Simond Racing ice screwsTry our demo Simond Racing screws (17cm and 21cm)
Simond Racing ice screws are without peer. Although most manufacturers are producing high-quality ice screws these days, there are several attributes that set Simond Racing ice screws apart.
Let's look first at machining, because the quality of the machining determines how easily an ice screw can be wound into ice, and hence how much time and energy you have to spend in placing the screw while hanging one-handed from your axe. (1) Simond Racing ice screws are tapered to reduce friction as you turn the screw into the ice (i.e., the mouth of the screw is slightly wider than the base, although this won't be visible to the naked eye. There are only a couple of other products that incorporate this important design. (2) Simond Racing screws are nickel-plated to reduce friction, demonstrating Simond's expertise in materials design. (3) Simond Racing screws are produced in the Simond factory in Chamonix, allowing the strictest quality control and testing, rather than being outsourced for manufacture in China with inferior metals (anyone else noticed all the recalls issued for climbing gear manufactured in China recently?). (4) The winder of Simond Racing screws does not need to be folded in and out and is larger than that of the Black Diamond Express screw, and hence easier to use when wearing a glove.
A few other points.
There are two clip points on the hanger. At anchors, this allows the second climber to clip a daisy chain directly onto the screw rather than onto his/her partner’s carabiner. It is even more useful for leading, since after you place a screw as a runner, you can clip a daisy chain to the screw and rest, then clip the quickdraw and rope at leisure.
You may be wondering whether to choose an ice screw with a long flip-out winder (as on the Simond Tornado ice screw (discontinued) or the Grivel series) or a stubby winder (as on the Simond Racing ice screw or the Black Diamond Express ice screw). Wisdom was that the long winders produced more torque for winding but made racking ice screws on your harness more cumbersome. To be honest, a modern-day ice screw shouldn't need the extra torque of a long winder; if it does, there are probably issues with the ice screw machining. Long winders were probably only introduced to achieve a point of difference from models having stubby winders (i.e., they were solutions to problems that didn't exist). Don't even think about getting an ice screw that requires you to carry an additional device to screw it in (yes, that is a design still available...) and you will probably regret not spending the extra few bucks buying screws without winders (and hence we don't stock them).
There's a bunch of other design considerations that are a bit too technical to go into here, mostly relating to how the teeth have large taper and bevelling, the former making it easier to get the screw to bite in the first half-turn (important when placing screws one-handed) and the latter adding to the ease of placement in general.
The handles of the Simond Racing screws are colour coded to quickly identify the length of screw on your harness. Lengths are 13, 17, 21cm. The 13cm screws are used more for mixed climbing on thin ice, the 17cm screws for water ice and hard alpine ice, and the 21cm screws for hard and soft alpine ice.
Racing screw (any length) NZ$90
Pitons are protection that consistently help climbers out of tough situations. When a crack is too thin to take a wire, usually a knifeblade piton can be used; when a crack is full of ice or it just doesn't taper the right way for a wire, then just hammer in a piton; when forced to abseil off rock protection, you want that piece to be a solidly smashed-in piton.
All pitons can be removed from a crack by hitting them back and forth in a direction parallel to the crack.
Knifeblades (top picture): 60 or 75 mm in length; NZ$18
Simond angle pitons are no longer available.
Simond Camerocks are wires (i.e., nuts) used for mountaineering and rock climbing. They have two advantages over other wires.
The most obvious difference is the grooves that increase stablity when the wires are stacked (see right). The ability to stack wires means that you don't have to pass on a good crack when you have already used the appropriately sized wire earlier in the pitch.
The second difference is that the increase in thickness (the taper) of a Camerock wire is more gradual than that of most other brands. This lets the Camerock sit more stably in a crack, whereas another wire may walk or rotate more easily. There is nothing like the peace of mind of climbing after placing a well-seated wire that you know is never going to move, and it is for this reason that we get customers coming back to us to buy additional sets of Camerocks and that the Camerocks are my "go-to" pieces on my rack when I am on a crux.
Available as a set of nine (size 1 is 6x12mm, size 9 is 19x29mm).
camerock (set of 9 sizes) NZ$140