Left Granite Falls at 715am and headed up Mt Pilchuck road only to find a pretty bare road up to mile 3 of 6. From there on there was only a small amount of snow until mile 5 had a tree down with a large group of BoeAlps parking right before it. We made our way over the log and through some deeper snow all the way to the TH. We headed out and found the trail to have a small amount of snow on it for the first few miles until you break out of the trees. From there on there was 2-6" of fresh snow on top of a hard rain crust. Avy danger was considerable for the day, and knowing the safety of most areas on Pilchuck we thought it was a good choice. 3 had snowshoes and I had skis, slipping on many of the steeper slopes was always a problem. I dug a snow pit right below the saddle only to find a 4 inch fresh snow layer with a 3 inch raincrust, followed by a 1 foot consolidated layer and then very consolidated snow layers under that. A shovel shear test showed that the layer above the old rain crust had easily released with one pull. We carried on up the trail since the only real dangerous slope I have ever noticed releasing was around the corner from the saddle on the West Face. There were loose snow debris releases, but we were safe on our path.
After lunch we came down the same way we came up and ran into the large BoeAlps group on a field trip in the upper bowl. Also found a father and son wallowing up the hill knee deep in snow wearing jeans and cotton sweatshirts. Bit my tongue and let them continue on.
Skied down most of the way but the breakable crust kept eating the tips of my skis. Hiked out to find an empty parking lot!!!! Where had all the beer drinkers gone that I was used to? The ride down was uneventful, and once again there was no traffic.