Is it necessary to clip all ice screws with Screamers?
Screamers, those load-absorbing, tear-apart sewn slings made by Yates, might help a marginal ice screw hold a fall, but so might divine intervention. A Yates Ice-Scream ($20) activates at roughly 440 pounds, and, according to Yates, reduces peak loading by 660 to 880 pounds. Over the past decade I have used Screamers and taken numerous live test falls, long and short, with a little to a lot of rope out, and have never generated a load as low as 440 pounds. This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but it is reasonable to assume that if you fall onto an Ice-Scream you will always activate it. Now, will the Ice-Scream prevent a screw from pulling? A screw in bad ice will likely rip regardless, while a screw properly placed in solid ice will probably hold regardless. Screamers hedge the bet in that gray zone of the unknown, and ice, ever changeable even on a good day, is the cup in which you shake the dice. Screamers can weight the dice in your favor. I own and use a couple of Screamers, but more for rock rather than ice pro for the simple reason that if the ice is bad I don't stop and waste time and effort putting in screws, and if the ice is good, the screw probably will hold without a Screamer.