1.5 years and still going strong!
Have had them for well over a year now and have taken them on many, many adventures. They are extremeley durable, with no sign of wearing out. The flick lock is way better than any twist lock I've had. The cork handles are comfortable in the hot summer and the ergo slant takes some pressure off wrists. Some of the activities where I have used them include...standard trail hiking...of course, cruising around the county park when I want some upper body exercise, backpacking with a heavy load, "tent"pole for a tarp/makeshift shelter, snowshoeing, AT skiing...and mostly off trail hiking/scrambling. Nice to take some weight off my old, abused knees on the way down. I always have them when far off in the wild. In the case of an injured foot...tweaked knee, they provide support to get out quickly. This actually happened to a friend recently...when he developed a nasty, raw blister that was slowing him down and making him hobble. He really appreciated using my poles to get out. In another instance, another friend borrowed one to use glissading when he left his ice axe at home. The safety of that is circumstantial...but the point is, the pole held up just fine. Where I have found them indispendable is on slippery stream crossings and steep scree. Descending, they have kept me from slipping on my butt many times. Ascending, when it gets uncomfortably steep...with no handholds to be found... I use one pole compacted down all the way...and stab it into the scree/dirt/small rocks directly above me and it provides a balance point and some upward pull. Watch out...the cork handles that absorb sweat make for salty treats for critters. I was warned about this when purchasing at REI and I have witnessed hungry marmots on mountain summits sneaking up when my back was turned, trying to get at them. One complaint...the powder baskets that come with them for winter use could attach better. They have come off a few times, especially in crusty snow. I always quickly noticed, retraced a few steps and found it. Late last winter though, I finally lost one. So,I bought a few spares and always carry an extra now. Then this summer, out on a trail, I found one! So, this must be a common problem. Next winter I think I'll secure them with some duct tape when heading out in anything except dry powder. Overall I am extremely happy with them as they have exceded my expectaions and I have already purchased a second pair for my wife.
I bought these poles as an upgrade from my Leki Sierra hiking staff which I had been using for 10 years.
I'll mention the good things before getting to the big "IF". The Black Diamond poles are made in Taiwan. They come with small baskets and powder baskets. They are not supplied with rubber pole tips. The cork grips are comfortable, and the straps are cushioned, comfortable, and effective when used correctly (check the REI web site video clips for how to use trekking poles). The straps are easily adjustable. The flicklock works without any slippage, and allows for convenient and rapid adjustment of pole lengths. The rubber grips below the cork grips are useful when quickly needing a shorter length for the uphill side of switchbacks.
Now for the big "IF": compared to the Leki Sierra hiking staff, the Black Diamond shafts are way too flexible for me. I used these poles on a 9.2 mile hike (4.6 miles each way, 3900 ft elevation gain), and found that the poles were bending too much when I made the return downhill journey. When stepping down from rocks to the next lower level, the poles bent by 1 to 2 cm. when I put weight on them. They do snap back straight (with lots of vibration), but this can cause the tip to jump off the ground causing the pole tip to skip. This is partly because pushing on the top of the handles directs the force to one side of the pole axis.
The tubing diameters for these Black Diamond poles are about 16mm (top section), 14 mm (middle section), and 12 mm (bottom section). My Leki staff (and the Leki superstrong series trekking poles) have tubing diameters of 18 mm (top section), 16 mm (middle section) and 14 mm (bottom section). That's why the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork poles are more flexible than these particular Leki poles.
For people who are not too tall (less than 5' 10") or too heavy (less than 180-190 lbs) these poles may be an excellent choice since they won't need to be extended beyond 130-135 cm going downhill. Taller and bigger back-packers entering the back-country through 10,000+ ft passes may want more robust poles. I want poles I can trust if I slip and need to put a lot of weight on them.
PERFECT hiking sticks for me.
It was a long time coming. Thousands of miles and wearing out a number of Twist Lock store brand sticks, putting up with them loosening at random times during a hike, or the new Powerlock that loosen at all times during a hike.
Black Diamond knows how to make hiking poles.
Why did I wait so long to pay a couple extra bucks?...hardly any extra dollars, since BD includes snow baskets and regular trail baskets, saving buying those as an accessory.
The flick lock is rock solid and easy to use. Adjustable to any length, and locks securely completely collapsed, unlike another brand.
I was surprised just how much of a difference the secure lockup and very comfortable pommel on the top of the handle makes for going down scrabbley steep stuff. I am 200 pounds with a 15 pound day pack and at 60, I rely heavily on poles going downhill.
These are lightweight, but I do not find them to feel flimsy at all. A bit of flex, which I think is a good thing.
Straps are very well padded, including a cute thumb pad, which I think is all that differentiates left from right, as they are designated. The thumb pad almost forces correct use of the strap, which most people rarely do.
The flick locks are plenty beefy and look like they should last a long time. They do suggest storing them unlatched,if for a long period. Any plastic part will creep under load eventually, so that is probably a good idea.
Even the carbide tip is well done, made well and attached well.
Fit and finish looks and feels good. Not a high priority, but it sure doesn't hurt.
I thought the slight handle angle was a gimmick. I have to admit, it feels good.
I really like the combo of cork and thermoplastic top for the handles. No funky buckle to irritate your hands like the cheaper version from BD.
for me. These are perfect.
While the Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles may seem pricey, they are worth every penny and more. I bought this pair for my wife after having used the same pair for 3+ years.
My initial reason for purchasing trekking poles was to aid in my recovery post knee surgery to repair a damaged meniscus, but rapidly fell in love with my poles which allowed me to climb as fast as I walk on level ground and feel confident coming down hill alleviating the concern of re-injuring my knee. I currently use them on every hike regardless of length or elevation change, allowing me to travel significantly greater distances per day and at a more rapid pace. When traveling uphill it is like having 4-wheel drive because you are using both arms and legs to advance up the hill.
The Ergo grip angle really helps out by keeping the poles in their proper placement while simultaneously keeping my wrists straight. The cork provides me with a better grip over long periods of use, doesn't get all sweaty, and over time has developed small impressions for my fingers. The Black Diamond extension clamps hold extremely well, are extremely easy used and have proven to be very reliable. I can't praise these poles enough...!!!
Note: I tried the shock absorbing trekking poles but did not like them. To me, I did not feel comfortable/confident without having a positive/solid contact with the ground as I placed the pole.
Additional: I recommend to everyone interested and/or who has purchased trekking poles to visit Black Diamond's website and view all of the instructional videos for proper use of trekking poles. I regularly come across many persons on the trails who are incorrectly using their poles and/or are fighting unnecessary fatigue. The 20-30min of your time to view all the videos will prove to be well invested.
Black Diamond Ergo Cork Trekking Poles
Having used different trekking poles and brands in the past, I really enjoyed the Black Diamond Ergo Cork Trekking poles. I have used them on the AT, in Nepal to Everesst as well as on numerous other trails. I never had any difficulty with them and if I had to buy another pair; I would purchase the exact same ones. The quick releases made changing the lengths easy, quick and solid. Having used poles where you had to twist the poles to adjust the length, these were by far more easy, firm in adjusting and they kept their position where the twist type were much more difficult to adjust. The cork handles were comfortable and absorbed the shock on varied terrains. The cloth handle straps were extremely easy on the hands and after several weeks on the trail, they never caused any strain or discomfort to my hands as other brands I have used in the past have. Others have commented on the staps slipping but I never had that experience. I do not regret having purchased poles without the shock absorbing feature. Having had previous poles that did have this, after only a brief period of time the absorbtion would malfunction and even if it did not, I question the real value or benefit in having it. I found the poles to be firm and sturdy enough having used them in snow, mud, dust, stone and spree. Many times I would get them stuck between rocks, yet never did they bend. The carbide tips were solid and were indestructable. Mine came with the snow baskets and after miles of use, I think I would probably opt for those next time too. Although it is a matter of personal preference, I found the wider basket offered more support.
Ideal for a Hiker
This was my choice for a thru-hike on the AT. These poles lasted all of the 2,184 miles for 6 months, getting constant use all day long. Over time they formed perfectly to my grip. They were easy to collapse, and only a handful of times did I have to tighten the screws so that they would maintain their settings. All terrain ranging from rocks to bogs, they were 100% reliable. When I would hike without them, (a rare occurence) I noticed a dull hip pain would surface, the poles were a great tool to help distribute my weight and put less pressure on my joints. The only negatives were due to wear and tear, which I didn't notice until the last few hundred miles. A space grew between the cork grips and the foam beneath them, as well as above the grip. This led to slight sliding and twisting of the actual cork piece. I believe this happened as a result of the foam beneath the cork slowly sliding down a few centimeters from constant impact. But, as I mentioned, this was after roughly 1800 miles. Also, the tips wore down, broke off, and then wore down some more. This could have been prevented if I had replaced the tips.
My buddy was right
My buddy returned from completing the Appalachian trail and on our first hike he used the poles while on a simple slope. Swore he'd never do without them, regardless of the difficulty of the hike. Seems he wore out several pair on his 7 month jaunt (north to south). As well he felt the cork grips were the ergonomic way to go.
I hike for the workout value almost exclusively. OK, some photography stops too. For my purpose, I felt the poling added a welcome addition to the work out in that the upper body gets to workin'. On descents, the poles add quite the measure of safety and balance as well. And the cork is molding to my hands. All in all, I recommend poles for any hiker. And Ed was right in all respects.
I selected these Black Diamond poles because the modest collapsed size will fit into my travel luggage, the weight seemed right for my goals (yes carbon fiber is lighter but I am not needing that feature) and the quality was apparent. I have not been disappointed in any way.
Can't give it 5 stars and I have never met a 10, either. Just my personal quirk.
Best gear purchase in a long time
These sticks are one of the best gear purchases I have made in a long time in terms of sheer benefit. If you are like me and no longer in the springtime of your youth you probably suffer from soar knees when hiking down hill. I recently used these sticks on a backpacking trip in Mt Rainier National Park involving several thousand feet of elevation gain and loss. The sticks allow you to propel yourself up step-up's and ease the impact when stepping down. I also suffer from swelling hands when I backpack but using the poles keeps your hands active and thus no swelling. The best part was when I woke up in the morrning my knees felt absolutely fine. I did notice an occasional vibration which would probably be solved by shocks, but it was not consistant or much of an irritant. Some people are sticklers for weight and you can buy lighter poles for more money, but I did not notice the weight of these poles at all. 100% satisfied. I will never hike without them and I bought my wife a pair.
A must have for a new hiker!
I am a 61 year old, 285 pound man getting back into shape. I am hiking between 3 and 11 miles, 4 or 5 days a week up and down wet and sometimes muddy mountain trails, flat paths and everywhere I am walking.
These poles have on more than one occassion kept me from falling and giving that extra stability needed at critical times. When stepping down it is difficult to gauge your step when wearing bifocals. These help tremendously in knowing where to step and to offer support.
They really do add to your upper body workout, strengthing the shoulders an arms. Combine this with the stability it is a win win.
I do notice they vibrate a bit when you hit rocks or hard ground.
While they are light they support my weight with no bending. They are durable and I am glad I have them. This was my first purchase of hiking equipment. For me an important purchase. I will be hiking throughout the winter and look forward to using them on our hiking/camping adventures.
Great Trecking Poles
For me this was an expensive purchase for a piece of equipment I'd never really used before, but they were worth every penny on the trail. The cork handles are incredibly comfortable and wick sweat away. The straps are also very comfortable and relieve a good deal of hand strain if used properly. Secondary foam hand holds under the grips offer a quick means of height adjustment when encountering inclines. The quick releases are intuitive to use, hold strong, are adjustable for tension, and easy to manipulate. The poles are strong, confidence inspiring, easy to use, comfortable, and appear to be well made.
Along with the included baskets I hope to move these to my ski poles as well. I recommend spending a few extra bucks to add a set of rubber feet. They work better when dealing with slick rocky areas, make the poles less jarring, are quiter, and can be easily removed for dirt use.
I'm a first time user of trekking poles, long time hiker. I tested these on the 14-15 mile Half Dome trail in Yosemite Valley.