Toured up to 10,000' under the Mammoth Crest near TJ Bowl through the trees E of TJ Lake looking for lingering instabilities in buried facet layers and recently deposited wind slabs. Hand shears were pulling whole blocks with moderate force about 15cm down in large faceted grains under an old firmer layer. Snowpack tests on a previously wind loaded NE aspect at 9300' had mixed results: CTM SP down 15cm in F hard facets under a 1F hard crust that remains from the wind event on 12/3; CTH PC down 36cm in 4F hard compressed facets under another 1F hard crust; CTH BRK down 48 and 69cm in 4F hard facets under the remains of the P hard melt-freeze crust buried on 11/27. That crust is slowly breaking down into large facet grains. Large column test prompted by the sudden planar compression tests did not show propensity for propagation: ECTN 11 down 15cm, PST SF 24/100 and 52/100 in the same layer. More snowpack tests on a previously wind loaded N aspect at 9980' had much less responsive results: CTH BRK down 36cm. The primary layer of concern, the facets buried 15cm down, was widely present but not reactive aside from my first CTs. Snow depth above about 9200' was between 85 and 90cm everywhere I checked. Below 9200', or at about Lake Barrett, the snow is getting patchy. Even on the Crest proper, there is much talus poking through and many obstacles (see attached photos).
Today was warm and any snow with sun exposure (E-S-W aspects) was getting moist and sticky even up to 10,000'. Skin wax and freshly waxed skis would definitely have helped. Shaded areas below treeline still skied well with several inches of sugary recycled powder still on top. Only problem is that there isn't much in the way of a base. Watch out for hidden rocks and logs.