Ice screw buying guide:
How to choose properly the length of an ice screw?
Ice screws are available in various lengths from 10 to 22 cm. The length needed depends on the thickness of the ice, it is important to make sure that the head sits flush with the ice to comply to safety recommendations. In case you put a screw longer than the thickness of the ice, you have to place a sling at the point of contact to avoid any lever effect. Shorter ice screws between 10 and 13 cm can be placed on thinner ice without bumping into the rock beneath. This is why we recommend, for mountaineering to carry a large range of ice screws to be prepared for any situation. For ski touring, a couple of long sized ice screws ensure a good safety level. To make a good anchor point or maybe an Abalakov, two long screws are adequate. You will also be more comfortable performing a crevasse rescue, if one ice screw gets loose, the second can make up for it. Regarding long ice screws, they are ideal to establish rock solid anchor points.
How to use properly your ice screw?
To handle and put in place your ice screw with ease one-handed while wearing gloves, modern models feature teeth and threads designed specifically to bite into the ice. Some models such as the ones from Petzl and Black Diamond have a winding handle that unfolds to drive them faster and more easily once the first threads are into the ice. Big brands like Petzl and Black Diamond use a colour coded system to differentiate quickly screw lengths. For transport, a reinforced nylon pouch is ideal to protect the rest of your gear from the sharp teeth of the screws. Some harnesses from Petzl even feature reinforced loops to carry them without the risk of tearing your pants.