/ Trekking Pole Question
Trekking poles, I've never used them, ever, and I just have some questions.
I see everyone using them and have heard things from "they save your knees" to "they make walking easier".
I'm wondering whats the true reason for using them?
Is there a special way to walk with them? I can't see how they can make walking easier?
Sorry, as I say again, this is not a troll.
Have used them a few times and when used right you can shift ~25% of the effort when climbing to your upper body from your legs, meaning you can climb faster, longer or carry more weight. However....
Your hands are no longer free to balance, grab, assist, hold sweets, etc
You risk breaking a wrist if you fall awkwardly
You can trip over your own poles of you are clumsy
You also risk ending up with dodgy elbows as well as dodgy knees :-(
The answer to your question is the two answers you quote. Like, duh!
I wish I had used poles years ago, when I was doing things like walking the length of the Pyrenees and the French Alps with a heavy sac. I would be less likely to have needed a knee op later on.
At 19 you might not understand but you will, oh you will....
For me, one word - stability.
PS Only one, and only on rough ground.
They just make you that little bit more stable, meaning your legs don't have to work as hard to maintain balance over uneven ground... it might sound like a little thing but it makes a big difference to the way your legs feel towards the end of a 12 hour day on the hills.
Oh, and when I trotted up the buachaille a few weeks after the london marathon, only discovering my knees were still shot when I turned and tried to walk down-hill, I think I'd have had to call mountain rescue to get back down that scree slope without them :D
I started with bad knees 2 years ago, got poles and my knees don't bother me at all anymore.
I only use on long walk ins and mainly going down hill.
Had a mate that went into a shop, and the shopkeeper said "you should buy some trecking poles. Its been scientifically proven that each one makes the walking 33% easier"
"I'll take four"
> You also risk ending up with dodgy elbows as well as dodgy knees :-(
And nackered shoulders, wrists and cold hands too :-(
I don't use them ALL of the time, knowing when to put them away is important - for example there's no reason to use the in Keswick High Street.
I'm a convert.
> For me, one word - stability.
I find it hard enough to coordinate both my feet, let alone poles as well. I once had one but it got nicked by a Peruvian peasant - never looked back.
However, I would use them when walking slowly enough for my brain to cope with the coordination problem - ie at altitude.
Where appropriate the can be a handy help on a hard day.
Used short on steep slopes, long on descents to take the strain off the knees and helps balance on sloppy conditions.
Used them today on the deeper unconsolidated snow on the way up, and useful to find ice under the soft snow on the way down. ( just a bit less tiring generally, but sometimes just better left on the rucksack)
I find one leg squats a far better 'device' for helping the knees in the hills.
That and travel as lightly as possible, hard when you're carry a rack and ropes but there's no excuse when you're walking or backpacking.
im like you: skeptical.
about 10 years ago i did a course in the himalaya and everyone had them. i scoffed and muttered to the instructor (a guy with a serious resume back to the 70s who some will have heard of) what a bunch of hoodwinked gear junkies they were.
he agreed, but pointed out 'its not that they have them, they just dont know how to use them'.
later he got his poles out as we left lukhla and it convinced me: both poles at walking axe height.
at namche i got myself a pair, under the deal from the instructor that if i didnt lie them by the 3rd day of using them hed buy them and give his old ones away.
35 days later i left them in lukhla, well worn and abused (they were fake lekis).
all said, i have a pair i only use when the load is heavy or its about moving fast thru snow. by example i took a pair up up the baltoro but used them once, for 10 mins on the way out crossing glacier bridges.
theyre useful, but not that useful.
totally they need to be at no more than walking axe height, full extension only in deep snow and maybe river crossings.
for me they are the first thing i leave off the list when weights an issue (and i regularly carry hefty loads).
Easy step-downs instead harsh ones or jumps.
Extra muscles working to drag my sorry arse up hill.
Stability and balance
We did a study at work (it's a strange place but that's another conversation) on walking poles using an instrumented floor that measured the load imposed at each step.
50 subjects and all bar one showed a reduced impact. The odd one out really hadn't got the idea and was managing to drive himself into the ground with them.
Second knee op for me tomorrow. I used to bounce down hills too.
One day young man, one day..........
I've had ten knee ops to my right knee which is pretty much trashed. I can't now run or twist suddenly without severe pain. I can however still climb albeit with restricted range of movement. Poles let me get into the hills to climb and to be honest I'd really struggle without them. They make an enormous difference and I can't say I've ever experienced pain or damage to shoulders, wrists, elbows etc as others seem to suggest.
I recommend Leki Microsticks or similar. They fold up small to fit inside your sack so they don't get in the way on a winter route.
Certainly not, walking poles are so 'autumn'. Ice Axes, crampons and kahtoolah spikes are de rigeur for the traverse between Greggs and Booths at the moment.
hahaha likes :-)
What I'm reading (though I may be wrong) is that the best way to use them is get them out and try?
Elsewhere on the site
F ounded in 1993, Mountain Hardwear are a pretty young mountaineering clothing and equipment manufacturer but are also one of... Read more
At a bar in Llanberis an old man chimed in And I thought he was out of his head Being a young man I just laughed it off When... Read more
This years ROCfest will be slightly different. We've decided to run a Climbing Festival, not just a competition! Over... Read more
On Saturday 13th December Greg Boswell and Guy Robertson kicked off their Scottish winter season early by making the... Read more
The Epicentre Mega Winter Sale starts in store 9am Christmas Eve. We have a great selection of in store only deals from... Read more