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 Hiking Poles 
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Mountaineer
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Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:07 pm
Posts: 103
Location: Barrington, NH
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 Hiking Poles
I'm curious to know who uses hiking poles in the summer and what benefit they bring. I use mine only in the winter. I carry them year round but find them cumbersome in non snow/ice situations. I feel like I should use them all the time because I've had three knee operations, although right now my knees feel great. Maybe I should adjust them shorter with no snow?


Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:08 pm
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Moderator
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 8:13 pm
Posts: 2027
Location: Mt Lafayette Winter 2009
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Black Diamond flint locks. Love em and use em 365. I would figure with any knee problems poles would be a requirement. It saves up to 10 percent wear &tear

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Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:15 pm
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Flatfoot
Flatfoot

Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 8:56 am
Posts: 4
Location: Hanover, NH
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 Treking Poles
I use my Leki Makalu's year round and no doubt they reduce stress on knees and legs. An old timer also told me that the four points of contact are the reason "dogs don't fall". Not sure about that since I have had a dozen falls but all of them have been descending. While the poles certainly make descents easier they also don't prevent shoes from slipping.


Sun Nov 20, 2011 6:32 pm
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Mountaineer
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:57 pm
Posts: 101
Location: Troy NH
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I use a pair of Black Diamond Ergo Cork poles for aid in balancing.
I've played with different lengths and the most comfortable I've found is
arms at your sides, bent at 90 degree angles. Not cumbersome at all because at this height I don't feel like I'm lifting them up with each step.


Sun Nov 20, 2011 7:11 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:10 pm
Posts: 2364
Location: Natick, MA
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I use a pair of Leki Makalus myself. Can't hike without them. Especially for descents, they really save my knees which aren't all that great to begin with. I make sure one is always firmly planted, and I find I can move fairly quickly. They've saved me from a few falls by doing this. (Of course I wouldn't have been moving so fast without them :D) This fall I hiked with a buddy who hadn't done much hiking before and lent him one of my poles. Took me a whole day to get used to only having one...

Like Gary said, I find the length set so my arms are bent at the elbow 90 degrees works best overall. I'll sometimes extend them a bit on steeper descents. The spring in mine is also great to shock-absorb the impacts on descent.

About the only time I have not used them and instead strapped them to my pack was going up the Owl's Head slide, and for up the steep section of Hancock. There it was better to grab trees as I scrambled. But coming down they were good to have!

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Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:45 pm
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:04 pm
Posts: 3734
Location: Newmarket, NH
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I use them all the time because they take some of the strain off my legs, and especially help my knees on the way down.

This may seem silly, but read this short guide, it's actually pretty helpful - especially the part about putting your hands up and through the straps. I do this so that I'm not gripping the pole too tightly, which can be tiring on your hands.

http://www.ideal-hiking-equipment.com/u ... poles.html

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Sun Nov 20, 2011 8:54 pm
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Peak Bagger
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:29 pm
Posts: 226
Location: Durham, NH
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I also have had surgeries on both knees. The poles that I use all the time might be the most important reason I am still able to hike. They're well worth the money.


Sun Nov 20, 2011 9:06 pm
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Sovereign Woodsman
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:40 pm
Posts: 1943
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I started using them when I had knee problems. They have become an extension of my being at this point (Leki Makalus). When used properly (see article linked by BobC), they can speed and ease your ascent as well as your descent.

Tim

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Last edited by bikehikeskifish on Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:07 am
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Peak Bagger
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Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 9:06 pm
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Location: Spencer, Mass
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Same here. Use my Black Diamonds just about all the time. Takes a ton of pressure off the knees. Especially downhill. And they come in handy for stream crossings.

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Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:04 am
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Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 1:38 pm
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Location: Nashua
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I also use my trekking poles (Leki Makalus) almost all the time: ascents, descents and traverses. I stow them for scrambles and occasionally when I want to snack while walking. They certainly help with my knees during descent, transferring a lot of the load to my arms. Other benefits I've noticed: better balance, they help me find a rhythm, and they help propel me on the ascent (transferring some of the work from my legs to my arms).

I generally make the poles slightly (5cm or so) shorter on ascents and longer on descents. I've read that on traverses you should have one long and one short to compensate for the quick ups and downs, but that seems like a hassle and I typically just leave them at my "normal" length.


Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:50 am
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I Spend All My Time on This Forum
I Spend All My Time on This Forum

Joined: Wed Feb 14, 2007 2:04 pm
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Location: Newmarket, NH
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Sometimes on descents, I'll just use one pole, more so in the winter, so I can use the other hand to grab onto trees. Usually the hiking seems a lot easier on the knees when you're hiking in snow.

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Mon Nov 21, 2011 9:31 am
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Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2011 8:10 pm
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Location: Natick, MA
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krpayer wrote:
I've read that on traverses you should have one long and one short to compensate for the quick ups and downs, but that seems like a hassle and I typically just leave them at my "normal" length.


Agreed, plus there aren't too many true traverses in the Whites it seems. More of a "here's a rockslide, put the trail there so it's easy to keep clear". That or the trail follows the top of a ridge up the mountain.

MidState raises a great point about stream crossings. Having two extra "feet" is invaluable on crossings.

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My Trip Reports: http://mattshikes.blogspot.com/


Mon Nov 21, 2011 12:12 pm
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Leg Burner
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Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:13 pm
Posts: 79
Location: Massachusetts
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I have trekking poles and a fording staff that I made from a 10' branch hauled home (now 62"). I consider the staff 'summer' gear because it is not sharply pointed or basketed, but it is a huge help for my legs, especially downhill. Because I'm more likely to scramble ledge in the summer, I prefer having one hand free. I also like that I can put real weight on it. Just an option to think about.

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Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:40 pm
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Joined: Sat Sep 05, 2009 7:35 pm
Posts: 2766
Location: south of the notches
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BobC wrote:
the part about putting your hands up and through the straps.


Bob, the salesman at REI where I bought my poles showed me this method. H-U-G-E difference!!!

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Mon Nov 21, 2011 10:17 pm
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2007 8:40 pm
Posts: 1943
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Kathy wrote:
BobC wrote:
the part about putting your hands up and through the straps.


Bob, the salesman at REI where I bought my poles showed me this method. H-U-G-E difference!!!


I'm going to guess you aren't a (XC) skier.

Tim

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Tue Nov 22, 2011 11:40 am
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