Toured today in the Dana Plateau region, starting from the low gate on Hwy 120. A rotary plow was working on the Poole Power Plant Rd in the morning, and by afternoon was “open”, although the road is one lane wide, has no plowed pull offs, and there is limited to no space to pass vehicles. Strongly consider parking farther away to alleviate parking pressure and keep SCE happy.
BTL surface conditions were soft, comprised of settling snow that is faceting and 10-15cm of new low density HST on top. Some exposed features BTL were firm enough to require ski crampons.
TL and ALP elevations had more noticeable wind affect from the recent N winds. Low angle slopes and protected gullies had up to 20cm of HST sitting on the old wind crust, while upper elevation ALP slopes were either stripped to the old snow surface or had minimal new snow sitting on this firm, though edgeable surface. Boot crampons and ax were useful in climbing up steep wind affected terrain that posed more of a slide hazard than an avalanche risk.
The day felt warm, though a light E wind kept the surfaces cool and no solar effect was observed even in steep, rocky BTL terrain below Lee Vining Peak, which is a frequent flyer during warming trends. No other signs of instability noted. A great day to get up high and see how much snow has blanketed the range during a month away from home!