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Application to Test Black Diamond Terra CF Trekking Poles

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  • edwardripleyduggan
    Application to test the Black Diamond Terra CF Trekking Poles I have read and understood the current requirements in the Survival Guide (version v. 1202 as of
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 1, 2005
    • 0 Attachment
      Application to test the Black Diamond Terra CF Trekking Poles

      I have read and understood the current requirements in the Survival Guide
      (version v. 1202 as of 09/10/04) and I agree to comply with all these
      requirements as a tester. I also have a signed tester agreement on file.

      Edward Ripley-Duggan
      51 years old
      Male
      6 ft 1 inches tall (1.85 meters)
      215 lb (98 kg)
      erd <at> wilsey.net
      Catskill Region, New York State

      Reviewer Background
      I enjoy walking in all its manifold forms, from a simple stroll in the
      woods to multi-day backpack excursions. Though by no means an extreme
      ultralight enthusiast, from spring to fall my preference is to carry a
      packweight of 12 lb (5.5 kg), more or less. In recent years, I've
      rapidly moved to a philosophy of "lighter is better," within the
      constraints of budget and common sense.

      Testing locations and conditions.

      Catskills, Adirondacks, possibly the White Mountains and the
      mid-Hudson valley region, from late winter to late summer/early
      autumn. Depending on when the poles arrive, I could expect to be out
      and about in temperatures down to 0 F (-18 C) in what little remains
      of the winter. Upper temperatures during the testing period could run
      as high as 90 F (32 C), during the summer portion of the test period.

      Similar poles used over the years

      Lekis, too numerous to count
      MSR Overland Carbon poles
      Inexpensive Black Diamond FlickLock poles

      Introduction

      I suppose poles and staves have been around for as long as there have
      been walkers. While it's hard to conduct Robin Hood style derring-do
      with a pair of adjustable poles, they certainly win hands-down over a
      quarterstaff when it comes to convenience and low weight! My first
      exposure to trekking poles (I had used poles previously for
      cross-country skiing and snowshoeing) occured when a friend loaned me
      her Komperdells for a few minutes, some eight years ago. I was
      immediately hooked. The improvement in stability, the ability to use
      them to accelerate pace by using a bit of upper body force, the extra
      control when hopping down from low boulders and ledges: all of this
      made it immediately clear that here was a tool I needed.

      Since that time I've experimented with poles from a number of
      manufacturers, and I have developed a reasonably thorough
      understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. I do find them an
      impediment on any kind of steep scramble where full balance is
      required. I am sometimes annoyed when they concertina unexpectedly (I
      maintain all my poles scrupulously, but it does happen, though rarely)
      or freeze to an inconvenient length in the middle of a winter hike.
      But these are small quibbles, and my fifty-year-old knees say that
      poles are a blessing!

      What is my ideal pole? They must be light (naturally) and have
      comfortable hand-grips that are somewhat absorbent and don't become
      sweaty. Straps should adjust quickly and easily, and should be
      comfortable against the hand when in a cross-country ski hold (which I
      usually use on ascents and flats). A nice knob on the end of the pole
      is convenient for down-climbing (I usually don't use wrist loops on
      descents, for safety reasons). The poles should fold down to a
      conveniently small size, so that I can strap them to my pack when I am
      climbing (and also so they don't hang up on trees when bushwhacking).
      Swing weight is important (for smoothness of movement), as are details
      such as interchangeable baskets (all my poles see summer and winter
      use). Baskets should be as rigid as possible, so that the end of the
      poles is less likely to be caught between rocks. They should stay
      locked at the length I have chosen, and (in the ideal) never, ever
      should they suddenly collapse under load. They should be durable and
      should not oxidize too much internally, and the locking mechanisms
      should be easily adjusted and replaced. And so the list goes on.

      In fact, good hiking poles are a triumph of good engineering and
      ergonomic design, and are far more complex artifacts than they at
      first appear. A malfunctioning pole can just about spoil a hike, and
      if one is backpacking and using poles for shelter support (as I do in
      summer), a broken pole can be awkward. The Terra CF has some features
      that I find interesting and commonsensical. I particularly like the
      extended grip on the shaft, which looks as if it will save some bother
      when side-hilling and in other situations where a rapid alteration in
      pole length is needed. I also like the look of the top knob for
      descents—it appears to conform well to the cup of the hand. And the
      light weight is nice! And so, I'll move on to…

      Testing issues

      1. Carbon fiber is a slightly problematic material for trekking poles.
      I should mention here that I have owned a pair of poles made
      completely from carbon fiber, but ultimately found them profoundly
      disappointing. This was in part because of manufacturing and design
      issues, but also because of the failure mode peculiar to CF. This
      material has an extraordinary strength to weight ratio, but it does
      not resist shearing forces that well. The fibers in their resin
      substrate can break under sudden load, leaving an invisible defect
      that can cause the effected pole to shatter weeks later unexpectedly
      under light load. This happened to me, but with the lower section of a
      pole; sensibly, Black Diamond has opted for aluminum for that portion.
      Therefore, I don't anticipate problems, but I will be extremely
      vigilant to observe (in so far as is possible) any evidence of pole
      failure.

      2. Another property of carbon fiber is that it has a slick surface.
      This can cause real problems locking the poles to length (again based
      on experience with another product). I will be very interested to see
      if the FlickLock design avoids this difficulty.

      3. Interestingly, a third issue with CF can be the converse—I have
      found that on occasion poles can lock so securely that budging them is
      a real headache. Is that issue avoided here?

      4. Is the maximum length (5 cm less than many poles, apparently)
      adequate for the various tents I have that use hiking poles? Can the
      pole be extended beyond its suggested length in low-load applications
      such as tent supports? How well do the handles fit into the pole
      pockets in such tents?

      5. What is the Binary Adjustment System and how does it work? How does
      it combine with the FlickLocks? Does the new FlickLock lever indeed
      allow for easier adjustment? Do the pole sections move smoothly when
      unlocked under all conditions?

      6. How comfortable are the extended shaft grips? Is the diameter large
      enough to give me a secure grasp on side-hills and the like?

      7. Do the wrist-straps adjust easily and stay at the correct length?
      Are they well-lined to avoid chafing?

      8. On hot days, how comfortable to grasp is the handle? Does it get
      slick with sweat or remain tactilely pleasant?

      9. How well formed to my hand is the Ergo top knob? Does it indeed
      work well for descents, giving me a secure grip?

      10. Do the poles swing well (a function of weight distribution)? Is
      the ergonomic angling appropriate? Does the carbon fiber section help
      absorb pole shock?

      11. No mention is made of the material of the flexi-tips. Carbide?
      Plain steel? Do the tips grip rock well? Does the flexibility prevent
      stress to the CF section?

      12. What baskets come with the pole? Are other baskets types
      available? Extra sets? How easily maintained are the poles and are
      spare parts easily obtained? As I've indicated, poles can be
      surprisingly delicate, and I try to maintain mine scrupulously. Do
      these poles need to be disassembled after hiking to allow the
      interiors to dry? This is one of these things one *should" do but
      which I tend to forget!

      I will (assuming early enough delivery) be using the poles for
      snowshoesing as well as trekking.

      Above are some of the issues I'll be investigating if I am selected to
      review this pole. The list is by no means comprehensive. I have
      examined my testing commitments and I'm far from overload—-reports are
      spread out in a comfortable manner chronologically.

      My tests may be viewed at:

      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/tester_reviews/erduggan

      Completed series:

      Black Diamond Zenix
      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Lighting/Headlamps%20-%20LED/Black%20Diamond%20Zenix/Edward%20Ripley-Duggan/

      MSR Missing Link tent
      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Shelters/Tents/MSR%20Missing%20Link/Edward%20Ripley-Duggan/


      SnowClaw shovel
      http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Snow%20Gear/Axes%20and%20Shovels/Sn
      owClaw%20Aluminum%20Pro-Series/

      Tests in progress

      GoLite Wizard jacket
      LTR due May 3

      Dahlgren Backpacking Socks
      LTR due April 26

      MSR Ascent snowshoe
      LTR due 28 June

      Princeton Tec EOS
      LTR due 8 July

      Granite Gear Winterizer
      IR up, remaining dates not set

      Tilley Endurables TH4
      Not yet received (expected momentarily)

      Applications in process
      None

      +++++++

      Current BGT involvement other than tests

      Tests monitored
      Exponent Flex 5 System with Batt Pak
      Granite Gear Aptitude Gloves

      Applicants mentored
      Jonathan Kline

      OR Editor

      Asst. Moderator, BGT Recruitment list
    • edwardripleyduggan
      A small point. but I forgot to add a crucial point referred to in the text to the list! Application to test the Black Diamond Terra CF Trekking Poles I have
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 1, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        A small point. but I forgot to add a crucial point referred to in the
        text to the list!


        Application to test the Black Diamond Terra CF Trekking Poles

        I have read and understood the current requirements in the Survival Guide
        (version v. 1202 as of 09/10/04) and I agree to comply with all these
        requirements as a tester. I also have a signed tester agreement on file.

        Edward Ripley-Duggan
        51 years old
        Male
        6 ft 1 inches tall (1.85 meters)
        215 lb (98 kg)
        erd <at> wilsey.net
        Catskill Region, New York State

        Reviewer Background
        I enjoy walking in all its manifold forms, from a simple stroll in the
        woods to multi-day backpack excursions. Though by no means an extreme
        ultralight enthusiast, from spring to fall my preference is to carry a
        packweight of 12 lb (5.5 kg), more or less. In recent years, I've
        rapidly moved to a philosophy of "lighter is better," within the
        constraints of budget and common sense.

        Testing locations and conditions.

        Catskills, Adirondacks, possibly the White Mountains and the
        mid-Hudson valley region, from late winter to late summer/early
        autumn. Depending on when the poles arrive, I could expect to be out
        and about in temperatures down to 0 F (-18 C) in what little remains
        of the winter. Upper temperatures during the testing period could run
        as high as 90 F (32 C), during the summer portion of the test period.

        Similar poles used over the years

        Lekis, too numerous to count
        MSR Overland Carbon poles
        Inexpensive Black Diamond FlickLock poles

        Introduction

        I suppose poles and staves have been around for as long as there have
        been walkers. While it's hard to conduct Robin Hood style derring-do
        with a pair of adjustable poles, they certainly win hands-down over a
        quarterstaff when it comes to convenience and low weight! My first
        exposure to trekking poles (I had used poles previously for
        cross-country skiing and snowshoeing) occured when a friend loaned me
        her Komperdells for a few minutes, some eight years ago. I was
        immediately hooked. The improvement in stability, the ability to use
        them to accelerate pace by using a bit of upper body force, the extra
        control when hopping down from low boulders and ledges: all of this
        made it immediately clear that here was a tool I needed.

        Since that time I've experimented with poles from a number of
        manufacturers, and I have developed a reasonably thorough
        understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. I do find them an
        impediment on any kind of steep scramble where full balance is
        required. I am sometimes annoyed when they concertina unexpectedly (I
        maintain all my poles scrupulously, but it does happen, though rarely)
        or freeze to an inconvenient length in the middle of a winter hike.
        But these are small quibbles, and my fifty-year-old knees say that
        poles are a blessing!

        What is my ideal pole? They must be light (naturally) and have
        comfortable hand-grips that are somewhat absorbent and don't become
        sweaty. Straps should adjust quickly and easily, and should be
        comfortable against the hand when in a cross-country ski hold (which I
        usually use on ascents and flats). A nice knob on the end of the pole
        is convenient for down-climbing (I usually don't use wrist loops on
        descents, for safety reasons). The poles should fold down to a
        conveniently small size, so that I can strap them to my pack when I am
        climbing (and also so they don't hang up on trees when bushwhacking).
        Swing weight is important (for smoothness of movement), as are details
        such as interchangeable baskets (all my poles see summer and winter
        use). Baskets should be as rigid as possible, so that the end of the
        poles is less likely to be caught between rocks. They should stay
        locked at the length I have chosen, and (ideally) never, ever should
        they suddenly collapse under load. They should be durable and should
        not oxidize too much internally, and the locking mechanisms should be
        easily adjusted and replaced. And so the list goes on.

        In fact, good hiking poles are a triumph of good engineering and
        ergonomic design, and are far more complex artifacts than they at
        first appear. A malfunctioning pole can just about spoil a hike, and
        if one is backpacking and using poles for shelter support (as I do in
        summer), a broken pole can be awkward. The Terra CF has some features
        that I find interesting and commonsensical. I particularly like the
        extended grip on the shaft, which looks as if it will save some bother
        when side-hilling and in other situations where a rapid alteration in
        pole length is needed. I also like the look of the top knob for
        descents—it appears to conform well to the cup of the hand. And the
        light weight is nice! And so, I'll move on to…

        Testing issues

        1. Carbon fiber is a slightly problematic material for trekking poles.
        I should mention here that I have owned a pair of poles made
        completely from carbon fiber, but ultimately found them profoundly
        disappointing. This was in part because of manufacturing and design
        issues, but also because of the failure mode peculiar to CF. This
        material has an extraordinary strength to weight ratio, but it does
        not resist shearing forces that well. The fibers embedded in the resin
        substrate can break under sudden load, leaving an invisible defect
        that can cause the effected pole to shatter perhaps weeks later undera
        a nominal light load. This has happened to me, but with the lower
        section of a pole; sensibly, Black Diamond has opted for aluminum for
        that portion. Therefore, I certainly don't anticipate problems, but I
        will be extremely vigilant to observe (in so far as is possible) any
        evidence of pole failure.

        2. Another property of carbon fiber is that it has a slick surface.
        This can cause real problems locking the poles to length (again based
        on experience with another product). I will be very interested to see
        if the FlickLock design avoids this difficulty.

        3. Interestingly, a third issue with CF can be the converse—I have
        found that on occasion poles can lock so securely that budging them is
        a real headache. Is that issue avoided here?

        4. Is the maximum length (5 cm less than many poles, apparently)
        adequate for the various tents I have that use hiking poles? Can the
        pole be extended beyond its suggested length in low-load applications
        such as tent supports? How well do the handles fit into the pole
        pockets in such tents?

        5. What is the Binary Adjustment System and how does it work? How does
        it combine with the FlickLocks? Does the new FlickLock lever indeed
        allow for easier adjustment? Do the pole sections move smoothly when
        unlocked under all conditions?

        6. How comfortable are the extended shaft grips? Is the diameter large
        enough to give me a secure grasp on side-hills and the like?

        7. Do the wrist-straps adjust easily and stay at the correct length?
        Are they well-lined to avoid chafing?

        8. On hot days, how comfortable to grasp is the handle? Does it get
        slick with sweat or remain tactilely pleasant?

        9. How well formed to my hand is the Ergo top knob? Does it indeed
        work well for descents, giving me a secure grip?

        10. Do the poles swing well (a function of weight distribution)? Is
        the ergonomic angling appropriate? Does the carbon fiber section help
        absorb pole shock?

        11. No mention is made of the material of the flexi-tips. Carbide?
        Plain steel? Do the tips grip rock well? Does the flexibility prevent
        stress to the CF section?

        12. What baskets come with the poles? Are other baskets types
        available? Extra sets? How easily maintained are the poles and are
        spare parts easily purchased? As I've indicated, poles can be
        surprisingly delicate sometimes, and I try to maintain mine
        scrupulously. Do these poles need to be disassembled after hiking to
        allow the interiors to dry? This is one of these things one *should*
        do but which I tend to forget!

        13. What is the minimum length to which the poles collapse? When
        collapsed, do the project above the top of my pack/s?

        14. How well do the poles (both CF and aluminum sections) fair
        cosmetically; do they resist scratching and marking (which, over tine,
        can effect the peformance of the locking mechanism of a pole).

        I will (assuming success in application, and early enough delivery) be
        using the poles for snowshoesing as well as trekking.

        Above are some of the issues I'll be investigating if I am selected to
        review this pole. The list is by no means comprehensive. I have
        examined my testing commitments and I'm far from overload—-reports are
        spread out in a comfortable manner chronologically.

        My tests may be viewed at:

        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/tester_reviews/erduggan

        Completed series:

        Black Diamond Zenix
        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Lighting/Headlamps%20-%20LED/Black%20Dia\
        mond%20Zenix/Edward%20Ripley-Duggan/

        MSR Missing Link tent
        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Shelters/Tents/MSR%20Missing%20Link/Edwa\
        rd%20Ripley-Duggan/


        SnowClaw shovel
        http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Snow%20Gear/Axes%20and%20Shovels/Sn
        owClaw%20Aluminum%20Pro-Series/

        Tests in progress

        GoLite Wizard jacket
        LTR due May 3

        Dahlgren Backpacking Socks
        LTR due April 26

        MSR Ascent snowshoe
        LTR due 28 June

        Princeton Tec EOS
        LTR due 8 July

        Granite Gear Winterizer
        IR up, remaining dates not set

        Tilley Endurables TH4
        Not yet received (expected momentarily)

        Applications in process
        None

        +++++++

        Current BGT involvement other than tests

        Tests monitored
        Exponent Flex 5 System with Batt Pak
        Granite Gear Aptitude Gloves

        Applicants mentored
        Jonathan Kline

        OR Editor

        Asst. Moderator, BGT Recruitment list
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