Got an early start and started hiking around 730am near the aspen stand below the Longely reservoir trailhead. The sidehill on the road past the McGee creek crossing was sketchy to say the least, but likely will be fully melted out after a few more days of these temperatures.
It was in the 40’sF already early in the morning as I hiked and skinned up the road, coverage is minimal and won’t last long, even worse than the past two spring seasons unfortunately.
I was able to skin up to 12,300ft on a Easterly aspect on the shoulder of Mt Humphrey’s. Surface softening was in affect the entire way up with 2cm on firmer old windboard panels and 5-10cm on more 3-dimensional rough surfaces. There sure is not very much smooth snow out there, the old surfaces are just so ancient and have been battered by wind and sun the entire year. It literally hasn’t snowed since Christmas with only 1 or 2 inches falling a few times since the new year. Its the least appealing spring time coverage I’ve seen in my time here unfortunately. I still got some good skiing, but it was of the flaky, rough rider type and it wont last long, and access is already difficult and comes with a cost.
Overall coverage is thin as well and quite spatially variable everywhere, and above 11000ft, thinner areas that were not pressed so much by the wind and had rougher surface texture were supportive on skis ~10-11am, but as soon as I took my boot out of the binding and stepped into the snow, Id sink beyond boot top. I wouldn’t of wanted to be on my easterly facing slope any later as I think it would have become more unsupportive with potential to bottom out and twist a knee… it wasn’t so saturated that there was a Wet-Loose concern, but was a concern for trench warfare skiing late morning. Thin area that were previously faceted during the colder winter months are now isothermal and loosing cohesion.
Below 10,500ft again non-wind pressed areas of snow on the East aspect were completely unsupportive in areas and if you found the right spot above cliffs or where snow did not have legs under it or some compressive slope strength, you could of initiated a Wet-Loose slide today I think. I descended this lower terrain around noon and that wasn’t early enough today. The whole gamut from trench warfare, good corn turns on old windboard to sticky remnant surface deposits on North aspects from last weeks little piddler storms was what I found.
Snowpack is going to go fast under these temperatures and I’m afraid its not going to be much of a corn season at least right on the Buttermilks eastern front. Access is already gone pretty much for most of Basin Mountain and Mt. Tom except for Elderberry canyon.