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When to use screamers
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By Sally G.
From Boulder, CO
Nov 13, 2012

I realize that the judgement of when to place a screamer is up to personal preference. But I would like to hear some feedback from the community. I place my screws at a slight angle going up into the ice, or perpendicular and use screamers sparingly, when I think the placement is in questionable ice. But I have also heard of leaders using them at every screw. Any thoughts?


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Nov 13, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

you shouldn't place screws in such a fashion...place them downwards rather than upwards.


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By Goodhue
From Boulder, CO
Nov 13, 2012

No, Ben. Sally is correct. The way to place ice screws is perpendicular or slightly upwards.

Sally, I also rarely use screamers, I only have one. Usually I am using double ropes though, so the impact force on one screw would be fairly low. However, I will sometimes use that screamer if a screw at a crux isn't that great.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Nov 13, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

I read that you should place it in a downward orientation so that the threads hold a fall, rather than torque from the weight of a fall.

It also reduces shattering of the ice around the placement rendering a useless placement


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By cjon3s
From Sterling, VA
Nov 13, 2012
Hanging at Seneca

Ben Botelho wrote:
I read that you should place it in a downward orientation so that the threads hold a fall, rather than torque from the weight of a fall. It also reduces shattering of the ice around the placement rendering a useless placement


If it faces up, the threads hold it. If it faces down, it will torque under a fall doing exactly as you describe and shattering the ice. You place it pointing slightly up.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Nov 13, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

but wait...most people fall downward...putting more torque leverage on an upward placed screw than a downward one.

I am confuzed now


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By superkick
From West Hartford, CT
Nov 13, 2012
Free Solo up hitchcock gully WI3

Will Gadd says screamers are outdated.

trust the Gadd.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Nov 13, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/journal/climb//bd-sales->>>

read the first comment.


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By Tits McGee
From Boulder, CO
Nov 13, 2012
How I Send

Okay, first to back up the upward vs downward angle debate...

www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/journal/climb//bd-sales->>>

I will place screamers for a number of reasons, afterall they are quick draws, so why not? However, I won't place them on the first screw, because if elongated (adding 1+ foot), could result in ground fall potential.

I typically will place them on my middle screws. High up, with more rope in the system the force factor is limited. So the higher up, the less force exerted on the top screws and the less need for force limiting screamers.

Example: I witnessed some dude at Vail climbing with bungee umbilicals shear the head off of his ice axe (cheap simond) but was caught by a non-screamered 10cm stubby BD screw. He was about 60 feet off the ground. Probably the craziest thing I have ever seen. All of the force of the fall rebounded into his axe that was in the ice above his head.


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By Reginald McChufferton
Nov 13, 2012

Gotta love this place!

Read some of the tests people. It's really not that hard. This information as been out for quite a while now.

Here's just one video explaining why Ben is correct and the rest of you are wrong...


www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/journal/climb//bd-sales->>>

Edit: Looks like Tits beat me to it.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Nov 13, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

"This question was investigated by placing screws to the hilt at various angles. Perpendicular is chosen as the reference and labeled zero degrees. The conventional "place the screw at a 10 to 15 degree angle against the direction of pull" is a negative angle. Placing the screw in the direction of loading is labeled a positive angle, see Figure 1. As can be seen in Figure 2 there is a very dramatic change with angle of placement. What we observed is that placing the screw in the direction of loading is significantly stronger. In fact, at 15 degrees from perpendicular the screws are over two times stronger when placed in the direction of load than when placed against the direction of load. The data included in Fig. 2 is a compilation of all three lengths of Black Diamond ice screws using the highly variable test conditions described above. It is amazing that such a strong trend exists in such a variable experimental setup.

A general trend shows that screws are stronger when placed in the direction of loading. "

www.needlesports.com/catalogue/content.aspx?con_id=095232e4->>>

you guys need to read some books or something...ha ha


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By superkick
From West Hartford, CT
Nov 13, 2012
Free Solo up hitchcock gully WI3

"The screws (BD style threads) actually are stronger when angled in the direction of the fall. The reason for this is that the threads do in fact have a high pullout strength. What I have seen is that the ice around the surface of a screw placed as you describe is the limiting factor. For a screw placed perpendicular to the surface or slightly angled back the top surface layer of ice breaks at fairly low loads (500 to 2000 lbs) and then you have the lever effect going on which is weaker. When the screw is angled down there is much less force on the top surface layer and it helps support the shaft so the screw does not flex and bend. However, placements are always limited by the ice quality. In "good" ice I think all screws will hold regardless of the angle (within limits of course)."

-BD Testing


Ben is correct. the rest of you are going to die.


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By Sunny-D
From SLC, Utah
Nov 13, 2012
Top of Jah-Man Sister Superior

I used to place screamers on every piece of ice gear. I have opened one completely in a fall and think that without the screamer in place I would have decked. As it was I ended up hanging upside down looking my belayer in the eyes. After talking with the guys at Yates a couple of years ago they explained that as you get further out on lead the rope does more of the work.
Now I carry enough for the first few pieces and switch to draws or runners after I have a good bit of rope out. I also choose to climb on lower dynamic impact force ropes for ice for the same reasons-- Lower then amount of energy being transmitted into the ice. Having used one and knowing that it saved my butt- I always carry and use screamers. I just don't carry as many as I used to. ie. Every piece
Dallen


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By superkick
From West Hartford, CT
Nov 13, 2012
Free Solo up hitchcock gully WI3

Will Gadds views on screamers:

Screamers: A good rope has relatively low impact force (single, I don't use half ropes much except for low-angle alpine scrabbling, their impact forces are often too high to be worthwhile except for gentle falls), so unless the gear is super sketchy I don't use Screamers anymore. I work hard to get good ice gear, and retreat if I can't. The nebulous line between "maybe good enough" and "GOOD" is too fine for me. I want my gear to be good, or I either solo or go home. Bad gear leads to bad decisions for me, others may have more self-restraint. Gear is not meant to be jewelry, it's meant to be solid. Playing games with bad gear is seldom going to work out better than retreating if the movement isn't well within my skills. I used to believe "Some gear is better than none," but I'm moving more toward, "I like good gear, and will work hard to get it. If I can't get good gear then I go into solo mode, or retreat."


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By Alex Burton
From Colorado Springs, CO
Nov 13, 2012
Family at the Gym

Ben Botelho wrote:
I read that you should place it in a downward orientation so that the threads hold a fall, rather than torque from the weight of a fall. It also reduces shattering of the ice around the placement rendering a useless placement


www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/journal/climb//bd-sales->>>
For a little clarification. Sally is correct, "up in to the ice".


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By csproul
From Rancho Cordova, CA
Nov 13, 2012
Summit of Wolf's Head with Pingora in the background

Ben Botelho wrote:
"This question was investigated by placing screws to the hilt at various angles. Perpendicular is chosen as the reference and labeled zero degrees. The conventional "place the screw at a 10 to 15 degree angle against the direction of pull" is a negative angle. Placing the screw in the direction of loading is labeled a positive angle, see Figure 1. As can be seen in Figure 2 there is a very dramatic change with angle of placement. What we observed is that placing the screw in the direction of loading is significantly stronger. In fact, at 15 degrees from perpendicular the screws are over two times stronger when placed in the direction of load than when placed against the direction of load. The data included in Fig. 2 is a compilation of all three lengths of Black Diamond ice screws using the highly variable test conditions described above. It is amazing that such a strong trend exists in such a variable experimental setup. A general trend shows that screws are stronger when placed in the direction of loading. " www.needlesports.com/catalogue/content.aspx?con_id=095232e4->>> you guys need to read some books or something...ha ha

That graph clearly shows that the failure load is higher (ie takes more force to make the screw fail) if the screw is placed at a positive angle, ie with the tip placed upward. Craig Leubben showed similar results in drop test done in Boulder Canyon.

Reginald, Ben, what am I missing here? I'm pretty sure this is what Sally was saying:
Sally G. wrote:
at a slight angle going up into the ice


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By ben schuldt
From Morris, MN
Nov 13, 2012
me in mid summer on the column direct

I think Ben and Sally are saying the same thing. Sally says that she places at a slight angle going up into the ice. Ben says that he places in a downward orientation. If you look at the way it is placed in the video, the screw is angled slightly up going INTO the ice, thus positioning the crank downward coming OUT of the ice. You're both saying the same thing.


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By AndyMac
From Center, CO
Nov 13, 2012

I have 6 and plan to use them first on every pitch even with double ropes. I'm scared shitless of actually falling on a screw and would like any mental cushion to trust my placement a little more. My mentor used a screamer on almost every screw and always emphasized the importance of low impact forces. I've seen screws hold 2000+lbs of force in pull tests on flat river ice, but I never get placements like that on climbs. Being the ice will always be of variable quality, I like to know I have that extra bit of security.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Nov 13, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

ha!!

I just now realized that this could all be a big misunderstanding.

The angle of the screw, when IN the ice, should be below perpendicular with the ice...so I guess that means placing it upwards INTO the ice.

Pretend the screw is a line-segment, and the hangar of it is the end. The end of it should be below perpendicular when it is placed, so the threads hold the fall, NOT the torque strength of the screw (and the limited strength of the ice around it)


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By Dylan Weldin
From Austin, Texas
Nov 13, 2012
Summit of my first tower, the Rectory via Fine Jade

Everyone is saying the same thing... When placing a screw, the teeth should end up higher in the ice than the head (see photo).

Ben has trouble communicating that he understands this:
He believes that by saying "place them downwards" you are screwing the teeth UP into the ice.

Others have misinterpreted Ben and think that he means the teeth should screw down into the ice.

This is what everyone has been advocating for the entire time:

good
good


Oh, and Sally, no screamers. Save your money.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Nov 13, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

yup


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By superkick
From West Hartford, CT
Nov 13, 2012
Free Solo up hitchcock gully WI3

dont waste money on screamers just buy a better rope with an impact force < 8kN. Most blue water single ropes are 7.8 kN.


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By Richard88
From Sheridan, WY
Nov 13, 2012
piney creek canyon

I definitely think everyone is arguing the same point


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By Tits McGee
From Boulder, CO
Nov 13, 2012
How I Send

and if I ever put in a 10cm stubby into ice I can see the rock behind, no matter what, it gets a screamer - Even if Will Gadd says differently.


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By Ben Brotelho
From Albany, NY
Nov 13, 2012
Epic free solo with a pack on

it's not about what you say, IT'S ABOUT HOW LOUD YOU SAY IT!!!!!!

Gotta love the internet...people arguing the same point back and forth, sorry folks


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By Richard88
From Sheridan, WY
Nov 13, 2012
piney creek canyon

Ben Botelho wrote:
it's not about what you say, IT'S ABOUT HOW LOUD YOU SAY IT!!!!!! Gotta love the internet...people arguing the same point back and forth, sorry folks


We're all gonna die!


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