We started skinning from Alpine (elev. 6,864 ft.) with our objective being the Morrel Mountain Lookout. The previous night was very windy with wind slamming against the yurt all night long into the morning so our primary concern for the day was wind slabs. The wind was still blowing very strongly when we left the yurt in the morning at about 9:00-9:30am and the high winds continued throughout most of the day. Due to the wind, wind slabs were our primary avalanche concern. We observed large wind lips along the road (see photos), wind scoured slopes above the road, pole probe tests showing stiff wind loaded snow on top of less consolidated weaker snow, and riming on trees (see photos).
We stopped at a hairpin turn in the road at an elevation of about 7,260, East aspect, and a snow depth of 105 cm. The winds were light to moderate and were westerly/northwesterly with S1-S2 precipitation and X sky conditions. We jumped on small wind loaded test at this location to see if we could see shooting cracks or break off a wind slab. Our jump tests did not result in shooting cracks or consolidated wind slabs breaking off these small wind loaded test slopes.
We continued up the road to the weather station. As we climbed in elevation we continued to see signs of wind affected snow such as stiff wind loaded snow on top of weaker snow, rime on trees, and large wind lips along the road. We arrived at the weather station (elev. 7,750 ft.) at around noon and it was completely covered in rime (see photos). Winds were still blowing strongly out of the W/NW and we saw small east facing cornices a long the ridge past the weather station. We dug a pit a little below the weather station at about 7,700 feet. The snow depth was 84 cm and we observed a snowpack that was mostly weaker over stronger snow and got a CT2 PC at 10 cm deep. We noticed a layer of facets about 2 cm thick at 64cm below the surface so we continued our compression test to see if we could yield a result from this layer. We got this layer to react at CTH27 SP.