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walking up mt. st. helens this summer. hiking poles?


alexandersupertramp
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alexandersupertramp

when i did msh at age 27 i practically ran up. at 37 i ran out of water and was one of the weaker hikers in our group. now at 45 i'm wondering if i should give in and look to hiking poles to take some pressure off my legs and feet, especially on the scrambling portions of the hike, or is their value overrated for someone like me that just does a few hood and gorge day hikes every year? i'm also curious to hear your take on the use of hiking poles in general, on vertical hikes. valuable for anyone or just for old guys with too many basketball runs in their knees? Also, is it worth spending more for the cushioned ones or can i just get the cheapest pair at rei? thanks in advance.

dave

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tmountainnut

I personally like poles. I'll be heading up Mount St. Helens in May, and i'm planning on bringing a pair. Poles are useful for me, although sometimes i'll stick them on the side of my pack mid-trip if they start to get in the way (having to use hands for scrambling, etc).

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I bought a nice pair of hiking poles a year or two ago, but hardly have used them. Almost all my hiking is on relatively flat trails with some rolling hills, so poles normally aren't required. I know it's a different situation in a more challenging environment, say further West from my mid-western home.

Heck, to think of it, I don't even know where my poles are right now.

Gary M

Olathe, Kansas

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IMHO poles are useless unless you have serious knee or ankle damage. Your legs are fine for walking, and on more challenging terrain you'll want to grab things, so poles will only get in the way. The solution to leg or foot pain is probably to exercise the relevant muscles.

Your ancestors spent millions of years learning bipedal locomotion -- why be a quadruped again?

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IMHO poles are useless unless you have serious knee or ankle damage. Your legs are fine for walking, and on more challenging terrain you'll want to grab things, so poles will only get in the way. The solution to leg or foot pain is probably to exercise the relevant muscles.

Your ancestors spent millions of years learning bipedal locomotion -- why be a quadruped again?

seano,

Good point on the evolution of bipedal locomotion thought.

I just prefer to have my hands free for a camera, GPS, or my dog's leash. However, I definitely respect the opinions and thoughts of others such as tmountainnut who have a great deal of experience in much more difficult terrain than I have even dreamed about.

Really nice day today in Kansas, hoping to get on the trail again tomorrow.

Gary M.

Olathe, Kansas

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Aaron Zagrodnick

I think it's probably just one of those things you have to try. Personally, they haven't seemed to really help on the trail in my case and seemed somewhat cumbersome to use. However, for many of the people I hike with they're indispensable, and I usually hope they bring them along since most of my shelters are designed to be supported by trekking poles. :D

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I like trekking poles and use them most of the time. They really take some pressure off and give me "confidence" at times when I start to feel wobbly. I agree that most people probably don't need them, but my knees are beaten up from years of playing soccer. I resisted using them for a long time... but so glad I got them.

At first, they were cumbersome, but I got used to them on steeper trails. Then, I upgraded to Gossamer Gear poles - they are so lightweight and don't bother me at all. I do stow them on my pack when scrambling (need hands) or if it's an easy stretch of trail.

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tmountainnut

I just prefer to have my hands free for a camera, GPS, or my dog's leash. However, I definitely respect the opinions and thoughts of others such as tmountainnut who have a great deal of experience in much more difficult terrain than I have even dreamed about.

Seano makes my trips seem like a walk in the park.

There are certain trips that I won't even carry poles for. Also, I do use poles with my Gatewood cape tent, when I actually bring it.

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I didn't use poles when I climbed it at age 46. I would probably use them now. Would probably not use them in the boulders, but they might be useful in the sand.

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  • 11 months later...

My family moved to a little town near the Mountain in 1889. They would take the whole family in wagons for two weeks every summer and everyone climbed the peak (before it blew up).  My great grandfather lost his leg in a mining accident in Colorado at age 19.  He used a prosthetic wooden leg.  My grandfather made an ice axe in shop class in about 1912.  I would use poles on a trip like that.  I have spent a lot of time at Mt Rainer, but never climbed St Helen's.

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