The Ice Screw Cannon - A Creation Story

The Ice Screw Cannon - A Creation Story

By Carl Marrs

Climbers, guides, and alpinists want gear that works. Gear that does its job, stands up to heavy use, and looks good. For those that take their gear further and higher than most, it needs to be light, as well.

As an ice and big wall climber, High Mountain Gear founder Kyle Willis had a few pieces of gear that, well, didn’t work so well. So, in the case of the Screw Cannon, he created something better. In doing so, he also established the premise of High Mountain Gear – do it better, or don’t do it at all.

The Screw Cannon was born out of a community of dedicated ice climbers who were dissatisfied with the performance of standard ice screw holders. You know, the type that roll up and leave all the hangers of your screws dangling around outside of the roll-up. With standard ice screw holders, those hangers tend to catch on other things in your pack, slide out of the roll-up, and get banged around. One of the key features of the Screw Cannon is that all the hangers are inside the Cannon, safely secured in place by the tapered sleeves. Behold –

1) A Screw Cannon at work. The Cannon is equipped with a stainless drainage grommet, so you don't have to empty your screws out to dry. Just put ‘em wherever you put your boots and let them drain & air-dry overnight.

Not only does the Screw Cannon hold your ice screws better than the competition, but it also has a few well-thought-out features that make it useful for more than just transporting your screws.

After you’ve racked up your screws for the pitch, you can use it as a stuff-sack for your belay jacket and gloves. Everyone knows how agonizingly long and cold ice belays can be, especially when you’re on a multipitch. The Screw Cannon makes it easy to bring your  layers up the pitch with you, even on climbs where you aren’t bringing the backpack.

2) A large Screw Cannon stuffed with a full-size belay puffy and gloves. Clipped to the harness with the secondary racking loop so it sits high on the harness.

After sending the pitch and reaching the belay, use the primary racking loop, which is triple bar-tacked, to clip the Cannon to your anchor for easy retrieval of the belay jacket and gloves. The two different racking loops are an example of the thorough testing each product goes through before we bring it to market.

Another handy design feature is the tapered, off-set shape of the internal sleeves. This keeps everything sitting well in there when screws are loaded. Check out this video demonstrating the best way to load screws into the Cannon.



Another thing you’ll notice in the video is that the large Screw Cannon has enough room in there to hold additional items – things like tool leashes, extra front-points or picks and tools, etc. The Challenge Sail Cloth fabric the Cannon is made from means you won’t have to worry about anything sharp putting a hole in it.

3) A Screw Cannon clipped to the anchor with the primary racking loop, which allows the Cannon to hang in a vertical orientation for easy removal of contents.

The Screw Cannon comes in two sizes – Large and Alpine. The Large is the one pictured here and holds up to 14 screws at a light 142g. Great for cragging. The Alpine is pared down and holds up to 12 screws at 105g. Great for, you guessed it, alpine ice. Also available are two different sized inserts that add an additional capacity of 2 or 4 screws. The inserts are also great by themselves for ski mountaineering or glacier climbing missions where you might only need a couple screws and want something as light as possible to transport them with.

In addition to all the great features, the Screw Cannon is eco-friendly since it is made with recycled Challenge Sailcloth EPX 200 waterproof fabric.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.