How to use Revolution, warning with instructional pictures.
Speed of placement is the key to a modern ice screw. The screw needs to make that initial, crucial bite into the ice, then it needs to wind in quickly and smoothly. That way you can clip the thing and keep moving before you get too pumped to continue!
Making a state of the art ice screw is not easy; when we started designing the Revolution Ice screw we knew we had a difficult task ahead of us.
First of all we had to make a very high quality steel tube. The front teeth had to be razor sharp to ensure first time engagement. The outside teeth had to be precision ground so that they pull the tube in efficiently during the wind in, and then are able to hold the screw firmly in position when loaded.
The inside of the tube also had to be honed to a mirror finish to minimise any frictional resistance when it is being wound into the ice.
Initial tests proved that we had got all these elements spot on – the screws worked like a dream. A little more tinkering with the hot forged head unit and the Revolution Ice Screw was born.
Aside from excellent ice cutting performance we knew that the screw had to handle well at all times. Traditionally ice screws have hung in a tangled mess on the harness, snagging ropes and generally being hard to get at. These screws rack beautifully and are ‘quick on the draw’ just when you need them.
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|Weight (grams / ounces)|
Weight (g / oz)
In grams and ounces, the weight, as stated by the manufacturer / brand.
|148.00 g / 5.22 oz|
No Handle / Knob
About 30% of the options
Cons: No “speed” handle/knob for faster threading
Note: This is not currently a feature to filter on (coming soon), but is important to see the difference.
About 24% of the options
Pros: There is an extra “handle” or “knob” for faster screw threading. Cheaper than folding versions.
Cons: Some of the knobs stick out substantially and could cause the rope or draws to get caught on the lengthened handle.
Around 42% of the options
Pros: Foldable handle allows for quick threading and reduces snagging potential by folding out of the way.
Cons: More expensive.
Nearly 70% of the screws are color-coded, and this represents nearly all of the screws that have handles/knobs (color coding can also be on the hanger or the tube itself).
Pros: Like on cams, color-coding makes for faster size identification.
Cons: Generally color coding only comes on more expensive screws (with handles)
There are 7 brands that follow red, yellow, blue, gray, green as a small to large standard, but that is not consistent across the industry.
Sewn Sling (Pre-Attached to the Hanger)
Pro: You don’t have to carry quickdraws, so it saves weight and speed of clipping.
Con: The length of this sling may not be ideal and it is not adjustable
2 Clip Points on the Hanger
Pro: More clipping options, especially ones that are closer to the ice to reduce leverage in a fall situation.
Con: This comes standard on only a few screws so your options are limited. On some configurations this will also make the hanger much larger.
This is the most controversial feature. Grivel and CAMP (which make up 30% of the ice screw market) use reverse threading on all of their screws and claim that this angle is more effective at spreading an impact load across ice.
If you are interested in the merits of the “reverse thread” design, click to see photos of the concrete tests (reverse threading pulls out more concrete than standard threading) and read about the concerns of testing in concrete. Read discussion of the engineering that goes into thread design and the questioning of straight pulls while testing to judge if reverse threading would make a [significant] difference in the event of a fall on ice.
Ice screws range between 6 - 30 cm. Generally speaking the sizes can be thought of as:
Short - 13 cm and below
Short screws (“shorties” or “stubbies”) are for thin ice found on harder ice climbs and/or in crappy conditions.
Medium - 14 - 17 cm
With ideal conditions climbers will be able to plug medium-sized screws with no problem. They have a nice weight to length balance.
Long - 18 cm and above
Long screws are most often used as anchors or in crappy ice conditions where they can go deep to find the real ice below. Mountaineers may also prefer long screws as they can gain better purchase in less than ideal ice and have less chance of melting out.
How Many To Carry
There is no standard of how many screws to carry of each size. It will vary depending on where you’re climbing, your style of climbing and what level you’re climbing at. Some climbers will get a variety of the sizes, while others might get a majority of medium screws, a few shorties for thin spots and some long screws for anchors and bomber placements.
Note: The amount of threading on each screw does not change even when the overall length changes (exception: e-climbs screws).
The material of the ice screw hanger (what you'd be clipping a carabiner into). Expect Stainless steel or aluminum here.
The material of the tube of the ice screw (aka shaft). Most often it'll be Chromoly or steel but Grivel, Petzl and e-climb (and perhaps others) offer an aluminum tube ice screw option.
Nearly 90% of ice screws are made from steel because steel is stronger and more durable.
Aluminum screws will dull and wear out much faster and are not designed for crag-style ice climbing. They are specialty ice screws best used for fast and light ascents.
The material of the teeth. Most often the tube material and the teeth material will be the same (e-climb and Petzl are exceptions).
Often, screws with aluminum tubes will have steel teeth to help with durability.
| Hanger: Steel|
In kilonewtons, the strength as stated by the manufacturer / brand.
The main climbing gear certifications are CE and UIAA--and normally the UIAA creates the rules that the CE body also supports. When possible, we try to list all the certifications the product carries.
To sell a climbing product in Europe, the device must be CE certified. There are no official requirements to sell climbing gear in the US. The UIAA certification is a voluntary process.
Ice screws are not certifiable below 10cm.
The DMM Revolution screws are the only screws in this test that don't have a winding handle, and this does set them at a disadvantage in that respect, however the smooth rounded heads do have a little 'bump' and the technique for winding these screws in is to place your palm against this bump and rotate your hand - it does actually work surprisingly well if you can get your hand straight against the screw, and made the screws as easy to place as some of the other screws on test with handles. If the screw/ice/hand is at a funny angle, then it isn't quite so easy to do this method.
They come in four sizes: 10, 13, 17 and 22 centimeters, with color-coded hangers. The hangers are big, round and smooth, which makes it a cinch to start the screws and also makes them glove friendly.
Pros: Outstanding design; incredible ""bite"" and easy to start; lightweight; glove friendly.
Cons: No winder (yet).