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¬†regarding finding lightweight options in the safety category, so I was willing to do a lot of testing to ensure an accident wouldn’t happen again. I purchased several shovels that weighed around 500g and proceeded to see which would last with real-world use.

The Mammut Alugator Light became my favourite of the products I tested, and I have used this shovel for roughly 250-300 days without issue. For such a small, light shovel, it can hold its own and 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 aluminium, 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. Many 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 digging hard snow, I have had great success with this shovel. I’ve cut out several large, dense cornices with it and have tested it on dense snowbank snow. The blade will twist just a little in dense snow, but it does not limit performance nor bend out of shape.

Ally doing some pit prep with the Alugator Light

What can be said about the Mannut Alugator Light is that it performs exceptionally well for how light it is, thanks to the design and materials. I’m nearing the number of days when I will retire my current Alugator (it still functions as well as the first day, but I keep a regular replacement schedule regardless of wear for safety gear). I will surely be getting another to replace it.

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