Skinned up through dreadfully sticky snow this morning up to No Name peak. It was in the mid 40Fs and it felt really warm. As I got to the toe of the North ridge of No Name peak, cloud cover and cooling breeze helped reduce the slog factor.
Overall in the area there is a thin and very spatially variable snowpack, the snowpack within some beautiful old growth trees around 9000ft was completely loose and faceted. I could punch my pole easily through the 50-70cm deep snow. Surface conditions were relatively soft in the sheltered northerly terrain and there was anywhere from 15-25cm of snow from the 1/17 storm.
Hiking up the ridge around 100pm there was a 30-40mph SW wind with heavy cloud rolling over the Sherwin ridge and Parachute to the West. Mammoth Mountain looked to be in a cloud all day and to the north it got progressively darker and more socked in as the day went on.
Dug a snowpit on the leeward side of the mountain on a NE aspect at 9800ft on a 36deg slope. I purposely dug in a wind loaded area to see how the new snow was bonding to old snow surfaces and found... (see attached snow profile)
HN: 25cm (*windloaded)
It was 44F at 1100am @ 7875ft
Compression tests failed (CT16 Q2, CT20 Q2 with moderate/hard results at the melt/freeze crust 25cm below the surface. Performed 3 Extended Column tests with none of them showing propogating. I could pull off the block with a moderate tug. 2 of the blocks pulled off on top of the crust and one pulled off on the looser faceted snow beneath the crust.
There was some collapsing of snow in the lower elevations today on very thin snow coverage ~35cm, other than that did observe any other signs of instability. Kick turn test=negative, ski cuts did not reveal any instability. There was some old debris piled up on trees in the path I skiied, looked as if it had slid during the last storm event this past thursday.