Don't know about now, but back maybe 5 years or so ago when the big fire went thru the South Side Cold Springs parking lot, smoke was bad. Lesson learned on that trip: if you look down while climbing above and see smoke any where near the parking lot OR the road leading to it, get off the mountain immediately. Do not hesitate. Our cars had been bombed by fire retardant, and the forest was burning/smoldering around us as a Forest Service vehicle led us down the road. Spooky.
I got to the top of the Lunch Counter on Friday afternoon about 4pm - right at the base of the glissade chutes. The approach was nice, good weather.
Some WICKED lightning and thunder, rain and wind throughout the late evening on Friday. From what I heard from other climbers, the worst of it was between 8500 and 9000 feet - a bit below where I was. One guy said his tent poles were glowing and his iPhone got fried, just from the surrounding electrical charge. Crazy.
Sideways hail, 30 mph wind and one serious lightning strike on Saturday morning made me think about turning back, but I waited it out for about an hour and it seemed to be calming down. I started up from camp just before 7am, and it was perfect. Plenty of people at the summit, but the view was pretty hazy because of the smoke.
The glissade chutes were in great shape - though there were some rocks in some sections, so keep an eye on them on the way up! Asking people who had just come down was really helpful too.
Broke camp early Sunday morning and had a nice walk back down.
I talked to a few groups that were turning back because of incoming weather on Sunday evening.
Also, there is plenty of flowing water coming down the creek so you don't have to melt as much snow up at camp. There is also some flowing up near the summit if you need to gather some there.