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4/28/2013 9:04 AM
 

I'm beginning to research a good backcountry snow shovel for next winter.  I've looked at G3 Avitech and Spadetech, HMK, etc.  Anyone have a favorite (or had a real stinker and wants to tell me about it)?

Thanks!

 
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4/28/2013 11:31 AM
 

I have used several and none of them have  really stood out from the others. I will say that a longer handle is more a pain to carry, but way nicer during use. I personally don't use a snow shovel a ton so I opt to carry a short handle one, and then just steal Evan's long handle one in camp if I can get away with it.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
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4/28/2013 11:55 AM
 

 You may have to search for it, but BlackDiamond used to make one that you can attach to a standard ice axe, so that you don't have to carry a separate handle.  It breaks down small for a pack. I drilled holes in mine to allow it to be used as part of a rescue sled with skis.  I've had mine since the mid 90's and it's still going strong.  I believe Grivel has a similar one that can be used sans handle or with an ice axe.  I have a Voile one that's pretty good that I carry for dedicated BC skiing if there's avy danger. Finally, I've heard good things about the ones offered by Brooks Range Mountaineering, but I've never seen one in person.

Hope that helps.


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4/28/2013 12:00 PM
 
Thanks for the feedback. Any that should be avoided? I'm looking at a few right now. In general, it seems I can get either a short handle or an adjustable handle and either a straight transfer style blade or a more spade style. From there it's incremental differences at roughly $30 to $50 for any of them. I think I'm liking the Voile XLM the most as it is short and light (at right about a pound) while still having an aluminum blade. Relatively small blade, short handle, and non-adjustable but durable and light for what you get.
 
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4/28/2013 12:06 PM
 

Just saw your reply, alpendrm...

I'll check out those for sure. BD seems to make good gear consistently.  Seems like a good way to save some weight with the ice ax/shovel combo jobs.  The Brooks Sharktooth looks pretty sweet too.  Thanks for the help so far.

 
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4/28/2013 12:14 PM
 

stoutside wrote
Thanks for the feedback.Any that should be avoided?.

Depends on what your planning to use it for. This is full of good info, read both pages:

www.telemarktips.com/TeleNews69.html

 

This is good too:

www.avalanche.ca/adx/aspx/adxGetMedia.aspx

 
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4/28/2013 7:18 PM
 

Voile allows you buy blades and handles a la carte.  The XLM blade and longer, extendable handle makes for a good combo. 

 
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4/29/2013 11:30 AM
 
Thanks for the links and for the advice on the Voile. At this point, I'm thinking I'll buy from a domestic manufacturer which still gives me more than sufficient choices between Voile and Brooks-Range (possibly others but haven't dug deep enough). Given that, anyone have opinions on large blade vs small blade? Thanks again to everyone for all the advice
 
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4/29/2013 1:54 PM
 

stoutside wrote
Thanks for the links and for the advice on the Voile. At this point, I'm thinking I'll buy from a domestic manufacturer which still gives me more than sufficient choices between Voile and Brooks-Range (possibly others but haven't dug deep enough).Given that, anyone have opinions on large blade vs small blade? Thanks again to everyone for all the advice

Most of the time I think a larger blade won't make much difference in digging speed/efficiency, and is marginally easier to pack and lighter.  Long handles make a huge difference, and are worth the weight.  That's the rationale I use for getting the XLM blade and extendable t-handle.  The blade is plenty robust for normal use.  If you beat it against ice you'll buckle it, but you can bend or break any light BC shovel if you misuse it.  The XLM/long handle combo is efficent for digging snow pits and snow shelters, and light and small enough that I'll actually bring it on most winter trips. 

 
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4/29/2013 2:19 PM
 

stoutside wrote
Given that, anyone have opinions on large blade vs small blade?

 

Again, depends on what your using it for and where you live. Most here in the PNW prefer a smaller blade because the snow is often more heavy. If I were to get a shovel for BC skiing and avalanche rescue I would not own anything but a Volie. Ten years ago when I bought a shovel for extreme BC snowmobiling I got a life link lexan shovel which was all the rage at the time. I didnt know the cons of a plastic blade back then. Its still a good shovel but not a good choice for avy rescue.

 
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4/29/2013 4:46 PM
 

I use the Voilé Mini Telepro. At 13.5x9.5x1.5", it fits well into the pocket of the backcountry skiing pack I was using at the time (a Golite Pursuit); I haven't bought my Ute yet.

The blade is strong, and works well for stepping-on it to get extra digging power.

I also prefer a D-shaped handle instead of a T-handle; easier to use with mittens. I didn't know you could purchase longer handles from Voilé. I would probably opt for that option, as the standard handle is a bit short.

 

 
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4/30/2013 10:22 AM
 

When I want a shovel, I want a REAL shovel. Voile Telepro, hands down. The other Voile options people mention don't look bad either.

Little piece of HPG trivia - many of the original dimensions (which I've carried forward for standardization' sake) on items were based on whether I could stow a Telepro. It has a wider blade than many shovels, so not a trivial consideration. Here's an example (sort of the precursor to the Umlindi):


We are fortunate in this matter that your conduct will be your marker and, thus, your reputation. The conduct of others on this forum has been, and will continue to be, their marker, and thus, their reputation. In the west, a person invests in one's reputation carefully. - 112Papa
 
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5/1/2013 11:39 AM
 
All, Thank you for the very informed discussion. Looks like I will be going for the Voile Telepro Mini T6 or the XLM with telescoping d-handle. I will get both in hand locally and see if the weight savings is worth it between one and the other. Reasons I will go with either model:
1) Packability
2) Minor weight savings
3) Perceived ability to operate in tighter spaces and dig smaller cavities (according to other user feedback) with smaller blade
4) Perception that fatigue sets in later with the smaller blade and longer handle due to less snow per scope and ability to shift grip and posture more often
5) D ring handle is simply easier to use and less likely to cause hand to rest/hold in an uncomfortable position
6) T6 tempering for a minor price gain is worth it when considering UTS, YTS, and fatigue life
7) Telepro has added lash points on blade
8) Overall long term user experience is excellent

Thanks
 
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