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Sig Olsen

Snow stakes - snow pickets?

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Sig,

don't waste your time with the Snow Claw. Slow, inefficient, and more strenuous to use would be the operative descriptors imho. Also next to useless if you run into any sort of ice layer.

 

I've used one. Exactly once.

 

I currently have a BCA B-1 EXT. Good combination of blade strength and size, handle length, and one of the few shovels I've used that packs easily inside my pack if I so desire.

 

Plenty of other good options out there.

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almost any small version of a grain-scoop will work. On Denali, and other trips where I've pulled a freight sled, I've even actually carried a full-sized grain scoop... but size/weight prohibit this if you're backpacking it. my experience has been that durability varies inversely with weight - not usually a problem as long as you never pry/lever too aggressively on the handle... I own one of the original Life-link plastic-bladed shovels that is still going strong after 30 years - 12 of those as a professional ski-patroller at class-A avalanche areas... but ANY shovel will break under aggressive prying/levering. If I think I'll have to deal with HARD snow, I carry the old-fashioned military style "entrenching tool". fairly heavy for its small size, but in the hoe configuration, it beats the hell out of trying to excavate a tent-sized platform with the adze of an ice-axe. and you'd never believe how fast you can move avalanche debris with one! (or excavate a snow-cave) As recently as the mid-nineties, Stevens Pass was issuing these to their professional patrollers. Some scoffed, but I never saw one break on the job, like many of the newer more fashionable "avalanche shovels" did... of course, most failures were due to "user error", but hey, users are gonna make errors, and I prefer to have a tool that will survive the occasional error.

 

 

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ordered the camp 18 oz. shovel, 4 smc sno tent stakes, 4 msr blizzard stakes, and 4 rei snow and tent anchors(parachute style). Thanks again for the advice. Being there a few days I will then be able to tell which one I like the best. Ok now I think I have everything :-)

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