Observation Date: 11/28/2020
Skied into Heart Lake via Heart Lake trailhead on Fri morning, camped overnight. Fri, skied good snow on the short W-facing slopes on the S end of the lake with small wind/sun crust, but stable snowpack. On Sat morning, made an attempt at the central, N-facing chute due S of the lake, but stopped short due to avalanche concerns and instead lapped the lower skirt of the chute for some high-quality turns. Enough coverage to make all but S facing aspects above 6000′ skiable with only moderate concerns for sharks. If skin track to lake is tracked out, be prepared for adventure skinning on your egress!
Sunny Fri with temps just below freezing, no wind. Scattered snowfall with temps right around freezing on Sat.
New Snow: 0-3″
Dug a pit at 6200 ft, N facing, below the steep choke of the central chute of Heart Lake. Found propagating failure 15-20 cm down. Soft, unconsolidated, wind loaded snow did react as a slab on top of a harder, sun-baked layer. Propagation occurred around the 10-15 range of shoulder taps in our ECT, requiring a fair bit of energy. This was enough reason for us to stay off of any very-steep slopes in the area (35+), especially those wind-loaded and North facing (i.e the upper 2/3rds portion of the central chute of Heart Lake and the Dalton chutes).
We observed no other signs of instability during our weekend (no whumps, no cracks, no recent avalanche activity, minimal amounts of new snow), and would not have made this call without digging a pit and really talking through our concerns.
Observer: Mason Dow