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The Ortovox Pro Alu III is possibly the best backpack compatible avalanche rescue shovel on the market, and performed brilliantly in our avalanche rescue simulation test.

ortovox pro alu iii
Overall Score
Its strength

The tough aluminium removable blade is sharpened to help cut though any snow type, and has a huge 2.7 litres of snow capacity - which means that you can shift a serious amount of snow with it, very quickly.

Another clever feature of the blade is its pattern of four specially placed holes. These are designed so you can lash skis or poles to it, to convert the shovel into an emergency rescue sled.

The aluminium shaft has a T-bar handle, which is made of strengthened fiberglass. As well as the standard in-line connection at the end of the shaft, the blade can also be attached to one side of this T-bar handle, enabling you to swing the blade like an axe and drag snow away from a search zone; which we found was a strategically faster system of snow clearing when digging as part of a group.

The shaft also features a rubberised grip near the blade, which helps stop your hand from slipping when digging, as well as allowing you not to have to grasp bare metal in low temperatures.

Weighing in at 790g the Pro Alu III is not the lightest shovel on the market, but when used in conjunction with the pocket spike (purchased separately) it's far lighter than carrying both a shovel and separate ice axe style walking aid.

Quite simply a great piece of kit that could help save someone's life.

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