Route: Ascended to approx 3500 feet on Spiritwalker west ridge.
Weather: Skies were intially scattered and gradually deteriorated to overcast with light snow by 15:00. Winds were generally light out of the southwest, and temps were in the low 30′s.
Red Flags to Instability:
Recent Avalanches: No (isolated wet loose on solar aspects at mid elevations)
Collapsing: Only on the approach at approx 2000 feet.
Surface Conditions: 4 cm of moist new snow on top of variably hard surfaces. While bootpacking, we experienced everything from suportable crust to wallowing at waist level near faceted rocky areas.
Snowpack Observations: Several crust matrixes overlying settled rounds, underlain by the NSF from January (which are appearing to take on a rounded shape), with strong snow from at the base. Test results indicated fair to good stability, though our sample is only one pit. See attached photo.