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mwienholt

Help in Finding Avy Shovel to Fit Ice Tool

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Howdy folks!

 

I'm hoping someone can direct me to an avy shovel that is compatible with an ice tool. Twight talks about these in Extreme Alpinism, but I can't find one specifically. Thanks for the help!

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Black Diamond made one a few years ago. It fit on the end of their Alpamayo ice axe, SMC Shuksan, REI axe, or similar.

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i think it was called the "alpine shovel" or something equally obvious. No longer in their catalog, so probably no longer manufactured - you'll have to troll the used equipment stores or ebay to find one. SMC and Grivel also used to make basically the same design, alson no longer available at retail.

 

Two problems with this design is that it is very small, so doesn't move that much snow and more importantly, doesn't fit over most modern ice tool shafts, only old skool non-shaped types. I could get it only my CM Axar shafts, but not with a very positive attachment, so it was ok for moving loose snow but kind of useless for chopping at avy. debris or hard snow. The advantage is, of course, that it is very small and you can also use it as a stove board.

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I have been thinking about using an ice axe as the handle for the snow shovel for awhile, and have not seen anything available off-the-shelf. It looks like a pretty simple bit of fabrication would make it work, though, at least with the equipment I have.

 

The lingam of my Grivel Nepal Light axe fits into the yoni of my Viole Telepak shovel without a lot of slop. I am planning to add a couple of semi-fixed shims to the shovel head, and one or two pins to hold the head on the axe. I think the fabrication can be done in a way the won't destroy the strength of either piece, and allow use of the regular shovel handle if the shims are removed.

This would make a setup suitable for avalanche rescue and emergency snow cave digging. If a snow cave was planned, I think it would be worth carrying the extra weight of the regular shovel handle to have the ability to extend the handle.

Has anyone else tried a similar approach? I have access to a small milling machine at work and some scrap aluminum if anyone wants to experiment some day.

Should this thread be moved to the Gear Critic forum?

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The BD shovel hasn't been made for awhile, it's long gone. 2nd wind sports in Hood River had one a bit ago, probably not there. Not much use unless you are clearing a camp.

 

Leki makes a shovel blade that fits on the end of their ski poles, Stubai made something similar.

 

More useful would be to make an adaptor for a current shovel, using Delrin or the like.

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I haven't tried these shovels, but I wonder how effective they will be in avalanche debris. Often, the stuff sets up pretty quick and you need a pretty stout shovel to make anything like efficient progress. I know light is right, but I think I'd prefer that my buddies on the surface had real shovels with a stout blade firmly attached to an efficient handle and a "D" grip on the end.

 

Assuming you have a shovel blade of similar weight, how much extra is it to carry a real shovel handle?

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I would NEVER let my partner carry some contraption like that if we were actually traversing avalanche terrain. For clearing camp it would be fine, but putting your life in the hands of some ghetto-rigged shovel contraption is just plain stupid.

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I'm laughing imagining someone shovelling with a monster. the shovel blade would be at some weird angle to the handle....

 

even with Rages it would suck. shaft's too short.

 

the classic DIY is to drill two holes in a fluke and to u-clamp it onto your ice axe.

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Mark Twight talked about it in "Extreme Alpinism" I think, and when I read it, I thought it would be a great idea. Certainly an ice axe shaft is plenty strong for a shovel handle, as long as it could connect securely. Sounds like that's the reason BD discontinued it.

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I have one of the shovels and the BD Alpamayo Axe that it fits on. It is a nifty concept, and when used with the axe it was designed for (the Alpamayo) the blade attaches amazingly securely to the shaft of the axe. Obviously its lightweight, etc...

 

The downsides are:

 

1) You *seriously* have to be careful when shoveling that you don't stab yourself in the leg, or in your partners leg, while you vigorously dig with it. Carrying an axe-head guard mitigates this issue though.

 

2) For some reason they made this a "round-nosed" design, so when you hit a hard chunk of snow with the corner, it glances off instead of slicing through.

 

3) The blade is kindof smallish

 

4) The T- handle is actually the top of your mtn axe, which at a 1/4" wide isn't the comfiest handle on earth to use for driving into hard snow.

 

All things considered, it is a reputable product when used with the right axe (I have tried it on a few othe axes over the years and did not get the same secure attachment), and if lower cost or "light and fast" are a priority it may be the ticket.

 

If you were a serious skier or somebody who spent a lot of time in avy terrain, I would probably encourage you to pony up for a bigger, D- handled, square cornered design.

 

Cheers!

 

bigdrink.gif

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