In relatively soft snow, the best protection can be arranged with the use of dcadmen, cabled aluminum plates ranging in size from about six by eight to ten by twelve inches. (The smaller sizes are called dead-boys.) Deadmen are pounded in the snow at an angle of about 45°; if properly placed, they tend, under load, to "sail" or "fluke" deeper into the snow, providing variable security. On harder snow—in particular the walls of bergschrunds, cornices, and the like— tubular, V-shaped, or T-cross section snow stakes can provide useful protection. These are pounded directly into the snow at an angle to resist the expected force of a load. Snow stakes range from about eighteen to thirty-six inches long, for use in different snow conditions. A variation is the tubular snow picket, which usually has holes drilled throughout its length to increase holding power. These can be one to three inches in diameter and about the same length as snow stakes. A great benefit of this tubular design is that they can be used to make V-thread anchors (as described in the chapter Protection and Belays).
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