Snow picket steel cables

Having a steel cable swagged to the centre of a snow picket or snow stake  is an excellent way to quickly create an anchor in snow.

Have a look at the great research on snow anchors done by Don Bogie in New Zealand (link below). Based on the recommendations in this paper I’ve sourced galvanised steel cable 4mm 7×19 strand rated at 11kN. I’ve got a local sail loft who can do proper swages so I’ve updated my pickets.

It took a while to find the right cable and swaging so I offer to do the same for your pickets, T or L section. Post them to me and I’ll have the cable swaged on to the centre of your picket: 1200mm cable (eye to eye) cost $60 plus return postage. Email if you’re interested.

Swages don’t compromise the strength of a cable so this setup should achieve the target 10kN. There are no thimbles in the swaged eye so the sharp bend in a T section picket connection may lower its overall strength, though MSR now offer cables on their pickets. The L section picket is a little better in regard to the stress on the cable eye and also offers a bigger snow surface area to the load. Check out Aspiring snow stakes for this setup.

I haven’t load tested the cable and swage on a picket, only worked from the specs of the components so it’s up to you to assess if this setup will meet your needs. My personal alpine climbing is very mellow so I’m confident that my anchors will never see the maximum load involved in a high forces of an avalanched climber. Still the quick and strong cable is pretty handy and easier to sink into the snow.

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