/ Trekking poles useful or not.

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Zoe_17 on 04 Jun 2013
I am heading to Svalbard this summer and will be walking about 12k (I know not a lot) but carrying a bag of 30kg on my back over rough terrain.
And I am just wondering what the pros and cons of walking poles are?
GrahamD - on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Zoe Langford:

I'm not sure there are any cons, are there ? Personally I much prefer the flicklock poles but they all work and they all really help balance and stability
andic - on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Zoe Langford:

I don't have any, because I am tight and always assumed they were a luxury. My regular partner always brings his on any approach more arduous than Stannage and swears by them. On scree slopes and steep down hills he copes much better than me with his poles and I can see the value of them and will eventually get around to buying some. If I was going to go and do what you are it would probably give me the incentive to invest.
andic - on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Zoe Langford)
>
> I'm not sure there are any cons, are there ?

An un-restrainable desire to poke people randomly in the bottom?
Run_Ross_Run - on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Zoe Langford:

Yep, def get a pair if you've got limited history of walking distances/carrying heavy packs.

They'll take a lot of stress off the lower joints and give you more confidence on the descents.

Don't get the 1st pair you see, try a few dif makes/locking systems and make ur mind up then.
ice.solo - on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Zoe Langford:

if theres snow, mud, scree and river crossings they are useful. particularly with loads where loss of balance can increase injury, especially on downhills.

despite being 2 sticks, they take time to use efficiently.
Run_Ross_Run - on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to andic:
> (In reply to GrahamD)
> [...]
>
> An un-restrainable desire to poke people randomly in the bottom?

Or the face :/

Wiley Coyote - on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Zoe Langford:

I got a pair last summer having resisted 'granny poles' for many many years until a jiggered knee demanded support. I can't believe the difference they make, especially with a sack on my back. I wish I'd got a pair 20 years ago and maybe the knee would not be quite so knackered.
Siward on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Zoe Langford: Yes do at least experiment with a pair if your pack is really 30kg (quite heavy that!). They can get in the way a bit but I find they give you something to lean on when exhausted and breathless :)
Howardw1968 - on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Zoe Langford:

They are the must have walking accessory around the redway (generally flat tarmac or at worst gravel on tarmac) paths in Milton Keynes. I'd look at reducing the weight on your back though.
In reply to Zoe Langford: 30 kgs is a miserable weight to have to carry, particularly if you're not big and strong. I'd definitely want poles whilst doing it, although managed in Greenland when I was 18 without. Knees and ankles are probably more wobbly these days.
Ramblin dave - on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to GrahamD:
> (In reply to Zoe Langford)
>
> I'm not sure there are any cons, are there ?

One more piece of gear in a situation where you're trying to get away from shiny modern technology as much as possible? I mean, we obviously aren't running around in animal skins and woad every time we go to the hills, but it's nice to feel like you're carrying as little as you need to be safe and reasonably comfortable rather than taking the entire contents of Ellis Brigham to go for an afternoon wander up Cat Bells...

Also, I'd worry a bit about using them too much and getting dependent on them to the extent that you do start to need them for Cat Bells.

I'd get a pair like a shot if I was doing long walks with a big pack, though. I'm considering a pair just for day use in Scotland as well, partly from having seen how much easier they make river crossing and partly because my knees are starting to complain.

pdone on 04 Jun 2013
a lakeland climber on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Zoe Langford:

I use them at all times now - I'd struggle to walk more than a kilometre or so without them. Basically my joints are knackered from carrying heavy weights when I was younger. You have been warned!

cons: comedy value for your mates when you lean on a pole and it sinks in to a bottomless pit of slime and you topple over :-)

ALC
needvert on 04 Jun 2013
Did a 100km charity walk once, felt like one knee was going to dislocate towards the end, never did but it sure wobbled under load. Wouldn't have finished without the walking pole.

Great. The only con for me is my telescopic ones are awkward to put in my pack for climbing, due to one end being pointy and me not wanting to trash my pack.
GrahamD - on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Ramblin dave:
> Also, I'd worry a bit about using them too much and getting dependent on them to the extent that you do start to need them for Cat Bells.
>

Well there's need and NEED I guess. Even on Cat Bells I probably should use them to save the knees / ankles for something else (although invariably I can't be bothered on a family walk like that)
wellmn - on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Zoe Langford:

I have dodgy knees and find poles essential. I think perhaps if I had started to use poles earlier, my knees would not be so dodgy. Flick-lock poles much more reliable than twist-lock in rough usage. Also easier to convert to ski poles.

almost sane - on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Zoe Langford:
Poles can take time to learn how to use well.
Cons include cost, weight, and you might trip if the poles get snagged between your feet. Poles getting caught between rocks can have an extra comedy value. Falling with poles round your wrist can hurt. And I have a friend who fractured her skull in a freak pole accident - she tripped and fell forward, put her hands out instinctively, the point of the pole went into the ground, and she head butted the pole handle. Very strange that one.

Pros. You are far less likely to fall, especially when crossing rivers or bogs. When you get familiar with them they. Make you far more stable all round, and take a lot of pressure off your knees. Gives you a bit more oomph when walking uphill. You can rest your pack on a pole as you stop for a rest, take the weight off your back without taking your pack off.

Btw 30kg is heavy. 30kg for 12km once is hard, but with will power most of us can do it. But if you are doing 30kg over 12km day after day... Ouch!
iksander on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Zoe Langford: Only slight con is faffing around with them, or tripping over them in confined spaces. I like the non-adjustable ones (Grivel Himalayas, BD do similar) as they are slight less of a faff. Snow baskets are a mixed blessing, mine get stuck under snow crust and disappeared pretty quick seemed no less uselful without them, maybe make a difference in soft powder?
martinph78 on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Zoe Langford: I've carried that weight before (a bit over actually), and it's a lot. Poles will be a huge help in maintaining balance and spreading some of the load. I often carry them when travelling "fast and light" as they allow me to travel faster (although not lighter I supoose).

I've done several trips at altitude carrying heavy packs, and have noticed a huge difference in levels of fatigue over several days when using poles compared to not using poles.

You don't have to spend a fortune, but definiately avoid the cheap poles (ie Hi Gear at 5 each).

kyaizawa - on 04 Jun 2013
In reply to Zoe Langford: Loads of pros; most of them already covered - I'd usually take them for long walks with ascents/descents and alwaysd when carrying weight.

Cons are the trip hazard and the faff, as well as the time needed to get used to using them. Biggest problem for me is that it's not easy to micronav whilst using poles - it is really quite tricky if you need to keep getting compass and map out whilst walking.

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