/ Walking Pole advice.

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Fiend - on 22 Mar 2012
A necessary evil that might help me conquer the other necessary evil of actually having to faff around walking uphill to get to crags.

I'm going to buy a pair for helping alleviate weight on my legs on uphill approaches. Not going to be doing anything else like proper hillwalking skitouring or any of that bollox. Maybe occasionally harassing sheep with them. Any advice on what I should be looking for? Weight vs. rigidity etc etc... Already been recommended foamy handles rather than rubber ones which makes sense. Anything else??
Ross McGibbon - on 22 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:
Just buy a really cheap pair and see how you get on, then buy something better later. You can get a pair for 15 from supermarkets, army & navy type shops etc.
petegunn on 22 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend: I've just bought some new ones that are made up of 4 sections of pole so that when not in use they compact really small and can go inside you bag, rather than having to attach them to the outside where they always snag on something! useful while climbing this winter
Tall Clare - on 22 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:

I've had some cheap and cheerful Alpkit ones for years, and apart from the (foam) handles requiring a bit of gaffertaping back into place, they've worked a treat. Walking poles make very good bog-probes.
Fiend - on 22 Mar 2012
In reply to people:

Yeah was looking at some cheapish Decathlon ones in 3 sections that seemed reasonable...
gear boy - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend: initially make sure you use the strap correctly

put your hand up through the strap then back down on to the grip with the strap between forefinger and thumb, this way load is taken through your wrist more than just the grip,

make sure the strap is comfy, most are soft lined or a bit padded, if not you may find a thin glove helps with comfort

you can get cheap to start, but if you can find a deal on "flicklock" type systems these are better overall

Always pull the pole apart if its wet, dont close it down as the wet will oxidise the pole internally and jam it all up

If you are a "stumbly" person or of solid build dont go for lightweight they could fold on you just when you need them

almost sane - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to gear boy:
> (In reply to Fiend) initially make sure you use the strap correctly
>
But I would suggest you keep your wrist out of the strap if the ground is uneven or rocky. If you trip up and the pole gets jammed and yor wrist is in the strap, you risk breaking yourself.
pog100 - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:

If you can afford them I would definitely go for the flick-lock, rather than the expansion ones. Both Leki and BD do versions with flick-locks and in my experience they are much less prone to suddenly giving way on you, or alternatively not 'catching' when you are tightening. The expansion ones also need more cleaning/maintenance to keep them working, the flick lock only really need an occasional wipe.
Otherwise just get a weight that suits you and your pocket. I have never found the 3 section ones much of a problem to stash away, but I guess the smaller the better.
Siward on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to pog100:

If Aldi have them in ('Crane Sports' brand) get some. Mine were I think only 7 each yet they have cork handles, are sprung and are every bit the match for my mate's far more expensive Leki versions. They are pretty much an exact copy, just cheaper.
Trangia - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:
> A necessary evil that might help me conquer the other necessary evil of actually having to faff around walking uphill to get to crags.
>
>

Definitey NOT an evil! They are the best things since sliced bread and give you an extra pair of legs. Makes walking up hill, and particularly downhill so much more comfortble and reduces the jarring on your knee joints. They make a big difference when backpacking.

They are great for increased balance when boulder hopping with a pack, and steady you when wading through fast flowing burns/rivers.

As has been said experiment with cheap ones to see how you get on, then I'd go for ultralightweight bearing in mind you've got to carry them all day.

Mine are twist lock, but they do jam or fail to lock sometimes and really should be taken apart and dried every evening. Next time I'll go for external flick locks.
Fiend - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to more people:

Thanks for the advice. I did see some BD flicklocks and prefered them, they were only in 2 piece though. I'll have another look.

I will be carrying them 30-45 mins in a day, this is just for crag approaches. Won't be out in the wet either!
Double Knee Bar - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend: Definitely go for clip locking poles if you're not bothered about shock absorption. So much less faff than twist lock. I've got a pair of Leki Titanium ones for bagging quality mountain days for ML with my dicky knee. I'm really chuffed with them after some Scottish winter walk ins.
a lakeland climber on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:

Join the club :-(

I've got some from ages ago (can't remember the make, possibly Leki) but just checked http://www.needlesports.com/Catalogue/Winter-Climbing-Equipment/Trekking-Poles/Poles - f*** me! A bit on the pricey side.

It takes a little while to get used to using them.

One thing that I'd like to get/see is a camera mount on the top of one of them so I could use it as a monopod.

ALC
Martin W on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Double Knee Bar:
> (In reply to Fiend) Definitely go for clip locking poles if you're not bothered about shock absorption.

Do you mean the flick lock type like the Black Diamond poles? If so then it's certainly possible to these with shock absorption if you want it.

I took the springs out of mine. Partly to reduce the weight - reference all those folks recommending lightweight poles. Also because the rotate-to-engage mechanism which enabled and disabled the shock absorbtion was rubbish. The natural movement is to twist the pole slightly as you lift it and swing it forward; if the point of the pole sticks in the ground even just a little as you pull it out then the shock absorption mechansim engages or disengages all by itelf. I never noticed any difference between the two settings anyway so it was pretty easy to conclude that the extra weight of the springs gained me a big fat nothing.

Oh, and sprung poles are also rubbish for skiing.
The Ex-Engineer - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend: Another vote for the BD Flip-lock design.

Also, seriously consider 4 section poles as they will fit inside a rucsac for when you are doing classic mountain routes.
Ricky Martin - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:
> I should be looking for? Weight vs. rigidity

My to 2p worth, dont worry too much about the weight go for solid ones Currently have a Pair of BD expedition poles which were cheap (for branded poles) and feel bomb proof I use to have a pair of light Titanium ones that were nice and light but felt very fragile which for something you lean on wasnt grand. and the diffence in weight isnt huge.
Double Knee Bar - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Martin W: Yes, similar to the BD flick locks. I don't feel there's much of a necessity for sprung poles really.
nniff - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:

I had cheapies for a long time and then bought a pair of BD flicklocks in a sale. Foam grips, with an extended grip some way down the shaft. Quite apart from working better and not jamming, the BD ones have the length marked on them which is so simple, but makes it so much easier to set them to the right length. The adjuster on the strap also works, which is something a lot of the others seem to overlook
Tall Clare - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to nniff:

Don't all poles have length markers on them?
Captain Gear - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:

The short BD expedition ones are good and are pretty durable.

They collapse short enough to fit inside your sack, which is useful if you need to carry them up a long route.

They aren't the cheapest but aren't too dear either.

HTH
skarabrae - on 23 Mar 2012
Fiend - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to even more people:

Gosh, most helpful topic ever.

Leki seem very expensive especially for flicklock ones.

Have been pondering on these:

http://www.decathlon.co.uk/syncline-the-pair-id_8179288.html - but only 2 part.

Or these:

http://www.decathlon.co.uk/forclaz-500-light-1-pole-id_8126305.html - but only twistlock.

Hmmm. Gotta check Tiso too I guess.
steelbru - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:
Avoid the shock absorption ones - waste of money. When you plant the pole ( assuming on solid ground ) you want it to stay rigid, not compress an inch or so
Fiend - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:

Oh, what about these??

http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/trigger-lock-pole-p151625

3 part, flicklock, foam handle (I think)...
gear boy - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to a lakeland climber: Re:monopod

Leki do still make photo poles, trekking handle type and the sierra wooden top unscrews to give mono pod,I think trailwise do this too

other option is ultrapod, it has a velcro strap you wrap onto the pole and also you can use it as a mini tripod

Other option if you are handy is go get the right threads from the hardwear store, drill into the top of the handle and epoxy resin it in
gear boy - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend: those Go outdoors ones will do, make sure you have a penknife handy to adjust the flicklocks when they loosen, you usually need a screwdriver or blade of sorts to tighten
altirando - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend: Worth getting the lightest poles - low swing weight. I have some Alpkit carbon fibre for trail walking (not available now I think) which I use continually, don't shorten to carry. And Black Diamond also carbon fibre for mountain use. I seem to remember that someone is now making alloy with a carbon fibre shell which should be both light and strong. Do take notice of the advice on how to hold the poles. The grips are only held lightly between the thumb and three fingers, the strap tightened just enough to keep the fingers pressed against the grip. Feels strange walking without poles now.
Alastair MacSween - on 23 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:


From Rock & Run. Latest Deals

Grivel Himalaya Trail Pole rrp 95.00 now 45.00

The Grivel Himalaya Trail Pole utilises avalanche probe technology to create one of the most lightweight yet surprisingly durable trekking poles available. A simple push on the button unlocks the system and the lower section slides into the upper tube. A simple pull to lengthen it, a click on the button and the system blocks.

Have a pair of these and have found them very good.
rgold - on 24 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:

I've had various kinds over the years. I hate the twist-locks, sooner or latter one will collapse on you when you are leaning on it, and paradoxically they are also more prone to jamming.

As aid for approaches to descents from climbs, I think there are really only two excellent choices: the BD Distance FL. http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/mountain/trekking-poles/distance-fl-trekking-pole/ and the Grivel Trail Pole (UKC review at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=3291).

I have the BD version. Both brands weigh about the same (a pound for the pair) and fold up to approximately 13", which means you can store them in a small summit pack and actually carry them up a rock climb. The three sections fit together like a shock-corded tent pole, so you get great rigidity and no possibility of collapsing. The small folded size and very low weight means you can keep them more or less permanently in a climbing gear pack and so have them for unexpected needs.

I have the BD Distance FL's. These poles have a single flick lock that gives you about 20 cm of adjustment; unlike more adjustable poles you buy these in a size (S, M, or L). The pole comes with a hard rubber tip that is better for hiking and scrambling, especially when you use the pole on rocks. You can swap in a carbide tip for ice, but you'll probably need a pair of pliers to loosen the installed tips.

A drawback, beside the fact that they ain't cheap, is that they come with a very small dirt basket and you can't install a basket for snow, so they really aren't a good winter pole if you anticipate deep soft snow. Other than that, I think they or the Grivel version are the best thing out there for climbers who want (or need) trekking poles.
Mark Kemball - on 24 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend: Buy cheap, by often. I've had various cheap poles which do the job very well until they fail on you just when you need them most. They were all twist lock and that is a complete faff to adjust. I now have a pair of Black Diamond flick-locks http://www.amazon.co.uk/Black-Diamond-Trail-Compact-Poles-Cinnamon/dp/B0030UBL32/ref=sr_1_7?s=sports... and they are the dog's bollocks. Strong, light easy to adjust (shorter when going up, longer, down etc). Poles are a very good idea, particularly if your knees are starting to play up like mine. Also, much less slipping over.
ads.ukclimbing.com
In reply to Fiend:

> Oh, what about these??
>
> http://www.gooutdoors.co.uk/trigger-lock-pole-p151625
>
> 3 part, flicklock, foam handle (I think)...

They are total sh*t. I've used poles for about 20 years - bought that model a couple of years back and they are the worst I've ever used. DO NOT BUY TREKMATE POLES - first the strap holding widget fell out on the first use (shop swapped them as I couldn't find the bit, but I had to glue in the replacements as they soon came loose.

Their flick lock system needed continually tightening with a screw driver. And very rapidly I bent and broke both the lower sections just in normal usage - although one break led me to sliding down a steep rock bank and bashing myself a bit! Really, they are utter crap, arguably even dangerous.


I would avoid sprung ones - seems rather pointless and more to go wrong. Cheap poles don't seem to last well and you often can't get spares for them. For what you want, whether you get twist locks or flick locks won't really matter. The best poles I have, 2-part Lekis for ski touring, and twist lock, 17 years old, get more of thrashing than most of my poles (my poor jump tele-turns) and have never collapsed. I've had various flicklocks that do under weight and need a screwdriver to tighten them. The flicklocks can also get ice closed, although that won't be an issue for you.

I have though recently bought some BD flicklocks as my general poles, as they were cheap and look tough. No probs so far. I don't think you need 4 piece poles to carry on routes. If you take three piece poles apart, they fit in all my packs. But you don't climb multipitch or with a pack on so that not a worry for you! :-)
In reply to Mark Kemball: Not trying to be contrarian but I've had more problem with slippage with flick-locks than with twist locks, although I've only just got BD flick locks and they seem fine.

It maybe that if you get decent poles in either type from a brand that knows what they are doing, you'll be fine: i.e. BD flick locks or Leki twist-locks.
martinph78 on 25 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend: I've had several poles and finally settled on these:

http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/en-us/shop/mountain/trekking-poles/trail-trekking-pole

In my opinion and experience twist locks are rubbish. Also you don't need shock absorbtion, it doesn't seem to make any difference over a long days hiking and if I think it actually saps some of the energy you want to be moving you forwards. More to go wrong.

I've never cleaned my BD poles and they never slip. They are strong as well. Had a few jammed moments on rocky ground! I never used my ice axe this winter, just my poles. Snow baskets are pretty good on them as well. I started with cheap poles and decided the benefits of poles was worth it before spending 60 though.
Colin Wells - on 25 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:

You won't go far wrong with a pair of these:

http://www.rockrun.com/products/Black-Diamond-Trail-Compact-Poles-2010%7B47%7D11.html

- Very good reduced price methinks.

Use these for work - I have pretty much hammered them for the last two summers - out on rough hillsides in the Highlands for most of the summer day after day - but still going strong. Only thing I have had to replace is a new tip on one of them (7 for a pair of replacement tips).

Light, but strong and durable.

Cheers, Col
Fiend - on 26 Mar 2012
In reply to TobyA:

> They are total sh*t.

Cheers good report. Are you a gear reviewer by any chance?? I guess I had a lucky escape....GO Glasgow only had one in, didn't buy it. Went to GO Inverness....they only had one in. Bleh.

BDs then I guess. The two piece ones on offer at Decathlon are massive tho. Hmnmm.
popebenedictus - on 26 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend:
http://www.trekmates.co.uk/online-shop/trekking-poles/trekmatesreg-trigger-lock-trekking-pole

I have these and they're ok. Obviously cheap and cheerful but fine for a walk-in and 1/3 the price of the next chepest flick-locks.

Horses for courses though
thedatastream on 26 Mar 2012
Make sure you can get pole tips and baskets for them. I bought some Black Diamond Expedition poles ad whilst they are sturdy and fab you can't buy rubber tips that fit them. I ended up buying standard Black Diamond trekking pole tips and hot melt glue gun.
victim of mathematics - on 26 Mar 2012
In reply to The Ex-Engineer:
> (In reply to Fiend) Another vote for the BD Flip-lock design.
>
> Also, seriously consider 4 section poles as they will fit inside a rucsac for when you are doing classic mountain routes.

You've not met Mr Fiend have you?
Jim Fraser - on 26 Mar 2012
In reply to pog100:
> (In reply to Fiend)
>
> If you can afford them I would definitely go for the flick-lock, rather than the expansion ones. Both Leki and BD do versions with flick-locks and in my experience they are much less prone to suddenly giving way on you, or alternatively not 'catching' when you are tightening. The expansion ones also need more cleaning/maintenance to keep them working, the flick lock only really need an occasional wipe.

Very good advice.



Komperdell used to say that using a pair of poles used 21% less energy than not using poles. I can believe it. You need practice in walking with poles to get the best from them. The most benefit is to be had in downhill stretches and for that you need to lengthen the poles and reach out further. Deliberate effort is also required to force more load onto the arms on uphill sections (expect to feel this the next day!). Using poles is the walking equivalent of four-wheel-drive except more economical: you are spreading the load across four limbs instead of two. If done correctly, no single limb sees as high a force as would normally be applied to each leg (or to each arm when falling over!).
In reply to popebenedictus: Those are the same ones as linked above that I had and criticize above. Seriously, be careful with them because the bottom sections both failed (one clear snap, one bent 90 degrees and easily broke off in my hands after) quickly and easy.

I have broken one couple of pole sections before but only by getting the tip jammed in scree. These I was just out walking to a crag, they didn't jam and bent, the just snapped!
In reply to Fiend:

> Cheers good report. Are you a gear reviewer by any chance??

It's nice when its easy to be so categorical about something, but this is very much the case with the trekmate poles! They always seem to be being sold off in TK Maxx which might tell you something.

> BDs then I guess. The two piece ones on offer at Decathlon are massive tho. Hmnmm.

If you are going to take them from the car, walk to a crag, leave them at the bottom of the crag whilst you climb, then walk back to the car; then two pieces ones won't be a problem. I have two piece ones for skiing and snowshoeing and like I said above, they've been bloody brilliant for yonks. Stronger, maybe a bit lighter too. But they're a hassle if you need to carry them on a pack though.



Jenny C on 27 Mar 2012
Last spring I decided to treat myself to a pair of poles but was unsure if I would get on with them, so decided to go for cheap ones on the grounds that if I didn't like them I hadn't lost much. Mine are TrekMates and there is no doubt that the poles themselves are much less sturdy than the likes of Leki. That said for occasional use they do the job.

My only real complaint is that the tips and Gritstone is very rapidly wearing them down. Come the time that they need replacing I will fork out the extra pennies for a lighterweight (shorter packed length) pole but for what I paid I feel they were good value for money.
captain paranoia - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to victim of mathematics:

> You've not met Mr Fiend have you?

<sniggers>
captain paranoia - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to TobyA:

> They always seem to be being sold off in TK Maxx which might tell you something.

Coincidentally, I saw a pair of Trek Mates flick-lock poles in my local TKM at the weekend. I left them behind...

There's nowt wrong with TKM, though, as my range of purchases from Prana to Patagonia, Marmot to Montane will attest... It's been a bit crap this last year, though. Not much other than Craghoppers, Regatta, D2B and Trek Mates...

As for poles, I've been happy with my twist-lock Komperdells.
gear boy - on 27 Mar 2012
In reply to captain paranoia: captain you bargain hunter, you know its all going to sport pursuit and the like online around the world now.

Its a bugger cos you cant try anything on!
MarkM - on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend: If you've not gone with something else already then I hoghly reccommed trying out pacerpoles. No faffing about with strap positions etc to distibute weight - they're the only design I've used that feel genuinely 'ergonomic' (other brands I'd always use as a last resort and didn't enjoy walking with them).

Cheers
Mark
In reply to MarkM: Seconded. They take a bit of getting used to but once you've tried Pacerpoles it's hard to say nice things about any other design; they're more ergonomic, more comfortable, and give you noticeably more power... The carbon fibre model is light and as robust as you can expect (I've failed to snap them after a couple of yrs very heavy use). They collapse relatively small and can of course be dismantled easily to fit inside a climbing pack, so their bigger handle isn't a major hindrance. If you're much taller than 6 feet they could be too short though. The alloy version is more robust and longer, heavier but not ridiculously so.

The only minor downside to PP is the twistlock mechanism, which in common with all such poles needs a bit of tlc from time to time (take the poles apart after wet days). The expansion widgets can also be replaced easily enough. To be frank though, I think people overstate issues with twistlock poles. Either that or I've just been lucky.
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:
> To be frank though, I think people overstate issues with twistlock poles. Either that or I've just been lucky.

Nope, that's my experience too. And flicklocks can have their own problems.
wilkie14c - on 28 Mar 2012
In reply to Dan Bailey - UKHillwalking.com:
> To be frank though, I think people overstate issues with twistlock poles. Either that or I've just been lucky.

Nope, I've never had problems either Dan. I think the key to trouble free twistlocks is to understand how they work. I'm with you on this one!

Twistlock owners:
The whole design is based purely on friction and there are elements that'll interfere with the balance of friction and render the poles useless until the friction balance is restored. The red screw widget needs to be able to ride the thread easily, the trouble is that the alloy poles will oxydise from the insides and the oxydation deposits will build up on the screw thread and create friction for the red widget - if the friction between red widget and screw thread is more than the friction between the red widget and the inside of the pole then the widget won't ride the thread and lock. It can be sorted in the field easily enough to get you moving - remove the affected pole section to expose the widget and remove the widget, remove as much dirt and alloy build up from the now exposed screw thread with whatever you have, rag, tissue etc. Replace the widget and screw it on so it just starts to expand and just fits inside the next section. Twist the poles so it really bites and then slacken off so the pole section only just moves again. Adjust to the desired length and tighten again. This will work more often than not.
Never spray any sort of lube into the pole sections!! My ancient LEKI Makalu's have been everywhere with me for years and years, I look after them and they just keep on giving. I can get spare tips, widgets, baskets etc easy enough but I never have had to. If I split them into 6 sections they'll fit inside my sack, other times I'll just stuff them into the compression staps. I have removed the straps from mine altogether. I don't really want to be attached to a pole if I was to fall.
Play with your poles and try and understand the priciples to make them trouble free. There isn't anything wrong with twistlocks, they just need maintaining. Hope these pics helps, did them ages ago for a similar type of thread, they'll show you have to get them in tip top condition once again.
http://s786.photobucket.com/albums/yy141/blanchie14c/LEKI%20trekking%20pole%20service/

Green Surf Monkey - on 29 Mar 2012
In reply to Fiend: We hire trekking poles out expedition kit hire and use http://www.eastonmountainproducts.com/trekking/atr-75-ion they are light strong, have the no nonsense lever locking adjustment, and are high quality. Not many people have heard of them but Easton make high end aluminium cycle products and tent poles. We find them to be a top quality product like Black Diamond etc Price is very reasonable you do find that cheap poles break and are heavy. Also forget about the rubber feet for them they will get lost everytime you use them.
Fiend - on 13 Apr 2012
Any views on these:

http://www.decathlon.co.uk/forclaz-700-carbon-1-pole-id_8126307.html

Light, cork grip, and despite being twistlock they are a lot smoother than the metal twistlock poles, almost tolerable in fact.

???

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