Avalanche: Lake Peak

Observer Name
Casey Londer
Observation Date
Saturday, January 5, 2019
Avalanche Date
Saturday, January 5, 2019
Lake Peak
Location Name or Route
Lake Peak
Party of two headed up to Lake Peak.  The wind really picked up when we reached the talus field at base of the north aspect. The apron appeared mostly wind scoured with a few pockets of pillow-type wind loading. Decided to follow the skin track and reassess as we went. About 100ft up recognized a 3-4 inch, hard wind slab on specific aspects. The slab was receiving quite a bit of loading as we made our way up. About 1/3 of the way up the apron I punched in a step and noted some tectonic-like pieces of hard slab cracking around me. The whole pocket then released about 40 feet above me. I was able to stay on my feet and anchored skis/poles into the bed surface. Fortunately, I was not carried or buried.
Had we been in extreme terrain or with anything dangerous below us this could have had consequences. Our conversation before ascending the apron recognized the active wind loading and pockety hard slabs forming in the apron. We decided it was manageable because of the safe run out and generally shallow wind slab. We were traveling one at a time across the slope so my partner was spared the slab deluge. 
A couple more thoughts about decision making: We saw a party on top of the peak flying a drone. There were also ski tracks littering the slope. This may have given us more courage as we proceeded.

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