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Ice Screws: Open question to the old boys
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Sep 28, 2012
I am relatively rookie in the world of waterfall ice. 5 days out over the last couple years. Enjoyed the shit out of it each time but it is also goddamn terrifying. Well I've changed my panties since last year and I'd like to commit to this a bit more but that requires the dropping of a pile of coin to get enough screws to get my pumped arms and shaking knees to the top of what I'm aiming at.

What I would like to know is why do people in this day and age buy the BD turbo (no spinny knob)? You can weigh in on BD express vs grivel 360 vs the petzl with the spinny hanger, but in my limited experience, when I was 5+ meters above my last screw and apologizing to jesus for every sin I've even thought of, I loved my buddy's out-of-the-packaging-sharp BD expresses that I stuck in and spun. At that moment I couldn't imagine taking the time to twist the screw around and let go, especially at the start, afraid that it would fall out and be found later impaled through the helmet of the belayer below me in a ripleys believe-it-or-not special.

Turbos are significantly cheaper so do guys carry a couple for backing up anchors? Making v-threads? escape piece? I've just seen a couple up full-ish racks (9+ screws) for sale of entirely turbos and I want to know if a) do other people have bigger balls/ more skill than me and just know to save enough of their arms to put in the screw? b)are they selling these "in new condition" because they bought them, used them once and said never again? or c) am I not understanding something?

Does anyone here have a full rack of non-spinny-handled screws that they climb on and if so, is it justifiable for saving the price difference?

Thanks
IanWarrington
From Rogers Pass, BC
Joined Aug 6, 2012
40 points
Sep 28, 2012
The Shield
In my opinion the BD's are the best. They have less fuss than the others and they rack easier. Putting them in when your pumped isn't as easy as it is with the Grivel's, but everythiing else about them is easier.
I keep one long screw with me at all times for anchors and v-threads. Thats almost a necessity in Canada. Not as much in the US.
There is a technique to placing screws that makes it go fast... you get better at it. But one of the key things is placing the screw where its easy to place, not where you think youmight fall. Thus balls do come into play.
Chances are they are selling them as new because the faded away from ice climbing. Most of the best ice climbers I know have gone in and out of the sport. Its a dangerous game and eventually it will catch up with you.... I'm not doing it NEAR as much as I used to. Also, maybe they moved... maybe they dont live near ice and don't plan to travel for ice. No matter what, if they are giving a good deal, take it.
Sam Lightner, Jr.
From Lander, WY
Joined Apr 9, 2006
2,224 points
Sep 28, 2012
Yes, the spinny ones are great. I have a complete history of ice screws going back to Salewas and Warthogs...geez. Talk about improvements! They're in the history chest, believe.

I still have a lot of turbos on my rack still but as I get the $$ I slowly replace them with spinnys, which seem to go in much faster. And, yes, BD is the best in my experience. Have one or two longer ones at least for belays, setting strings (esp in Cody).

Invest in at least 1/2 dozen Yates Screamers. They really help ameliorate shock loading off the screw in a fall.
bob branscomb
From Lander, WY
Joined Feb 5, 2009
876 points
Sep 28, 2012
Basic screws are significantly cheap. Far better than the old POS screws, too.

I have a handful of both varieties. How many screws do you expect to place on a given pitch? Knobless screws are fine for anchors.
Stephan Doyle
Joined Jan 5, 2012
0 points
Sep 28, 2012
Thanks guys for responses- In the 5 times I've been out, I went with 4 different guys so I got to try out a pile of different brands(not always on lead). If cost wasn't a factor, I'm pretty sold on the BD express. I can easily see saving the cash for your couple of screws intended purely for v-threading and equalizing anchors where speed doesn't matter, but for the pro being placed with one hand I'm hearing kinda mixed messages- yes you guys climb on knobless screws (thanks for the term stephan) but if you had a wealthy benefactor you wouldn't?

@ bob- what do I need screamers for? I thought the number one rule of ice climbing was "don't fall" ;)
IanWarrington
From Rogers Pass, BC
Joined Aug 6, 2012
40 points
Sep 28, 2012
Bocan
IanWarrington wrote:
Thanks guys for responses- In the 5 times I've been out, I went with 4 different guys so I got to try out a pile of different brands(not always on lead). If cost wasn't a factor, I'm pretty sold on the BD express. I can easily see saving the cash for your couple of screws intended purely for v-threading and equalizing anchors where speed doesn't matter, but for the pro being placed with one hand I'm hearing kinda mixed messages- yes you guys climb on knobless screws (thanks for the term stephan) but if you had a wealthy benefactor you wouldn't? @ bob- what do I need screamers for? I thought the number one rule of ice climbing was "don't fall" ;)


I use knobless on the really long screw for v thread or anchors, but I'll always reach for the turbo's on lead. Once you get the teeth to bite it's all good, but the turbos crank in pretty fast. The less time I can spend in one spot the better, but I'm not exactly Chazz Michaels Michaels on ice.

And sure don't fall, but if you do wouldn't you want to displace the weight of your fall as much as possible? Think of it as safer quickdraw that puts less stress on the ice. FYI don't use one for your first screw. I doubt you'd generate enough force to activate it, but you don't want to activate your butt to the ground.
Scott McMahon
From Boulder, CO
Joined Feb 15, 2006
927 points
Sep 28, 2012
Scott McMahon wrote:
Think of it as safer quickdraw that puts less stress on the ice. FYI don't use one for your first screw. I doubt you'd generate enough force to activate it, but you don't want to activate your butt to the ground.


Forces are greatest when there's less rope out. So the first couple screws are REAL GOOD candidates for Screamers. As are any screws in poor ice.

OP - You see a lot of posts by folks selling non-spinny screws b/c most folks eventually realize that new screws are signif. better than old, and they bite the bullet and buy a bunch of the latest-and-greatest. Non-spinny screws are cheap ($20 or less) b/c no one would buy them otherwise.

Can you climb with them? Absolutely. A trick I used to do was to have a winder handle (like the Petzl Turbine, which might not be sold anymore) on a retractable cord. I'd get the screw started by hand, then pull out the winder - which provided WAY more leverage than the typical hanger-mounted knob a-la BD Express - and fire the thing in. Then the winder retracted back onto the shoulder sling where it sat out of the way. Only problem with that system was my partners had to unscrew the screws by hand.
Gunkiemike
Joined Jul 29, 2009
1,666 points
Sep 28, 2012
Mean Green P2
I really can't see any good reason to use screws without the spinny knobs, unless you just want to carry a screw or two for general mountaineering that you plan to never place when on a pump clock. I have 10 screws that all have the spinny knobs. Two of them are 12cm Grivel Speedy screws that are my go-to crux pieces. If you are indeed living near Roger's Pass, give me a shout this winter and you can try out my system sometime. I'm still new to Kamloops though, so I don't know where all the good ice is around BC.

I only really use screamers on sketchy pieces because they are expensive and not necessary otherwise. Although falling is not an option, it does happen and it's nice if the screw actually stays there.
jack s.
From Kamloops, BC
Joined Jan 11, 2011
12 points
Sep 29, 2012
J TREE
Haven't been sending screws to the head as long as Sam, and I respect his opinion,

BUT

I've been at it 17 years and ONLY rack 360......

I can easily carry 10 or more with out complications.......

Climb in Cody every year........

Rap off of V-Threads like I was rolling out of bed.....

There is quality, and there is marketing........


You can place a 360 faster and in more places

without having to worry about clearing a 3-4" circumference around the hanger to be clear of ice.
Jim Amidon
Joined Jun 12, 2001
927 points
Sep 29, 2012
Cham '11
He spoke the truth above:

"most folks eventually realize that new screws are signif. better than old, and they bite the bullet and buy a bunch of the latest-and-greatest. Non-spinny screws are cheap ($20 or less) b/c no one would buy them otherwise."


I have been climbing on a full rack of Grivel Helix for a few seasons...and worth every penny after several decades of ice climbing.
And I have literally used them all.

That rack has convinced most of my partners to switch to Grivel Helix as well.

More here if you want a real world, no bs, comparison on ice screws in the alpine:

coldthistle.blogspot.com/2011/...

I have no dog in the fight, and am required to buy the ice screws I actually use.

Depending on the water ice quality I can take either the BD or the Grivel. More info on CT for the discussions I have had with myself on the subject. The above comments finally settled the delima for me.

coldthistle.blogspot.com/2011/...

coldthistle.blogspot.com/2011/...
Dane
Joined Jun 18, 2008
580 points
Sep 29, 2012
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style
The only other explanation (besides saving money) for climbing on knobless screws I could think of is to prevent an accidental rope damage that supposedly could happen if you don't crank the knobs back after you're done boring in the Express screws.

edited to add: just noticed Dane included his blog post about the issue (last link he posted).
doligo
Joined Sep 26, 2008
436 points
Sep 29, 2012
Middle
I carry one BD Turbo screw in 22cm. It is only for cutting V-Threads. Otherwise all the rest are express with knobs. Ray Pinpillage
From West Egg
Joined Jul 23, 2010
130 points
Sep 29, 2012
The product info for BD does tell you to reset the knob. The newer screws also have the closer clip-in point for a better angle on an overhanging placement, or for use as an extra point at the anchor. They work fine for me. Easy to rack and pull off the harness, also. Buff Johnson
Joined Dec 19, 2005
1,494 points
Sep 30, 2012
Chuck Norris can Divide by Zero
I want to second some of the comments about the Grivel screws. For close to 20 years, it was BD screws or nothing. I used a friends helix last year and they are just as good as the BDs (hanger might be better).

As Sam L pointed out, you have to know how to place them and the tricks. One other comment, you have to keep the teeth SHARP!. A good screw can be awful if you can't get it to bite because the teeth have dulled from use. Get a small triangular file and learn how to maintain them.

PT
paintrain
Joined Jan 22, 2007
86 points
Oct 1, 2012
paintrain wrote:
One other comment, you have to keep the teeth SHARP!. A good screw can be awful if you can't get it to bite because the teeth have dulled from use. Get a small triangular file and learn how to maintain them. PT


^^^This iz korrekt!

I keep a separate small (3"-4") file in my crampon bag for touching up screw points, if necessary, when back in camp between days on the ice.
Alpinisto
From Connecticut
Joined Mar 16, 2011
30 points
Oct 6, 2012
I'm really surprised nobody has said this already, so I guess I'll bend rule 1. If you've only been out on ice five times, what are you doing on lead? Even if you're a fantastic rock leader, you're still a new ice climber. Building up a rack for the future is a good thing, but pushing yourself on lead from (almost) day one is just a bad idea. Perhaps I misread the OP's account, but it certainly sounds like he's already been on the sharp end and scared shitless. Ice climbing is a lot closer to soloing than most new climbers realize. If you're spooked up there on lead, something is probably wrong. Patrick Carey
From Keene, NY
Joined Feb 4, 2011
12 points


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