Mountaineering ice screws

Choose your mountaineering ice brooch from the best brands - Express delivery (More details)

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How do I choose an ice-cream scoop?

How long should it be?

There are several factors to consider when answering this question.

First of all, it's important to consider the thickness of the ice to be drilled. You don't need a 19 or 22 cm spindle for a wall of ice less than 10 cm thick. It is preferable to have a set of broaches of different lengths, so as to be prepared for all situations.

In the case of thick ice, you don't have to use the longest pins. However, the deeper you drive your pins, the stronger your anchorage will be. It's worth noting, however, that the longest pins are also the heaviest and most cumbersome.

Unless you're in a very specific glacier-racing situation, there's generally no need to worry about weight by the gram. We recommend that you carry and use longer pins if necessary, even if this means extra weight. The security and stability offered by a good grip are often worth the extra weight.

Which material?

Indeed, the choice between steel and aluminum for ice screws can be a tricky one, as there is no material that is perfectly superior to the other. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Steel is heavier, but also stronger, while aluminum is lighter, but also more fragile.

Ideally, a spindle combining both metals would be an excellent compromise. However, if you have to make a choice, we recommend that you opt for steel spindles because of their robustness, except in specific cases such as glacier races where every gram counts and where aluminum may be preferred to reduce the overall weight of the equipment.

With or without cranks?

There are many advantages to using a crank on your ice screws. It makes it much easier to drive the spindle into the ice, providing a better grip and faster attachment. This can be particularly useful in situations where speed of action is crucial, such as on technical ice.

Despite the extra bulk and weight that adding a crank handle to your spindles can entail, we strongly recommend you opt for this choice because of its practicality and efficiency. Even if the initial investment may be higher, the advantages offered by using a crank are well worth it, particularly in terms of saving time and energy on your icy ascents.

A spindle for every purpose

When choosing ice screws, it's important to consider two key parameters: ice thickness and ice hardness.

For ice thickness, it's advisable to have a set of ice screws of different lengths to adapt to the different thicknesses you may encounter on your ascents. Longer pins will enable you to anchor them well deep in the ice, while shorter pins will be suitable for thinner ice.

As far as ice hardness is concerned, this mainly concerns the tips of the pins. The most versatile broaches are Blue Ice's 3-point Aero Lite broaches, which provide good penetration even in the hardest ice. Another option to consider is Petzl's laser broach, specially designed for carved ice.

So it's important to choose your pins according to the thickness and hardness of the ice you're going to encounter on your ascents, to ensure good attachment and safe progress.
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