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[pct-l] Trekking poles

Dear fellow hikers, dear Politecat (I did enjoy your post about your night
out !),

I think I am in a position to talk about trekking poles because I have been
using them on hikes for quite a while now and you would have to tread on my
dead body to snatch them from me. They seem to be more commonly used here
in Europe where I live (in France) than they are in the United States, and
last summer - we were hiking the JMT - I collected a whole bunch of jokes
from the hikers we met ('rock skiing, hum ?', 'hey, you forgot your skis',
and so on, the works). Yet I can tell you they are extremely efficient once
you have caught the knack to use them in a synchronized way. You actually
have to walk as if you were cross-country skiing, that is to say
positioning your arms and legs alternately. The result is they allow you to
split the effort, or increase your power, by making your arms and shoulders
take a large part of the load. On top of it they improve your balance,
which can be quite useful on the way down, and makes you faster. I even saw
people using them in Corsica on slopes which normally had to be CLIMBED !
(not El Capitan though).
I wouldn't use regular ski poles because they are cumbersome. The real
thing must be telescopic which allows you to sort of fold them down, if I
can say so, and put them away in your backpack, when you don't feel like
using them, or when steep slopes make them a nuisance rather than a help.
Philippe Gouvet

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