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Re: [pct-l] Information on using hiking poles

Hi, John

I use hiking poles, homemade. I don't have anything against manufactured
poles, which are lighter than the ones I use (with the possible exception
of the bamboo). My collection includes several hardwood
poles/staffs/sticks of varying length, from just under 4' to ones about
shoulder-height (about 5'), and a bamboo pole (about 5').

I use a single pole. It is good for me on steep downhills. I have one bad
knee that doesn't handle extended downhills. I use the staff to take some
of the weight off that knee. I gain some use from a staff when going up
steep trails, getting my arms to provide some of the upward lift. In
addition, I use the staff to prop up my external frame pack for a
backrest, or to prop myself up when doing a standing rest. I have even
used a pole for a self-arrest on a steep, muddy Ozark hillside. Sounds
strange, doesn't it -- a self-arrest on mud?!

The downside of carrying and using a hiking pole, for me, is that on level
trail, I tend to do more carrying of the pole than using it. One other
downside: if you are off-trail and ascending terrain that is steep enough
to require the use of both hands, what do you do with the pole (if its not
collapsible)? In Wyoming, I had to throw the pole ahead of me every
several yards and hope that it didn't slide back down on top of me or out
of reach.

Craig Smith

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