/ avalanche shovel as deadman for crevasse rescue?

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kevin stephens - on 17 Dec 2012
Sorry if this is a dumb question. Can an avalanche shovel be adapted for use as an emergency deadman anchor for crevasse rescue? I guess some sort of swaged wire harness could be threaded through holes in the shovel blade to get the correct angle to pull the blade down into the snow (just like a deadman).

I've never understood the wisdom of using burried skis as an anchor (when too much snow to get an an ice screw placement); moving around on a snow covered crevassed glacier without skis; having used them as a belay seems very dangerous.
mp3ferret on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to kevin stephens: I've done it - threaded with some thin (about 5mm) chord. It worked for me - but never gave it any dynamic load. I buried it with the back of the shovel facing the load.

Marc
rlines - on 17 Dec 2012
In reply to kevin stephens: You can use anything as a dead man. Shovel is fine in most situations, but for crevasse rescue I'd be concerned either about the cord being cut by the shovel at the holes, or if you construct a heavy swaged wire harness, then could the thin aluminium shovel fail? I doubt it would, but the forces involved in hauling up a 80kg person + system friction are phenomenal. Well worth it as a backup anchor tho.

Skis, axe, ski poles, tent poles etc would be my go to option. Pickets are great too. But, be careful of the sharp ski edges on your sling.

Re falling in yourself, once the anchor is set, you would naturally be attached to said anchor while setting up the rescue system i'd imagine?
barney800 on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to kevin stephens: My shovel (a Mammut alugator light) has special holes for using it as a snow anchor, according to the marketing spiel at least. I think I've seen a few other that do too. There are some interesting points raised above though. Next time I'm out in the snow I'll have to test how effective it is.
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graham F - on 18 Dec 2012
In reply to kevin stephens: yes, it works but it's nowhere near as good as a pair of buried skis/snowboard. You're right that moving around without your skis on a glacier can be risky but the clue is that you've made a belay with your skis - protect yourself with the rope attached to the belay. It will be much easier hauling etc without skis on anyway.

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