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  1. #61
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    Leki even makes/made a "break-away" strap, for all of the above reasons. If it wasn't needed, why would Leki have made it?

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    to each their own.
    I would never ever use poles without the straps.

    But then again Im reasonably coordinated

    What I ski...I need a pole to self arrest. So yeah, I wear straps.
    Unless bumps in trees.
    Unless you are using Whippets(tm) you are better off losing a pole to help you self arrest.

    Everybody takes a fall, no matter how coordinated. Hence, the invention of Whippets(tm).

    Nobody I ski with in the backcountry uses straps, except when poling the flats. I don't even use them then. Mine have been cut off since 1979...YMMV...there's no good reason to wear them except for fear of losing the pole....

  3. #63
    Registered User handlebar's Avatar
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    I find trekking poles useful for the following reasons: 1) One of them holds up my tent, 2) As an advanced middle age backpacker I find they help take a substantial part of the weight on each step, similar to what using a cane would do. The trekking pole is planted with the arm opposite of the leg which is about to be planted making for natural arm swings and distributing my weight between the arm with the pole and the opposite leg 3) I also use the poles to engage the upper body on flat or mildly ascending/descending trail to add a little extra momentum to each step by pushing off with my lats as a cross country skier might. I use the straps which I adjust quite loose by putting my hands thru from the bottom like ski poles so that the beefy part of my hand against the strap takes most of the weight and I have a very light grip with a couple fingers around the handle. I find the poles especially helpful on steep descents and in providing stability when traversing uneven trail tread or going cross country. The poles have saved me from many a fall. When I do fall, I have never (knock wood) felt a stress on my wrists or arm joints, although once I did fall across a pole and bent the lower section under my leg. (A call to Leki customer service (Google "Leki Buffalo NY for the nbr) resulted in Leki sending a replacement section by priority mail at their expense.) For taking a quick picture, I let one pole dangle from my wrist while I unzip the fanny pack I wear in front to withdraw the camera, although that does take a bit of time and I might miss a shot--no different than if I weren't holding the pole.
    Last edited by handlebar; 11-28-2016 at 21:42.
    Handlebar
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  4. #64

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareBear View Post
    Leki even makes/made a "break-away" strap, for all of the above reasons. If it wasn't needed, why would Leki have made it?
    An option for those who choose to use them.

  5. #65
    Registered User egilbe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareBear View Post
    WRONG!

    I have over 45 years experience skiing, both at resorts and in the backcountry. YOU NEVER EVER EVER EVER WEAR POLE STRAPS!!!! That's not personal choice. That's survival. Here are the reasons you don't ever wear the damn straps.

    1. Trees. Trees grab your pole basket. If you let go, all is well. If you are wearing a strap, you will get turned. And fall. This is true for trekking or skiing, but the results are faster and more deadly skiing at speed.
    2. Roots/Rocks/Holes. These things grab your poles and won't let go. On a downhill, no worries, unless you are strapped to the pole. Picture it...
    3. Falling. You've somehow gotten one pole between your legs and are falling. Easy. Let go of the pole and stick your hand out to help arrest your fall. Oops. You've got a strap on. Your arm is now dislocated at the shoulder or broken. And, you may have impaled an important anatomical part with your pole. Or, you fall on a downhill and cartwheel or roll. Instinctively, you let go of your poles and they fly away harmlessly. Or, not. If strapped, the tips of the poles are behind your outstretched hands, waiting to impale your eye, face, chest, etc...
    4. Jamming your thumb. If you put the straps on incorrectly, you WILL eventually jam your thumb. No bueno.
    5. Photos. Hilarity ensues when an important shot is encountered and the subject is wearing pole straps!

    The only reason to wear the strap? So you don't drop your pole....
    When did we change the topic from hiking poles to ski poles?

  6. #66

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareBear View Post
    ...there's no good reason to wear them except for fear of losing the pole....
    And theres no good reason not to use them, except your afraid of hurting yourself in an uncontrolled fall.

    with walking...the chances are very very very small.

    So small, I cant believe people will actually argue about what others do.

    But this is Whiteblaze

    where if you ask whats a good tent to bring, half the responses will be why you should use a hammock instead, and it will fill up 10 pages with 4 persons bickering back and forth.
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 11-28-2016 at 21:59.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareBear View Post
    Leki even makes/made a "break-away" strap, for all of the above reasons. If it wasn't needed, why would Leki have made it?
    Thx for mentioning the quick release break away strap system of Leki. FWIW, I think that feature is preferred by downhill racers on skiing poles made for fast downhill skiing and not so much for ski trekking on flatter terrain or by those in gentler terrain engaging in cross country skiing. I'd guess there's no rule saying skiing poles can't ever be using for trekking on foot like hiking.

    And, yes I'd say many if not most backpackers and hikers use their trekking pole wrist straps. Maybe, Pilgrim was right in that I need to practice more quickly releasing from trekking pole straps. I've practiced it some but still nowhere quick enough to avoid a fall from trekking poles snagging on something or from sudden in a micro second falls on steeply sloped snowfields or on steep trails with trail construction. fRankly, I dropped a trekking pole once bisecting a snowbird on a steep slope in Glacier and the pole slid down more than 1000 ft. It took a lot of time getting safely down around the chute and down to the trekking pole. I looked at my altitude watch to see how much elevation and time I had lost. Not what I was desiring.

    I'm open to hearing anyone's further suggestions. I'm in need of improving in this area.


    BTW, I've never seen Squatch using trekking poles. Maybe, that's one reason why it's so stealthy?

  8. #68

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    I use my straps typically, but some situations I will take them off. Some sections north long trail, whites, etc, I feel they are a bit of a hazard. But I'm sure people have gone the distance with straps many times... I just feel better without them on in those situations

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by handlebar View Post
    I find trekking poles useful for the following reasons: 1) One of them holds up my tent, 2) As an advanced middle age backpacker I find they help take a substantial part of the weight on each step, similar to what using a cane would do. The trekking pole is planted with the arm opposite of the leg which is about to be planted making for natural arm swings and distributing my weight between the arm with the pole and the opposite leg 3) I also use the poles to engage the upper body on flat or mildly ascending/descending trail to add a little extra momentum to each step by pushing off with my lats as a cross country skier might. I use the straps which I adjust quite loose by putting my hands thru from the bottom like ski poles so that the beefy part of my hand against the strap takes most of the weight and I have a very light grip with a couple fingers around the handle. I find the poles especially helpful on steep descents and in providing stability when traversing uneven trail tread or going cross country. The poles have saved me from many a fall. When I do fall, I have never (knock wood) felt a stress on my wrists or arm joints, although once I did fall across a pole and bent the lower section under my leg. (A call to Leki customer service (Google "Leki Buffalo NY for the nbr) resulted in Leki sending a replacement section by priority mail at their expense.) For taking a quick picture, I let one pole dangle from my wrist while I unzip the fanny pack I wear in front to withdraw the camera, although that does take a bit of time and I might miss a shot--no different than if I weren't holding the pole.
    Thx Rick. Fannypack to the rescue.

  10. #70

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    They are a fad fed by strong retail marketing. Nobody used them before the late 1980's. Europeans favored them before Americans did (I saw French people using them on the Annapurna trek in 1983; I thought they were klutzy even then).

    The American style traditionally was a wooden staff. Still is for quite a few hikers. Strong, no worries about breakage, attractive and natural. Great protection, strong support to prop up a heavy pack. Mine gets a lot of compliments. Not so much when I use Komperdells... but I like to support the mining industry too.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Thx for mentioning the quick release break away strap system of Leki. FWIW, I think that feature is preferred by downhill racers on skiing poles made for fast downhill skiing and not so much for ski trekking on flatter terrain or by those in gentler terrain engaging in cross country skiing. I'd guess there's no rule saying skiing poles can't ever be using for trekking on foot like hiking.

    And, yes I'd say many if not most backpackers and hikers use their trekking pole wrist straps. Maybe, Pilgrim was right in that I need to practice more quickly releasing from trekking pole straps. I've practiced it some but still nowhere quick enough to avoid a fall from trekking poles snagging on something or from sudden in a micro second falls on steeply sloped snowfields or on steep trails with trail construction. fRankly, I dropped a trekking pole once bisecting a snowbird on a steep slope in Glacier and the pole slid down more than 1000 ft. It took a lot of time getting safely down around the chute and down to the trekking pole. I looked at my altitude watch to see how much elevation and time I had lost. Not what I was desiring.

    I'm open to hearing anyone's further suggestions. I'm in need of improving in this area.


    BTW, I've never seen Squatch using trekking poles. Maybe, that's one reason why it's so stealthy?
    Many "trekking" poles are backcountry ski poles. To ski the backcountry, where you skin up and ski down, you need poles that are adjustable. BlackDiamond has a corner on this market. Black Diamond's "trekking" poles are ski poles. I wouldn't take a non-adjustable ski pole for trekking. My "ski" poles, for inbounds and racing, are graphite, non-adjustable, cost more than my backpack, and wouldn't last on the trail for more than a couple of weeks.

    I just don't see the need for pole leashes(straps) vs. the potential of real injury in a fall or a fall that is precipitated solely upon the use of poles with the straps on. That's why you don't see ski retainer straps on anything but telemark skis or randonee bindings anymore. If you can imagine the carnage of a fall where your skis properly release, but remain tethered to your leg, why can't you imagine the carnage of a fall where the poles come out of your hands, but stay on your arms?

    Sorry if my post came off as negative. I've seen injuries from poles with straps on. Broken thumbs. Thumbs that had dislocated and then broken. Pole grips to the eye, mouth and larynx. Broken pole impalement in...gluteus maximus. Horrific tree skiing fall caused solely by the pole grabbing underbrush, turning the skier 45 degrees and into.....yeah....a tree. On the AT I've seen a guy on a tricky downhill get his pole caught in a root bundle, was in the process of a down step, turned and fell. His pole came out just after his arm did. One roll. Two rolls. Bounce. Slide. Stop. Scream. The pole was still attached....at least he didn't lose his pole. None of the above, with the exception of the tree skier and butt puncture, lost their precious poles. Every other one of them wished they did....just sayin...pole loss v. fall/injury....hmmmm......paging Professor Darwin....poles strap users on line one....

    BTW, my son used the pole straps on the trail without really thinking. He took a good fall on a steep incline when his pole stuck in a rock crevice, ascending. He slid, the pole came out and since it was still attached, the pole promptly spiraled and whacked him in the head. No harm to anything but his pride. He cut the straps off, then and there. Just like his ski poles. "Sorry, Dad." "No worries kid, live and learn..." Hopefully...

  12. #72

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareBear View Post
    WRONG!

    I have over 45 years experience skiing, both at resorts and in the backcountry. YOU NEVER EVER EVER EVER WEAR POLE STRAPS!!!! That's not personal choice. That's survival. Here are the reasons you don't ever wear the damn straps.

    1. Trees. Trees grab your pole basket. If you let go, all is well. If you are wearing a strap, you will get turned. And fall. This is true for trekking or skiing, but the results are faster and more deadly skiing at speed.
    2. Roots/Rocks/Holes. These things grab your poles and won't let go. On a downhill, no worries, unless you are strapped to the pole. Picture it...
    3. Falling. You've somehow gotten one pole between your legs and are falling. Easy. Let go of the pole and stick your hand out to help arrest your fall. Oops. You've got a strap on. Your arm is now dislocated at the shoulder or broken. And, you may have impaled an important anatomical part with your pole. Or, you fall on a downhill and cartwheel or roll. Instinctively, you let go of your poles and they fly away harmlessly. Or, not. If strapped, the tips of the poles are behind your outstretched hands, waiting to impale your eye, face, chest, etc...
    4. Jamming your thumb. If you put the straps on incorrectly, you WILL eventually jam your thumb. No bueno.
    5. Photos. Hilarity ensues when an important shot is encountered and the subject is wearing pole straps!

    The only reason to wear the strap? So you don't drop your pole....
    Given this, you must be absolutely terrified of skis and apoplectic when people utilize bindings on them.

  13. #73

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    The comfortable cork grips, straps and long lasting tips on my Leki trekking poles are why I use manufactured poles instead of sticks.
    Lots of other people have already covered most of the good that trekking poles do for some hikers.
    I could probably make do with another kind of grip material as long as it was large enough and comfortable enough.
    I would not consider a trekking pole without good straps or tips...but that's my way of thinking.
    The straps are always used and are one of the best features of a manufactured trekking pole for me.

    Something for Dogwood to think about...I keep my camera in a zip-up shoulder holster.
    The zipper is almost always open unless I'm doing a difficult spot on the trail, then it gets a quick half closed zip. It's a chance I take with the camera to get better critter photos. I've never had the camera fall out of the shoulder holster. I've done it like this long enough that I never forget it's not zippered in.

    When I see an animal I want to photograph or take a video of I let my poles dangle from the straps and can quickly have the camera ready while making no noise and very little movement.
    I always keep all the noises the camera makes muted.
    I used to keep the camera zipped up all the time, but I had too many animals hear the zipper and run off before I could get the photo.
    I'm always amazed how quickly I can become a still object doing it this way and mostly have the animal not even know I'm there.
    Just a thought, but maybe you've already done something like this.
    Stumpknocker
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  14. #74
    Registered User Lyle's Avatar
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    Pacer Poles do not need straps, in fact, they don't even have any - just cord tethers so you can let the poles dangle when taking pictures.

  15. #75

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareBear View Post
    Leki even makes/made a "break-away" strap, for all of the above reasons. If it wasn't needed, why would Leki have made it?
    For the same reason every other company sells us things we don't need: To differentiate their products and make you believe they have something "new" that is "better".

  16. #76
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Just my 2 cents on the pole thing...

    For at least a decade, I scoffed at using poles, then I used them and found they really are useful, especially at "distributing the work" a bit from all legs to some arms. Early on I used those silly straps like "you're supposed to", found this highly annoying (for reasons already discussed), so stopped using them altogether (I never, ever use straps skiing, for reasons already mentioned).

    So, two poles, no straps... still a bit clunky at times, though it made up/down hills a good bit easier. THEN I discovered the joy of using one single pole and switching hands quite often, and this is my current method of hiking most trails, including long hikes. One pole. Interestingly, nearly all my regular hiking pals out here in Colorado do the exact same thing: one pole, no strap.

    One exception: if the day will involve BIG up/down on good trail, I'll use two poles. Big up/down on a very rough trail, a trail that requires a lot of use of hands to grab holds, I'll stick with one pole. I carried and used two poles on a very recent Long Trail ETE, lots and lots of big up/down, though I stashed one pole a bunch during the hike.

    Other pole attributes: For very long trails, consider energy use: the AT for example is approximately 5 million steps. If you're a regular 2-pole user, that's 5 million pole plants and pole lifts. So, the weight of a pole or poles is important. Carrying a heavy walking stick means much more energy expended. OTOH, it also means a better arm workout, not a bad thing really....

    I also find that I hardly ever have any need to adjust pole length, so I now use a fixed length pole (130cm for me, 6'1" tall), one that folds into thirds for easy storage, in particular the Black Diamond Z-pole line. I prefer the aluminum version vs the carbon-fiber version, because I have broken two carbon poles over 15 years or so.

    So that's my 2-cents, I'm 60, and stuff is starting a hurt a bit now and then, and I'm sure using a hiking pole helps me out quite a bit.

  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by Traveler View Post
    Given this, you must be absolutely terrified of skis and apoplectic when people utilize bindings on them.
    Ummmm...no.

    I prefer to minimize my risk of injury. Which I why I do a proper release test on my downhill ski bindings every fall, before the season. I also ditch the bindings when they are out of service by the mfr. And, I employ ski brakes, even on my ultra-fat powder skis. I also wear an avy beacon if I am going to hike to ski at Alta.

    Apoplectic? Nah. Cautious. Yah.

    I AM terrified of a gaper poseur mowing me down in a lift line and blowing my knee out, since this has happened to two friends in the last 20 years!

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Yeah, that stray itchy nose cotton, mosquito landing on a brow, and ripe thimble or huckleberry can easily be reached.
    True! With trekking poles it usually goes like this: Begin to raise hand to scratch itch. Realize trekking pole is in scratch hand. Attempt to pass trekking pole to other hand and loop hand-loop over other trekking pole. Miss other trekking pole and drop the one from scratch hand. Bend down to retrieve trekking pole. Realize if you bend down you will lose your hat! Squat to retrieve trekking pole instead. Realize you have a trekking pole in each hand and now cannot scratch!

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockDoc View Post
    ... Nobody used them before the late 1980's. Europeans favored them before Americans did ...
    True.
    We had two periods where hiking poles got used and advertised.
    First was in the 90ies and they pointed out the advantages you all here pointed out as well: Load distribution, saving knees, "4-legs-drive".
    Then a few years later some people started to tell around that hiking poles are bad, for all the reasons you pointed out: Danger of injury, losing training for balance.

    Hiking poles came back some 7-8 years back, but very specialized ones and they call the job now "Nordic Walking" (we call it Nordic Wobbling" for all the overweight wom..Hmmmpf, sorry for the political incorrectness <G>
    We have the citys most famous Nordic Walking route here passing by just by my window, so while sitting in the office I can watch them all wobbling, eh, walking by.
    About 80% of all people use poles now. Its a fashion. All poles, be it skiing, hiking or walking, have some sort of quick/emergency release of the loops since many decades.

    Out on the mountain trails here hiking poles are less used, because many routes involve some sort of scrambling, where the poles would have to be stowed away, and almost all tracks are to narrow and rocky to make good use of poles.

  20. #80

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    APOPLEXIA! Or, the untold terror of my pole. The strap is there specifically for arresting a fall. If you are unsure of this please try the Sierras without poles, or pole straps. You'll be the first one down the mountain!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Simple sounding. Maybe not simple in practice. I have tried umpteen times to perfect a quick release from trekking pole straps yet it's the number one thing that cause me to lose opportunity to get the shots I desire. I have yet to perfect what you share. Maybe, I should more thoroughly study Houdini's upside down get of a straight jacket trick too.

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