"Life is brought down to the basics: if you are warm, regular, healthy, not thirsty or hungry, then you are not on a mountain... Climbing at altitude is like hitting your head against a brick wall - it's great when you stop."

Chris Darwin

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Size matters

This winter has been extremely disappointing for us Finns willing to climb ice. Actually you pretty much need the calendar to know, that it, indeed, is mid winter, not early autumn as the weather has been plenty misleading. Should winters go on like this, retailers should probably forget about long screws and only stock 10 and 13 cm versions; there's not much use for the 16 or even 22 cm screws when your drink has more ice than local ice falls.

Lucky for me then, that since I happened to own a pair of recalled Petzl Sharken crampons, I decided to take single 10cm Petzl Laser Sonic ice screw as part of the compensation for returned crampons. I initially though that that screw wouldn't see much action. How wrong I was! This year I've placed it on most of my leads, to the point that I went on and bought another one, this time Black Diamond Express. Seems like American 10cm is more than 1cm shorter than the French one.

Although 10cm screws don't look like much, if you only have 10cm thick layer of ice, those certainly are the best options, much stronger than tied of 16 or 13 cm screws. Furthermore, fully sunk 10cm is way preferable to 13cm screw that made a little too close contact with underlaying rock. Saves plenty of money as well. Obviously quality of the ice is even more paramount to the strength of the placement than is the case with longer screws, though.

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