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MrGecko

Study Up and Be Safe My Friends

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Just how strong is that Ice Screw?

Oct 29, 2013

 

Think you're a hot shot ice climber? Think you're a badass when your 40' run out from that last stubby?

 

For all you ice climbers who enjoy living through that ice pitch to sip that next single malt, ever wonder how good that placement is? Read this paper detailing the results of a highly controlled Dynamic Shock Load Evaluation of Ice Screws.

 

 

http://www.dryicetools.com/storage/Dynamic%20Shock%20Load%20Evaluation%20of%20Ice%20Screws_Final.pdf

 

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Good paper. I have been seen and taken lead falls on ice gear. Never seen a screw failure. My guess, luck. However, i remain wickedly gripped on lead because i still operate under the mantra of the leader must not fall! Oh and i sew that shit up.

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definitely. I remember the initial studies that changed how climbers placed screws (the +20' angle) and also some other papers that make me put a screamer on each and every screw I place. in ice climbing you need all the help you can get and learning some of these lessons is important to being a competent leader. That said, I am not sure I am going to go and change out my rack to be all stubbies in light of this. The modern 16s and 13s are so quick to go in that at my level I don't need the extra couple seconds reducing rack to stubbies would affoard me.

 

in the cascades, though, I still rack at least 1+ 10cm, and 3+ 13 cm screws for ever lead, cause it's just never that thick....

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Good paper. One thing that stood out to me was the authors repetion that experience is the difference between a good and a bad screw placement. Yet the study data does not address this at all. I wonder if experience had any bearing on whether a screw would hold per say. It would be interesting to see them repeat this study with 1 set of fairly in-experienced ice climbers place screws, 1 treatment of good placement and 1 treatment as bomber placement, then another set of the same treatments placed by "experienced" ice climbers. Doing the fall test and testing the difference between "good" and "bomber" placements and then novice vs experienced placements. Then we might find some more interesting info on how to identify the "best" placement attributes.

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Good Work

The more testing of ice anchors the better, no matter how it is performed. I find it encouraging that someone would spend the time, money and effort to bring us this information.

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First I just want to say thanks for bringing this paper to our attention. I think it has some very valuable information and makes people stop and think a little more about placement. As a new ice climber, this paper reminds me of the importance of going with competent people to gain a lot of experience before I start leading.

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Can we get a paper on the appropriate use of ropeguns as they pertain to the mitigation of risk to middle aged couch potatoes?

:moondance:<--- middle aged couch potato guy

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Interesting to note that no ice hooks passed (0 of 3). I use them, but only in turf or iced up thin cracks more like a pin. I have never even considered using them as ice pro. Spooky. Great paper.

 

Thanks for posting

 

MH

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Papers, studies and controlled conditions tests are nice to have, but there is no substitute for real world testing! I've fallen on screws twice in 23 years of ice climbing. Only one was a real test of the screw and the ice. It was a high fall factor on a 13cm in good ice. My partner and I examined the ice after my fall and there was no visible ice fractures and the screw had no signs of damage. Although it sucks to fall ice climbing, it reaffirmed that a properly placed screw in good ice will hold significant falls.

 

My $.02

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