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Ice Gear: Screws and biners
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harpo_the_climber


Mar 9, 2010, 2:04 PM
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Ice Gear: Screws and biners
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I am in the market for some new screws, and maybe some biners for ice/alpine climbing. I am wondering what people are using and liking for these purposes....

Screws: I am tending toward the BD Express (with two carabiner clip in points. What other screws should I consider? One company made one with the quickdraw preattached to the screw - what do people think about that?

Also, I have some old bent gates that I will use on the rope end of my quickdraws. Any suggestions on which biners do best for ice/alpine, including lockers, ropeend, and general purpose? Is bigger better than lighter/smaller for manipulating with gloves?


tigerlilly


Mar 9, 2010, 2:34 PM
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When I'm following, I like it when my leader has BD Express screws, because they disgorge the ice core very easily and are a simple to rack. That said, my own rack is all Grivel 360s. They're a PITA to rack and clean (handle blocks the top hole on some vintages), but they start nice even left-handed and fit in odd spots. I like it that I can palm the squarish hanger. A bit of cord helps the racking issue. It didn't hurt that I got them all either new on sale or 2nd-hand, so that I paid $15-40 a piece for them.

As far as biners, anything with a keylock nose is good in my book. I just swipe the biners off my trad draws and put them on my screamers for ice season.

Kathy


reno


Mar 9, 2010, 4:43 PM
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Grivel Helix screws and Trango Superfly biners.


dr_feelgood


Mar 9, 2010, 5:01 PM
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I mix it up. My workhorse screws are BD Expresses, and I have several Grivel 360s for the funky placements that my seconds have come to loathe.


Alpinisto


Mar 9, 2010, 5:21 PM
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BD Express screws and alpine draws made with Wild Country Heliums and BlueWater Spectra slings.

And a couple Screamers, 'natch...


creemore


Mar 9, 2010, 10:15 PM
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I also vote for the BD Express. The two clip ins are great for belays and other purposes. It's like all the other screws had a love child.

Neat idea that screw with the draw attached. Fast deployment I guess but maybe more suited to hard WI and than AI.

I hate those tiny wiregate biners. I use regular size but still wiregates. The size really depends on the size of your paw. I have bigish ones.

A few HMS locking biners and D's or ovals for the Reverso if you use that. Notchless are grrreat!

One or two load limiters (screamers/yates) with wiregates are nice.

Those skinny slings are good for alpine but not as durable. I have a mix of thickness. For no other reason than availability at shops when I need some.

As usual, you could just say it depends and opinions vary.


qwert


Mar 10, 2010, 2:11 AM
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... depends (and has been discussed often, do a search, STFU n00b and so on ...)

Cool
but here is my "setup" anyways:

BD screws (the two clip in points a the new ones are really nice for belays)
But any other screw (by a respectable manufacturer and with some kind of knob) will work, but what is best for you depends. For example i have two petzl laser sonics. On paper they sound great with the twistable hanger (bigger thing to grab, ability to leave the draw clipped when removing) but i hate to place them.

Biners: i prefer rather big biners with wiregates. Ironically i dont care for clipping action for rockclimbing (read: i can use almost any biner without problems) but on ice (with gloves) this changes, and unfortunately my rock favorite (WC helium) sucks for winter use. Also the hot forged structure seems to catch more ice than "normal" biners.
What i like: BD oz, BD fin and Austrialpin easy magic light
And for lockers the BD positron works really well (better than in summer ...)

Slings: for summer/ trad i prefer thin, floppy 20cm slings (prevent walking without being to long), but for winter they suck, so i switch back to stiffer sport draws for most stuff (+ a few extendable draws and 30cm draws).

qwert


cantbuymefriends


Mar 10, 2010, 3:09 AM
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harpo_the_climber wrote:
I am in the market for some new screws, and maybe some biners for ice/alpine climbing. I am wondering what people are using and liking for these purposes....

Screws: I am tending toward the BD Express (with two carabiner clip in points. What other screws should I consider? One company made one with the quickdraw preattached to the screw - what do people think about that?

Also, I have some old bent gates that I will use on the rope end of my quickdraws. Any suggestions on which biners do best for ice/alpine, including lockers, ropeend, and general purpose? Is bigger better than lighter/smaller for manipulating with gloves?
Screws: BD all the way, a mix of old and new Expresses (since I'm not rich enough to just throw out my old single-hole ones when the new came out). I also have some old Turbo screws (without the handle) that I sometimes bring in case I need a leaver screw.
(I don't know if BD actually is better in this regard, I just started out with'em, and I don't like mix'n'match here)

Racking: A standard Bod harness with 3 BD Ice Clippers.

Biners: Keylock nose is great, esp. in the winter.
For locking biners in general, I prefer DMM and BD for smooth operation.
I also find that twistlocks are less of a pain to operate with icy gloves than screwgates. YMMV.

QD: Nylon dogbones with Hotwire or Livewire crab on the rope end, and Positron or Dynotron on the other (again, Keylock!).
My partner brought a couple of Oz QD's a while ago, but we just couldn't operate them with gloves on...


tradmanclimbs


Mar 10, 2010, 4:58 AM
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Re: [cantbuymefriends] Ice Gear: Screws and biners [In reply to]
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The new BD screws hands down start faster,screw in faster, clean easyer than grivel and have stainless reflective hanger for those sunny belays. I just sold some of my helix and plan to replace with the new BD.


granite_grrl


Mar 10, 2010, 6:36 AM
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tradmanclimbs wrote:
The new BD screws hands down start faster,screw in faster, clean easyer than grivel and have stainless reflective hanger for those sunny belays. I just sold some of my helix and plan to replace with the new BD.
I don't find this at all. I'll tend to be grabbing for a 16cm 360 over a 13cm Express because it places faster. Never noticed a difference in cleaning.

Short screw in Express, long in 360s. My husband has some 22s in the Express and curses ever having bought them, we tend to grab my long 360s instead whenever we go out.

Biggest problem might be racking, but you just have to know how to do it and it's not a problem. That said, the handles are getting pretty long for the length of the screw by the time you get down to the 12cm length which is another reason why I'd rather carry 13cm Express screws.


kaizen


Mar 10, 2010, 7:21 AM
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Re: [granite_grrl] Ice Gear: Screws and biners [In reply to]
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I really like the BD Express as many others have said, with 4 screamers, hot wire biners, and I don't use a screw gate locker.

Besides 1 22cm for making a v thread, you should only need 16s, and an emergency shorty, since you're just starting out. 22s and 19s offer no more security than a 16, so your carrying extra weight, spending extra dollars and time by loading up on long screws.

Have fun, be safe.


the_climber


Mar 10, 2010, 7:36 AM
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Re: [granite_grrl] Ice Gear: Screws and biners [In reply to]
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One more Vote for Grivel. Both the Helix and the 360's
As for racking, rack like screws together, and try to avoid more than about 4 per biner regardless of brand. Personally I have up to 4 racking biners (2 per side) depending on the climb. I use both the BD plastic ice screw biners and wire gate ovals, I prefer the security and feel of the wire ovals. Whichever brand you choose this allows you to divide your screws such that the different sizes are easily accessable; not such an issue on easy routes, but something which becomes more important on harder pitches/climbs. I have a little bit of an ice addiction, and a bit of a longer route addiction (ie. a lot of times I won't consider a route under 250-300m for the day's adventure and often continue to the ridge or summit afterwards). I also climb predominantly on 70m and 80m ropes. With 4 racking biners that allows for 16 conveniently located screws, 10-12 for the pitch and 2-3 for each belay. Shorter ropes, I typically carry 8-12 screws total.

As for biners, my favourates are no longer made... old HB's. Can't remember the model, but they are lite, strong, came in both bent gate/wire gate, and have a narrow profile <-- ie. they fit ice screws AND the smallest of old bolt hangers/piton eyes. Despite being lite, they are also full size allowing them to used with ease while wearing gloves. Now I use a mixed bag of mix matched biners, but I find the DMM Spectres to be a great alternative to my old HB's. Lite, full strength, 'full size'. Wire gate's tend to be much more forgiving in icey conditions due to the gate design. They clear themselves (most time) of ice simply by opening the gate and closing it. Preference is given to hooded nosed biners over key-style for the same reason during winter climbing.
Find what you can work with and like.


the_climber


Mar 10, 2010, 7:53 AM
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Re: [kaizen] Ice Gear: Screws and biners [In reply to]
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kaizen wrote:
I really like the BD Express as many others have said, with 4 screamers, hot wire biners, and I don't use a screw gate locker.

Besides 1 22cm for making a v thread, you should only need 16s, and an emergency shorty, since you're just starting out. 22s and 19s offer no more security than a 16, so your carrying extra weight, spending extra dollars and time by loading up on long screws.

Have fun, be safe.

Be very carefull giving advice like that! It is not correct in all situations, and VERY dependent on ice conditions.

Lacy, poor quality ice, snice (halfway between snow and ice), ice with multiple oinon skins, mushroomed ice, caulifloured ice... these are all conditions where the benefits of long screws is worth their weight in gold. In these types of conditions, they DO hold better.

On average condition ice, plastic ice, well consolidated ice (ie. it was once lacy new ice, and has since filled in with minimal air pockets); in these conditions then Yes, 16's have just as much holding power than 22's. However, these are not always the conditions you find. Sure, you can dig for placements, but I've been in enough situations that after digging a foot to a foot and a half in on a vertical pillar only to get a marginal 22cm screw... It is best to have a few of them on the rack.


(This post was edited by the_climber on Mar 10, 2010, 7:58 AM)


mtnkid85


Mar 10, 2010, 9:19 AM
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Re: [the_climber] Ice Gear: Screws and biners [In reply to]
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Ive been pleasently surprised by the OP screws with the grinder knob. Sharp as all get out, start easy and rack very similiar to BDs. Every once in a while I find the knob to hang up, but not enough to really make a difference. Ocasionally they can be found for ~30 dollars a piece making them quite the bargin too.

Ive been using expresses and these for the most part.


kaizen


Mar 10, 2010, 9:51 AM
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Re: [the_climber] Ice Gear: Screws and biners [In reply to]
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the_climber wrote:
kaizen wrote:
I really like the BD Express as many others have said, with 4 screamers, hot wire biners, and I don't use a screw gate locker.

Besides 1 22cm for making a v thread, you should only need 16s, and an emergency shorty, since you're just starting out. 22s and 19s offer no more security than a 16, so your carrying extra weight, spending extra dollars and time by loading up on long screws.

Have fun, be safe.

Be very carefull giving advice like that! It is not correct in all situations, and VERY dependent on ice conditions.

Lacy, poor quality ice, snice (halfway between snow and ice), ice with multiple oinon skins, mushroomed ice, caulifloured ice... these are all conditions where the benefits of long screws is worth their weight in gold. In these types of conditions, they DO hold better.

On average condition ice, plastic ice, well consolidated ice (ie. it was once lacy new ice, and has since filled in with minimal air pockets); in these conditions then Yes, 16's have just as much holding power than 22's. However, these are not always the conditions you find. Sure, you can dig for placements, but I've been in enough situations that after digging a foot to a foot and a half in on a vertical pillar only to get a marginal 22cm screw... It is best to have a few of them on the rack.

You are very right. I did not see the author intended for use in Alpine conditions. Although I certainly would expect someone new to leading ice (if the author is) would get lots of time in on high-quality single-pitch ice, then gunning straight for multi-pitch alpine/delaminated/snowy ice routes, which is really the only time I bring long screws.

Then again, my biggest pet peeve is people getting in over their head, so I may be biased here in my assumptions.


granite_grrl


Mar 10, 2010, 10:25 AM
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Re: [kaizen] Ice Gear: Screws and biners [In reply to]
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kaizen wrote:
the_climber wrote:
kaizen wrote:
I really like the BD Express as many others have said, with 4 screamers, hot wire biners, and I don't use a screw gate locker.

Besides 1 22cm for making a v thread, you should only need 16s, and an emergency shorty, since you're just starting out. 22s and 19s offer no more security than a 16, so your carrying extra weight, spending extra dollars and time by loading up on long screws.

Have fun, be safe.

Be very carefull giving advice like that! It is not correct in all situations, and VERY dependent on ice conditions.

Lacy, poor quality ice, snice (halfway between snow and ice), ice with multiple oinon skins, mushroomed ice, caulifloured ice... these are all conditions where the benefits of long screws is worth their weight in gold. In these types of conditions, they DO hold better.

On average condition ice, plastic ice, well consolidated ice (ie. it was once lacy new ice, and has since filled in with minimal air pockets); in these conditions then Yes, 16's have just as much holding power than 22's. However, these are not always the conditions you find. Sure, you can dig for placements, but I've been in enough situations that after digging a foot to a foot and a half in on a vertical pillar only to get a marginal 22cm screw... It is best to have a few of them on the rack.

You are very right. I did not see the author intended for use in Alpine conditions. Although I certainly would expect someone new to leading ice (if the author is) would get lots of time in on high-quality single-pitch ice, then gunning straight for multi-pitch alpine/delaminated/snowy ice routes, which is really the only time I bring long screws.

Then again, my biggest pet peeve is people getting in over their head, so I may be biased here in my assumptions.
It depends where you're located and the conditions you're dealing with. I've spent a lot of time placing screws in sub par ice on single pitch routes here in Southern Ontario.

In fact, I have a hard time imagining any area that will give you perfect ice through the entire season. Eventually it all starts to snow cone as the ice season starts winding down.


will_gadd


Mar 10, 2010, 10:49 AM
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Re: [the_climber] Ice Gear: Screws and biners [In reply to]
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the_climber wrote:
kaizen wrote:
I really like the BD Express as many others have said, with 4 screamers, hot wire biners, and I don't use a screw gate locker.

Besides 1 22cm for making a v thread, you should only need 16s, and an emergency shorty, since you're just starting out. 22s and 19s offer no more security than a 16, so your carrying extra weight, spending extra dollars and time by loading up on long screws.

Have fun, be safe.

Be very carefull giving advice like that! It is not correct in all situations, and VERY dependent on ice conditions.

Lacy, poor quality ice, snice (halfway between snow and ice), ice with multiple oinon skins, mushroomed ice, caulifloured ice... these are all conditions where the benefits of long screws is worth their weight in gold. In these types of conditions, they DO hold better.

On average condition ice, plastic ice, well consolidated ice (ie. it was once lacy new ice, and has since filled in with minimal air pockets); in these conditions then Yes, 16's have just as much holding power than 22's. However, these are not always the conditions you find. Sure, you can dig for placements, but I've been in enough situations that after digging a foot to a foot and a half in on a vertical pillar only to get a marginal 22cm screw... It is best to have a few of them on the rack.

The vast majority of the holding power in a screw comes from its threads. If you use a long screw in poor ice then you have a long lever arm acting on those threads (the ice near the surface breaks). When a load is applied the tube is going to bend as the ice breaks... If things go well then the threads will still hold, but that long screw effectively becomes a short screw...

I want the threads very well engaged in a solid piece of ice. A shorter screw often works better for this in "poor" ice than a long screw; dig, break, somehow find a really good chunk, put a screw into it. A longer screw often goes totally through the good bit, or isn't supported well at the head. Or the threads aren't fully engaged, which can be hard to tell with a long screw wormed through bad ice.

If the threads aren't very well engaged for their full length then the screw just isn't any good regardless of length. There are a few situations where long screws do work better, but the more I climb the shorter my screws get or something like that (as long as the threads are full length). A long screw punched through layers of onion skin likely isn't very good, same with any vegetable ice.


reno


Mar 10, 2010, 1:02 PM
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tradmanclimbs wrote:
I just sold some of my helix and plan to replace with the new BD.

Oh, man, if I'd have known, I'd have bought them...

Damn!


Partner brent_e


Mar 10, 2010, 4:08 PM
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Re: [granite_grrl] Ice Gear: Screws and biners [In reply to]
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granite_grrl wrote:
tradmanclimbs wrote:
The new BD screws hands down start faster,screw in faster, clean easyer than grivel and have stainless reflective hanger for those sunny belays. I just sold some of my helix and plan to replace with the new BD.
I don't find this at all. I'll tend to be grabbing for a 16cm 360 over a 13cm Express because it places faster. Never noticed a difference in cleaning.

Short screw Express, long in 360s. My husband has some 22s in the Express and curses ever having bought them, we tend to grab my long 360s instead whenever we go out.

Biggest problem might be racking, but you just have to know how to do it and it's not a problem. That said, the handles are getting pretty long for the length of the screw by the time you get down to the 12cm length which is another reason why I'd rather carry 13cm Express screws.

it's easier to put a 360 in on an angle because the footprint is small and the handle gets out of the way easier...this is better for V-threads. I loath having bought Grivel americanas for belay screws for the same reason. They will soon be replaced with 360's.

as for screws I use 360's and Helix. The 360's are easy to rack if you put them on your screamers but a bit more difficult if you have to rack them on trad draws as the floppy biner makes it harder to get off. I was thinking of trying them on cord to rack on an ice clipper but have not yet tried this. Helix screws rack nicely on an ice clipper, though better on the right side than the left. I love the Helix as it starts and goes in super quick and I feel it has a smaller footprint than the BD's with a nicer handle. 360's and helix screws will both take 2 carabiners and I believe there was a picture of them taking 3 small carabiners.

If you're worried about the black hangers then paint them! it's not hard.

for biners: full size is better. I always found neutrino sized biners a bit too small with gloves on. If you're going to use screamers get wiregates for the rope end.


chossmonkey


Mar 14, 2010, 1:47 PM
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Grilvel 360's (long 16-20cm) and BD Express (short 10-13's). The Grivel screw with the preattached draw seems like a gimmick.

The stubby 360's kinda suck to get started because the handle gets in the way. Normally thin ice doesn't have all the ice in the way of your placement anyway.

I like the 360's for the longer lengths because you can stick them back into holes and between icicles limiting the amount of surface cleaning you need to do. Rack them individually on the top biner of each draw. Sorta like a clipper for a single screw.

Regular biners will work, but get wire gates for everything but your lockers if you can. Solid gates tend to freeze up more than wires and wires are always easier to clip. The flat gate keeps the biner from rolling as you press the rope against it. Ice can also get into the pin holes of solid gate biners preventing them from closing properly.

Avoid lockers when possible. Double up biners rather than using lockers when you can. If a locker freezes it can be nearly impossible to open it with out thawing.

Its counter intuitive, but I find smaller biners (to a point) to be easier to handle with gloves on. When clipping they fit inside your hand. The Neutrino is a good size for me and I have pretty big hands. Super micro biners would probably be quite hard to use.


scotty1974


Mar 30, 2010, 12:06 PM
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Get the stainless hanger BD turbo expresses...pricey, but good Lord they are sweet!!!

I just switch over the rope end of my screamers to the Trango neoclassic bent gate. The nose catches much less and they are a reasonable price.


bergbryce


Apr 13, 2010, 6:03 PM
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BD express for screws although I actually like the couple omega pacific screws I picked up for cheap a few years ago. They mess up the racking system so they don't see a ton of action though, so they are still nice 'n sharp!

I like large, wiregate biners that are key lock (no hook to get caught on all those winter clothes, slings, etc.) The wild country helium has worked fine for me but there are probably larger ones out there that are easier to work with w/ gloves on.


AntinJ


Apr 14, 2010, 1:33 PM
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Re: [bergbryce] Ice Gear: Screws and biners [In reply to]
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I strongly agree with Scotty and BergBryce;

The Newest BD Expresses are great. Not only is the stainless hanger and improvement, but most important the first few teeth/threads are aligned differently (read: better) than the previous model. This makes starting the screw A LOT easier!

Any key lock biner/draw combo will do well. I did have a little trouble with some of the ultra light draws in icy/frosty conditions as I found the gates could be frozen open a bit easier than the heavier models.


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