Though it was a sneaker blower pow day, we decided to move forward with our original plan of touring the backcountry just outside of WMR. On the summit of WMR, there was 12+ inches of fresh, light cold smoke. We skied to Flower Point chair, and the snow was anywhere from mid-shin to mid thigh deep, depending on the terrain and shelter. After getting to Flower point, we travelled out to Goolie point in skins, digging many hand pits and assessing the snow as we travelled. We found at up to 20" of new snow in places, and saw localized cracks limited to within a foot of our skis. The snow in and around these cracks was very loose and not consolidated, and sloughed into our skin track.
Upon arrival to Goolie point, we decided to ski Baby's bottom area before digging a pit, due to the lack of any red flags or major concerns except for the new storm snow, and the low angle that we planned to ski (<<30 degrees). There were no signs of slabs or avalanche activity, and not even slough in this area as we skied down.
We then travelled out to Kona along the ridge, noticing a strong and bitingly cold north wind that was localized to the ridge. In the treed areas, and just off the ridge in either direction, the trees sheltered the snowpack and the air was generally calm. We dug a pit on a NNE aspect, digging nearly to the ground. The snowpack was 275 cm deep. The upper layer, approximately 30 cm, of the snowpack was the low SWE powder we had noticed traveling in. The snow was fist+ hardness on top, with strips of 4 finger layers as we went down in the snowpack. None of these layers appeared to be a crust. We noticed no facets in the first 130 cm. We isolated a column, and performed an ECT that did not result in propogation (ECTN). Due to the good result, we decided to ski down the Kona area on steeper slopes, around 25-35 degrees. We noticed no major sloughs, no shooting cracks, and no signs of avalanche as we skied.
Finally, choosing to avoid the terrain trap of the Canyon Creek road, we decided to skin back up and out the Kona area to the ridge. On our way back to Goolie point, we took one more lap of Baby's bottom. On our second lap, we noticed in wide open areas on Southerly aspects at about 6,300 feet, there was a very thin sun crust from 02/21 under the storm snow. We noted this might have potential to form a weak layer in the future snowpack in these open south facing slopes at the lower elevations.
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