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gruntpltleader

Just how good is a snow fluke ?

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Kind of new to snow pro and I would like to know the benefits of using a fluke over pickets. I've heard good and bad about both. I have two MSR pickets 24's. Just wanted a few comments

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They are both effective if placed well and in appropriate snow conditions (different for each). For example flukes work really well in spring snow conditions (wet, heavy, unconsolidated)- pickets, not so much. Pickets are the best choice for icey, consolidated snow thats not solid enough for a screw, but would be tough to get a fluke in.

 

I suggest you experiment in different snow conditions. While you at it, experiment with other stuff...build a bollard and see how many of your friends can pull on it until it fails. Once I tried using a rolled-up foam pad as a deadman. It held six guys pulling on the rope until it failed - the rope sliced the foam pad in two!!

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I agree with bistach. In my experience pickets only work in a very specific type of snow pack. Usually they are just extra weight. I suppose a flukes not a bad idea for spring time glacier climbs involving technical rope sections, though you could probably use a stuff sack filled with snow just as easily.

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One advantage to flukes and deadmen (in soft snow) is that angled correctly, they dive deeper when loaded. This is especially handy in a crevasse rescue system as the first anchor. If there are only two people, or other situations where the arrester must also build the anchor this makes it much easier to transfer the weight from you to the anchor.

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Some friends were doing a climb in Peru and they had to aid over an overhanging cornice using leapfrogged pickets to finish the route. I don't know if you would be able to do that with flukes.

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A long time ago I took a mountaineering course up in Alaska from AAI. Our guide said that in his experience flukes were named as such because if they work, it's a fluke. He advised always using pickets...

 

Take that for whatever it's worth.

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Gruntleader, why don't you share the good/bad points you know of? That'll help get this discussion going.

 

Also, let me repeat my advice...practise placing different types of pro in different conditions. Make sure you know what your pro can do (and not do) *before* relying on it in a life/death situation and/or climb with an experienced leader until you are competent and confident.

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Adding to what PLC stated, "...if it doesn't you're a deadman..."

 

Flukes or deadmen are great in appropriate conditions, already mentioned, and are best in a soft, homogenous snow often found later in the year like summer, autumn and before the new snows. Winter snow packs are layered with all densities of snow from slush, awsome "styro-foam", to ice so employing a dynamic anchor that, as mentioned, dig under action of load it can deflect off a harder layer. Setting the angle for the cable of the fluke can be tricky. Flukes are however pretty compact.

 

Pickets are like the PHD cameras. Simple and easy. You can pound them vertically or you can always make a "T-Slot" anchor from it. I really like pickets for our coastal rime.

 

Get out and play with all these anchors in different applications and snow types until failure. Study why they work, and why they don't. That's the best advice you have had already. Plus you can also sport a cool tag on your forehead from examining the failure of vertical picket placement.

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I have always thought that the best application for my flukes would be to stake out my tent on the sandy westcoast beaches when at work.

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I appreciate the input. All of the above is right what I had already heard with the exception that flukes can be a pain in the ass to rack. Upside is that they could be used as an emergency shovel. I have only climbed Mt. Hood south side route and now am hooked. The guy that I am learning from is a very experienced climber. He has a long list of summits and as a school teacher climbs all summer long. He has been doing it a long time and he carries a fluke and a picket among other appropriate protection. I have a half formed goal to climb all of the Cascades at least once, and will climb safely and conservatively as well. I don't want any freinds in the oregon guard to have to tvcome and save me!!!! May to September is really my climbing window. Once again any input would be great.

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Some friends were doing a climb in Peru and they had to aid over an overhanging cornice using leapfrogged pickets to finish the route. I don't know if you would be able to do that with flukes.

 

2 pickets = 2 lbs?

 

or

 

1 M-80 = 2 oz?

What to bring???

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My 2 cents, I think pickets are probably more versatile in that you can pound them in hard snow, or bury crosswise in softer snow. Kind of a pain to rack though...

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...employing a dynamic anchor that, as mentioned, dig under action of load it can deflect off a harder layer. Setting the angle for the cable of the fluke can be tricky...

 

Pickets are like the PHD cameras. Simple and easy. You can pound them vertically or you can always make a "T-Slot" anchor from it.

 

gotta second this input

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If you are talking about all of the prominence summits in the cascades, you are talking about around 2000 summits. I think that only John Roper has done that many. Ambitious, but always follow your dreams. Good Luck.

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