Zach, of Idaho, breaks the golden rule of ice climbing: do not fall. When his tools pop, he takes a factor 1+ whipper onto a single ice
screw, and smashes through a thin shell of ice into a hole, coming to a stop below the belay.
"I'm glad that screw held!" Zach tells Rock and Ice. "It was probably a good 20 feet to the bottom [of the hole], so I'm glad the screw saved
me from a hard landing, as well as my partner from having to do a crevasse-style rescue."
The ice screw, a 16-centimeter Black Diamond Express, caught the fall and was "amazingly" undamaged, Zach says. His placement was solid: "I placed it at
a slight upward angle, and [the screw] was sunk to the hanger, which minimized the bending stress [watch: How to Place an Ice Screw].
The ice was also pretty hard.
"The ice around the screw was slightly fractured from the fall," he adds, "but only a few small cracks radiated from the screw."
Except for a couple of cuts on his face from flying ice, Zach was uninjured in the fall.
"I'll have to come back under better conditions and renewed strength and confidence!" he says.
Happy Friday the 13th and climb safe out there this weekend!