Jump to content

Use of hiking sticks/poles


Michael Crooijmans

Recommended Posts

  • Premium Member
Aaron Zagrodnick

One thing I have learned over the last few weeks is that some look down upon the use of poles for some fairly silly reasons.

Some seem to think they're only for the aged, infirm or weak. Some seem to think they're a sign of being oversold by a clerk at the local REI. Still others seem to think they're a mark of being a newbie. Finally some decry the "damage" they do to trails.

I just try to keep in mind that the great Reinhold Messner used ski poles on some of his alpine climbs...

I've noticed the marks left behind on rock before and the row of holes often lining either side of busy trails...I also personally can't stand the noise. :) Snow and ice aside I like something like this, (Trekking Pole Tip Protectors) for a little peace and quiet if nothing else!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 45
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • Aconcagua

    6

  • Michael Crooijmans

    5

  • PaulMags

    4

  • toejam

    4

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

It's kind of an interesting line of questioning to ask if something is necessary.  You don't "need" a backpack. You can easily fold a tarp up into a pouch to hold all your gear and hang it from a slin

I would suggest not thinking about useful vs necessary as the standard for considering a purchase, but rather risk vs. reward or discomfort vs. comfort.  This is basically the decision we make with al

The big negative is having them in your hands all the time, which is annoying and takes away from the simplicity of walking outside. But at some point, early 50's for me, I decided the benefits of sta

I've noticed the marks left behind on rock before and the row of holes often lining either side of busy trails...I also personally can't stand the noise. :) Snow and ice aside I like something like this, (Trekking Pole Tip Protectors) for a little peace and quiet if nothing else!

The noise may warn bears, or snakes, if you are hiking in their area. Recently hiking on Santa Cruz Island, I was alone and the trail on a ridge that dropped off 500' on one side and 1000' on the other, and in other areas it was a 20" wide trail on the side mountain with a 250' drop off, I was glad I had trekking poles to provide that tripod stance on all surfaces. But I'm 66 and retired and want my vacation to last a very long time. I travel faster using trekking poles, kind of like cross country skiing, another plus is using you upper body to help you hike. Also my Leki poles have an option to have a camera mount for steady shots, without hauling a tripod. Negatives none.

Edited by 805gregg
Link to post
Share on other sites

The big negative is having them in your hands all the time, which is annoying and takes away from the simplicity of walking outside. But at some point, early 50's for me, I decided the benefits of staying upright were worth the annoyance. I've had tents that use my poles and like that setup.

Let me add to the contention.;) I adjust my poles shorter than most people. Mine are just below waist high. This way I don't do curls all day with them and they are less likey to break. All the mountain guides I've seen keep their's shorter than most non-professional hikers. You should try it. I also get rid of the straps and baskets. Simplicity. Hike your own hike - don't use them unless they make the experience better.

Knew you must be local, Gregg. See ya on the trail.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting the length (depending on the terrain) of the poles and their straps sorted out is an interesting process.

I set my poles with my forearms parallel to the trail while I'm ascending and I definitely use the straps -- they are a huge plus. They rest my hands and allow gravity to do a long of work. It's almost as if I'm cheating on some long grinds.

On descents I pretty much make my poles as long as I can.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting the length (depending on the terrain) of the poles and their straps sorted out is an interesting process.

I set my poles with my forearms parallel to the trail while I'm ascending and I definitely use the straps -- they are a huge plus. They rest my hands and allow gravity to do a long of work. It's almost as if I'm cheating on some long grinds.

On descents I pretty much make my poles as long as I can.

I'm with you - that sort of set up works well for me, too.  

I don't have too much trouble with being hands free either.  When I put the pole on I hold the strap above the pole, stick my hand thru the loop, and then clamp down on the handle (so that the straps are stuck between my hand and the pole).  When I need to be hands free I let go of the handle and the pole dangles off my wrist - no problem.  

 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I was a bit of a late adapter but ONLY hike with poles now except on the rare desert day hike.

Flat is just not a big part of the ranges I hike and backpack in and I've found poles invaluable. Extra power on the climbs and stability on the descents and water crossings. Just don't rely on them to control your speed on descents. Another bonus, outside of the better overall body conditioning and their usefulness in keeping you more upright with a big pack, is that you don't get "sausage fingers" when you're above 8K or so. After a couple of trips they become an extension of your body and you don't even think about them any more.

And the "sissy stick" label just doesn't carry weight any more. As a matter of fact, pretty much the only hikers I see without them are those without a lot of experience or older hikers who go without due to "principle." :)

Edited by TeeJay
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with you - that sort of set up works well for me, too.  

I don't have too much trouble with being hands free either.  When I put the pole on I hold the strap above the pole, stick my hand thru the loop, and then clamp down on the handle (so that the straps are stuck between my hand and the pole).  When I need to be hands free I let go of the handle and the pole dangles off my wrist - no problem.  

 

I was really afraid that I would miss having a "free hand" as I would shift my single hiking staff from hand to hand at times as I would use my hand for balance against a rock or whatever.  Now that I use poles I'm so stable and powerful that I rarely even consider dropping a pole and when I do, I do just exactly as you describe.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

And the "sissy stick" label just doesn't carry weight any more. As a matter of fact, pretty much the only hikers I see without them are those without a lot of experience or older hikers who go without due to "principle." :)

I really didn't know what was going on with trekking poles when I first started asking questions here locally.  I now definitely know some young hikers that believe poles are for the aged or infirm -- or at least those out of shape.

I've also come across some "purists" hung-up on some sort of "principle" which I don't profess to understand.  Sort of amusing -- except when I witness one of them struggling with the hike...

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I never look down when I'm hiking since there are some many other things to enjoy looking at. My hiking poles have saved me from dozens of unplanned trips and they also help me establish a nice rhythm. 

Edited by outskiing
  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

My grandpa used to hike with a staff.  He never left the cabin without it.  He died 20 years ago, but I still have the staff at the cabin.  I used it for the first time when I was carrying my baby niece in her pack.  The added stability was amazing. I haven't really done any heavy backpacking since, but I am definitely gonna be using either a staff or pole next time I do. I have tripped on more than one occasion hiking with a heavy pack it's no fun. 

I've never judged anyone for hiking with a pole or staff. I just never used one because I never realized how beneficial it was. I tried using an old skiing pole, but I prefer the staff. Maybe it's just a style preference. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now




×
×
  • Create New...