James Parkinson heads into the mountains with his Mammut Alugator Light Shovel. A crucial piece of kit for off piste/backcountry skiers.
One of the major dangers of venturing into the mountains in winter is avalanche. It is recommended
that all skiers (and perhaps climbers should too) carry and know how to use certain pieces of
equipment when heading away from controlled and pisted areas, namely the holy trinity of
transceiver, probe and shovel. CGR took the Mammut Alugator Light shovel to La Grave over New
Year with the hope of never having to take it out of a backpack!
My first impression of the shovel was that it is a quality piece of kit. The blade is made from
anodised aluminium (metal blades are much more reliable and useful than plastic or Perspex) and
the build quality is excellent. The two piece T-grip telescopic handle attaches into the head with a
solidly resounding click and locks in place with a spring-loaded pin.
When compared to Kev’s Black Diamond shovel, the blade is about the same size but the handle is
four inches shorter. I’m not sure this makes a massive difference in usability and I personally found
the Mammut to be easier to put together than other shovels I have used. When in two parts (blade and handle) the shovel fits very neatly into a sack, whether a small ski-specific one (I used a 16L Osprey Switch) or a larger one with climbing or crevasse rescue kit. At 650g it won’t weigh you down but feels sturdy in use.
One nice touch to the blade are the two holes for a sling to be threaded through to allow it to be
used as a deadman. Pretty niche usage I guess but there if you want it!
Thankfully, the only time the shovel came out of the bag in France was to dig a pit to check the
layers of snow after a new fall and not to get anyone out after a slide. However, if it came to it, I
think the Mammut Alugator Light would be well up to the job and I’ll be taking it on all my future
- RRP: £45
- For more information visit the Mammut website.