"Now-a-days we are bombarded with top of the line gear from different manufacturers, each claiming that theirs is the new 'must have' item. When it comes to ice screws it can be hard to pick one over the others. At the end of the day I don't think you should be too fussy about saving £5 here or there, just go and get what works best for you."
Would I buy this ice screw again? Definitely!
Jon Griffith gives us the low down on ice screws.
"There are times when I'm promising whatever deity might be up there a small fortune as long as this bloody ice screw just goes in...
good review, which i think captures the important aspect of how well thwe screws drive in....i would say that grivel 360's have a better "bite" than the BD's but that needs to be weighed up against their lack of rackability (can be fixed somewhat with a loop of gaffed cord through the hanger). Admittedly this is comparing to the older BD experss, used a new version recently which seemed to go in a lot easier.
Also worth mentioning the BD screw bag which is a great time saver....eliminating the need to faff around with caps and thread protectors.
Perhaps its just the climbing I do mostly, but the original bite of the screw is only going to last as long as it takes you to screw the screw through the ice and knock the teeth against the rock below. Then you have to sharpen the screw anyway and the original factory finish will be lost. Then issues like hanger design, rackability, turning ease etc all become more important. Even my ten year old BD turbos that have been resharpened dozens of times http://lightfromthenorth.blogspot.com/2007/02/ice-screw-sharpening.html are still better than most other screws I've used except for the brand new ones from good manufacturers straight from the shop.
In reply to Morgan Woods: hi Morgan, I was really impressed by how good the new ones are vs the old ones. As I mentioned I wasnt a major fan of the older version so there was clearly a massive difference between the two (for me anyway)
Toby A: Agreed that once you have screwed them into rock they lose their bite somewhat but i dont think that its entirely up to how sharp they make them at the factory. I think the actual threads make a huge difference and you'd have to do a whole lot of rock bashing to start to wear down to those? (Just my thoughts as am not sure if that's true). As you say though it does depend on what you climb and I still have screws that are over 2 years old that have never hit rock and are still incredibly sharp...
> (In reply to Morgan Woods) hi Morgan, I was really impressed by how good the new ones are vs the old ones. As I mentioned I wasnt a major fan of the older version so there was clearly a massive difference between the two (for me anyway)
cool....something else to "upgrade" to next winter
> Toby A: Agreed that once you have screwed them into rock they lose their bite somewhat but i dont think that its entirely up to how sharp they make them at the factory. I think the actual threads make a huge difference and you'd have to do a whole lot of rock bashing to start to wear down to those?
Totally agree, I have some older Charlet lasers and although very sharp and bite well actually getting them in is just hard work as I think the steel of the tube and threads is a bit thicker - hence more resistance. As I say, even with my old BD screws, they are noticably better.
> As you say though it does depend on what you climb and I still have screws that are over 2 years old that have never hit rock and are still incredibly sharp...
In reply to TobyA: I have 4 old style Charlet lasers and i cant stand them! As you say they are alot (I find) more work.
Well i cant say much for the ice falls this season but looking forward to heading up high after all this snow has stopped falling!!
In reply to Morgan Woods:
Another vote for the BD screw roll/bag. So easy to use.
I got some 360's resharpened on the Intersport Grivel machine in Rjukan last week and it really was money well spent. I was amazed at the ease with which the screws bit afterwards. I guess we just get used to the slowly cumulative bluntness.
I have had my share of time with screws skidding around and fumbling on ice - scared of dripooing them/ scared of falling/ muttering "Go in you bastard" - keeping them razor sharp and in tip top nick is deffo the way forward.
I did have a DMM screww for a short time before I lost it and although not a turbo type model, I was very impressed with its bite. DMM really need to bring out a screw with a whizzy handle - with their pedigree they would be on to a winner.
In tghe meantime I will be getting new BDs for the next season.
> (In reply to Glen)
> Yes but not so good for racking lots of them
as i mentioned above if you put a loop of 3mm cord through the hanger then tape over it to conceal the knot they will rack more easily....not sure why grivel haven't come up with their own fix. Anyone used those (expensive) flutes or pan pipe thingies?
In reply to Morgan Woods: I use the flutes which are pretty cheap to be honest and they are great. No faffing about with krabs. Be warned though as they dont fit on harnesses that have a wide waist band (if that makes sense). The alpine BOD for example
In reply to Morgan Woods:
I bought some pan pipes, first screw I pulled out of one pulled the ruddy pan pipe off me belt!
I think the ice screw plastic racking biners are pretty good.
Ian Black11 Mar 2008
In reply to Morgan Woods: I find the BDs and Grivel Helix the best. I don't like the handle design on the 360, and are more awkward to blow out. Also the Helix feels great in the hand when getting it started.
In reply to Morgan Woods: I still think this is brilliant for racking screws: http://xray.bmc.uu.se/markh/climbing/iceclip.html ultra cheap, light, multi purpose (you could use the krabs if necessary). The new DMM shadows work brilliantly in this role but pretty much any bent gate krabs seem to work fine.
I've started breaking the zip locks this winter after using them for the last four or five - but at a penny or so each it is hardly the end of the world!
> looks good but the only misgivings i have would be 1) the gear hangs a bit lower so might get in the way and 2) you can't use the gear loop for anything else
Fair points but not much of problem I've found - where I climb you rarely need vast amounts of gear because the routes are generally short little single pitches so I don't normally need the gear loops for anything else. I always carry my quickdraws and screamers on a bandoleer exactly to keep them up and away from crampons. So really on my harness I perhaps just carry a set of nuts, a hook or two, and a belay plate, so having two harness loops carry the ice racks is never a problem with three other harness loops still to use. http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.php?id=25450 With BD screws you can easily put four screw on each krab that makes up the rack, so that 8 screws a rack, and I have one rack on each side which means I could carry (if I owned!) 16 screws with out hassle.
> I don't see the difference it makes, travelling you can wrap your screws, with their caps on, in a towel or whatever. Just make sure you pack your screws in your bag carefully when out on the hill.
But you climb a few weekends a winter so I see your point. But some of us climb once or twice a week through the winter, and when you do that the roll up bags are great - simple, fast to use, no little caps to loose in the snow, and protects the threads when in the bag - very important. But like you I wouldn't use one if I had a two hour hike to get to the ice, I'd just pack carefully, but when its two minutes they're great!
In reply to TobyA: i tried this a while back but didnt get on with it too well. I think my probelm is i am a midget so when it came to doing rather 'dynamic' moves or some tight mixed moves they really got in the way. The flutes are great as they keep the screws very tight by your side. Plus another MAJOR advantage is that if you fall you are protected from your screws. Ok i know you've still got to content with your axes and crampons but 10 extremly sharp screws hanging around my thighs and groin has the potential of being incredibly painful!!
In reply to Glen: Like the 360's too, personally think they go in as well as the BD's. Used various aluminium (GAB with lever and without lever - awful friction problems), titanium (Vaude - 'thin diameter' screw was good, thicker diameter was prone to same friction problems as aluminium), stainless (Simond - heavy but good, lacked rapid spin-toggle thingy). I can't choose between BD and Grivel so have both.
Carry systems. Sold my Simond racking device because I snapped a gear loop winter climbing (recovered the gear, snagged a quickdraw with a crampon, snap!) - the thought of all my screws disappearing on a route was too much! I like the BD plastic clip carrier, but as I climb with a 'sac I have tried Andy K's tip (from the Canadians) of clipping screws to the sac chest straps modified to become gear loops.
I rather like the petzl plastic ice screw rack things (the ones that are like 'biners).
The sit vertically on you harness and take 3 or so screws each, which are very easy to get on or off.
The only problem is that they don't fit harnesses without some relatively thin webbing available to attach them to.
As for clipping screws to chest straps - my sac has gear loops (attached to the shoulder straps) that sit under the arms and gear loops on the waist belt, so it doesn't matter that I can't get to my harness. I think these are important features on a winter sac. Gear on the under arm loops can swing about a bit though.
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