Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

FR - Alpine CF Poles - Ray Estrella

Expand Messages
  • rayestrella1
    HTML may be found here. http://tinyurl.com/y3h5yp Black Diamond Alpine CF Trekking Poles Initial Report November 10, 2006 Field Report January 2, 2007 Tester
    Message 1 of 3 , Jan 2, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      HTML may be found here.

      http://tinyurl.com/y3h5yp

      Black Diamond Alpine CF Trekking Poles

      Initial Report
      November 10, 2006
      Field Report
      January 2, 2007

      Tester Information
      Name: Raymond Estrella
      Age: 46
      Gender: Male
      Height: 6' 3" (193 cm)
      Weight: 210 lbs (95 kg)
      Email address: rayestrella@...
      City: Huntington Beach
      State: California
      Country: USA

      Backpacking Background:

      I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over the state of
      California, and also in Washington, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona, Idaho
      and Utah. I hike year-round, mostly in the Sierra Nevada, and average
      500+ miles (800+ km) per year. As I start my 4th decade of
      backpacking I am making the move to lightweight gear, and smaller
      volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the
      afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy
      hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually my brother-in-law
      Dave or girlfriend Jenn.

      Product Information

      Manufacturer: Black Diamond Equipment Limited
      Web site: www.bdel.com
      Product: Alpine CF (carbon fiber) Trekking Poles
      Year manufactured: 2006
      MSRP: N/A
      Length (compacted) measured: 63 cm (24.75 in)
      Length (extended full to "stop" mark) measured: 133 cm (52.5 in)
      Weight stated (pair): 17.8 oz (505 g)
      Warranty (from supplied pamphlet): "We warrant for one year from
      purchase date and only to the original retail buyer that our products
      are free from defects in material and workmanship."

      Product Description

      I received the Black Diamond Alpine CF Poles (hereafter referred to
      as the Alpines or poles) wrapped in the cardboard retail display
      package seen above. The sides and back of the packaging tout the
      wonders of the FlickLock system in three languages. Inside of the
      package was a six-language pamphlet describing the use and care
      guidelines.

      I have been using Black Diamond Expeditions (with aluminum sections)
      for the past three years. I bought them because of the FlickLock
      system. I take them on every trip that snow is in the picture as I
      have come to trust their non-slip abilities.

      The first thing I noticed after unwrapping them was how light they
      are. This is thanks to the carbon fiber used to make the shafts,
      which come in three sections that telescope out for adjustment and
      compaction. The two lower sections are just clear coated. The weave
      of the carbon fiber fabric is visible through it. (This is noticeable
      as the lines in the photo below.) The upper section has had silver
      paint and the Black Diamond name and logo applied.

      The lower and middle sections have adjustment marks applied in 5 cm
      (1 in) increments from 100 cm to 130 cm (39 to 51 in). A "stop" is
      printed 1.5 cm (0.6 in) above the last mark on both sections. The
      carbon fiber shafts seem to be very sturdy. I have adjusted them to
      my normal length and flex the poles. They seem stiffer and stronger
      than my other poles.



      Attached to the lower ends of the top and middle pole sections are
      the FlickLocks. In the picture above one of them is in the open
      position, the other is closed. The body of the FlickLock wraps around
      the shaft, and when open offers little resistance. When the curved
      lever is rotated in to snap against the shaft a cam action tightens
      the body of the lock, securely holding the sections of shaft in place.



      At the top of the Alpines is a double grip made of what feels to be
      very high density foam or neoprene-like material. As I have large
      hands the grip feels a bit narrow to me, but I expect to be wearing
      gloves much of the time these poles are in use which may make the
      point moot. A lower grip is added below the anatomical upper grip.
      This is to allow use on a suddenly climbing section of trail where
      adjusting the poles shorter may not be warranted. Instead I just slip
      to the lower grip until that part is past, and then back to the upper
      grip. A soft rubber palm-cap tops the grip. This light gray rubber
      also goes across the front of the grip where my index fingers ride.

      The wrist straps are made of black nylon exteriors with a light grey
      open weave material on the inside. This material is covering a thin
      piece of dark gray open-cell foam. The strap has been cut in a way
      that the strap curves around and past itself at the top to protect my
      wrists from the attachment straps rubbing. The straps feel very
      comfortable.

      A knurled locking plug is in the back of the grip. The adjustment
      strap runs over and back under it. Lifting the strap upwards allows
      easy adjustment. When pressure is applied to the strap downward (like
      when it is in use) it holds the strap in place.

      At the business end of the Alpines is a hard plastic tip with a press-
      in, replaceable carbide point. The carbide is concave instead of
      knurled at the tip. A set of small trekking baskets came with the
      poles. It looks like they may be made to stay on even when accessory
      baskets (3/4 or powder) are used.


      I will look forward to getting these poles into the field in both
      California and Minnesota.

      This concludes the Initial Report of the Alpine CF poles. The
      following constitutes the first two months of use.

      Field Conditions

      Minnesota November: Buffalo State Park: 34 F (1 C), winds 18 mph (29
      kmh) Maplewood State Park 19 F (-7 C), Itasca State Park 24 F (-4 C).
      All of the trails in Minnesota tend to be packed dirt (or snow
      covered) in hardwood forests. Itasca has some pine trees in the mix.

      California December: 20 mile (32 km) dayhike with about 1500' (460 m)
      of gain. Three days later was a 26.2 mile (42 km) one day climb of
      Mount San Jacinto (11499'/3505 m) with 5000' (1524 m) of gain.

      I used the Alpine CFs in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah for one week
      in December. The temperatures there ranged from 5 to 28 F (-15 to -2
      C). There was about 3' (1 m) of snow, with some fresh powder a couple
      of the days.

      Observations

      The first thing I did with the poles was to take them on a day-hike
      to Buffalo River State Park in Minnesota. One of the trails there
      follows an old abandoned road, the tar of which has long since
      deteriorated, leaving the aggregate exposed. I figured this would be
      as good an area as any here to test the sharpness of the carbide.
      There is a small rise at the beginning of it, as close to elevation
      gain as I can find in this flat country.

      The tips bit as solidly as any poles I have used, and better than a
      couple. I did not encounter any skipping out from them.

      I did not wear gloves and pushed at a fast enough pace to start
      sweating after a couple of miles (3 km). The sweat on my palms was
      added to by the tears I was wiping off face due to the strong cold
      wind that was getting past my sunglasses. The grips of the Alpines
      did not get slippery from this. It is a noted improvement to the grip
      on my Expeditions. One thing that was very apparent is the small
      diameter of the grips made my hand cramp a little. While my hands are
      not overly large they are long and when holding the grip my fingers
      are touching the other side of my palm.

      Another thing I noticed is the vibration that takes place as I plant
      the tip. The shaft vibrates like a tuning fork and I can feel it
      quite well. It makes no noise while this happens, indeed these are
      the second quietest poles I have ever used.

      In Maplewood and Itasca State Parks the trails get a bit of up and
      down looping around or by lakes, so I got to use them more
      aggressively there. They worked wonderfully. Here is a picture of
      them leaning against a bat house near Cataract Lake.



      I took them back to California for a a few big day-hikes. Again I
      noticed the vibration when planting on the predominately rock
      surfaces of the areas I hike. The poles are very strong, much
      stronger than the other carbon fiber trekking poles I use most of the
      time. While climbing through a couple of scree fields on the way to
      the summit of San Gorgonio I always worry that I am going to snap a
      pole as it slides between the large chunks of granite. But the
      Alpines do not budge. They also do not get their baskets ripped off
      like all of my other poles in these situations. I love the basket
      attachment used on Black Diamonds poles.

      Speaking of baskets, I put the optional powder baskets on them when I
      went to Utah for a week of snowshoeing with my hiker-girl. (I finally
      found one, yes…) They work very well for packed snow, but for two
      days I was in Utah's famous fluffy powder that the baskets just
      disappeared into. I also have the optional ¾ baskets from my Black
      Diamond Expedition poles that I put on for one day. The ¾ baskets
      have almost as much surface area as the powder baskets, but are made
      of a stiffer material and have longer, sharper teeth on the bottom
      middle ring to bite into packed snow. Mine are pretty torn up from
      rock as these are what I use for mountaineering trips. I will
      undoubtedly put them on the Alpines for good once this test is over.



      This is because I love these poles in the snow. They are going to
      become my winter poles. The vibration does not manifest itself in
      snow. They are lighter and seem just as strong as the Expeditions.
      And with a glove on the narrow grip does not bother me as much. (The
      Expeditions have a narrow grip too, as do Jenn's BD Elliptical Spire
      poles.) I hit some iced over sections of trail and the Alpines bit
      into it wonderfully. While I am using them right now on all hikes for
      the purpose of testing, these are going to be the only winter hiking
      and mountaineering poles for me once the test is over.

      Check back in March of 2007 for the completion of this test. My
      thanks to Black Diamond and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to
      test these trekking poles.
    • JimSabis@aol.com
      Ray, Nice report. Only a few minor edits, but see my Comments at the bottom. Upload when ready. Jim S. ######### HTML may be found here.
      Message 2 of 3 , Jan 2, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        Ray, Nice report. Only a few minor edits, but see my Comments at the bottom.
        Upload when ready.

        Jim S.

        #########

        HTML may be found here.

        http://tinyurl.com/y3h5yp

        Black Diamond Alpine CF Trekking Poles


        <snip>

        The tips bit as solidly as any poles I have used, and better than a
        couple. I did not encounter any skipping out from them.

        I did not wear gloves and pushed at a fast enough pace to start
        sweating after a couple of miles (3 km). The sweat on my palms was
        added to by the tears I was wiping off face due to the strong cold
        wind that was getting past my sunglasses.

        ((EDIT: 'wiping off *my* face'))


        In Maplewood and Itasca State Parks the trails get a bit of up and
        down looping around or by lakes, so I got to use them more
        aggressively there. They worked wonderfully. Here is a picture of
        them leaning against a bat house near Cataract Lake.

        ((Comment: cool bat house!))


        I took them back to California for a a few big day-hikes. Again I
        noticed the vibration when planting on the predominately rock
        surfaces of the areas I hike. The poles are very strong, much
        stronger than the other carbon fiber trekking poles I use most of the
        time.

        ((EDIT: 'a a'. Should be *a*, or AA or AAA, but probably *a*))


        Speaking of baskets, I put the optional powder baskets on them when I
        went to Utah for a week of snowshoeing with my hiker-girl. (I finally
        found one, yes…)

        ((Comment: do tell!! photos and full hiker-girl specs are required!)) ; )

        ((Comment: Ray very good report and good pictures. Two items for your
        consideration:1) One or more of the pictures are wide enough that they prevent text
        wrapping unless I'm at my full screen setting (high res 17" wide LCD). There
        is no hard requirement on photo width and I can't see the actual setting.
        Just something to bear in mind. 2) I see no files commentary on the Flicklock
        adjusters - easy to use, did the hold, etc., nor the wriststraps, which are a
        new design. I think the report would be fleshed out a bit with these
        additions. Note that I did some of the beta testing on these for BD and spent some
        time on the wrist straps myself, so I'm a little more aware of this!))





        Jim S.




        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Andrew Priest
        ... Good editing Jim and comments. Andrew, Sir
        Message 3 of 3 , Jan 2, 2007
        • 0 Attachment
          At 05:29 AM 3/01/2007, you wrote:
          >
          >
          >Ray, Nice report. Only a few minor edits, but see my Comments at the bottom.
          >Upload when ready.

          Good editing Jim and comments.

          Andrew, Sir
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.