K2 Rescue Shovel Plus Ice Axe Review

K2 Rescue Shovel Plus Ice Axe

Have you seen the footage of the gal that slid down the snowfield into a pile of rocks on Coast Guard Alaska recently? She could have used the K2 Rescue Shovel Plus Ice Axe. The sayings, “we’ll be fine” or “we won’t need that” have become all too common in the world of ultra light touring in the backcountry. What if you do need it?

There is nothing more gripping than ascending or descending a snow slope that is way steeper than you thought, having to freeze halfway to whimper, “I wish I had an Ice Axe.” If the K2 Rescue Shovel and Shaxe was in your backcountry arsenal you wouldn’t have to cry for mommy ever again.

See how this setup performed here in the Crested Butte backcountry :

K2 Rescue Shovel Review

This combo looks like a great addition to your pack, especially in the springtime when the routes get steeper and firmer. I used to use ski pole handles that had plastic “axes” built into the grips but I never felt comfortable with the plastic part. I already had the shovel in the pack but rarely took my regular ice ax with me because of the weight and awkwardness to pack it. With the Shaxe you know you are covered! The very fact that you use an ax may prevent a fall from ever happening much less a self arrest.

The K2 Rescue Shovel has several features that make it a real player. First, a simple, functional and metal (say no to plastic) avalanche rescue shovel. This is the first item on the list of hard goods you pack when entering a snowy world. Second, the whole thing is convertible to an ice ax that meets CE standards for B-rated ice axes. If you have your shovel, you’ve got an ax too. Third and overlooked by many backcountry skiers is a rescue sled.

Should the unfortunate happen the K2 Rescue Shovel comes with hardware for conversion into a rescue sled. Believe me, if it comes to this you’ll want to be ready, I’ve had to haul a friend out of a slide with a broken Tib-Fib and the ‘snowboard sled’ barely got him out. To have a k2 Sled ready for a serious evacuation is priceless, who knows, it could be you!

If I were asked to rate this shovel (which I think is happening right now) I would give it 5 out of 5 points. If and when disaster strikes it’s important to have versatility, dependability, and efficiency like the K2 Rescue Shovel Plus.

When I picked up this shovel for the first time I immediately recognized a couple of characteristics that make it completely unique from other rescue shovels. First, the handle is a bit wider, sporting an upward angle that allows you to use leverage to poke and jab at the snow. Second is the lightweight feel and tough craftsmanship of the heat-treated aluminum.

When disaster strikes and someone needs to be evacuated from the backcountry quickly, this is a good piece of equipment to have in your bag. Its convertible features can help you and your ski partners save a lot of time whereas you and your buddies could be left scratching your heads trying to rig up an emergency sled, dead man anchor, or hoe.

1. Emergency sled
2. Hoe
3. Deadman anchor
4. Platform for stoves

When collapsed, the shovel fits perfectly in my pack. There is still plenty of room left over for my probe and a few snacks.

K2 Rescue Shovel
4.5 / 5 RATING      

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