Ice climbing season is upon us and Black Diamond has released the First Shot, a new tool that will make setting Abalakov Thread ice anchors a snap. No more struggling to estimate 45 degree angles and trying to make your two ice screw holes interconnect. The First Shot is a unique, compact guide that provides the maximum depth and strength for threaded ice anchors.
Weighing in at just 3 oz, there is no reason not to throw this on your winter rack. The First Shot guide has three size settings for 16, 19, or 22 cm ice screws. The tool comes with an integrated cord puller with mini saw that folds into the handle, meaning you can throw away the wire coat hangers.
The Abalakov Thread was invented by Soviet climber Vitaly Abalakov. This ice anchor is commonly used in multi pitch ice climbing as it is relatively easy to create, doesn't require sacrificing expensive gear and can be very safe when done properly.
An Abalakov thread is constructed using an ice screw, 1-2 meters of appropriate strength cord or webbing, and a hook-like threading device. Two 45 degree angle holes, spaced 17-20 cm apart are drilled in the ice. The holes interconnect at the ends to form a v-like channel. The cord is then threaded through this hole and tied off with a knot such as a fisherman's knot.
My favorite Canadian mountain guide Mike created a video explaining how to build an Abalakov Thread. As you will see, even an experienced guide like Mike could have used the Black Diamond First Shot.
(via Ramon's Blog)