Triggering an avalanche felt unlikely in the terrain we traveled. We did not encounter sensitive wind slabs. There was no concern of loose wet avalanches. Warm ambient temps quelled loose dry concerns.
It was a moody, overcast day. Mid-level clouds didn't let any sun through. There was a warm moderate wind with strong gusts from the north. Some swirling facets but no new loading.
I felt a couple of rain drops near the truck, as well as a few snowflakes higher up but no accumulation. Some rain was reported near Stanley. Cloud thinned to let the sun through by Galena Lodge. Mostly sunny by Baker Ck.
Temps were in the low 30s F where we were but mid-40s F along the Boulder front. Some stations were reporting nearly 50 F (Soldier R.S., Fleck Summit, and N. Fork Bigwood) at 3 PM.
Upper and exposed middle elevations were all heavily winded and/or weathered by the sun. We found crusts on the small SE counters we traveled on, and heavy-feeling faceted snow on more shaded slopes. Faceting is only affecting the upper 30 cm here. Surface snow was getting sticky due to ambient warming when we left the field.
8,840', NE, HS=185 cm:
Pit location was an opening in thin trees but may have been previously wind-loaded. The 12/11 layer was down ~125 cm.
Generally soft (4F) upper 30 cms with a couple of non-reactive layers of near-surface facets. A 100 cm meaty mid-pack (1F to P).
Lower 60 cms had an upper layer cake of crusts and facets, then stronger facets, and a lower mash of old facets and crusts. There was no obvious weakest link in the lower pack. It was highly variable and strong (1F to P). Old facets were rounded and packed together. We attempted a CPST but the snow was strong enough that it was warping the saw.
We did not observe avalanche problems. Surfaces were cool enough to avoid loose wet, and warm/weathered enough to avoid loose dry. We didn't find any sensitive wind slabs, but didn't travel through much of the terrain that they'd be most likely. Old October snow was not a problem where we looked and seemed very unlikely to trigger.
We did not close any terrain. We did avoid one steep, short, potentially thinner, and rockier entry at upper elevation with respect to 12/11.