Author:
Martina Wengenmeir

Lightweight aluminum ice screws for ice climbing and mountaineering

ISPO Award 2022 Winner: Blue Ice Aero Lite Ice Screws

Blue Ice's Aero Lite aluminum ice screws bring plenty of useful features for alpinists, ice climbers, and ski-mountaineers. From larger tube diameter, three-tooth steel tip construction to lightweight and quick handling, these ice screws are designed for technical missions. Thanks to their performance and in regards to safety, an ISPO Award went to these ultralight aluminum ice screws that come in a choice of four lengths.

Blue Ice Aero Lite Eisschrauben

Ice screws are used as mobile belay points in a wide variety of situations - whether in ice climbing for belaying in ice flanks and icefalls or ski mountaineering as anchors, for quick belays and crevasse rescue in glaciated terrain. The best ice screws can withstand high loads when used correctly, are easy to handle as well as light in weight. Blue Ice's Aero Lite aluminum ice screws are among the lightest on the market and, thanks to sophisticated engineering, are also exceptionally safe.

Fast cutting ice screws give safety

Speed means safety in icy alpine environments. An ice screw must be fast to set and quick to hold. Otherwise, you could stand exposed and unsecured for a long time. The handling of ice screws must therefore be easy and intuitive, especially on long tours when the muscles are tired and the arms shaky. 

The Blue Ice Aero Lite ice screws have several features that allow just that speed in handling: each size has a specific color so that you can immediately pick the right screw depending on conditions. The 13 cm screw comes in gold, the 16 cm version in blue, 19 cm is gray and the 22 cm and thus longest Aero Light ice screw is available in green. All colors are thus easy to distinguish on your harness.

Color coding let the ice climber reach for the right screw

Aero Lite three tooth bit for faster cutting

The stainless steel crank folds in and out, so Blue Ice's Aero Light ice screws bite quickly thanks to the three-tooth tip and are easy to screw in. The tip is machined from stainless steel, while the screw's body is made of aluminum. This hybrid construction makes for a super-light ice screw, while the stainless steel still brings great performance properties and durability. The R&D team tweaked the geometry of the three teeth bit of the screw for a long period during the development phase. After two years of development, the finished screw can now be placed in the ice as quickly as possible.

Not only the ice screw itself is well thought out but also the caps that come with it. The Aero Lite Ice Screw caps were designed with the intent to not only protect the ice screw teeth, but to also solve several problems. The loop on the caps allows for a quick, on-handed operation when removing the screw and allows the cap to easily be racked on the users’ ice clipper. With the ability to easily rack due to the loop, the user will also be less likely to lose caps. Another feature are the vents on the sides and bottom of the caps that allow airflow for any left over ice/water to drain and allow the screw tip to dry.

Blue Ice Aero Lite ice screw: Three stainless steel teeth cut swiftly into the ice.
Statement Blue Ice:
"The Aero Lite is the perfect balance between simplicity, function, and performance. In its design, we removed all possible excess material and features to make it the lightest, highest performance Aluminum Ice Screw on the market and the finished product really speaks to this"
Bill Belcourt, Blue Ice Hardgoods Director
The crank of Blue Ice's ice screws is particularly easy to grip.
Statement Blue Ice:
"I wish the Aero Lite screws had been around 20 years ago when I was spending all my time climbing, before taking on the responsibilities of a grown-up. Can’t wait to see where the new generation is going to take the sport with all this new ultra-lightweight equipment, we see coming out today"
Maxime Turgeon, Blue Ice Technical Director

Larger diameter for added safety in existing holes

In addition to its lightweight aluminum construction, the ice screw's tube is specially built with a larger diameter. Manu Ibarra, from Blue Ice's R&D team, explains the background: "The largest diameter on the market provides better holding power and allows for safe placement when the only option is to reuse an old screw hole." As a result, Aero Lite screws can be used in existing holes without risking direct tear-out.

New sustainable packaging

The tube of Blue Ice's Aero Lite screws is also produced in the brand's home country, France. And the packaging of the ice screws has also been redesigned to be environmentally friendly. The ice screws are supplied in a paper box, the length of which can be slidingly adjusted to the length of the screw. The same design as well as the easy adjustment further saves resources and contributes to a more sustainable packaging without plastic.

Here's what the ISPO Award jury had to say about the Blue Ice Aero Lite ice screws:
"Let's start with the packaging: it's made of recycled cardboard and doesn't use plastic - a big improvement for ice screws. The Blue Ice Aero Lite ice screws have a larger diameter so they can be inserted into existing anchor holes. They are the lightest and come in bright colors for each of the available lengths to make it easy and quick for climbers to choose. These screws are what we've been waiting for in ice climbing."
Andrea Andriani, Collaborators Club Member & Jury Member

Five reasons why Blue Ice Aero Lite ice screws won over the jury:

  • larger diameter makes Blue Ice Aero Lite ice screws safe even in existing anchor holes
  • lightest aluminum screw on the market
  • Three-tooth bit design and stainless steel crank for quick and easy placement
  • color coding for easy selection of the correct length
  • Environmentally friendly, regionally produced packaging with no plastic

Key information:

Lengths: 10, 13, 16, 19, 22 cm (size availability depending on country regulations)
Weight: Red (10 cm -  58g), gold (13 cm - 65 g), blue (16 cm - 72 g), gray (19 cm - 78 g), green (22 cm - 84 g)
Available in stores from: September 2021
RRP: 70 €

Share article
Author:
Martina Wengenmeir
Topics in this article


Comments