is still holding a bit of moisture and is clamped onto the ground. The most concerning interval was ~ 30-40 cm down, presenting as a slightly denser slab of snow over some fine-grained, young facets. These were largely unreactive in my snowpit (at 10,200' on N aspect), yielding ECTNs in the upper 20s. In areas where the snowpack was closer to 40-50 cm there was a significant amount of faceting throughout the pack, with an interval of advanced facets occupying the bottom of the snowpack. I think these areas were missing the snow from the late October storm (perhaps due to wind?).
I'm starting to wrap my head around the idea of the snowpack on middle and upper elevation solars being the new ground... I'm not there yet, still need to cover some miles and terrain before I'm fully comfortable with that perspective, but I think that warm ambient air temperatures and direct sunshine have helped the snowpack in much of this terrain to consolidate into an icy mass that is well bonded to the ground.