A few years ago I was looking to lighten my pack weight and after skimming most other areas I was left with safety gear. I already had a bad experience with the BCA Shaxe in regards to finding light weight options in the safety category, so I was willing to do a lot of testing to make sure an accident wouldn’t happen again. I purchased several shovels that all weighed around 500g and proceeded to see which would last with real world use.

The Mammut Alugator Light became my overwhelming favorite out of the products I tested and I have now used this shovel for roughly 250-300 days without issue. For such a small, light shovel it can really hold its own and it can take a fair amount of abuse outside of the intended use.

Myself preparing to drop a cornice using the Alugator Light. Photo by Nick Grant

The Alugator Light is Mammut’s lightest avalanche shovel but it’s also tough. It’s made out of anodized aluminum, has a telescopic shaft with an oval profile and meets the UIAA standard for avalanche shovels. The blade is small and can fit into most places that other shovels can’t. A lot of people bring up the small blade as a negative but I’ve always liked a smaller blade for moving snow, it wears me out slower and I’m not looking to cut and move large blocks when digging anyway.

When it comes to digging hard snow I have had great success with this shovel. I’ve cut out several large, dense cornices with it and have tested on dense snowbank snow. The blade will twist just a little in very dense snow but it does not limit performance nor does it bend out of shape.

Ally doing some pit prep with the Alugator Light

When it comes down to it there isn’t much to say about shovels, they either work or break down with real world use. What can be said about the Mannut Alugator Light is that it preforms extremely well for how light it is thanks to the design and materials. I’m nearing the amount of days when I will retire my current Alugator (it still functions as good as the first day but I keep a regular replacement schedule regardless of wear for safety gear) and I will for sure be getting another to replace it.

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