How to Rack Ice Screws?

How to Rack Ice Screws?
How to Rack Ice Screws?

Ice climbing can be a very fun activity. However, it is not something for the faint of heart. At the same time, you have to be sure that you have everything you need. Once you’ve acquired a sufficient number of ice screws, you’ll need to find out how to rack them. So, how should you rack ice screws?

There is no universal way to rack ice screws. Everyone is going to have a different preference. Still, there are some methods that are going to work great for pretty much everyone.

Once you’ve dressed for the task, you will have your hooks around your waistline. All you have to do is hook the hanger of the screw onto the hook.

This is the best way to ensure that you have quick and easy access to the screws that you need when you need them. Still, you should experiment a little bit.

Do that and you may find a method of racking the ice screws that you prefer more.

Below, you’re going to learn more about the importance of racking ice screws in the right manner.

What Is Racking Ice Screws?

Racked Ice Screw

Racking might sound like a complicated subject. However, it is actually pretty basic. In fact, it is something that you’ll get the hang of pretty quickly. Racking is nothing more than finding a way to keep your screws readily available out there.

When you’re climbing up the ice, you’re going to have your hands full. You’ll find it very difficult to reach your hand around to grab the screws. Therefore, they need to be positioned in a way that makes it very easy to grab them.

This is why it is often easier to stick them on your hooks. Either way, when you’re trying to rack ice screws, you’re just finding a way to hang them on your equipment to make them easily accessible.

It is wise to line up the screws to ensure that you’re able to get the most important screws first. More about this will be provided in greater depth below.

Quick And Easy

When attempting to rack ice screws, you need to focus on achieving two things. You need to make it quick and easy to grab the screws that you need when you need them. After all, you’re going to be in a hurry to get your belay platform created.

Ice Screw Belay

You cannot afford to fumble around trying to grab the screws. You should be able to access the screws that you need immediately.

This will ensure that you’re able to quickly and conveniently create your belay. In return, you’ll be able to reach your destination much faster than you would otherwise.

In order to make this process so convenient, you need to line up your screws in the right order.

Line Up

To make things much easier on yourself, it is highly recommended that you get the right order when racking your screws. If you put the most important screws on first, it will be much more difficult to get them off.

Therefore, you have to be experienced to know how to properly rack ice screws. With a little more experience, you’ll eventually find out which screws you’re going to use the most. These screws should be added to the rack last.

After you’ve spent some time ice climbing, you’ll know what you’re going to encounter. This will give you more confidence to rack your screws in the correct order.

Either way, you shouldn’t have to worry about it too much. As long as you’re cautious, you shouldn’t have to worry.

Just fumble around your rack a little bit and you’ll eventually be able to grab the screw that you need at the given time. If you’re interested in climbing professionally, racking your screws correctly will be paramount.

Stubby Screws First

Getting the right setup really depends on the ice conditions that you’re going to be facing. Therefore, this can further complicate the process of racking your screws. However, you can stick with some basic knowledge.

In general, the thin placements will almost always come near the top outs. With this in mind, you’re going to need the stubby screws in the end.

To ensure that you’re going to be able to grab them at this time, you should place them on the rack first.

Building An Ice Screw Holder

If you do not like the idea of using ordinary hooks for your ice screws, you can always build your own ice screw holder. This will ensure that you have a dedicated holder for the screws.

Attempting to extract a screw from the carabiner will prove to be very difficult. This is definitely the case when you’re working with a single hand. And, the hand is going to be wearing a glove too.

Making your own ice screw holder will eliminate this problem. There are plenty of excellent ways to create a holder. You can use carabiners, plastic tubes, and cable ties.

This is not a necessity. Nevertheless, having a holder that is specifically designed for ice screws can make the experience much more enjoyable.

Plus, it’ll make you more efficient out there on the ice. Either way, it is entirely up to you to determine what method is going to work best for you. Be sure to experiment a bit until you find out what you prefer the most.

Buy A Rack

If you’re looking for a quick and easy solution to the problem at hand, you should think about buying yourself an ice screw rack. There are certain companies that manufacture customized racks for this purpose.

Remember that you’re going to be carrying 7 or 8 eight screws at one time. If you do not have the right rack, it will be painfully difficult to remove the screw that you need.

The good news is that customized racks aren’t too expensive. As mentioned above, you can always make your own too. Either way, it is vital to choose a rack or hanger that you’re comfortable with.

While you’re down on a level surface, you should spend some time experimenting with your screws. Grab them as quickly as you can. Once you finally start climbing, this will make it much easier for you to execute your plan.

What Screws Do You Need On Your Rack?

Having the right rack is very important. Bringing the right screws is probably even more important. With that being said, you should focus on getting both perfect. Since you’re going to be experiencing varying degrees of ice quality and thickness, you’ll need various lengths.

The specific screws that you need will depend on the conditions that you encounter. Nevertheless, you can most likely make it by bringing at least 8 screws.

For the best screws, you should bring two 13cm screws, four 16cm screws, and two 19cm screws. This is just enough to get you where you’re going.

If you bring too many, you may have difficulty carrying the screws with you. Therefore, you really have to have a minimalist mindset when you’re going to go ice climbing.

Why Your Rack Matters

Ultimately, your ice screw rack matters more than you could ever imagine. After all, to be a successful ice climber, everything has to be pretty close to perfect. With this in mind, your rack is going to matter a great deal.

If you do not have the right rack, you’re going to find yourself fumbling around with your hands. That could be incredibly dangerous. You may not be able to grab the right screw quickly enough. In return, you may be hanging on the ledge without enough support.

Plus, you need to make sure that you have the right screws. To create the best belay platform, you need to use the perfect screws. The screw should be flush with the ice’s surface when it is fully screwed in.

This should provide you with the maximum amount of security. If you bring screws that are too short or too long, you’re going to be taking multiple risks to reach your destination.

With all of this in mind, you need to make sure that you get the right rack and the perfect set of screws. To do that, you may need to experiment a little. Either way, your efforts will certainly pay off dividends in the long run.


When you’re out there climbing icy mountains, you need to make sure that everything is absolutely perfect. If it is not, there is a risk that you’re going to panic. In return, you could end up getting yourself into big trouble.

There are plenty of things to worry about. The good news is that racking your ice screws doesn’t have to be too difficult. You just need to know how to rack them in a way that is going to make your life easier.

As long as you do that, you’ll be able to grab the screws that you need very rapidly. In return, you’ll have no trouble securing yourself to the surface and taking the next step towards your final destination.


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