Recommendation from the Climbing Company.
I break stuff easy, and am pretty fussy when it come to kit, using it day in day out for work and personal stuff. For me, a walking pole needs to be strong yet light, collapsible and small yet easily adjustable, decent baskets and a grip that extends down the shaft. Not too much to ask surely?! Always having had to compromise on some of these features, I’ve had poles from most of the big brands, broken lots, got frustrated with lots and never been completely happy… Do the perfect walking poles exist, that I can use for walking, ski-touring, piste-skiing, mountaineering and winter climbing approaches? I think I might have finally found them….
Black Diamond Alpine FLZ Trekking Poles
These come in 3 different sizes, with 15-20cm of adjustability depending on which one you go for, I don’t tend to bother adjusting my poles for walking, but if I’m touring I want the ability to. Usually I don’t use the leashes, and just move my hand up or down the pole itself – especially useful for touring uphill, and having the foam grip come part way down the shaft of the pole itself is a big bonus. The main grip itself is cork, and I’ve definitely found it warmer than other materials, and really grippy… Good start!
The adjustability and pole assembly is a breeze even with gloves on, and seems solid and locked in. I’ve had problems with lighter poles being flimsy in this regard, and some standard 3 section poles that slide shorter when icy, this wont happen with the Alpine FLZ poles. The regular basket it strong and a sensible size, none of this pathetic miniscule stuff that the lighter ones have that are useless. The additional snow-baskets (supplied as standard) are a great size, strong, and aesthetically pleasing, and in fact the whole pole looks cool – always a useful consideration!
One of the main considerations for me is the pole must collapse small enough for it can be stowed inside the rucksack when winter climbing, as opposed to on the outside where it’ll get caught on stuff when climbing, and potentially drop out and be lost forever. In the past, poles that I’ve had that do this have been flimsy and fragile and lasted not long at all, with all that winter climbing throws at kit…
With an RRP £130 the poles aren’t cheap, but the durability and performance more than make it a worthy purchase, definitely the perfect walking poles in my opinion!
So the pole is strong, sturdy, small and collapsible yet has good adjustability, and has all the key features I’m after, well done Black Diamond!