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Screw you

Grivel 360 ice screw. Credit: Ari Paulin,  Shot on 2010-03-24 Photo taken.(c) (c) 2010 Ari Paulin, licensed under: (c) 2010 Ari Paulin.

I recently tumbled on an article and few net discussions regarding ice protection. Most seemed to consider BD Turbo Express and Grivel Helix as top of the range ice screws. Most didn't even mention Grivel 360, still the undisputed king of ice screws in my book.

See also Faulty by Design for previous post with me venting about lacklustre design.

People tend to rant about them being difficult to rack. And sure enough, they are more cumbersome to rack than most, perhaps even any, other screws. But then again, I tend to select my gear based on how they perform in their main duty. For me, ice screws exist to be used as protection, not mainly for being nice and shiny things to carry around hanging from your harness. Try to place one in featured ice and you soon realise that 360 delivers when anything else doesn't work at all. On more or less even surfaces there's not too great a difference to other top screws, although I still feel 360 is best of the bunch.

Somewhat similarly, I fail to understand why almost every manufacturer insists on having full length zippers on hard shell pants, yet, the very same companies make soft shells without them. Granted, softshell breathes better than hard shell, so there's some validity in that point from the ventilation point of view. That being said, bare skin or long johns beat any softshell by miles when it comes to breathability. Furthermore, zippers running from top to about mid thigh or just above the knee would be almost as good for ventilation purposes (You cant often really have them fully opened anyway and if you could, you would probably be better off by not wearing them). Not having full-length zippers would allow the pants to be closer cut, lower bulk, more supple and lighter. All this with one thing less to break. Another point I've seen mentioned as a plus for full-length zips is the ease of putting them on and taking them off. True enough, with zips it is possible to put the pants on without taking the boots of. That being said, I can't remember having ever either put on or taken off the pants en route. Therefore, I see no reason whatsoever to give this any sort of emphasis. If any pants need such zips, I feel that they are insulation pants (should one use such), not shell ones.

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