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Ice Climbing Ropes and Screamers

Because ice climbing gear is generally less strong than rock climbing gear, it is worthwhile to take greater precautions to reduce the force on your gear than you might while rock climbing. One way you can reduce the load is to use ropes with a low impact force, which will thus impart less force on your protection. Half and twin ropes have the lowest impact forces and are also useful in ice climbing because ice pitches tend to be long and it is often handy to have two ropes to rappel with. Because generally less protection is placed on ice compared to rock, long ropes (like 70 to 100 meters) are sometimes used.


Dry climbing ropes are preferable when climbing waterfalls. Sounds reasonable, yes? Well, it’s due to the fact that ropes lose roughly 50% of their strength when wet. Another advantage is that nice dry treated ropes don’t turn into frozen cables… as often. For top roping it is preferable to use single ropes because they are often stronger, thicker (for your partners with bad aim), and because they stretch less when you fall.

Screamers are load-limiting devices that are designed to deploy at about a 2kN load (~440lb) and keep the maximum load on the gear below 2.5kN (~500lbs). These are simply nylon or spectra slings made with special stitching designed to rip under load. If all the special stitching rips, then the fall continues on a full strength sling. It is a good idea to set up your screamers and quickdraws with the gates facing the same direction (opposite direction of how you would set the carabiners for sport climbing) because it makes clipping the rope and screw easier.

Ropes & Screamers

Half Ropes (8-9mm) Yates Screamer Petzl Screamer

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