The snow was amazing. It was dry, light, fluffy, and powdery. Not at all slushy and wet like we had experienced previously at Shining Rock. It was very enjoyable.
We also found some patches of ice. Here's a shot of Lan tackling one patch with his pair of crampons. Two of us had crampons and two of us had stabilicers. The crampons might have been a bit much for this trip, but they were definitely helpful in the waterfall yet to come. My stabilicers were very nice. They were lightweight, effective, easy to put on and take off, and they didn't give me any blisters. Matt's cleats completely ripped out on both his stabilicers halfway up the trail for some mysterious reason, but mine were fine the whole way both up and down. We'd talked to other people later and they had never seen this problem before. It was strange... Anyways, he wound up getting a free replacement pair from the manufacturer so that's good.