/ One handed placing of ice screws
Advice on how to place screws quickly on steep ground using one hand.
Recommendations for screws that are really easy to place (using BD turbo express atm)
use your pick to create a 1-2cm deep hole and start them in that.
Most brands of screws are ok if they are new and sharp, I always save my sharpest screws for the pumpy bits.
The type of screw you're trying to place is also a factor as are the gloves you're wearing, not to mention the hardness and quality of the ice are other relevant factors.
Because of their head design, I find Grivel 360s to be a bit of a faff to get started compared to others. I also think that DMM screws have the most ergonomic head of all current screws and so are the easiest to get started - and I've placed BD Express/Turbo, Petzl, Camp, Grivel Helix/360 and DMM, not to mention Russian titanium ...
Without wishing to teach you to suck eggs, another suggestion is to find an icefall that you can easily stand next too and simply practise placing screws.
Usual bumbly, IMO caveats apply, but I would concur. Right next to the side of you, without being inbetween your body and the ice (which pushes you away and reduces the force/leverage you can apply).
Ideally spot a decent stance or ice for screws and chip the hole mentioned earlier when you're below it and is at axe-swinging height. Move up, place bomber tool and then the screw. Obviously, it doesn't always work out that way.
I think it's something worth practicing. For the most part, the steep sections in Scotland are pretty short and with a bit of confidence you can avoid having to place any screws on them (instead doing so on easier-angled section immediately beforehand). So it can come as a bit of a shock on longer sections or harder/bluer ice.
The first time I got on a sightly longer patch of steep ice (Peter Pan with hard ice at the time) I really struggled with screws, ran it out and was the most scared I've been on an ice route.
And to add to that - twisting the screw back and forth at the start can deepen the hole you've chipped and cut a better channel for it to bite before you nervously take your hand off for the next twist...
Yup, think of the classic western gun-slinger pose - that's about the position you want to be putting them in.
Racking your gear well really helps. I have a few screws and QDs on either side of my harness. Know where everything is before you set off.
Get really good foot placements and hang straight armed in an A shape, off your less dextrous hand if possible. Choose a spot that between nipple and hip height. Make sure it's as good ice as possible, placing a screw in crappy ice is a waste of time and energy. Concave placements of solid ice are the strongest. Clean the placement til it's solid and you have enough flat surface to sink the screw to the handle (less if it's a 360). Chop a little "x" with your pick to reduce the chance of the screw skating around before it bites.
Try and gauge how thick the ice is and choose the longest screw you have that you're confident won't bottom out on rock. Personally I think it is a fallacy that shorter screws are meaningfully quicker to place, you're talking about less than 1-2 seconds difference between a 22 and 10cm screw. IMHO looping the rope over the head or handle of the axe is risky and should only be a last resort.
Practising at the foot of a route is a great idea.
To ikSander: If it was easy to dislodge, I assume you mean the axe, I wouldn't ice climb, after all a well placed pick quite often does take near as dammit your body weight.
I acknowledge that none of the components used are designed to be load bearing but we are only talking about body weight, if that and I can't think of a valid reason not to do it. But one never knows :-).
> To ikSander: If it was easy to dislodge, I assume you mean the axe, I wouldn't ice climb, after all a well placed pick quite often does take near as dammit your body weight.
It was DMM who made the axes with that in mind, but that was quite a long time ago now and they don't do that anymore. I'm not necessarily knocking the technique (though I never do it) but if you did fall off we're certainly not talking just bodyweight onto the axe, it'll be your weight, plus the belayers, plus the slump if you flop off unexpectedly, so you're looking at a few kn at least.
It might also be worth bearing in mind that the outward force on the pick will likely be greater from having the rope over the top of the axe than you pulling on the base of the handle, making the placement that much more likely to rip. If you don't believe that try choking up very high on every placement you make and see if you can feel a differnece in security...
DMM Predators to be exact - http://www.tribevine.com/product/11591/DMM+Climbing/Predator+(Discontinued)
The well-designed and functional rope groove is easily visible and it worked really well too. I often used to loop a rope over the top of one of my my Predators when placing a screw, but wouldn't dream of doing so now with my Nomics.
Make sure your screws are sharp - it makes a big difference. You'll find sharpening instructions if you google and my top tip is to take a couple of close-up photos of the business end of a brand new screw so you have a pattern to work to when you're sharpening them.
Whilst I've clipped the rope into a tool above me as a last resort rather than falling off, I'm very careful not to load the tool dynamically - there's a fair chance it'll either rip out or even break. Personally I think that unless you're really about to fall off, you're better to keep the screw-placement process as clean and simple as possible with a minimum of additional steps.
Hey Dan what is Apple Force is this a winter new technique ? must try it
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