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Avy Shovel/Probe

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
After reading many of the previous threads on beacons, I have decided on the BCA Tracker, as it seems to be the most popular and easy to use.

I will, of course, be taking a course, before doing any real BC skiing, but would like to head in to the Dive @ Sunshine, and the likes. So, I am gear shopping.

I was wondering what I should look for in shovels and probes. What is good/bad?

post #2 of 6
Do a bit of searching here and at TGR. Especially TGR.

Here's the abridged version of what you'll find:

Good: quality metal scoop. most feel bigger is better (to a point).
Bad: plastic

Good: 9 feet or longer + simple, quick, positive and strong lock/cable.
Bad: too short. any form of looseness
post #3 of 6
Much better than TGR for anything having to do with the backcountry is www.couloirmag.com, but I agree with spindrift's comments. The problems that are described with lexan (polycarbonate) shovel blades is that they are not as able to cut through heavy avy debris, which may include branches, concrete-like consolidated snow, etc.- it is not a problem of durability or breakage.
post #4 of 6
TGR's Slide Zone forum is very good.

Couloirmag is informative but doesn't have much traffic so if you want varied input then it isn't that useful.

telemarktips Avalanche forum and General forums are probably the best in terms of responses.

Epic - well lets just say that there are not a lot of backcountry travellers in Epic - more centred on groomers.

The REI-retailed Voile Probe/Shovel/Pack deal combo I posted to Telemark/backcountry at Epic was a good deal but is probably gone.

The BCA tracker is a very good transceiver.

Shovels - well its been already said here. You can also get shovels with extensions; shovels with metal blades; D-grip and T-grip shovels. I recommend the G3 Avitech or Voile shovel with extension. Reason; metal blades; more reach; both heat-treated aluminium; 30 cms wide blade for standard compression testing.

Probe - get the 300 to 320cm probe; I don't have the ones with markings but if I could have done it all over again - I would have. I like the G3 and Lifelink probes; Reason - both are long; fairly stiff; easy and fast to assemble and have fittings so you can clip them off to a carabiner if you need to drag them along on a glacier traverse.

You didn't mention snowsaw. I think they're optional but BD makes an attachment to allow you to put a snow saw into the haft of a G3 or Voile shovel. Useful little tool. Otherwise G3 has a beautiful snow saw.
post #5 of 6
post #6 of 6
Echo the thoughts on a metal shovel. I also strongly recommend a shovel where the saw is stored in the handle.
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