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Black Diamond Mountaineering Shovel


Colin
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I'm not sure what the newest model of BD's shovel is but if it's the small alluminum blade with a short stubby wood handle that can be pulled out you aren't missing anything. That was the first shovel I bought. I soon learned that the amount of snow this teaspoon would move was a joke! Any partner burried would be dead by the time I got to him and I would be dead from exaustion trying to dig a snow cave with one. Get a real shovel.

DPP

PS. If the BD shovel has changed, I recant the above statement.

PSS. I use my BD teaspoon for sea kayaking now.

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Frankly, I laugh at the droves of people who carry Lexan shovels. I broke a friends while casually testing it ("hey, thats pretty light! How well does it shovel snow?..".<crack> ) one Winter. So I stuck with the somewhat-tried and and somewhat-true Voile Pro, thinking that it was beefy enough to handle at least non-avalanche-debris-type snow. That fantasy burst the day I arrived in Alaska, while I was digging out basecamp. Bent the thing in half. At least we had 4 (now 3) shovels between us, so we werent completely screwed.

These days I still carry a Voile (I like the SOS shovel too), as I believe aluminum blades are a happy medium between durablilty and weight, and it *can* move a bit of snow if it doesnt break first, but I am not kidding myself. The only thing for real digging are the large bucket steel shovels you get at the hardware store.

As for the argument that it is too heavy, well, if your partner *lets* you go into the backcountry without an adequate way to dig, thats their issue. Might as well leave the beacons home, too....

Happy climbing!

Alex

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I agree that lexan shovels are a joke and contend that the Voile is also. I bent mine on the very first trip that I used it on. The only way that I'll use a steel hardware store scoop shovel, is if my partner will carry it. What I did was to make my own. You go to the farm supply store and buy a #12 aluminum grain scoop with a "D"handle, cut the handle down as far as you can and remount the "D" handle as close to the aluminum scoop as you can and then cut down the scoop to about 13" in diameter, carefully rounding off all of the corners and removing burrs with a file. This little jewel moves snow like no tomorrow, is nearly as light as the Voile and has durability only approached by steel scoop shovels. I have used mine for years and would not think of going in to the winter back country with anything less. But hey, if you'd rather pay 3x as much for a disposable shovel, have at 'er.

Mitch

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I completely agree on the lexan....junk.

I have had a Voile for 4+ years now and it does fine. I have seen some bend, and a couple of handles break.

Short of a titanium version (imagine the cost on that), it is the best out there, when you consider the weight of steel.

Just my opinion...

------------------

Have a nice day.

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I've used the BD aluminum blade shovel for years. It does not move snow like the voile, but it's a lot lighter, stiffer, more compact, and can be used to chop out blocks. We used the BD shovel and the voile on Denali and it was a perfect combo. It looks like BD now makes shovels that look a lot like the voile.

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  • 1 month later...

Don't know about those aluminum shovels. I bent the blade of a Black Diamond D-9 this winter. And it wasn't even doing something fun; I was clearing the snowplow debris from my DRIVEWAY. That sludge is more like avalanche debris than I realized. 'Course a D-9 is really too big to be a backcountry shovel, but that's another story...

As to the mountaineering shovel, that has the toughest blade I've ever seen, and an ice axe can be used as the handle, if you have an SMC or old BD Alpamayo axe. The new BD alpine axes, and many others, have narrower shafts now. May be what spurred Black Diamond to stop making them.

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I use and like two shovels. One is the old "teaspoon" type (mine is an original Choinard) which can be mounted on the shaft of most alpine ice axes (it fits my new Grivel) and it also fits beautifully on the Charlet Moser tubular snow pickets. This is the shovel I would take when climbing and trying to go as light as possible. Look for a used one. My other shovel is a Black Diamond ascension shovel made of some very tough black plastic (Not lexan). This shovel is a bit on the heavy side, but I believe that it is harder to break than any of the aluminum or lexan shovels.

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