The older snow that has remained in this area has been handling a consistently increasing load fairly well where we traveled. Any mid-storm density instabilities from earlier in the week have appeared to have settled.
My primary concern remains the facet/crust layers that comprise the bottom ~60cm of the pack. The subtle dance between persistent weak layer and shifting tensile strength of slab is happening here. Terrain of higher consequence and northerly aspects off the top of Copper and nearing/above treeline should be avoided, particularly as the new snow settles and winds shift or increase.
S-1 from 9am- 3pm, increasing winds on the latter half of the day.
Clear skies and low temps will likely work this new snow surface, particularly where it fell lower density, and cause some issues with more snow headed in next week.
Low visibility- though none observed along Lowman Road or in visible Copper and Banner zones.
Banner Summit had an average HS of 120cm above 7000'. Copper held an average HS of 140cm, nearing 180cm on N aspects at 8500', Both locations have facet/crust layers that hold the potential to cause persistent slab instabilities and overall structure leaves me wary, but remained unreactive in tests yesterday.
Banner pit: HS 111, ECTN3 @ 95cm, ECTN16 @ 76cm and ECTN24 @ 30cm on facets under decomposing crust being my primary LOC. Similar results/structure were found at Copper on a NW aspect @ 8300', while S held less new snow due to earlier winds and more stout crusts/shallower pack.
The various facet/crust combinations at most elevation and aspects here have remained moist, particularly at Banner, which is positive in the long term but should be watched cautiously.
New snow sluffed easily on a stout crust on solar aspects that held older snow, and any wind and settlement will craft stiffer slabs.
The crust/facet combinations that exist in the lower half of the pack on nearly every aspect and elevation have the potential to become more reactive, as witnessed by other activity in the forecast zones and other aspects off Copper.
We skied 30-degree terrain and steered clear of wind-loaded or shallower N aspect zones, particularly nearing treeline and above 8500'.