Snow shovels

The snow shovel (fig. 15-1) is a fundamental piece of equipment for the winter mountaineer, used to excavate climbers from avalanche debris, dig emergency shelters, prepare tent platforms, and—in some conditions—clear a climbing route. In choosing a shovel, a climber is torn between the heavy, bulky grain scoop, ideal for moving large amounts of snow quickly, and the compact folding or collapsing shovel, convenient to carry and therefore less likely to be left at home. A large party has the strength to carry both types. A small party will want to examine the route and expected uses before deciding which type or how many to take. If you expect to cut any sort of snow blocks for snow constructions, you will also need a snow saw.

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