Snow Anchor


Page Type Gear Review
Object Title Snow Anchor
Manufacturer SMC
Page By John
Page Type Apr 30, 2002 / Apr 30, 2002
Object ID 267
Hits 10298
Aka "Dead Man" or "Fluke", this aluminum plate with steel cable is used for belay protection on glacier climbs and as a snow stake for tents in severely windy conditions. The stainless steel cable sling is designed to allow the snow anchor to dive deeper into the snow when it is loaded.
  • Main body is shaped like a shovel blade coming to a point at one end, with a 1/8" stainless steel cable running from the other end
  • Bury the blade in the snow, clip a carabiner to the cable and run a rope through it for a belay on steep snow.
  • Includes holes provide good "bite" on the snow.
  • Made from high strength aluminum alloy.
  • Available in two sizes.
  • Standard equipment on all AAI alpine racks.
Accolades:Similar Products: DMM Deadman



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John - Apr 30, 2002 7:17 pm - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
These are my snow stakes of choice when I use a bivy sack on or beside the snow. I like these because their:
  • Short vertical height makes them easy to place when the snow is hard but shallow. Just bang them a few times. With shallow snow, ice axes / pickets are difficult to plant securely. Shallow snow situations tend to occur where I find bivy spots behind rocks for shelter against the wind.
  • Vertical bend in the middle makes them go in nice and easy. Center mounted cables effectively drive anchors deeper into the snow when weighted.
  • Swedges ensure that the snow stakes are placed at the correct angle.
I used these on Mount Whitney in April with my bivy sack under 80-100 mph winds. They were excellent and in the morning the snow had frozen over so that I had to beat them out with my ice axe. I've also used them on Rainier in March. Though I like these enough that I find no reason to try out the DMM Deadman I recently had to get a 3rd fluke and my curiosity got the best of me so now I have a DMM as well. Some differences are that the DMM has a main flat face which may not not be as effective in automatic repositioning as the fluke is weighted. Another difference is that the cable is not swedged so the snow fluke can be placed at any angle relative to the wire - not as foolproof as the SMC swedged cable.

For group situations with higher-profile tents, I still prefer to bury pickets, axes, poles, and shovels in place of tent stakes. I haven't the opportunity to rappel off of flukes or pickets yet.

mconnell - May 1, 2002 8:37 am - Voted 5/5

Untitled Review
As John says, these are great in shallower snow but be careful in deeper snow. A friend took a 30 foot fall (to the ground) when rappelling off a fluke when the fluke broke through the hard shallow snow and sunk in deeper.

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