Jason Griffith

eClimb Klau Ice Screws Review

When I first saw these screws I remember thinking that their design intuitively made sense. Where other screws use a heavy steel tube in the shaft of the ice screw, eClimb has used light weight aluminum. As all screws tend to wear out on the points of the teeth, they have made the Klaus’s teeth steel and replaceable. They also have an extra long coffee-grinder style handle on the hanger for quick placement and come in lengths and colors similar to Black Diamond’s ice screw lineup.

The moment you pick these screws up you notice how much lighter they are compared to their all-steel counterparts. For a typical multi pitch ice cragging setup I usually carry 10-12 screws, mostly 13 and 16cm sizes with a couple 19-22cm sized screws for belays and v-threading. Assuming a rack of 12, you end up saving 402 grams (14 oz, or about 14 carabiners) with the eClimb screws over Black Diamond Turbo Express screws.

Klau4 – 22cm – 135g
Klau3 – 18cm – 110g
Klau2 – 14cm – 105g
Klau1 – 10cm – 100g

BD Turbo Express – 22cm – 168g
BD Turbo Express – 19cm – 159g
BD Turbo Express – 16cm – 145g
BD Turbo Express – 13cm – 134g
BD Turbo Express – 10cm – 118g

This all sounded great thus far, so I took them out into the hills for two distinctly different types of ice climbing: waterfall ice in Wyoming and spring alpine climbing in Alaska.

When climbing hard waterfall ice, placing protection is often one of the most difficult parts. Getting an ice screw started into the ice usually requires you to push in on the screw while you pull down and out on your tool. Inherently, you don’t have much leverage in this scenario. Sharp and long teeth help here as they allow the screw to bite into the ice and begin drilling a hole with less force. The teeth on the Klau screws are sharp but relatively flat (~60° tooth angle) in comparison to a Turbo Express (~45° tooth angle). The tooth/screw-wall thickness on the Klau is also significantly thicker (~25% more) than the Turbo Express, meaning that more ice is displaced during placement. With these “less pointy” and thicker teeth, I felt like my placements with the Klau screws didn’t start as easily as with my other screws.

The Klau screws have a long, fold out coffee-grinder style handle on the hanger that makes for quick placement even in hard ice. While this length does provide better leverage than other screws, the folded over handle with spindle at the tip tended to tangle with the other slings on my harness, making for some annoying clusters while leading.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/thecascadian Patrick Fink

    With all due respect for the effort that you put into writing this, it seems patently absurd to talk about taking what is usually a steel screw and making it out of aluminum without discussing the effect that that may have on the strength of the screw and its holding power in various placements.

    The 10 cm screw, for example is rated for aid only at 106 g (Don’t know where you got your number, this is from their website for the Klau 1) (Compared to the Black diamond 10 cm screw which is full strength and weighs only 118g). When an ice screw fails under load it first deforms where it enters the ice and then fails within the ice around the threads. Making a screw out of aluminum could result in an entirely different mode of failure, perhaps by deformation of the softer metal rather than failure of the surrounding ice.

    The construction of screws from aluminum could be an advance if proven with time, but to accept this idea without some degree of skepticism or even treatment of the subject of material seems a bit flippant.

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