An exotic ski camping shovel


(This is from a TAY post:)

Have you ever bruised the inside of your thumb joint using a tee handled snow shovel? This is easy to do shoveling out campsites when the snow is hard. The tee handle puts a lot of force on the ligament at the base of your thumb opposite your index finger (the ulnar collateral ligament). This is not a good ligament for a skier to damage, as it's the guilty party in 'skier's thumb', aka gamekeeper's thumb. It's a very common skiing injury, caused by hyper-abducting the thumb during a fall. Sometimes even a hunk of bone will be pulled off too at one of the attachment points of the ligament.


You might hazard a guess about why I would not like the tee handle, with the tee at 90 degrees to the handle. Here's my solution, one that I've used for 4 or 5 years now. See the pic. The tee is not set on the handle at 90 degrees, but more like a pistol grip. It's much more comfortable. In addition, the area that underlies the base of the thumb is hollowed out so it does not impinge on the area. Tee handles are usually set in the same plane as the blade, but for snow camping this is decidedly uncomfortable. Notice that the tee handle in the pic is twisted to about a 45 degree angle with respect to the blade. This combination has been far more comfortable for me, and has saved my thumb from being chronically sore. It also helps with 'skier's elbow' (lateral epicondylitis).

I should mention a bit about the shovel I guess. It's for ski camping; it's not an avy shovel. The blade was made for me by Graham Bantock of Sails Etc. in England using extra high modulus carbon fiber pre-preg, vacuum bagged and heat cured. It was a one off prototype weighing 7 ounces, but the production costs would have been prohibitive. I think it has perhaps 200 dollars of high modulus carbon in it! There is carbon fiber and then there is carbon fiber by the way. The expensive stuff is fantastically strong, or should I say, has an extremely high modulus of elasticity. The collapsible handle is shop made from fairly thin wall aluminum tubing.


This shovel is among my most prized possessions.

Thanks Graham!