Avalanche shovels come equipped with holes in the blades for use as rescue sleds and making anchors. I've got plenty of my own ideas, but I'm looking for any documentation provided by manufacturers about how to properly set up an avalanche shovel as a snow fluke. I've got a couple of BCA extendable shovels with the four holes in the blade like the one pictured below.

enter image description here

Q: Making use of the four holes, how would you attach cords/cables, and which way would you orient it in the snow to make it the most effective as a snow fluke?

Snow fluke:

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • No takers on the bounty?
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Feb 4, 2017 at 4:54

1 Answer 1


The ideal direction is with the shovel facing away from the direction of the pull. If facing in the direction of the pull, The sharp edges cut though the snow significantly reducing its holding power.

The sharp edges of the shovel though the holes would cut a nylon cordette or sling - you would need to use a stainless wire or carabiners in the holes. You would need 4 carabiners, more than you are likely to have spare in an alpine situation. If you used carabiners, the holes would mean you would need to place the shovel facing the wrong way (in the direction of the pull).

If you were planning to use it as a snow fluke, you would want to be carrying a suitable wire strop to thread though the holes.

Without a wire strop, my preference would be use the shovel to dig a T Slot and bury pack (or similar suitable object - climbing partner etc), or dig a snow bollard. To use it as a fluke you would need to weigh up having it facing away from the pull, and the risk of cutting though a sling/cord vs facing the direction of pull and the risk of it cutting its way out of the snow.

  • No other takers on the bounty at this point, but if you want the full bounty then you're going to need to spice up your answer a bit and provide some pictures.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 17:47
  • 23 hours to improve your answer or only half bounty.
    – ShemSeger
    Commented Feb 8, 2017 at 6:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.