/ Ice Screw length

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Charley17 - on 16 May 2013
Im going to the alps for the first time this summer ( doing the Conville Course) and part of the kit list is one or two ice screws. Which sizes do people recommend?
Thanks! :)
GridNorth - on 16 May 2013
In reply to Charley17: As they are likely to be used for crevasse rescue etc. and not for protecting routes I would go with 19 to 22 cms.
LJC - on 16 May 2013
In reply to Charley17: They are for crevasse rescue. Glacial ice is super thick so one long one will suffice. If you fancy a second one, a medium would be a good choice for use when actually climbing.
GridNorth - on 16 May 2013
In reply to LJC: Glacial ice is super thick so use a shorter screw. Not sure I get that.
Dino Dave - on 16 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth: I don't think that's what he means. I think he meant - have 1 long one for crevasse rescue etc and instead of getting two long ones, get a long one and a medium one as the medium would be more practical for actual climbing by would also cope with the glacier stuff
GridNorth - on 16 May 2013
In reply to DavidRex: I know I was just being facetious. I'm bored :-)
birdman - on 16 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth:

just throwing a spanner in the works here, cos i'm bored... if the ice is so good, why the drastic need for 22cm ice screws. I appreciate stubbies don't have sufficient safety margins. I just cary 2 medium ice screws for alpinism.
GridNorth - on 16 May 2013
In reply to birdman: You are of course quite correct. I believe that contrary to what seemed to be logical it has been proven that it is the screw thread that provides the strength and not the overall length of the screw but there is a little bit of me that finds it difficult to totally accept this so for belays I like both. If the above is true a stubby is just as strong as a 22cm but...................

In any case on a glacier the deeper you can get the screw the better the ice and the less likely it is to be prone to melting. It's worth bearing this in mind and I'm sure that on the course they will demonstrate scraping away the initial poor crust to reach better ice. That is why I would have a longer screw. Ooh err missus.
Dino Dave - on 16 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth: Ah sorry! And I, as I am also bored, shall also mention that having a 22cm would be handy if you do abalakov threads.
blackreaver - on 16 May 2013
In reply to Charley17: I just had the same dilemma and eventually went for a 22cm - useful for belays etc..
Charley17 - on 16 May 2013
In reply to blackreaver: Thanks for the help :) think ill go for a longer one
LJC - on 16 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to LJC) Glacial ice is super thick so use a shorter screw. Not sure I get that.

Where on earth did you get that from?
GridNorth - on 16 May 2013
In reply to LJC: You said it but don't take this too seriously I was just being mischievous. What I was gettit is that shorter screws are normally for thinner ice.
LJC - on 16 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth: I'm genuinely intrigued how you drew that meaning from my post...
AdrianC - on 16 May 2013
In reply to LJC: Yeah - me too!
steveej - on 16 May 2013
In reply to Charley17: get a 16cm and 19 cm black diamond turbo express.
Jamie B - on 17 May 2013
In reply to Charley17:

Have a 22cm BD Turbo Express for sale, good condition, 30.
In reply to Charley17: I'm interested if anyone reading this has actually used an ice screw in crevasse rescue? - and I don't mean the training we all do on early alpine trips.

Ice screws go great into glacier ice, I would imagine you don't need a 22cm and a mid length (17ish) will be fine, but where you can see the ice the glacier is "dry" and has no snow on it and you would have to be a total tit or incredibly unlucky to fall into a crevasse as you can see them a mile off. Glaciers where you actually can't see crevasses and where you fall (in my case, fortunately only part way) into them seem to be covered in lots of snow and a screw won't be much use for building an anchor. Axes or skis I guess are far more likely to be really used for emergency anchors. From personal experience being roped to at least two, preferably three, other people seems the way to go! You won't go in too far, and you've got lots of mates to haul you out (once they stopped laughing at the look of horror on your face as it appears someone just cut your legs off and left you body propped up on a glacier).
GridNorth - on 17 May 2013
In reply to LJC: I misunderstood what you were saying. I thought that you were advocating a short second screw because the ice is thick. I was making the point that if you have thick ice use a long screw. As I said I was bored and being facetious. Apologies.
TRip - on 17 May 2013
In reply to Charley17:

I think you'll regret getting a 22cm screw when you actually start leading ice. A 22cm screw is too long for most things and you can drill v threads with 19cm or 16cm screws.

I'd get either one 19cm and one 16cm or two 16cm screws.

BD Turbo Expresses are far and away the best screws available. Get them.
Ander on 17 May 2013
In reply to birdman:

The reason is that on a horizonal surface facing the sun (which is pretty typical for a glacier) there is a prospect of melting out.

This is amplified by the fact that (compared to ice climbing) the screw is going to be loaded (which also causes melting), and possibly there for quite a while.

They will also be your only point of connection.

So, always use 2 long screws.
GridNorth - on 17 May 2013
In reply to Ander: And cover the heads with ice to slow down the thawing process.
Big Lee - on 17 May 2013
In reply to Charley17:

I'll have my two bobs worth as well.

19 and 16cm screws are probably your 'typical' length. Short screws are fine for hard thin ice but if you want a screw for all situations then I would stick to the longer lengths (remember, you can always larks hitch the shaft if the ice is not thick enough). As mentioned above, 22cm are generally a bit long for if you start leading but I always carry one for abalakovs. Always good as well for 'must not fail' ice screw placements as well (below cruxes or run-out thin ice sections, etc). I would just get a 16cm and 19cm screw to start with, which will be fine for crevasse stuff.

As mentioned above, spend the extra and get some screws with the winder handles (eg BD Turbo screws) as you will able to place them quicker. Not so important for crevasse rescue but if you start leading on steep-ish ice then you will find the winder makes a big difference when placing with one hand.
LJC - on 17 May 2013
In reply to GridNorth:
> (In reply to Ander) And cover the heads with ice to slow down the thawing process.

I see the logic in this, but I think I would rather be able to see the screw and know it was ok, rather than blind trust. Would there not be more melting due to the pressure on the screw raising the melting point, rather than direct heating?
Jasonic - on 19 May 2013
In reply to TobyA: Yes have also fallen into a hidden slot, partner had arrested the fall & was able to scramble out using my axe- disconcertingly the overhanging hard glacial ice of the crevasse walls didn't take front points well! Another use for an ice screw here is to make an anchor to clip into whilst your mate sorts out a belay.

I tend to take a 19cm- which I hope is also long enough for an Abalakov, and a 17cm.
The little handles do make them go in faster.
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The Ex-Engineer - on 19 May 2013
In reply to Charley17: I'd definitely recommend a 22cm and then probably a 16cm.

As already mentioned, you want the longest screw possible (i.e. 22cm) for constructing 'V-thread' anchors and then the 16cm is better for general use.

It is probably worth adding that one of the few times I've had to abseil off a V-thread in the Alps was during what was an 'easy' day. We were walking out from the N Face of the Aiguille d'Argentiere late season down a dry Glacier du Chardonnet and eventually found the only option was to basically abseil off the end of it.

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