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Ice Screws - what's the most usable length I should buy?
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By Unassigned User
Jan 28, 2013
Just getting ready to buy some ice screws for Northeast waterfall climbing.

What is the most usable length desired generally for ice screws for most waterall climbing? How many cm's?

Also - I have no experience with either the BD's or the Petzl's. What do most folks think is one of the best screws for the money out there right now?

I've always carried a couple of Lowe/Camp SNARGS on my rack just for soemthing that can be driven in FAST in a pinch as well - tho a PITA to remove aftrward.

Thanks,

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By seth0687
From Fort Collins
Jan 28, 2013
Just below the chockstone on Alexander's chimney
I like BD turbo express screws. As far as size, I guess it all depends on how thick the ice is that you're climbing lol.

Check out gear vendors online, mgear.com always seems to have good sales on ice screws (20% off coupons and such)....Then again lots of great deals on here for screws as well.

Seth

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By Unassigned User
Jan 28, 2013
OK Seth, thanks...

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By logan johnson
From West Copper, Co
Jan 28, 2013
Flakey Pull Roof v5
I use both the BD's and Petzl Laser Sonic's. The Petzl's take some getting used to; but I prefer them over the BD's.
Go shorter than you might think. I have way too many 18cm and over screws and I often find myself wishing I had more 10 and 13's.

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By JonW
Jan 28, 2013
Nearly all of your screws should 13 cm. Have one or two 10 cm for thin conditions. And one longer one for V-threads.

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By Dom
Administrator
From New Brunswick Canada
Jan 28, 2013
Moby dick 5.11-
Northeast - 16cm BD Express

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By darin
Jan 28, 2013
logan johnson wrote:
IGo shorter than you might think. I have way too many 18cm and over screws and I often find myself wishing I had more 10 and 13's.


Agreed. 13cm and 16cm seem to see the most mileage for me. These days, Ill often only carry one or two 19+cm screws for belays and V threads.

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By jmeizis
From Colorado Springs, CO
Jan 28, 2013
The Beginning of Mr. Clean (5.8) at the Barkeater ...
It depends on the ice but I think for most people 13's is where it's at. I think it might of been Will Gadd's site where they did some testing in lake ice and came to the conclusion that 13's were sufficient in good ice. Good ice being the key word. I generally carry more 13's and 16's and then one or two 19 or 22 cm screws for v-threads or belays.

Oh and I love the BD express screws. Hate the Petzl screws. Not a huge fan of the Grivel's. Those are really the only ones I've used.

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By Dan Allard
From West Chester, PA
Jan 28, 2013
Day at Summersville Lake
As far as best screws, try Grivel if you haven't - I've been using the Helix and it honestly feels like you are cheating compared to BD's. They are super EASY to start, smooth going in and are of excellent craftsmanship and finish. It seems people jump to conclusions assuming the different design would make it difficult to rack but I have not found that to be the case in actual use. The Speedys make the entire placement process even simpler and more efficient with the pre-attached sling so you can spend your energy climbing more rather than fussing with pro.

Looking at MSRPs The BD Turbo Express, Petzl Lazer Sonic, and Grivel Helix all are exactly the same price, and with anything on the internet anymore, once you decide what you want, you just have to shop around a little bit for the best price.

Regarding length, Grivel makes just 3 sizes - again less to worry about reducing rack up time and hang time when it comes to placement. The small and medium sized ones (13 and 16cm respectively) are what I carry. I'll be getting a large (20cm) or two for when the occasion arises and for V threading, but it seems at the longer length (thinking >20cm), you are spending more energy cranking them in (if the ice is even deep enough) than value you gain in protection.
I'll probably pick up a super stubby from BD too just in case only because Grivel doesnt currently make a super short screw.

Good luck and safe climbing-
Dan

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By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From Salt Lake City, UT
Jan 28, 2013
Cleaning up in Jenny Lake.
I use the BD turbo express and they've performed pretty well for me. I have a whole medley of screws, but more in the 13 and 16 cm range. I actually put in a my lone old 22cm turbo screw the other day on a climb and it was painfully slow. I wouldn't bother buying any 19 cm screws if I had to do it again.

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By beccs
Jan 28, 2013
13's and 16's (but heavier on the 13's). Have a couple of 10's for thin ice (or more if you're climbing thin ice all the time) and a couple of 22's for belays and really snow coned ice.

I have mostly BDs but love having some Grivels in the longer lengths.

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By randy88fj62
Jan 28, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades
One advantage of the petzl laser sonic ice screws is the rotating hanger. This really helps me when I'm following as you can unscrew it with the quickdraw still attached.

I don't lead ice yet as this is only my second season but the rotating hanger could also help on lead. You could clip into the screw as you're placing it so you are theoretically safe even though the screw is not all the way in.

The petzl laser sonic and the BD turbo express ice screws place the same for me when making a belay anchor. As I said above, I have not placed screws on lead.

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By scott cooney
From La Casa Taco
Jan 28, 2013
11th hour of the Sundial
I've always used BD screws BUT Petzl had their new design out at the OR show over the weekend and a block of ice to play with placing them. personally I will be switching over once they hit the market, going to have the flip speed driver like BD but with the super aggresive teeth for easy starts.

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By randy88fj62
Jan 28, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades
scott cooney wrote:
I've always used BD screws BUT Petzl had their new design out at the OR show over the weekend and a block of ice to play with placing them. personally I will be switching over once they hit the market, going to have the flip speed driver like BD but with the super aggresive teeth for easy starts.


Scott,
Did they retain the swiveling hanger? I like their hangers as you can easily attach two carabines to it.

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By scott cooney
From La Casa Taco
Jan 28, 2013
11th hour of the Sundial
the ones I played with have hangers like the BDs so the clip hanger itself doenst spin anymore. they have two versions comming out but both have the same bd style hanger, stong point of the second version is they use an aluminum tube to reduce weight big time, but the teeth are steel threaded and then pressed into the end so it'll never spin off the tube. an other strong point is the threads on the standard tube will be rounded over so they won't bing up as easily and wont cut your pants/harness/pack but they still cut into the ice just as easily and strong

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By randy88fj62
Jan 28, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades
scott cooney wrote:
the ones I played with have hangers like the BDs so the clip hanger itself doenst spin anymore. they have two versions comming out but both have the same bd style hanger, stong point of the second version is they use an aluminum tube to reduce weight big time, but the teeth are steel threaded and then pressed into the end so it'll never spin off the tube. an other strong point is the threads on the standard tube will be rounded over so they won't bing up as easily and wont cut your pants/harness/pack but they still cut into the ice just as easily and strong


Just read a review article on them. The aluminum screws with steel threads / ends sound cool for alpine use. I love that they will be selling a sharpening tool so you can do it yourself. That sounds great.

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By scott cooney
From La Casa Taco
Jan 28, 2013
11th hour of the Sundial
AH CRAP! forgot to mention the sharpening tool but its pretty sweet too! should retail for the same price as a screw

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By Dan Allard
From West Chester, PA
Jan 28, 2013
Day at Summersville Lake
scott cooney wrote:
an other strong point is the threads on the standard tube will be rounded over so they won't bing up as easily and wont cut your pants/harness/pack but they still cut into the ice just as easily and strong


Grivel screws are made like this already

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By Wally
From Denver
Jan 28, 2013
Wow - surprised at the general consensus here. Perhaps I am a chicken! I prefer to place 16 cms on steep ice, and 19cms if I have a good stance. I rarely place 13 cms. And yes, I use screamers. :)

Wally

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Jan 28, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenste...
I'm with you Wally.. Although I only have two 19s. I use the 19s at belays or for v threads. I use half screamers half draws. The screamers for the couple screws placed after belays and anywhere that looks sketch. Quickdraws when things look good and/or when there's lots rope out.

My rack is 2 10s 4 13s 6 16s and 2 19s. I'm not sure I would place 13s for a belay but, hey whatever works for others. All my screws are BD Express.

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By Nick Votto
Jan 28, 2013
Bolton, VT
16's for the northeast with a good selection of smaller stuff, I like BD Turbo Express but haven't used Petzl's

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By Dan Allard
From West Chester, PA
Jan 28, 2013
Day at Summersville Lake
Wally wrote:
Wow - surprised at the general consensus here. Perhaps I am a chicken! I prefer to place 16 cms on steep ice, and 19cms if I have a good stance. I rarely place 13 cms. And yes, I use screamers. :) Wally


My understanding is that the strength value of using an ice screw (assuming wise placement in good quality ice) is in the threads (not so much the tube length). If you look at a 13cm stubby next to your 22, the thread surface area is actually identical:



In other words, just because the screw is longer doesn't mean there is more threading surface to hold.


Roger's got a great explanation here:

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By randy88fj62
Jan 28, 2013
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades
Longer screws allow the threads to sit deeper in the ice. If the top few inches of the ice are cracked, shattered, or weak then the longer screws would allow the threads to grab quality solid ice sitting deeper.

The equal thread engagement on all length screws is related to the pull out force.

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By Unassigned User
Jan 28, 2013
Great video - thanks. When I was climbing ice back in the 80's, as he showed, we placed screws at more of an upward angle. I see that theory has been disproven these days!

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By Bill Kirby
From Baltimore Maryland
Jan 28, 2013
Me eating a cliff bar walking back from Frankenste...
Dan Allard wrote:
My understanding is that the strength value of using an ice screw (assuming wise placement in good quality ice)


The 22 cm screw is going to reach good quality ice that the 13 cm may not.

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By Dan Allard
From West Chester, PA
Jan 28, 2013
Day at Summersville Lake
Kirby1013 wrote:
The 22 cm screw is going to reach good quality ice that the 13 cm may not.


Yes that is true, I agree with your and Randy's statements.

I think it is wise to have a large screw or two (or as many as you want) but I personally stock up on the medium sizes as they seem more versatile where I climb.

FLAG


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