After 30 years of climbing on ice and rock, Al Fiorello had his “ah ha” moment in the Ouray Hot Springs after a long day of climbing in the Ouray Ice Park in Ouray, Colo. The challenge of stopping to place ice screws had held him back on more ambitious routes, and his thoughts turned to small, light cordless drills that could—just maybe—be used to drive the ice screws into the ice.
“I wanted to make ice climbing more about climbing and less about putting in ice screws,” says Fiorello. “Instead of long, scary run outs on steep sections of ice with few screws, I saw a well-protected steep section to climb. I envisioned zipping in ice screws in seconds, even over your head. Fast Ice has accomplished this."
After two years of testing prototypes, he came up with a design that uses a small Makita 12-volt lithium-ion drill with a special swivel and chuck and adapters that attach to each of the climber’s ice screws. The screw fits into a special chuck fixed onto the end of the tool, creating a secure attachment for drilling. The chest holster that holds the tool goes over a shoulder and around the waist for a secure fit that doesn’t get in the way of the harness.
“The system takes some practice but on my first lead with it I was placing screws with ease in a matter of seconds and on my third day I was “out-racing” a friend leading an easier route side-by-side with my line,” says long-time climber and AMGA mountain guide Mike Schneiter.
The Fast Ice tool set retails for $349.95 and is available at FastIceClimb.com. The ice screw adapters are $19.95 each. Fast Ice products are patent-pending and made in the USA (except the Makita drill products).
For interviews, and product samples, contact: