/ Trekking poles and wrist fractures
Has anyone else suffered this type of injury? and is it worth keeping your wrists outside of the loops if there is a risk of falling?
I never use the wrist straps, mainly because I find it a lot more comfortable not to, but as your accident has shown, I like having the ability to discard them quickly if I need to.
Hope you have a speedy recovery.
Sorry to hear of your injury Geoff.
When instructing people in the use of poles, It's always hands out of loops, when decending, if there is a good chance of a fall or stream crossings etc.
I've never used wrist straps on poles, always found them more faff than they were worth (and that's aside from the possibility of injuring yourself, which I'd never considered before!). This goes double since I switched to Pacerpoles, which have no strap and are all the better for it.
Can't stand Pacer poles though - they look like a training tool for the Zimmer frame!
Very sorry to learn of your misfortune. This is the first time I've heard of an accident such as yours and I rather suspect it must be fairly uncommon. If it's any consolation I broke a couple of ribs once due to having my wrist in a walking pole loop. It happened during a night time descent from the Carneddau in a white-out. I slipped on snow covered water ice in a boggy area and landed heavily on my arm and side on the ice. Unfortunately, as my wrist was through the loop, I landed on the handle too and this broke the ribs.
I still use poles but I never use the wrist loops.
If you used wrist-straps but had them done up loosely, then presumably they'd come apart if you put a lot of g-force on them, but would still be OK for staying on your wrists and not skipping off down the hill if you let go?
An advantage of my Mountain Blaze poles was that they're so flimsy that the pole snapped at lower pressure than needed to damage my wrist. Unfortunately someone else agreed and nicked them.
If you use the loops in the 'correct' way (ie, put your hand up through the bottom of the loop, before holding the handle together with the top of the loop, rather than putting your hand through from the top straight onto the handle) there is apparently less chance of breaking anything - I have nothing to prove this however it certainly feels this way, with the pole falling away from you more if you slip/let go. Not failsafe though.
It's generally accepted in ski touring that whenever in avalanche terrain loops should never be used, so that poles can be easily discarded if you are caught in an avalanche.
I use the loops all the time (hiking, not skiing) and have never come close to breaking any of me - I have snapped a pole though with my wrist still in the loop (a Leki one too, not anything cheap and flimsy), together with giving myself a very impressive bruise on my thigh!
Hope you recover quickly :)
> If you use the loops in the 'correct' way (ie, put your hand up through the bottom of the loop, before holding the handle together with the top of the loop, rather than putting your hand through from the top straight onto the handle) there is apparently less chance of breaking anything - I have nothing to prove this however it certainly feels this way, with the pole falling away from you more if you slip/let go. Not failsafe though.
Mention of wrist loops in XC skiing should also reflect that many instructors working with novice XC skiers advise that the wrist loops are not used initially because of the high probability of a fall; this is to avoid the risk of the very injuries identified above. However, the appropriate usage of wrist loops is introduced after the initial balance and movement skills are securely mastered.
Best wishes for a swift and full recovery.
Yes. Loops used correctly are essential to get the most benefit from the poles. They are also invaluable when you need to use one or two hands for on/off scrambling (dragging poles behind - with care). But when the snow or weird fall potential is around I ditch the loops ready to throw the pole(s) to prevent damage or use the axe properly.
Ouch! That's rough, OP that you broke something. So good luck for a good fast recovery.
i had a chat a while back with an ML and member of a rescue team around this. He specifically didnt use the loops since he had been involved in rescues caused by this. So while dont think is common certainly isnt unknown.
personally i havent really got in with poles in the past but think i would be avoiding the loops if i try them again.
First of all, hope you make a quick and full recovery.
As several people have said it's good advice to get your hands out of the loops on steep ground or anywhere you might risk a fall because it frees your hands to take action and avoids you getting smacked by a pole if you slip or roll.
I remember reading somewhere that using the wrist loops means you grip the handle more loosely and transfer force directly to the forearms, which is more comfortable and efficient when you're walking.
A speedy recovery Geoff.
I always use wrist straps when using poles as do my regular walking pals.I did damage my elbow a while ago, slipped and over extended it, this was on a steep boulder section, since then I always stow them if I am scrambling, best out of the way, but find them of great benefit on both uphill and descent, they have prevented me stumbling on a number of occasions.
if you actually read the thread you would see that that is exactly how he was using them and that your absolute confidence is misplaced.
Because they allow more force to be placed on the poles. Which is a good thing if you're trying to go fast, and don't fall over :-)
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