Re: Lose the pole straps [Was "Clouds Rest junction"]
- My experience has been that the benefits of straps outweigh the risk they pose in a potential fall.
First, make sure the strap is properly positioned: from under the strap, reach through and grip the pole. The strap should be across the top of your wrist and under the palm of your hand, with your thumb outside. When moving uphill loosely hold the pole between thumb and forefinger and push down with your hand on the strap/pole. 90% of the downward force goes from hand to pole via the strap. This avoids "death grip" and allows your hand to move free if the pole becomes unsteady, or conversely, stuck in brush or rocks. Remember that you are using poles to push not pull yourself up the hill, so pole plant is generally even with your trailing foot.
Going downhill there are several methods, but again the strap can be used to transfer force from hand to pole. Hold the pole between thumb and forefinger and "brake" by applying force from hand to strap. Obviously the pole length needs to be adjusted longer so that the point of impact allows for a transfer of the force without having to lean over or reach. For downhill, pole plants are far ahead of you.
Using this method the poles are not glued to your hands should you loose balance. Certainly, if you need to break a fall by getting a hand down then having a pole even loosely strapped to your hand is a problem. Maybe I have just been lucky, but I cannot recall a fall in which using straps made my fall any worse. I can easily site many times poles have kept me upright, and plenty of times an unstrapped pole would have headed for parts unknown when inadvertently released. Further, the most efficient use of poles requires integration of the straps for energy transference.
The best time to practice pole work--and it really should be practiced--is on day hikes sans heavy pack. Although common sense might suggest there is no particular technique to using a pole, there actually is. John L at one time had an instructional DVD on proper pole use, but a Google search will turn up some free resources and online videos.
> Seriously: lose the pole strap.
- I was using my boots as part of my pillow system this past week when a porcupine chewed on my pack. Maybe I should be glad it got to my pack first ;o)Although I'd love to see a porcupine. They're really cool animals.
On May 22, 2013, at 10:06 AM, Dittli-Goethals <johndittli@...> wrote:
My ski poles still have nibble marks on the handles from some rodent somewhere. I think they will only go after the grips, so if supporting a tent, they might have a hard time shinnying up the shaft. As well over the years among many other minor gnawings: I've had a ball cap eaten (they left the plastic bill), a washed and drying bandana chewed, boots gnawed by a Porcupine (fortunately I was using them as a pillow at the time, an exciting awakening!), and my favorite; my bivy sack with sleeping bag, pulled ~100' from camp and partially down a Marmot hole.JD