A couple weeks ago I received a Brooks-Range Sharktooth Longneck Pro T Shovel to test from our Tech Sport buyer at Eastern Mountain Sports. The fact I was given this shovel to test has in no way influenced my opinion of it. I’m not even sure if I can keep it, but after testing it during avalanche courses on Mount Washington and in the Adirondacks I hope I can!
When I first grabbed the shovel I felt like it must be heavier than my current touring shovels, and I was right, but not by much. It’s 9 ounces heavier than my lightest shovel I carry, the Black Diamond Deploy 3, and only 2 ounces heavier than my more serious back-country shovel, the Black Diamond Transfer 7. What it gains for those added ounces though is quite impressive!
First, this thing telescopes to 40.75 inches! That’s huge, and more than 6 inches of length over my BD Transfer 7 and still collapses small enough to easily fit in the avalanche gear pocket of my EMS Wintergreen Backpack, which BTW I reviewed here.
Second, the T handle has option to be used at a 90 degree angle. This can be very helpful while scrapping snow away if you are a secondary shoveler in a rescue, though personally I always find a flush T grip more comfortable to dig with, so I probably won’t be using this feature.
Third, and quite impressive, is the “Sharktooth™” edge of the blade, an aggressive serration. Chopping through wet slab debris in Tuckerman Ravine and those concrete parking lot snowbanks I so often find myself burying avalanche beacons in for course practice is pretty manageable with this blade, and it’s only available on Brooks-Range shovels! I also found it quite easy to create smooth snow pit walls for making quality snow-pack observations.
Fourth, Brooks-Range has built in some functionality that would be welcome to any serious alpinist. Deadman holes allow for use as an emergency anchor with potential advantages during glacier rescue and while climbing snow routes. The shovel shafts can also double as stretcher bars when used with the Brooks-Range Mountaineering Rescue Sled™.
Finally it comes in a multitude of colors for those who like to coordinate. Are there really people looking to coordinate their shovel color? I guess so…
So, to recap; slightly heavier, WAY more functional than any of my current shovels, digs better due to the “Sharktooth” blade and extending longer, added versatility of being able to use it as a dead-man or in conjunction with a rescue sled, and comes in many different colors. What’s not to like?