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 hooking down on ice/ ice screws

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hnewman Posted - 10/06/2007 : 04:01:43 AM
Does anyone have experience hooking their team down on a lake in the ice and using ice screws? If so, what type of ice screws do you use and how do you set these up.

Probably will be buying Turbo ice screws by Diamond.

15   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Qimmiq Posted - 10/27/2007 : 5:59:58 PM
Sea ice is said to be stronger than freshwater ice, but I don't know how much stronger and if the difference is great enough to want to use ice screws as opposed to the way we always picketed 15 to 18 Inuit Dogs (only one to three were females) out on the sea ice during our travels. All our Inuit guides used ice davits. We made them using a knife, creating a bridge of ice maybe 3-4 inches wide and a few inches thick by chopping away at either side of the "bridge" and then underneath it. Yeah, I scratched my head on more than one occasion wondering if they would hold, but never had a team break free. And there was never any concern about breaking free even if the whole team were to go ballistic and yank on the chain if a polar bear ambled into camp.

Maybe ice screws are just easier to use, but the Inuit I know prefer fewer moving and non-manufactured parts, like toggles instead of snaps and perhaps that's the reason they use ice davits and not ice screws. Besides, davits are free.

Here's where you can sort of see a photo of an ice davit.
GRR Posted - 10/24/2007 : 1:25:22 PM

Where they get nasty is in slush or water on top of the ice

plan for alternatives maybe at leat one end attchaed to a tree (with a strap to protect the tree) on shore

madtrapper Posted - 10/23/2007 : 9:42:47 PM
I guess I should read the previous posts better ie. screwing the anchors all the way in
madtrapper Posted - 10/22/2007 : 10:10:33 PM
One thing I havent seen mentioned yet is that you need to screw the ice screws all the way in or they will bend , I have the proof in my sled bag.The other thing is if you go thru the trouble of augering a hole , instead of drilling two , why not just drill one , freeze alog in on end and use your snub line instead of your hook.even if you chop or drill a hole my snow hook has never popped out of a hole deep enough with the hook just set in the ice.There is a right and a wrong way to chop a hole for your hook. Also, I haved used the ten $ ice screws for over ten years and never had a sharpness problem. The biggest problem Ive had is that after using the screw the core has to be removed from the inside or it will be hard to restart on another hole.
helidog Posted - 10/21/2007 : 02:48:06 AM
On the will steger video the first screw he placed was a titanium screw I warned you about. They are so difficult once they are dull he needed the extra leverage of his axe to turn the screw, the second one held up was a smileys brand screw or a very early black diamond model evident by the small turning lever on the handle. The snow will need to be cleared down to the solid ice. Do not use these in packed snow.
helidog Posted - 10/21/2007 : 02:32:07 AM
Keep in mind, these are designed to be placed while you are hanging by one hand on a tool, on vertical or overhanging water ice with only a quarter inch stuck in the ice- meaning they have to be easy to place. I think it is realistic to stand on the brake, bend down and place the screw in seconds. The trick is holding it straight when you start it, once it starts, if you bought the express screw it sets right in. The pound in ones are called snargs, are obsolete, do not have near the holding power and are no longer sold. Anything that requires preplanning and augering is way more complicated than these screws. Was thinking the 10 cm screw would work well especially if the ice was thinner, or if you use 2 or 3. The difference between the turbo's and turbo express is monumental, it could be the difference between getting the screws out when you leave vs leaving a 50 dollar screw in the lake. you can kneel on the brake and whip em right out.
helidog Posted - 10/21/2007 : 02:04:49 AM
In my previous life before mushing I was a climber. The limitation to what ice screws can hold is the condition of the ice. Chromoly screws last longer and stay sharper. the easiest placing ones have a small lever on them to screw them in. (kinda like the suicide wheel on the steering wheel of a semi) Do not but the cheapie screws you see for 15-20 dollars, the titanium ones. you will be sorry. They become dull with a few uses and take soo much time and energy to place. 17cm screws are a good standard size, with good holding power, I would carry shorter ones only if the screw risked bottoming out on something like rock or ground. Longer ones like 22 cm are good but it is essential to either sink them in all the way or tie them off short at the point they intersect the ice or you will bend/break/or lever the screw out of the ice. If the screw protrudes into water it will quickly transmit the warmer temp water and melt the ice compromising your placement. Another idea is to carry two or three and create a self equalzing anchor. you can do this with a single piece of climbing cordalette about six to eight feet long and 3 or 4 carabiners. If you are considering this I will explain it further. It takes less than a minute to do once the screws are placed. Understanding that I absolutely cringe at the thought of promoting a specific brand, the black diamond turbo express is probably the most superior screw on the market. With good solid ice this is a bomb proof way to secure a team. I imagine it would not prove to be practical unless you were stopping for a while but for an extra pound or two of gear this provides a great option.
Mal Posted - 10/19/2007 : 5:47:58 PM
I have seen it done where an ice auger is used. It takes pre-planning. Two holes are drilled and logs or a piece wood is placed into the holes with third piece of either wood or metal connects the two pieces of wood. Once the holes freeze over it makes and excellent snow hook hold.

hnewman Posted - 10/07/2007 : 10:54:56 AM
As was asked what length do you recommend? I will buy extra and hope their is ice to practice this a few times but I will practice and get it figured out.

Any other suggestions and an ideas to do this are appreciated. Hooking the snowhook down first in the ice is a good start for sure.

my guys calm :) well we are practicing that too:)

debkshiba Posted - 10/06/2007 : 10:16:17 PM
For those of you who have done this, what length screws do you consider long enough? I have no experience with ice climbing to know what is considered a "long" screw, and I'm sure that the qualiity of ice makes a difference, but what is considered long in ice screws? BTW, the Will Steger video was cool, even if I couldn't download the whole thing.

Thanks, DebK
spacemtndog Posted - 10/06/2007 : 7:56:15 PM

I think your Black Diamond screws would work well provided your team in calm when you stop. You could easily scews one in while keeping weight on the sled brake. I would use at least two at the rear of the sled and one up in front of the team. Diamond makes some pretty long screws which would be better.

I would practice screw placement and removal a few times before going live with the team!

Peter McClelland Posted - 10/06/2007 : 5:32:15 PM
We do this on a regular basis for both sleds and stake out lines. I like the kind that you hammer in and screw out. I take my ax and make a hole in the ice and set my snow hook in it. This take some doing as you usually have to hold on to your sled and brake while using an ax. I ussually kneel on the brake. Once the hook is set than I put in the ice screw. Hopfully the team is calm when trying to leave or you might be leaving your screw behind.
hnewman Posted - 10/06/2007 : 4:57:41 PM
I need to be able to hold 5 to 6 freight dogs, on a lake when ice fishing. So I think I would be hooking the sled down too with the team still hooked in--not sure.
The person I will be working with knows how to do it, but I want to get some ideas and need to get the equipment so thought I would ask.

So I am asking:)

Thanks for any help

shore Posted - 10/06/2007 : 3:01:57 PM
I have never, ever tried it myself, but Will Steger does it on expeditions. He put up some video of staking out the dogs using ice screws to anchor the pickets at
spacemtndog Posted - 10/06/2007 : 1:10:32 PM

Interesting idea - what type of ice conditions are you anticipating?
Lake crossings? Thin packed ice on a trail?

How many dogs in your team and how long will you want to hold them for?

Ice screws go in and out pretty quicky but I need more info to give you a better response.

Never done this with dogs but my Husband and I have experience ice climbing.

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