So over the last 6 days I have spent 3 on multiptich ice, not bad considering my late start to the season. Mind you this is my first season back in the world of ice in some time, my oh my has the sport changed in my absence. Besides the big changes that Will Gadd talks about like T style vs H style climbing technique one of the biggest changes I’ve noticed is modern testing, especailly in screw placement. Do you have a red BD screw on your ice rack? you know the stubbie said to be an aid piece? I know I do and most climbers tend to shy away from the 10cm size screw for good reason, not enough thread to really hold a fall, or is it? hear me out here, I do have a point coming eventually….. so on all 3 climbs of the last week I have run into places where other climbers have gotten to a stance and decided they were comfortable enough to put a screw in, but someone before them had already done exactly as they were about to do, so there is already a bored out hole in the ice from the previous team. Instead of finding a clean piece of ice to bore into they drilla new hole only an inch or two from the pre-existing hole, bad I tell you BAD! When you find a hole from a previous team and you really need to get a screw in right there you have two options; 1 hang on for dear life while sketching out trying to find a clean chunk of ice at least a foot away from where the hole is already bored, struggle to get the threads started due to that whole sketch we already mentioned, and maybe just maybe you get that screw in and clipped before you completely screw the pooch….. Yeah that was a sacrcastic worst case senario described, but hey it happens just TRUST me… Oooorrrrrrr 2 take a screw of choice, maybe a 10 or 13 or even a 16 (preference on the first two sizes) and just simply thread it into the existing hole of the team ahead of you, provided there is only one bored hole already and not like I found today with six bores inside five inches across and 3 inches vertically…… Don’t think it’ll be strong enough? Great thing about this modern tech world is access to all the data. so take a look for yourselves at what the data says.
that screw they tested over and over again (10cm bd) averaged out to over 10kn of holding power before blowing out, mind you most lead falls are thought to generate 4-7kn provided you aren’t bouncing down the route like you probably will be in an ice fall… (the bouncing keeps the forces lower, although you bones might not think so)
heres the full report from Strikerescue on their testing
Biggest thing is that the quality of ice is always going to be king, but in good ice rebores even with a 10cm screw are prefectly strong, so strong in fact I have much weaker rock gear to say the least. So lets watch each others backs out there and make life easier at the same time, no more endless drilling until there isn’t any good ice left to drill and instead use a few rebores. Remember its easier to rebore and it doesn’t kill all the good ice for the team behind you.