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Josh Wood

Kautz screw size?

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I'm headed out to the Kautz in a couple weeks and was wondering about the typical screws that people bring. My glacier ice climbing experience is limited and I don't know what to bring along. Is the ice usually hard, so 13cm's are good or is it terrible ice and 19's and 22's are a better option?

 

My guess is that longer screws are the answer, but I don't want to carry any more than I need.

 

Thanks in advance.

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I usually carry 3 long screws on that route. It is hard to say what the current conditions are (any trip reports?). Sometimes it is snow, sometimes ice.

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If you go in a couple of weeks there is likely not to be a lot of ice. Last year I was up there in September and I brought 2 22cms and 4 16cms and it was fine. The ice is a bit rotten so you'll definitely want to chip down a bit before placing each screw. Enjoy!

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I just climbed that route on Friday and compared to last year (and the year before) there is way, way less snow over the ice in the upper portion of the chute. If you look at the MORA blog for the Kautz it actually shows ice in the upper chute in early May.

 

Before our climb it looked snow covered from a distance but ended up being only 12" or less of weak snice over better ice. I would try to sink pickets but they bottomed out 1/2 way. Some excavation revealed decent ice underneath. Long screws were hard to sink for the last few cm's and seemed very strong.

 

Would the weight of a couple of slightly longer screws really prevent you from climbing the route? There's plenty of other places in one's kit to shave weight . . .

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In general for glacial routes longer screws are preferred because finding good ice can be problematic. Also you can always girth hitch a long screw.

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The Kautz ice chute is still a snow climb as of today (7/13). We watched a couple parties walk right down both steps around 5pm on Weds 7/11.

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