The Moon is Waning Crescent (7% of Full)

Welcome! Log In Create A New Profile Recent Posts
Yosemite Valley


Advanced

Re: Walking poles...

All posts are those of the individual authors and the owner of this site does not endorse them. Content should be considered opinion and not fact until verified independently.

Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 02:04AM
Sooo I've been reluctantly persuaded that it would be a good idea to invest in some of these. I busted my ankle playing roller derby last summer and had two surgeries (boo!) and have gradually been getting back into hiking this year. The thing the ankle is still somewhat unsure about is steep downs (like steeper than a flight of stairs) so am being persuaded that poles woud be a good idea. I will be doing my first multi day hike next month going from TM-GA-ML staying at the HSCs as it will be my partner's 7 year old daughter's first ever backpack. I'm hoping this will be a decent reintroduction (except for the altitude which doesn't affect the ankle) to build on the day hikes we've been doing, as we won't need to carry tents and cooking gear and it's pretty short days distance wise. After this we are heading down to the Valley Floor for some day hikes so 6/7 days total.

My partner (who is less of a hiker than me) has made it fairly clear he thinks I should get some poles just in case the ankle does play up and to reduce the impact over a multi day hike. None of my friends use them and I was hoping some of you lovely people might have advice/recommendations. I've read a bunch of gear reviews but always good to hear what people who use them think.

I'm a 5'6" 29 year old girl, average build, slightly chubby post surgery but not overweight
I usually do a lot of my hiking in the Lakes in the UK so something that would work there too would be great
Don't want to spend the moon for fancy add-ons but would like something that will last/be comfortable
Some of the collapsing ones I can stick in a pack when not in use would be good (or just strap to the outside)
Nothing too fiddly ideally

Any recs gratefully received!
Re: Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 04:44AM
I have no use for hiking poles. One less thing to buy/carry/lose/break.
But, I don't have a bad ankle that you speak of either.

If the wheels are still on the blink after an entire year, perhaps you should
consult medical advise; maybe your Dr. would recommend R&R instead
of strenuous activity.

See you in the Park - 76 days and counting.
Re: Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 04:52AM
My doctor is quite happy with me hiking and I'm also playing roller derby and running. Ankle surgeries normally take quite a long time to return to 110% as far as sports that demand a lot of stability go - I'm apparently doing a lot better than the norm. I still see my physio on a monthly basis to monitor progress. I've done some long days on it but not consecutively - hence contemplating hiking poles as a bit of extra support.
Re: Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 06:56AM
I always bring 2 hiking poles. They fit on the hydration pack very well. I use them for difficult creek crossings. I use to use them 100% of the time, then I found my balance depended on them, not good. So I stopped using them. I liked the exercise part, working the shoulders & arms. Heck, hiking is a free ride for your arms & shoulders :-)
Re: Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 09:20AM
Personally I love my hiking poles. Make me into a four footed animal. Well, make me four footed. They take a bit of time to get used to, and to learn how to use them. But they definitely can take stress off knees and other joints, especially on the downhills. And they're brilliant for stream crossings.

Many people prefet flip lock locking mechanisms over twist lock. Also, lighter weight is good.

I never had an issue with Lekis, but they are twist lock. Cheap, solid, heavy.

For my first pair I cut down an old pair of nordic ski poles and used them. Cost ten bucks out of a used bin. Until I got used to them I was afraid of walking out of camp and leaving them behind.
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 09:39AM
Quote
hegel

Personally I love my hiking poles. Make me into a four footed animal. Well, make me four footed. They take a bit of time to get used to, and to learn how to use them. But they definitely can take stress off knees and other joints, especially on the downhills. And they're brilliant for stream crossings.


Trekking poles are great for hiking uphill too. It lets your arm muscles help out your leg muscles on the uphill climbs. The only situation I don't find poles useful are on level trails. Hiking off-trail, cross country, I also find the poles very useful when scrambling down boulder fields and also for clearing away brush when bushwhacking.


Quote


Many people prefer flip lock locking mechanisms over twist lock. Also, lighter weight is good.

I never had an issue with Lekis, but they are twist lock. Cheap, solid, heavy.


My Lekis are light enough. I've also have a cheaper set of poles that are a bit heavier than my Lekis.

Based on my experience with tripods, I weary of using the flip lock variety of trekking poles (versus the twist lock). My tripods with flip-lock tripod legs tend to have one of the legs loosen up unexpectedly at the most inopportune time. They forced me to carry an allen wrench in my camera bag so I could tighten up the flip-locks in the field when needed. My twist lock tripods don't have that problem.

.
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 10:51AM
Be careful.
My sister broke her wrist while walking at Yosemite with walking poles. She had the wrist bands around her wrists, and slipped and fell. Off to the Emergency Room at Mammoth Lakes, and the doctor said she should have never wrapped the wrist bands around her wrist. Just hold the wrist bands in the palm of your hand. If you take an awkward fall you want to be able to easily let go of the poles. Lesson the hard way:-)
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 11:24AM
Quote
Jon Mure
If you take an awkward fall you want to be able to easily let go of the poles. Lesson the hard way:-)

I'd much, much rather use the poles to avoid the awkward fall in the first place. If I fell with poles I could mess up my hands or wrists (I did, once or twice, with ski poles) but if I fell without them I could bust an ankle, knee, or worse.

Using the straps is much easier on my hands than trying to maintain a death grip on the pole. I carry fingerless bicycling gloves and sometimes put them on if the straps threaten to blister my hands. Typically I'll go up the Four Mile without the gloves, then put them on for the trip down.
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 19, 2013 09:42AM
Not saying not to use the poles, but just a "warning" to be careful. My sister is a novice hiker, and was using them to help her maintain balance on a rocky trail, but still took an unexpected and awkward slip, and being strapped to the pole was the reason her wrist snapped. Mammoth Lakes Hospital ER doc said wrists are probably their most common injury, primarily due to snowboarding, but he said he sees several accidents with trekking poles, also. Everyone is different, but I think I will the wrap strap around the palm of my hand, and then grip pole, as doc suggested. Still allows one to hang onto the pole if slipping, but if you have a very awkward fall, you can also easily release the pole.
Wrist is more complicated than I ever imagined. A lot of little bones, and my sister's two wrist surgeries have not made things 100% right.

Be Careful, and Happy Hiking!
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 11:13AM
I've been using poles for a year and a half and wouldn't hike without them now. They seem to save strain on my knees uphill or down and they're especially good for the kind of treacherous conditions I often find on the Four Mile and Upper Yosemite Falls trails. Parts of those trails are paved with granite "cobblestones" that have been worn smooth and sprinkled with gravel. They're extremely slippery and dangerous. I've learned to pick my way down those stretches (relying heavily on the poles) while hardly slackening my pace. The old asphalt on the Four Mile also gets sandy and treacherous in places, and again poles help a lot.

Jayah Paley is my trekking pole guru. Here's a link to one of her sites: http://www.adventurebuddies.net/01-01-02-hiking-pole-tips.htm She teaches classes regularly, in the Bay Area and elsewhere. I loved working with her. Catch her in person if you can, or at least watch her video(s).

I'm still satisfied with my first pair of poles, Lekis. I've put 200 or more miles on them by now. They have twist locks on the lower sections and flip locks on the uppers. I wore down the carbide tips after a year, replaced them, and plan to keep replacing them every year or so.
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 11:32AM
This is typical. People poo poo them... then they use them... and are convinced.

With a heavy pack and downhill... they've saved my knees immensely... not to mention my bacon on numerous occasions
xcountry and whanot... I don't leave home without them...

It's the one piece of equipment that I haven't bought a second, third, fourth...
Leki Makalu Cork handles... Anti-shock... twist lock...
15 years old... still going strong... just replace the ends when they wear out
(the carbide doesn't wear out... just the plastic holding them)



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 12:30PM
Am I the only one who prefers to use only one hiking pole? I find that two of them slow me down too much.

Of course, if I have to cross streams with a heavy pack, I will carry two...

They work best on official trails. Off-trail, not so much.
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 01:35PM
I guess different strokes for different folks.

For me, it's just the opposite. On a trail, they're nice to have but not essential. Off trail, I would never consider doing any significant cross-country hike without my two trekking poles. I find them to be far more useful (and essential) on off trail jaunts.

I also hike faster with them than without them, especially when going uphill. I can only see them getting in the way if one like to scrambles up rocks using their hands, basically rock climbing. But for general hiking, I don't really see how they would ever get in my way.

.
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 22, 2013 04:16PM
Quote
wherever
They work best on official trails. Off-trail, not so much.
There's a thing that Point Reyes National Seashore does with trails that I haven't seen anywhere else. Most of the time the trail is a four-to-six-foot wide mowed strip with a dirt path worn down the middle. In places, though, the "path" is a flat-bottomed trench about a foot wide. The trench can be as little as four inches below the grassy areas on the sides but sometimes it's a foot or more deep.

If the grassy shoulders of the trail are in decent shape I'll walk there, but sometimes they slope or the grass is kind of tall. There isn't quite enough room down in the trench to walk comfortably with poles. I don't like to just carry the poles; if anything, I need them more when I'm walking in a trench. I settle for walking in the trench but using the poles up on the shoulders. I get a lot of arm exercise -- way more than I want -- lifting the poles clear of the grass at each step. sad smiley

avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 03:04PM
Quote
chick-on

It's the one piece of equipment that I haven't bought a second, third, fourth...
Leki Makalu Cork handles... Anti-shock... twist lock...
15 years old... still going strong... just replace the ends when they wear out
(the carbide doesn't wear out... just the plastic holding them)

Great minds think alike. wink

I bought my Lekis about 15 years ago too: Leki Air Ergo Super Makalu, cork handle, anti-shock.

I only bought a pair of trekking poles once more (when I forgot to pack my Lekis). Those were some cheap but still functional poles that I found in Lee Vining's sporting goods store.

.
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 20, 2013 08:38PM
When I first used my poles on granite I was impressed with how the carbide tips gripped the rock. After almost a year, I started noticing more tendency for the tips to slip. When I looked at the carbide under magnification, it was obvious that the edges had gone from sharp to rounded. That was when I replaced the tips -- and noticed greatly improved grip next time I used them.

The carbide part of the tip is a little rod with a hollow-ground (slightly cup-shaped) end. The rim of the cup forms the "biting" edge. It's sharper than a squared-off end would be but it eventually wears down.

Leki has started advertising "diamond" tips. I don't know anything about them. Now that I'm used to carbide, I'm in no hurry to try something new.
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 18, 2013 09:36PM
Eight of us started hiking as a group a few years ago. Did lots of research on equipment etc... Some bought poles, some did not. We did the HSC loop for a week. On our last day hiking out we were reflecting on the prep and decisions we made. We all voted and unanimously choose our hiking poles as the piece of equipment that we would never want to hike without. Invaluable both going up and down. They have saved me from slipping many times. Keeps your fingers from turning into little sausages too...
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 19, 2013 09:02AM
Chloe,

If you are doing roller derby and running your ankles are probably in pretty good shape for day hiking but I, like most others, will still recommend getting a pair of poles. I started out with shock absorber style Chinese imports I picked up for $19. apiece at some discount house and they worked just fine. They were actually 2 single poles I bought for my wife and I and were not even in matching colors but I didn't care,--I'm weird. Now I have a pair of REI's bought on special. Whether or not you use the straps around your wrists is optional but should be mandatory when forging streams. If you fall and let go you will discover they do not float. Two years ago one of my hiking partners fell crossing Return Creek in Virginia Canyon and never found one of his poles. Make sure you use the straps properly by running your wrist up through the bottom of the loops and then grasping the pole handle while resting your wrists in the flat of the loops.

Others have said poles may be annoying when crossing flat areas like meadows or when climbing Class II areas overs rocks hand over hand. I agree on both counts but still would never be without them. They really take the load off one's knees, provide multi-directional support, and also seem to prevent your hands going numb over long distances when they just swing at your sides because they are elevated to the horizontal position while holding the poles. Make sure you get ones with the built-in shock absorber feature. Those of us who never use poles often scoff at those that do, thinking they are "pansies". After giving them an honest try we discover what a critical piece of gear they are, especially for backpacking. Enjoy.

Jim
Re: Walking poles...
June 19, 2013 11:07AM
Just another quick vote in favor of poles...they take part of the load off your feet on the uphills and provide extra security on the downhills (just be careful that you position them securely before putting your weight on them). Mine are from EMS (the east coast equivalent of REI) and have the shock absorbers but I, personally, don't notice much difference whether I have them in the fixed or "absorbing" position...YMMV.

I often use mine on flats as well...don't need them there but they've become part of my walking style and, unless it's an extended flat section (or a steep uphill scramble where I need to use my hands), it's just not worth the (admittedly minimal) effort of packing them up. You basically have three options on size:
Fixed length poles that fold into multiple segments...great if you always want the poles the same length (I find I rarely vary mine although they are adjustable)
Variable length (either flik-lock or friction-twist-lock style)...lots of flexibility for how long you make them but these typically won't fold down to as small a size as the foldable fixed-length ones (folded size of different models seems to range from about 24 to 28"winking smiley
Hybrids - some newer models (like this one from Black Diamond) have an adjustable section mated with a foldable section. These give you the variability of an adjustable (although not as big a range) but will still fold down to something like 15-18"

Enjoy!
Re: Walking poles...
June 20, 2013 09:41AM
Thank you so much for all the valuable advice and experiences. I think I'm going to get some. Ankle is still not massively happy with steep downhills and will give me a little extra stability. I will need ones that fold down at least a bit as travelling internationally. I can't find the Leki Makalu cork ones (they've probably renamed them) - has anyone tried the Leki Corklites?

http://www.amazon.com/Leki-Corklite/dp/B0077NUFYY/ref=pd_sim_sbs_sg_2

Thanks again!
Re: Walking poles...
June 20, 2013 09:53AM
Quote
Chlo83
Thank you so much for all the valuable advice and experiences. I think I'm going to get some. Ankle is still not massively happy with steep downhills and will give me a little extra stability. I will need ones that fold down at least a bit as travelling internationally. I can't find the Leki Makalu cork ones (they've probably renamed them) - has anyone tried the Leki Corklites?

http://www.amazon.com/Leki-Corklite/dp/B0077NUFYY/ref=pd_sim_sbs_sg_2

Thanks again!

The only thing I can suggest is the locking mechanism. We use hydration backpacks that have 2 "loops" for carrying the poles. The latch type shown on those poles would not slide in & out of the loops. Consider the twist type.


thx
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 20, 2013 10:15AM
Quote
Chlo83
Thank you so much for all the valuable advice and experiences. I think I'm going to get some. Ankle is still not massively happy with steep downhills and will give me a little extra stability. I will need ones that fold down at least a bit as travelling internationally. I can't find the Leki Makalu cork ones (they've probably renamed them) - has anyone tried the Leki Corklites?

http://www.amazon.com/Leki-Corklite/dp/B0077NUFYY/ref=pd_sim_sbs_sg_2

Thanks again!


If the price isn't too steep, you might want to consider one with anti-shock technology like this one. It really helps when walking over granite. Note, this Leki trekking pole is also designed for women's smaller hands:

http://www.amazon.com/Leki-Lhasa-Antishock-Womens-Trekking/dp/B007IT507E/

.
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 20, 2013 08:57PM
Quote
Chlo83
I will need ones that fold down at least a bit as travelling internationally.

Mine are 27.5" long when fully telescoped together. If I pull the sections apart, the longest section is 22.5" Jayah Paley (whom I mentioned earlier) goes into some detail about how to (and how not to) disassemble poles. For instance, she says don't pop the sections apart while you have the rubber tips off and you're standing two feet from a car window. winking smiley

Quote

I can't find the Leki Makalu cork ones (they've probably renamed them) - has anyone tried the Leki Corklites?

Mine say "Makalu" on them and the handles look and feel like cork preserved in plastic. They're fine with me but they're the only pair I've used, so I may not know enough to miss some feature or other.

Here's REI's selection: http://www.rei.com/search?query=leki
Re: Walking poles...
June 20, 2013 03:41PM
I hear that hiking poles are also very valuable if you have to joust with bears....
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 20, 2013 05:01PM
... or mountain lions.

.
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 21, 2013 06:28PM
Quote
plawrence
... or mountain lions.

.

In your dreams!spinning smiley sticking its tongue out
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 20, 2013 06:04PM
Quote
mtn man
I hear that hiking poles are also very valuable if you have to joust with bears....

Or pink poultry!
Re: Walking poles...
June 21, 2013 08:11AM
Good to know. I suspect one could also manage a mean Friar Tuck impression!
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 22, 2013 06:38AM
Does REI make a set of multi-purpose poles like these?

avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 22, 2013 11:23AM
Looks like REI has really decreased the number of models they carry in general, and manufacture under their own brand specifically. The anti-shock twist-lock REI poles I bought a few years ago are no longer carried. Too bad. They are good poles.
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 22, 2013 03:39PM
Quote
Paris92
Looks like REI has really decreased the number of models they carry in general, and manufacture under their own brand specifically....
I don't think REI manufactures anything. They arrange with manufacturers to make products (to REI's specifications, I guess) and put the REI brand on them. I thought I heard that REI-brand poles were made by Komperdell.

By and large, I like the products that REI chooses to order. I'd started out using a Leki staff, though, so Leki seemed like the obvious choice for poles. Once I had them (and got used to them tongue sticking out smiley) I wasn't interested in trying anything else.
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 23, 2013 08:03AM
Yes, that is what I meant. It was in their private-label line (manufactured by others to their specifications.)
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 23, 2013 09:00AM
A simple twist of the pole, and a trigger pops up on James Bond's pole/rifle combo. Perfect for unexpected surprises in the backcountry.
Re: Walking poles...
June 22, 2013 12:42PM
Count me in as a vote for poles too. Thought they looked silly, oh, maybe ten or so years ago. Then I got a pair. Leave them in my car and don't leave home without them. This is especially the case if I'm going cross country and down steep hills. They've saved my bacon a couple times on scrabble and scree.
avatar Re: Walking poles...
June 22, 2013 02:56PM
I kind of look at it like rappelling without a rope, better with...

I've saved myself many times from an ankle roll even on flat trails and these days I wouldn't think of going cross country with Chick-on without them.



Old Dude



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 06/22/2013 02:56PM by mrcondron.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login