Skinned up Taylor Creek to Taylor Pass and then towards the weather station. It was snowing lightly all day and the visibility was poor. We didn’t experience any obvious signs of instability, but we did find the Feb.9 buried surface hoar and Feb.9 near surface facets underneath really dense wind hardened snow.
Cold - teens F at the car and single digits in the alpine.
Calm winds on ridge tops
Light flurries all day
2-3" of very low density new snow from overnight at all elevations
Many North aspects of Magnum were stripped to the rocks as well as most of the North facing side walls of the Taylor creek. The average height of snow on the West (leeward) aspect of Taylor Pass was around 220cm, but found a variation from 160cm - 280cm between 2800' to 3200'. Along the ridge from Taylor Pass towards the weather station it was shallow with sastrugi.
Pit at 2800' HS=200cm, 2800', W aspect, 28* slope - Tests: CTNx2, ECTX, Two hand sheers broke unevenly with moderate force on two layers (buried surface hoar 58cm below the surface and on near surface facets 63cm below the surface.) We dug to the ground and found several layers of rounding large grained facets between old deteriorating melt/freeze crusts near the ground. See photo. No test were performed on these due to how deep they were in the snow pit.
Pit at 3400' on a WSW aspect, HS=150cm, 30* slope. Pit was 90cm deep- Tests: CTN and shovel sheer, which broke with moderate force on a thin layer (<1cm) of near surface facets 45cm below the surface. The slab was knife hard and so was the snow below this layer.