Not quite sure what you mean by the east face route -- is it the winter route that goes by big falls?
Snow conditions are hard to predict; a lot of the gullies are avalanche chutes. Some years they consolidate early, other years they are pretty dangerous up to April. Some years there is so little snow that the exposed cliff bands are a pain.
Around here, the route that we used to call "east face" has been hampered in past years by avalanche debris, but I'm guessing that's a different beast.
When the snow is deep, it's too darn hard to reach Chaz by the SLT is a short winter's day. But when the snow is less than a foot deep, it's still a pretty fast way. Often the S-facing slopes on the high ridge (between Griffith and Chaz, 10600' to 11400') burn and blow clear.
2006 was a low-snow year. Hard to say how this year will shape up. On Jan 01/2006, people just booted all the way up SLT to the top of Chaz.
NB: the SLT itself switches back and forth a lot, and is a pain with any significant amount of snow, before you reach the ridge just west of Griffith Peak. It's a N-facing route, and stays cold and dark longer than the NLT route. Often people go directly up the Griffith avalanche chute, or on the ridge just W of the Griffith chute, to avoid the switchbacks.