Newer style snow pickets

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infinityjellyD

 
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Newer style snow pickets

by infinityjellyD » Sun Feb 21, 2016 4:01 pm

I did a snow and ice anchor clinic with some guides a few weeks ago. They both recommended the newer style pickets (i.e. "V"-shaped cross section with with a steel cable attached at the middle hole) over the traditional MSR ones (with a "T"-shaped cross section). They noted that tests have shown the V-shaped ones are stronger. It appears that they are lighter, too, and definitely pack smaller.

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Does anyone have experience with these? Any downside to them?

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moonspots

 
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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by moonspots » Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:02 pm

infinityjellyD wrote:... They noted that tests have shown the V-shaped ones are stronger...


I'd be interested in personal experience opinions also. I went through a crevasse rescue class a couple years ago also, and the guide then mentioned the traditional V-shaped snow anchors worked best when the point of the v was oriented in the direction of pull. So that might be the case here also.

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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by infinityjellyD » Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:29 pm

Interesting, because my guides said you are supposed to face the picket the other way (point of V facing away from direction of pull).

Clearly, some confusion on proper use. Unfortunately, I could find no reference to them in FOTH or any other alpine skills book I have.

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ExcitableBoy

 
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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by ExcitableBoy » Sun Feb 21, 2016 5:34 pm


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infinityjellyD

 
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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by infinityjellyD » Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:28 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:This is an informative read: http://arc.lib.montana.edu/snow-science ... _O-061.pdf

Good read. Thanks.

"The theory has been that by placing a V stake point of V to load in all circumstances is that it is more stable when being pulled through the snow and that it can create a bow wave effect that compresses and strengthens the snow in front of it, which makes the anchor stronger."


If I understand that correctly, that suggests that the point of the V should aim in the direction of the pull (as moonspots noted a few posts earlier).

Interesting observations about the angle of a vertical stake. Again, if I read it correctly, it says to keep the stake vertical (i.e. perpendicular to the surface) in strong snow and lean it back (25* off of perpendicular is ideal ideal) in weak snow. A further note was that the length of the attachment---the runner or steel cable---should be 2x the height of the picket. Also, evidence was clear that a mid-clip is more effective than a top-clip.

For anyone else that read, does my above takeaway sound right?

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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by sharperblue » Mon Feb 22, 2016 5:54 pm

so with the picket shown, you'd have to either deadman (horizontal) or dig a trench and then backfill (vertical) for every placement to accommodate the wire - ? seems like overkill and much more time to construct rather than pound in a nail, assuming conditions are favorable to that, but yes, i assume that would be the strongest anchor. I've seen the point of the 'V' both down and up, depending usually on the thickness/strength of the metal (many pickets are home made and their ability to maintain their geometry under loading is questionable, which is terrifying) Generally, IMO, if the snow/neve is truly good enough for a vertical picket, orientation would not matter much at all. If it is even questionable, it should be a deadman

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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by infinityjellyD » Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:23 pm

sharperblue wrote:so with the picket shown, you'd have to either deadman (horizontal) or dig a trench and then backfill (vertical) for every placement to accommodate the wire - ?...[snip]


Not really. The benefit of the steel cable is that it is strong and thin. So you pound the stake in and then pull the cable and it should cut into the snow. If the snow is very very hard, then maybe you need to scrape a trench with your pick like you would on a horizontal deadman's, but in most cases you should be able to just pull the cable into position without a problem.

That's the concept at least. Would love to hear someone's firsthand experience.

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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by logsden » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:54 am

I've read test results and done a fair bit of my own informal testing in the field. InfinityjellyD's description of appropriate use is basically correct. Also the comments on the appropriate angle of 25 degrees is what most testing has shown.

To sharperblue's comments: beyond the significantly faster placement, the benefit of this picket design is that it has been shown to be as strong as a deadman of the same depth, and significantly stronger than either a top clip nail or mid clip nail with trench dug for a sling (old style). Basically, they place almost as quickly as a standard nail, but are actually strong enough to be worth something (Most top clip nails actually fail at surprisingly low loads).

I've done quite a few crevasse rescue hauls using these as the primary/initial anchor point. I've now transitioned into always having one of these on my glacier travel rack. Getting a solid, reliable anchor built and the load transferred now takes about 1-2 minutes total.

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ExcitableBoy

 
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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by ExcitableBoy » Tue Mar 01, 2016 3:25 pm

I used to use flukes a lot when guiding big glaciated peaks in the PNW. They work extremely well in soft, wet spring snow, but are not as versatile as pickets, so I eventually stopped carrying them in favor of pickets. I wonder if an angle picket slung like the flukes with two wires that hold the picket at a constant angle would be even stronger? Theoretically any pull would make them dive deeper. Thoughts?

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asmrz

 
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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by asmrz » Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:33 pm

I have always carried one picket and one fluke on glacier peaks of PNW, Canadian Rockies and Alaska. Actually both my partner and I always carried one of each. The fluke (deadman) works in soft, unconsolidated snow when nothing else will. The picket works well in harder snow conditions and provides great protection.

I actually took a fall on a picket placed vertically (all the way) on Mt Baker when a bridge collapsed. The picket held.

Took a dive on a fluke on Dhaulagiri glacier above C1 and the fluke ran under the snow for many feet, before stopping me.

Having shorter, lighter, more stable (V shaped) picket with the wire in the center (as above) must be a huge improvement over the old (biner or wire on the top) pickets from SMC and MSR. The wire having to cut into the snow and provide a perfect angle of pull.

A picket slung like a fluke, now that is a great idea, especially since the picket in the above example is short and light, so the additional cable will not be much of a problem. It will depend on the snow's density but yes, the effect of two wires could be as ExitableBoy describes...One could make the bottom wire removable..

BTW Who sells the picket shown at the top of this post??

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ExcitableBoy

 
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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by ExcitableBoy » Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:46 pm

asmrz wrote:A picket slung like a fluke, now that is a great idea, especially since the picket in the above example is short and light, so the additional cable will not be much of a problem. It will depend on the snow's density but yes, the effect of two wires could be as ExitableBoy describes...



Thanks! In my vision the picket would be configurable for hard snow as a Sierra style picket like the one pictured above, or as a fluke for soft snow. I've been messing around with altering current picket designs in my garage and left most as rappel anchors. Maybe it is time to buy some angle material (aluminum, mild steel ?), wire, a swaging kit and get to work.

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ExcitableBoy

 
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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by ExcitableBoy » Tue Mar 01, 2016 4:49 pm

asmrz wrote:BTW Who sells the picket shown at the top of this post??

Looks like the Yates picket my old partner used to carry: http://www.backcountrygear.com/yates-pi ... n-red.html

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WillP

 
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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by WillP » Thu Apr 28, 2016 6:12 am

These Yates Cable pickets have been around a fair while – they’re an adaptation of an older NZ design. I picked up a couple after seeing a demonstration of just how well they work with dynamic loads on soft, wet snow – place at 45 degrees to the surface with a channel for the cable, and seat the picket by yanking hard on the cable (axe through the loop and yank for real force).

Then ask yourself – how often do you need to place protection on soft, wet snow?

They also work pretty well in a T-slot, but are slightly less stable than a T-stake.

Having used them, along with the standard MSR T-stakes, on a few trips now, I prefer the T-stake. You can achieve the same effect as described above by slinging it at the mid-point, and the cable in the Yates picket stops it working well as an upright top-clip. That said, you can cut off the cable and either sling it mid-way or at the top, and it’ll work in all three configurations. I haven’t compared the weights, but I’m pretty sure they’re significantly heavier than standard MSR T-stakes.

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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by ExcitableBoy » Fri Apr 29, 2016 5:46 pm

I saw found one of the 'V' style cable pickets hammered wedged into a crack between a chockstone and the chimney once, I suppose as a rappel anchor. I looked to be brand new so I tried to booty it, but it was stuck pretty well.

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Re: Newer style snow pickets

by connoryoung » Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:51 pm

Just moved to NZ and am needing to learn how to use the V shaped pickets as that is all they have down here. Interesting article by the NZ mountain safety council suggests pointing V toward the load when top clipping, and pointing v away from load when mid clipping: http://www.mountainsafety.org.nz/assets ... rs0705.pdf

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