I’ve mentioned in the past that a good shovel is an essential tool in the mountains.  They can be used to build your shelter, whether it is a snow cave or trench.  A good shovel can help with snow wall construction.  And, a good shovel is an essential tool should the worst case scenario happen; an avalanche.

Avalanches really have a lot of compressive force.  The snow gets packed very densely, requiring a burly shovel to dig out anyone that is trapped.  For this reason, I consider any shovel without a metal blade to be dangerous in avalanche terrain.

Another key feature is a shaft and handle that is comfortable enough for use to dig rapidly and furiously in avalanche rubble.  I’m a tall guy, so I prefer a longer shaft.  In addition, my hands are large and the way I prefer to dig, I like a D handle as opposed to a T handle.

The D handle also provides a convenient location to tie a sling.  I like shovel blades that have holes in them to allow it to be slung as a deadman in an emergency.

I strongly recommend not using your shovel as a tent anchor.  This makes it difficult to retrieve it to dig out your tent during a snow storm.  In addition, if you have set up a base camp, you need your shovel while you head up the slope.

I like using the Voile Telepro.  It is comfortable, has a really durable aluminum blade, and allows me to really move a lot of snow efficiently.  The blade also detaches easily from the shaft, which makes life easier when trying to dig out the interior of a snow cave.

You can get it at Mountain Gear and REI .

Tags: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>