Most of the off-road industry is in a transition right now to synthetic rope, which is great—if you can afford it and it meets your needs. Synthetic rope is a wonderful product as it is considerably lighter, safer and easier to work with, but it does have a few downsides. Abrasion and exposure to UVs are surefire ways to kill synthetic rope, and it does not like to be loaded on itself if you are wrapping it around an object and anchoring back on itself.
So, for some of us, steel cable is still the way to go in scenes where the winch cable is another tool, whether it be for work or when the environment at hand does not lend itself to using synthetic rope. But what happens if you snap a steel cable? Well, assuming you are still alive from the horrific event of steel cable snapping, you are probably in a really bad place and need to get that winch running again. For a full repair, using a steel clamp to loop the cable back onto itself is the permanent solution after the frayed wire has been cut back, but we would be hard pressed to find someone on a trail that has a compatible steel clamp and a crimping tool for the one-off emergency of a broken steel cable.
So what to do if you find yourself in this situation? The best temporary solution is to use a Molly Hogan type splice and we have Keller McCowen here to demonstrate how you splice steel cable together for a trail fix.