This may be a short-lived thread given the thin snowpack, but here goes...
Monday, March 16
I went up the North Sister on the Virginia Creek (north) side after work. No real parking, but if you snuggle your vehicle up against the berm others can easily get by. I tried to ski up the regular trail from the road, but ice and lack of snow under the trees made this sucky. Better to go a short distance down the road towards town and climb up the obvious open slope. There are a lot of salomberry canes showing on the initial pitch, but once you get into the swale next to the spruce bench, life is good. The extensive chainsaw work we did clearing that swale years ago is holding up beautifully. Even the last slope down to the road is still nicely clear of alders (except right by the road which we never cut). Once into the lower alpine the coverage is pretty uniform if not impressive. The upper mountains have very thin or no snow. This week looks warm and the snow is softened in the upper few inches. Not quite corn, and definitely not isothermic. No signs of instability, but to follow the summer trail to the pass between the North and Middle sisters takes you underneath a lot of avy terrain. Rain or a really sunny, warm day could get things sliding.
Leaving the swale at the top of the spruce bench, looking down:
Same spot, looking up:
Into the alpine:
On the southern ridge of the North Sister looking down towards Virginia Creek:
The last slope down to the road has salmonberries to negotiate, but thankfully the alders never grew back (though I missed a few...):