A pictoral representation of the UIAA-151 and EN-568 standards for ice screws.
Helix 20cm, Speedy 10cm
Grivel’s easiest ice screw is now easier with an improved tooth cut that places even faster. Easy to get the first bite in the ice thanks to its symmetrical grip. Easy to screw in thanks to the handle on the grip. Easy to attach a carabiner thanks to the shape of the ring. Easy to carry on the rack with a carabiner, even several at a time. You’ll find that Helix has all the fantastic qualities usually found in a Grivel screw, the ones that have made them famous worldwide and the reference in ice screws. The huge technological capacity and large quantities of production allow Grivel to offer a high quality product at an extremely competitive price. You won’t find anything else on the market with the same quality/cost ratio.
Speedy is a quickdraw specifically for ice screws designed to simplify maneuvers of placement and removal safely without losing the screw. It consists of a shackle rotating freely on the tube, a Dyneema® sling and a carabiner. There's a weight reduction of 15% compared to the traditional screw plus quickdraw. With Speedy the climber can set up a self belay by attaching the rope after only a few turns of the screw and then finish screwing in safely. As the carabiner hangs perpendicular to the ice it's easy to thread the rope with the carabiner facing in the right direction. The generously sized carabiner makes it easy to use with winter gloves. The point of force is right up against the ice and follows the screw's length. The ridge on the tube keeps Speedy in the right position. Speedy lets the climber remove the screw without unthreading the rope so it's impossible to lose the screw.
|Weight (grams / ounces)|
Weight (g / oz)
In grams and ounces, the weight, as stated by the manufacturer / brand.
|234.00 g / 8.30 oz|
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).
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.
Sewn Sling Attached
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.
Stevie Haston explains the benefits of using a speedy screw, available on Grivel Helix screws and Grivel 360 screws. The demo starts about 45 seconds in after a long intro.