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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ice Screw length?

Flow Reversal in typical conditions, early Winter 2008.

When the original Chouinard screws came know 30 plus years ago,,,most every one had the rack full of 22 and 28cm screws and maybe a Snarg or tow.  A full rack then was 8 may be even 10 screws.

Kinda shocking really just how few screws we used BITD for some fairly steep climbing.  Considering it generally took two men and a boy to place  the screws of the day in cold ice.  

I don't mind giving an opinion (ya that is obvious) of what I wear or what I think on most things but the tools or crampons that  you choose are up to you.  Same with the other gear you use.  The idea here is info, comparisons and opinions.  Choices.  The length of screws I choose generally depends on the quality of ice.   Ice quality isn't something always easily known from the ground when sorting gear.  The links below offers some ice screw info that has been passed around in the community.  That info convinced me to change what I use for ice screw sizes a few years ago.  

This is not a blog post I would have ever thought to make but Runar asked so here ya go. 

My climbing rack includes BD Express and Grivel Helix screws in the 10cm through 16cm sizes.  Generally I like the 13s if given a choice and I have good ice.   I'll use a 22 or a 16 for V threads.  But prefer a 22.

That said a number of better climbers than I use only 16cm tubes and up for everything,

More here.

More of Oscar on Flow Reversal in really fat conditions, late winter 2010.


Runar said...

I didn't know swedes could climb ;)

thanks a lot for the quick post. Looking forward to reading the linked material, 'cause I always thought longer where better.

Dane said...

Not sure they can :) Oscar has been training in Canada and Colorado now for some time :) He can be seen drafting in the Bridalveil video as well. He does seem to be getting better, for a Swede :)

Runar said...

If this is him , my guess is that he's only half swedish ;)

Anonymous said...


I only use BD screws (although I am inclined to try the Grivel Helix screws based on your comments). My rack normally consists of a few 13 cm, but mainly 16 cm screws. The actual make up of my rack is contingent on the quality of the ice (e.g. the better the ice conditions, the smaller the screws I place). I also carry a couple of 19 cm and one 22 cm. My reason for carrying a couple of 19 cm is that I like to place a long screw if I am at a good stance before, and sometimes after, a long run out section. I also like the comfort of using the 19 cm at belays. If I am at a good stance for the belay, I will also use the 22 cm screw. I primarily use the 22 cm to set V threads, especially if I am only setting one V thread. Maybe it is only mental in needing the 22cm to set a V thread, but then again, I lot about ice climbing is playing the mental game.