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  1. #81

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    Irresponsible and potentially dangerous poppycock


    Quote Originally Posted by leo l. View Post
    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.

  2. #82

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    Will definitely help you keep your balance in trails with rocks or roots or mud. You will advance with more confidence. Will help on ascents and descents, not as useful in flat smooth trails. Carrying a heavy backpack contributes to upset your balance in rough terrain.

  3. #83

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    Quote Originally Posted by pilgrimskywheel View Post
    Irresponsible and potentially dangerous poppycock
    What exactly do you find irresponsible and/or dangerous about what he posted?

  4. #84

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    Promulgating the conjectured notion that hiking poles are a mere fashion statement and are "designed" to break away. I'm sure out there somewhere there may be such a product but it is not meant to stop you from uncontrollably sliding down an ice face toward a crevasse. Thru-hike the PCT without poles and see what happens. Fall and have a strap break away and see what happens. Try climbing up or down Roan Mountain in the rain and see what happens.


    Quote Originally Posted by CalebJ View Post
    What exactly do you find irresponsible and/or dangerous about what he posted?

  5. #85

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    ice axe.jpgthis is a hiking pole w/axe top and the straps don't break away - NOT a fashion statement - anyone who suggests so has never traversed the passes of the Sierras. This tool will save your life. You may miss a photo op, but you'll miss your own funeral too! Have doubts - head up Mt. Whitney without poles. Lots of folks jump with one parachute too - not this kid.

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilgrimskywheel View Post
    Promulgating the conjectured notion that hiking poles are a mere fashion statement and are "designed" to break away. I'm sure out there somewhere there may be such a product but it is not meant to stop you from uncontrollably sliding down an ice face toward a crevasse. Thru-hike the PCT without poles and see what happens. Fall and have a strap break away and see what happens. Try climbing up or down Roan Mountain in the rain and see what happens.
    If I'm on an ice face, or even above one, I want an ice axe. In hand. Held in a way that it can be brought to arrest position in a single motion. I know how to attempt to arrest with a pole, but it will surely mean a broken pole, and likely mean a broken Kevin. Pole straps are not axe leashes, although I freely admit that neither a pole nor a piolet does you any good when it's a thousand feet below you.

    ETA: This message crossed with the one containing the picture of the hybrid-pole-and-pick thingie. I'm not sure I could adapt to that gadget. I learnt conventional French technique, and I suspect I'd have the wrong drilled-in responses for whatever you're supposed to do with it.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  7. #87

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    Yup. Ice ax is a good choice. To each his own. I prefer not taking the bad step/slip/fall first, it likely means I won't need the ax to arrest. This baby is great for glacining (sp?) (sliding down ice faces bordered by huge rocky pits) - which as you know is a BIG part of the PCT show. Clearly however you're not going up into the Sierras with a GoPro in one hand and a Snicker Bar in the other because you're soooooo fashion forward. Lets keep it real dog!

  8. #88

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    It's late November as I gear up for a hopefully rainy trip in December and I've got nothing better to do than post a Photo Essay on the Wonderful Need for Poles when pulling creek crossings. So many people using so many poles can't be all wrong---


    Here's my backpacking buddy Patman pulling the easy 7th crossing of North Fork Citico Creek.


    Here is N-Ville Randy with Patman pulling a crossing over Brookshire Creek in Upper Bald wilderness.


    Here's a pic of Nichole crossing Slickrock Creek. Notice her hiking pole.


    Here is Kenny crossing Slickrock Creek. Check out his hiking poles.


    Here is Amy Willow (AT 2006) crossing Bald River in Upper Bald wilderness. What's that in her hands???? Hiking poles.

    MAYBE MORE TO COME.

  9. #89

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    I'd like to direct your attention to the notice of the currently missing pct hiker posted on this site. Last seen at white pass wa. (where i met the wife.) there is a thorough description of him and his kit: "no hiking poles - he doesn't carry them." you are always just one slip away of being swallowed by the earth and disappearing forever. Fear mongering? Ok. I'll take that. If you are not afraid then you need to pack more respect for where we go.

  10. #90

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    Quote Originally Posted by jpolk84 View Post
    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!
    Cute tale of the woefully inept!

  11. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilgrimskywheel View Post
    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!
    Rarely is it my goal to be the first to hurdle down the mountain. To go safely, proceed patiently, with mindfulness, going at a rate that is appropriate for me and the descent, enjoying the descent as much of the ascent while relying on my own awarenesses to do this, is typically my goal. IMHO, it is just this type of mindset - be the first down the mountain - that you imply should be or can be the goal is what gets people hurt whether using trekking poles or not.

    Trekking poles are no Band Aid substitute for ignoring good backpacking mechanics, ergonomic energy efficient motion, reducing impact to body by lightening the size and weight of the load, body destroying lifestyles, and poor pro inflammatory diets that contribute to and cause musculoskeletal disorders.

  12. #92

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    I've never used them. Just one more thing that's easy to forget and leave behind.

  13. #93
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    Forgetting hiking poles behind, for me, is as likely as forgetting my legs.

  14. #94
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    Some of the loudest hikers I here, other than my sister incessantly talking to my nieces and nephews on trail, are hikers using trekking poles. I can usually hear them from a mile or more away clickkety clacking and scuffing their way down the trail. This noise has frightened more wildlife off or put them into an unnatural state of alarm perhaps more than perhaps any other UNNATURAL sound in Nature while. Many people hike in nature to experience Nature. I know I do. When wildlife is scared off because of unnatural repetitive noise like trekking pole users make we experience less of Nature. Getting those photo opportunities never materializes because the unnatural noise. So, folks saying they've never lost a shot or imposed on others attempting to get their own photos due to trekking pole use are fooling themselves!

  15. #95
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    For all the potential positives of using trekking poles, again, which are vastly more touted than the cons, they certainly can be part of a fashion statement or imply being a serious hiker, an essential part of the backpacking picture, just as can happen with those who must proudly display their essential Patagonia logos on apparel, publicly herald various accolades of victory concerning their itsy bitsy new fangled expensive UL widgets, make sure everyone sees them on their electronics engaging world leaders negotiating the latest peace treaty, or making that daily call to Warren Buffet or Bill Gates regarding their latest IPO or addressing AIDS charities in Africa.

    Trekking pole usage has risen not just because they can be helpful but because it is unquestionably believed they have to be part of the serious backpacker's/hiker's gear ensemble. It is similar to the hiking/backpacking community in the past mistakenly believing heavy leather European mountaineering style constructed boots were thought to be a necessary part of trekking.

    Perhaps, perhaps, it's best to proactively address the root causes of why one might need or want trekking poles preventively rather than assume the consequences of those causes have to be the norm and addressed symptomatically with trekking poles. That's the more profound discussion..... possibly not needing trekking poles as result of greater awarenesses? This isn't going to apply to everyone so don't get defensive or offended. The intention is to develop and not ignore critical thinking skills so we all can make better more sober decisions.

    If one uses trekking poles GREAT. If you don't GREAT. If one thinks more preventively why one might not need trekking poles, and seek to avoid those reasons proactively,....GREATEST.

  16. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tipi Walter View Post
    It's late November as I gear up for a hopefully rainy trip in December and I've got nothing better to do than post a Photo Essay on the Wonderful Need for Poles when pulling creek crossings. So many people using so many poles can't be all wrong---


    Here's my backpacking buddy Patman pulling the easy 7th crossing of North Fork Citico Creek.


    Here is N-Ville Randy with Patman pulling a crossing over Brookshire Creek in Upper Bald wilderness.


    Here's a pic of Nichole crossing Slickrock Creek. Notice her hiking pole.


    Here is Kenny crossing Slickrock Creek. Check out his hiking poles.


    Here is Amy Willow (AT 2006) crossing Bald River in Upper Bald wilderness. What's that in her hands???? Hiking poles.

    MAYBE MORE TO COME.

    Yes, more to see! Again, wonderful pics Tipi. SEE in your pics all those sticks and small branches lying around some that seem to have been used during previous fords by hikers. THEY are trekking poles too! They can be used for fords also. NO?

  17. #97
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    Quote Originally Posted by gravitino View Post
    Will definitely help you keep your balance in trails with rocks or roots or mud. You will advance with more confidence. Will help on ascents and descents, not as useful in flat smooth trails. Carrying a heavy backpack contributes to upset your balance in rough terrain.

    While we can rely on gear for confidence I will suggest it is not more gear that gets us always down the trail. Confidence can primarily come from knowing thyself, and relying on skills, knowledge and wisdom.

    BTW, on flat terrain trekking poles can be used to establish a cadence or rhythm enabling one to cross vast distances faster or more efficiently.

  18. #98
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilgrimskywheel View Post
    ice axe.jpgthis is a hiking pole w/axe top and the straps don't break away - NOT a fashion statement - anyone who suggests so has never traversed the passes of the Sierras. This tool will save your life. You may miss a photo op, but you'll miss your own funeral too! Have doubts - head up Mt. Whitney without poles. Lots of folks jump with one parachute too - not this kid.
    Not the best of either world, IMHO. I'd be carrying a real ice axe with a real leash if I thought I'd be in a situation to need an ice axe. I suppose I could put Whippets(tm) on my hiking poles...but why? I'm not skiing and if something happens at walking pace that I need to self-arrest from( I am trying to picture it....), you can be damn sure I am going to need an ice axe, not a pole with an axe head and iffy straps....I can't imagine using poles with axe heads to do anything without having crampons on.....how would that work, again?

  19. #99
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    I've seen more people take falls during water crossings attempting to rock hop on slippery rock or balance beam across on logs to avoid taking off their shoes or getting their feet/shoes wet. Makes me scratch my head especially when the crossings are shallow, narrow, very cold conditions don't exist, and the person already is wearing sandals or has wet feet/shoes.

  20. #100
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    My unreliable opinion on poles: I've used them for about four years. Before that, I spent several decades hiking with a wooden stick. I'm continuing to use my poles.

    I have fallen much less often since I started using poles. My knees, one of which I trashed in a hiking accident in the Whites in my late teens, and subsequently in an ill-advised attempt to learn the basics of figure skating and the other of which I trashed in a fall on ice in my own driveway, and subsequently in a faceplant in the Adirondacks, don't hurt after a day of moderate hiking. With just my walking stick, they surely did!

    I also used to have problems with finger numbness and clumsiness after a day of gripping a hiking stick, even switching hands regularly. Moreover I'd have trouble with blisters around the ball of my thumb and the web between thumb and forefinger, even after applying the tape that's used for bicycle grips onto my hiking stick. I had the same problem initially with poles, but it disappeared immediately when I started using the straps properly. I don't need to grip the pole, just kind of guide it with my fingers, and avoid whatever low-level harm that gripping it was doing to my skin and my nervous system.

    I recognize the claim that I increase my chance of various injuries in a fall. It's a risk I'm willing to bear - partly because I fall so much less often with poles. Falling on an outstretched hand is also asking for wrist injury - and it's a reflexive move that people in various athletic pursuits (martial arts, dance, etc.) spend years of drill unlearning. "Tuck, roll, and take the impact on shoulder and backpack" does not come naturally.

    Of course, I stow my poles for scrambling and bushwhacking through spruce or laurel. They are a lot easier to put away than my walking stick ever was. Collapse them, catch the baskets in an ice axe loop and tuck the tops in a compression strap. On serious ice, the poles go on my pack and the ice axe goes in my hand.

    If you're going to contend that the reason I need poles is that I don't work on my balance enough, I carry a few extra pounds both on body and in pack, and I'm not in as good hiking fettle as I ought to be generally, I won't argue. If you're going to say "poles are for weaklings," then, well, I'm a weakling and I need them. If you are going to say, "poles are a fashion statement," well, then, my knees are slaves to fashion. If you're going to say that the reason that I need poles is that I neglected my body for too long in middle age, well, now I'm distinctly old, paying somewhat more attention to it, and having to work with this neglected body because it's the only one I have.

    I know that some of the people here are sometime professional athletes, avid long-distance runners, professional outdoor workers, former rangers, environmental protection officers, foresters and so on. They're in awesome physical condition and have the balance of goats. They tend to be the people who proclaim that you have to be in terrific physical condition before hiking. To them I say that hiking is how I get into better condition. It's just about the only strenuous exercise that I can bring myself to enjoy, and if I could come even close to doing it as much as I want, I'd have no body weight issues at all (and probably much better balance and ability to recover from slips as well). But I'm not there. I'm not going to be in top physical condition before I start a hike, so I have to start slow and do what I can. Just don't push me aside as you blow past me on the trail. If you do, I'll be sorely tempted to trip you with a pole. What will stop me is that I know you're in better shape than I am, so even if I have the jump on you, I'm going to lose the fight.

    That's my take on the "you shouldn't need poles because you should be in better condition" argument. To me, it comes awfully close to saying, "you shouldn't be hiking because you aren't cool enough."
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

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