Traveled up the Rock Creek Drainage yesterday to a high point around 7,600' near the Western Union Mine and Mayflower Meadow. The inversion was in place, ending near the Eilertson Meadows Snotel site. As we rode above the snotel the temperatures increased, above freezing. Surface hoar was observed alongside the road below 5,000'. This was the same observation we made a day prior riding in the Western Wallowas. Temperatures have been staying below freezing below this elevation band, but rising above freezing at upper elevations (near and above treeline).
We did not observe any avalanche activity, recent or old. It was obvious the upper elevation alpine terrain had been heavily wind affected last weekend after we picked up around 5-6" of snow last Thursday (1/20). You could still find pockets of cold, soft snow near the tree line.
At 7,600' on a SE aspect we dug a snow pit to observe what the snowpack structure is doing in the upper couple feet. Fortunately, the snow around the 1/6 crust was still showing good signs of bonding and cohesion. The recently formed 1/20 rain crust, unfortunately, had signs of weak snow (facets) developing above and below the crust. This is a layer of concern in my mind that we will need to continue to evaluate, once the high pressure breaks down and we receive a new snow load on this layer. Although there were no alarming test results on either of these layers, currently there is no form of slab sitting on these two-bed surfaces.
You can see the two crusts in my photos below.