- Price: £140
Have you ever tried to pack your avalanche shovel and ice axe but not had enough room in your bag? If so, here’s some good news. Thanks to Backcountry Access you can now leave some weight and bulk behind, and just take: the Backcountry Access Shaxe Tech Shovel.
It’s aimed at more serious alpinists than its little brother, the Shaxe Speed. That one has the advantage of being a little lighter, but the Tech version comes with a much sturdier pick head and a curved shaft that makes swinging it at icy patches less bruising on the knuckles. You also get a grippier surface to hold on to, as well as a spike on the base to help haul yourself up unstable pitches.
“The blade has well-positioned serrations to minimise effort when cutting downwards”
So that’s the axe, now the shovel: BCA have packed so much technology into what might just look like a simple shovel it’s actually a bit crazy seeing how much this thing can do. Along with extremely well thought-out ergonomics on the shaft to stop it twisting laterally in your hands whilst digging, the blade can come away on its own to become a snow anchor, and even has a kit included to convert the whole thing into a rescue sled when combined with a pair of skis! It has to be seen to be believed.
When using the BCA Shaxe Shovel to dig, the blade has well-positioned serrations to minimise effort when cutting downwards, whilst the back of the blade is smooth enough for making clear snow pits to analyse depth.
The whole thing packed down weighs just 902g, but if you want to leave the axe head at home it comes down to 706g. Considering what it’s capable of, that not a lot of extra weight to shoulder!