We attempted to ski the mountaineers route on Whitney today but the snowpack around treeline freaked us out and made us turn around.
We got to about 10300’ on a north facing slope and I dug a hand pit that was very easy to shear on the top layer (a very firm slab about 6” thick). This gave us pause to dig a proper pit for more info.
When isolating a column for a compression test, the top layer failed on a thin weak layer that may have been surface hoar. I’m not super good at crystal ID so I’m not sure. with such a hard slab this was enough to make us turn around and not risk skiing steep, exposed terrain or remotely triggering something on the ascent.
The snow below about 10k felt like a spring snowpack and had turned to mashed potatoes when we skied it.