A broad-bladed shovel is a utility and safety tool for snow travel (fig. 12-13). It's the only practical tool for uncovering an avalanche victim. Shovels are also used for digging snow shelters and leveling off tent platforms and have even been used as a climbing tool to shovel a pathway up a particularly snowy route.
A good snow shovel has a blade large enough to move snow efficiently and a handle long enough for good leverage but short enough for use in a confined area. It should strap easily to the pack for quick access in an emergency. Some shovels come with a detachable handle or with a blade that locks perpendicular to the handle so it can be used as a
trenching tool. For projects such as building snow caves, mountaineers sometimes carry a grain scoop, a broad-bladed shovel that can move a lot of snow.
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