Headed up Rock Creek today and up the east side of Red mountain to the prominent avalanche path above Aspen group campground. The bottom 1000ft vertical were a bit brutal with a mixture of very shallow unsupportable faceted snow on the shady aspects to boiler plate wind board and then some breakable crust thrown in. I got pretty demoralized, but re-grouping and eating some chocolate saw me through.
Up to 9500ft is quite variable and thin conditions, not really skiing, just travelling patch to patch and trying to not damage the skis to much.
I made it up to 10300ft and from here down 9500ft there is a nice run-out zone of low angle east facing shrubby terrain that the upper avalanche paths have kept swept clear throughout the years. There was just a bit of surface melt to make travel both up and down much more pleasurable. Ski pen was from 5-10cm. On some shallow more S-Easterly tilted panels, surface snow was much moister and ski penetration was much deeper– down to 25cm in depth. I descended at around 130pm.
It was 35degF @ 1pm @ 10300ft with light easterly breezes.
At this point I think the lower Rock creek Canyon is off the menu for me as the lower elevations are getting quite thin, still manageable, but getting to the point of being to risky for me anymore these days.
Overall snowpack is pretty dismal, but the main gut of the avalanche path had ~120cm of snow. The more northerly terrain again has been quite impacted by all the north winds we’ve had during the January drought.
NO instabilities observed.