Leki Ultralite TI Cor-Tec AS - Final Report
Gear Tester Report #4
Leki Ultralite TI Cor-Tec AS
Reviewed by Sonjia Leyva on October 31, 2001
height: 5' 7"
weigh: 175 lbs
In this report:
I had wanted to test the Leki Ultralite TI Cor-Tec AS trekking poles for a variety of reasons, but the main one was to help my knees while hiking and backpacking. Most of my experience with the Leki poles was limited to trails in the Southern California area. These trails were more often than not overgrown, narrow, occasionally crowded, steep, and generally not very conductive to using trekking poles. The poles spent more time in my daypack and not fitting in there very well, thus getting caught on all of the aforementioned overgrown stuff. I disliked the pre-molded composite cork grips. Basically, my conclusions were that, while they were OK, I was really glad I hadn't plunked down $120 for them.
It was time to test them backpacking.
As I had never been to Yosemite before, my husband sought to rectify the situation. The original game plan was to hike the Glen Aulin trail from Tuolumne Meadows to Glen Aulin High Sierra Camp - about 5.3 miles one-way - spend the next day doing day trips from Glen Aulin camp, then head back. Three, possibly four days in beautiful Yosemite. Unfortunately, a commitment came up that I couldn't get out of, requiring me to cut the backpacking portion of our trip down to two days.
I used National Geographic's Topo! software in addition to USGS topo maps to check the trail out. Mostly flat, with a steep decent into the camp. The trial was mostly as advertised, although the steep portions were steeper than anticipated.
The trekking poles were great during the backpack. I was MUCH happier with them backpacking than I was using them for day hikes. I was not constantly catching the poles on plants/people as the trails were were wide (mostly), and not overgrown. In order to test how the poles helped with the load of the pack (about 30 lbs - I forgot to weight it!) I did the second mile sans poles. I found that the poles definitely helped me maintain my balance, especially over streams and uneven trails. They were a godsend on the steep descent into the camp. I was having trouble with the altitude and, as a result, was really tired by mile five. As you begin the descent, the trail changes to what can only be described as a cobbled road - about a two foot wide section of cobbles cemented together to prevent erosion on the steeper portions of the trail. The cobbles were wet and slippery, but my poles handled them with ease, never slipping and holding my weight several times as a nearly lost my balance.
I have not put as many miles on my poles as many of the other testers in this series. Nor did I experience any damage to the pole shafts as was reported by several testers. However, in the 75 or so miles that have been put on them, I have come up with some conclusions:
- Great for maintaining your balance during stream crossings or uneven terrain.
- I liked them better for backpacking than for day hikes.
- Rubber grips for the tips are cheap ($4/pair), readily available at most stores specializing in walking or the outdoors, will make crossing rocky or other hard surfaces more bearable.
- Definitely helped relieve some of the stress on my knees during hiking and backpacking.
- Poles are not suitable for narrow, overgrown trails. Basically most of the ones in my backyard.
- I really, really, really don't like the pre-molded grips. I've solved the problem by creating a neoprene wrap to go around the grips.
The bottom line: I'm ambivalent about these poles. While I've decided that I like hiking with trekking poles, I would not have purchased the Leki Ultralite TI Cor-Tec AS trekking poles solely because of the pre-molded grip. It did not fit my hand and therefore made hiking with it less comfortable than it otherwise could have been. Give me the option of a softer grip and I'd probably change my opinion.
Previous Leki Ultralite TI Cor-Tec AS trekking poles reviews:
I like the way you linked your previous reports. How did you do them
without all the 20% this 20% that ect...
I suspect on your day hikes you wern't as loaded down and so
precieved the poles more usefull when on an actual backpacking trip.
I went without my poles on my last trip and my knees are paying the
price. I rember a discusion about poles slowing you down and this may
be a good thing with suspect knees.
--- In BackpackGearTest@y..., Sonjia Leyva <sonjialeyva@n...> wrote:
> Sonjia Leyva --> www.geophile.net
> "Geologists are Scouts who hated to give up camping when they
> went to college, so they majored in geology." Ellen Sue
> I like the way you linked your previous reports. How did you doThank you. I just left 'em in. Cut and paste is a wonderful thing!!
> them without all the 20% this 20% that ect...
> I suspect on your day hikes you wern't as loaded down and soI agree. The poles were helpful during stream crossings on day hikes,
> precieved the poles more usefull when on an actual backpacking
> trip. I went without my poles on my last trip and my knees are
> paying the price. I rember a discusion about poles slowing you
> down and this may be a good thing with suspect knees.
thought. But I think I'll save the trekking poles for backpacking!