We toured up to 9200ft elevation today under mostly clear skies and moderate to strong West to Southwesterly winds. Wind velocities continued to ramp up throughout the day to gale force conditions by 2pm. By mid afternoon we were getting blown over and severly sand blasted by transported snows. The day was relatively warm 29degF @ 1100am @ 9140ft. A few scattered clouds, but primarily blue and beautiful.
We toured up from Convict Lake to the west up to ~9200ft today and investigated a northerly aspect for current conditions. Found a relatively right-side up snowpack with a few hardness changes within the upper foot of the snowpack. Physical block tests showed good stability in this due north aspect @ 9140ft. Lower elevations at Convict Lake level and long valley bottom were severely wind hammered, well developed sastrugi and firm. Northerly-Easterly aspects in the early part of the day were still majorly free from bad wind effects and were soft and powdery. That would soon change as the winds continued to blow primarily from the W-SW, but also were dynamically swirling and coming from nearly every direction at some point today. By early afternoon winds in this zone had increased dramatically and what was a nice powder filled easterly slope in the morning was being literally stripped of its fleece before our eyes. A shallow panel of wind slab mid slope around 8500 propagated and ran a 100ft or so on turns as we got the hell off the ridge. Our first ascent on ridgetop did not show any concerns for fresh wind slab in the morning on E-NE aspects, but by the second return ascent to get back to the trailhead there was 6-8inch deep wind slab developing and was reactive and cracking. The winds increased to such velocities by 2pm at ridgetop @9000ft that we were being blown over and were forced to transition and ski down to get out of the horrendous conditions. Active bannering of the high peaks was apparent all day, yet not as dramatic as yesterday with much of the 29th light snowfall blow away already. How a day can change so dramatically in the world of wind.