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Re: Missing Whitney Hiker, but really a minor rant about straps on hiking poles

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  • sanfran_rwood
    The tragedy of a hiker dying coming down from Mount Rushmore made me remember one of my pet peeves, and it is enough of a peeve that I m going to share it with
    Message 1 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014

      The tragedy of a hiker dying coming down from Mount Rushmore made me remember one of my pet peeves, and it is enough of a peeve that I'm going to share it with you.


      Several years ago I was happily backpacking in Granite Chief Wilderness and crossing a dry creek bed.  Suddenly a stone shifted under my foot, throwing me out of balance, to my left.


      Instinctively, I shifted my left foot out to the side -- well, I tried.  But just by chance I'd previously planted my hiking pole just to the left of where my foot was now, and my instinct didn't work. I couldn't keep from falling (and trust me; I've been doing this walking thing long enough that I'm pretty good at not falling down).


      My next instinct was to catch my fall by throwing my hands in front of me.


      Oh, what's this?  For some unknowable reason I've strapped my hands onto meter-long sticks, and the other end of one stick is firmly spiked into the ground. So I'd have to raise my hand to unstick that pole before lowering it, but that isn't instinctive and wasn't gonna happen in anywhere near enough time to save me.


      So I ended up with a massive bruise on my left hip and a bent hiking pole.  And something to think about.


      A day or two later I was on a typical Sierra ridge trail, with big rocks and small boulders common alongside me.  And I noticed that occasionally as I swung my pole forward for it's next plant, it would lightly hit a boulder.  And eventually I noticed that very, very rarely it would bounce off of that rock into my path.


      And I realized that if it happened to bounce between my legs at just the right time, my own hiking poles could easily trip me.  And my hands were still strapped to the tops of those poles, and so I could easily go down without catching myself, and those trailside boulders and rocks started to look a little ominous.


      So I took my hands out of the straps. (And when I got home, I took the straps off, which might seem like overkill, but it occurred to me I could put a bolt into the handle so the tip sticks out, usually with a nylon nut on it, that could be a camera mount, turning my pole into a unipod, which is very useful.)


      When I was on Mount Whitney, I have to confess I made myself a bit of a nuisance, encouraging people to take the straps off their hands when they're in rocky and treacherous terrain.


      It occurred to me that if this circumstance were ever to cause an accident, how would we know?  It is unlikely that John Likely died because he tripped over his own hiking poles (assuming he even had some), but if that's how it went down, it is almost impossible we'd ever know.  But a tired person would react even slower, and it is hard to imagine a more hazardous place to trip, with one's hand strapped to meter-long poles that might or might now get in one's way.


      The chances of anyone suffering from such a fall seem very remote, but if you take your hands out of those straps, then even that small chance vanishes.


      As motorcyclists say, keep the sticky side down.

      -- 

      Richard 

    • Larry Beck
      This isn t specifically a JMT question but it does intersect. Does anyone know what the water conditions are on the Rae Lakes Loop coming up out of Road s End.
      Message 2 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014

        This isn't specifically a JMT question but it does intersect. Does anyone know what the water conditions are on the Rae Lakes Loop coming up out of Road's End. I'm planning a July 4-7 clockwise hike of the loop. I assume there's plenty of water but I thought I'd ask. 

      • Roleigh Martin
        Very wise advice. And I m guilty of using and loving the straps. This is going to be a hard change. You probably did it right, removing them. The downside
        Message 3 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014
          Very wise advice.  And I'm guilty of using and loving the straps.  This is going to be a hard change.  You probably did it right, removing them.  The downside is if one depends on the poles for one's tent, if you lose the poles, you're screwed.  So the straps can help as long as you don't get hurt from using them.  A plus and a minus.  Yes, I know better to be alive with an inoperable tent than to be dead with an operable tent.

          -------------------------------------------------
          Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
          _



          On Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 11:15 AM, MrRedwood@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
           

          The tragedy of a hiker dying coming down from Mount Rushmore made me remember one of my pet peeves, and it is enough of a peeve that I'm going to share it with you.


          Several years ago I was happily backpacking in Granite Chief Wilderness and crossing a dry creek bed.  Suddenly a stone shifted under my foot, throwing me out of balance, to my left.


          Instinctively, I shifted my left foot out to the side -- well, I tried.  But just by chance I'd previously planted my hiking pole just to the left of where my foot was now, and my instinct didn't work. I couldn't keep from falling (and trust me; I've been doing this walking thing long enough that I'm pretty good at not falling down).


          My next instinct was to catch my fall by throwing my hands in front of me.


          Oh, what's this?  For some unknowable reason I've strapped my hands onto meter-long sticks, and the other end of one stick is firmly spiked into the ground. So I'd have to raise my hand to unstick that pole before lowering it, but that isn't instinctive and wasn't gonna happen in anywhere near enough time to save me.


          So I ended up with a massive bruise on my left hip and a bent hiking pole.  And something to think about.


          A day or two later I was on a typical Sierra ridge trail, with big rocks and small boulders common alongside me.  And I noticed that occasionally as I swung my pole forward for it's next plant, it would lightly hit a boulder.  And eventually I noticed that very, very rarely it would bounce off of that rock into my path.


          And I realized that if it happened to bounce between my legs at just the right time, my own hiking poles could easily trip me.  And my hands were still strapped to the tops of those poles, and so I could easily go down without catching myself, and those trailside boulders and rocks started to look a little ominous.


          So I took my hands out of the straps. (And when I got home, I took the straps off, which might seem like overkill, but it occurred to me I could put a bolt into the handle so the tip sticks out, usually with a nylon nut on it, that could be a camera mount, turning my pole into a unipod, which is very useful.)


          When I was on Mount Whitney, I have to confess I made myself a bit of a nuisance, encouraging people to take the straps off their hands when they're in rocky and treacherous terrain.


          It occurred to me that if this circumstance were ever to cause an accident, how would we know?  It is unlikely that John Likely died because he tripped over his own hiking poles (assuming he even had some), but if that's how it went down, it is almost impossible we'd ever know.  But a tired person would react even slower, and it is hard to imagine a more hazardous place to trip, with one's hand strapped to meter-long poles that might or might now get in one's way.


          The chances of anyone suffering from such a fall seem very remote, but if you take your hands out of those straps, then even that small chance vanishes.


          As motorcyclists say, keep the sticky side down.

          -- 

          Richard 


        • Jmt
          I agree that the straps should not always be used. There are circumstances where I remove my hands from them. However, the straps also provide a benefit. If
          Message 4 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014
            I agree that the straps should not always be used.  There are circumstances where I remove my hands from them.  However, the straps also provide a benefit.  If used correctly, they help to disperse the force channeling through the poles from your wrists to your arms.  So they do serve a purpose, but that purpose isn't always the most important thing.

            Regards,
            Rob

            Sent from my iPhone

            On Jun 23, 2014, at 12:15 PM, "Roleigh Martin roleigh@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

             

            Very wise advice.  And I'm guilty of using and loving the straps.  This is going to be a hard change.  You probably did it right, removing them.  The downside is if one depends on the poles for one's tent, if you lose the poles, you're screwed.  So the straps can help as long as you don't get hurt from using them.  A plus and a minus.  Yes, I know better to be alive with an inoperable tent than to be dead with an operable tent.

            -------------------------------------------------
            Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
            _



            On Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 11:15 AM, MrRedwood@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
             

            The tragedy of a hiker dying coming down from Mount Rushmore made me remember one of my pet peeves, and it is enough of a peeve that I'm going to share it with you.


            Several years ago I was happily backpacking in Granite Chief Wilderness and crossing a dry creek bed.  Suddenly a stone shifted under my foot, throwing me out of balance, to my left.


            Instinctively, I shifted my left foot out to the side -- well, I tried.  But just by chance I'd previously planted my hiking pole just to the left of where my foot was now, and my instinct didn't work. I couldn't keep from falling (and trust me; I've been doing this walking thing long enough that I'm pretty good at not falling down).


            My next instinct was to catch my fall by throwing my hands in front of me.


            Oh, what's this?  For some unknowable reason I've strapped my hands onto meter-long sticks, and the other end of one stick is firmly spiked into the ground. So I'd have to raise my hand to unstick that pole before lowering it, but that isn't instinctive and wasn't gonna happen in anywhere near enough time to save me.


            So I ended up with a massive bruise on my left hip and a bent hiking pole.  And something to think about.


            A day or two later I was on a typical Sierra ridge trail, with big rocks and small boulders common alongside me.  And I noticed that occasionally as I swung my pole forward for it's next plant, it would lightly hit a boulder.  And eventually I noticed that very, very rarely it would bounce off of that rock into my path.


            And I realized that if it happened to bounce between my legs at just the right time, my own hiking poles could easily trip me.  And my hands were still strapped to the tops of those poles, and so I could easily go down without catching myself, and those trailside boulders and rocks started to look a little ominous.


            So I took my hands out of the straps. (And when I got home, I took the straps off, which might seem like overkill, but it occurred to me I could put a bolt into the handle so the tip sticks out, usually with a nylon nut on it, that could be a camera mount, turning my pole into a unipod, which is very useful.)


            When I was on Mount Whitney, I have to confess I made myself a bit of a nuisance, encouraging people to take the straps off their hands when they're in rocky and treacherous terrain.


            It occurred to me that if this circumstance were ever to cause an accident, how would we know?  It is unlikely that John Likely died because he tripped over his own hiking poles (assuming he even had some), but if that's how it went down, it is almost impossible we'd ever know.  But a tired person would react even slower, and it is hard to imagine a more hazardous place to trip, with one's hand strapped to meter-long poles that might or might now get in one's way.


            The chances of anyone suffering from such a fall seem very remote, but if you take your hands out of those straps, then even that small chance vanishes.


            As motorcyclists say, keep the sticky side down.

            -- 

            Richard 


          • kennethjessett@sbcglobal.net
            A good addition to these comments is that most of us who hike the mountains are strong, flexible and mobile, but one wrong footed step and things can change
            Message 5 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014
              A good addition to these comments is that most of us who hike the mountains are strong, flexible and mobile, but one wrong footed step and things can change fast.

              I'm not sure about the 'no straps' opinion, but thinking clearly as each foot goes down, as each pole is planted and each pass is traversed could prevent turning a stroll in the park into an unpleasant struggle to survive.

              Ken.
            • straw_marmot
              Yup, I hate pole straps. If you lose grip on the pole, the strap is never going to help support you, and may hinder you. You re better off dropping the
              Message 6 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014
                Yup, I hate pole straps.   If you lose grip on the pole, the strap is never going to help support you, and may hinder you.  You're better off dropping the pole, and recovering it when you have recovered.    So the only point of the strap is...  to avoid losing the pole?   What are the chances of dropping and losing a pole without possibility of recovery?   In a river I guess is the only likely scenario I can imagine.

                For what it's worth, I've never got comfortable with the idea of using poles at all on "routine" well-made trail.   I find that the rapid movement required to swing them once per stride is unnatural, wastes energy, and makes me lazy with my balance and foot placement.   I'm much more balanced and poised on my feet without poles.   Plus, I want my hands free to eat and drink.

                Most of the time I carry just 1 Fizan Compact Alu pole, less than 6oz.  No strap.  Collapsed carried in my hand ready to deploy quickly at boulder hop or tricky section;  or just strapped to my pack.   Effective weight penalty is about 4oz, since it doubles as a tent pole.

                [ To be clear - for stability on stream crossings & snow; to cushion knee impact on steep downhill steps; on off-trail steep gravelly slopes - here, poles are an absolutely essential safety device, that part I'm totally on board with.]

                Ralph
              • Peter Hirst
                I firmly believe that poles are very important, and at the same time that they conventional way of using and adjusting them is dead wrong. Look at people who
                Message 7 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014
                  I firmly believe that poles are very important, and at the same time that they conventional way of using and adjusting them is dead wrong.  Look at people who really need such things - canes and forearm arm crutches - and think about the way they use them: you will see what I mean.  The handles are about hip height, not elbow height, and they are planted under the shoulder, not out in front like a ski pole, and none are used with straps.  I should hold clinics on this, because it is so much more effective - especially in the Sierra BTW - than the usual methods including Nordic walking.

                  The only other person I know, however, who subscribes to this method, is John Ladd, if you get my meaning.

                  Short poles.  Cane handles. No ski poles.

                  - Saltydog


                  On Jun 23, 2014, at 12:19 PM, Jmt jmtorbust@... [johnmuirtrail] wrote:

                   

                  I agree that the straps should not always be used.  There are circumstances where I remove my hands from them.  However, the straps also provide a benefit.  If used correctly, they help to disperse the force channeling through the poles from your wrists to your arms.  So they do serve a purpose, but that purpose isn't always the most important thing.

                  Regards,
                  Rob

                  Sent from my iPhone

                  On Jun 23, 2014, at 12:15 PM, "Roleigh Martin roleigh@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                   

                  Very wise advice.  And I'm guilty of using and loving the straps.  This is going to be a hard change.  You probably did it right, removing them.  The downside is if one depends on the poles for one's tent, if you lose the poles, you're screwed.  So the straps can help as long as you don't get hurt from using them.  A plus and a minus.  Yes, I know better to be alive with an inoperable tent than to be dead with an operable tent.

                  -------------------------------------------------
                  Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                  _



                  On Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 11:15 AM, MrRedwood@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                   

                  The tragedy of a hiker dying coming down from Mount Rushmore made me remember one of my pet peeves, and it is enough of a peeve that I'm going to share it with you.


                  Several years ago I was happily backpacking in Granite Chief Wilderness and crossing a dry creek bed.  Suddenly a stone shifted under my foot, throwing me out of balance, to my left.


                  Instinctively, I shifted my left foot out to the side -- well, I tried.  But just by chance I'd previously planted my hiking pole just to the left of where my foot was now, and my instinct didn't work. I couldn't keep from falling (and trust me; I've been doing this walking thing long enough that I'm pretty good at not falling down).


                  My next instinct was to catch my fall by throwing my hands in front of me.


                  Oh, what's this?  For some unknowable reason I've strapped my hands onto meter-long sticks, and the other end of one stick is firmly spiked into the ground. So I'd have to raise my hand to unstick that pole before lowering it, but that isn't instinctive and wasn't gonna happen in anywhere near enough time to save me.


                  So I ended up with a massive bruise on my left hip and a bent hiking pole.  And something to think about.


                  A day or two later I was on a typical Sierra ridge trail, with big rocks and small boulders common alongside me.  And I noticed that occasionally as I swung my pole forward for it's next plant, it would lightly hit a boulder.  And eventually I noticed that very, very rarely it would bounce off of that rock into my path.


                  And I realized that if it happened to bounce between my legs at just the right time, my own hiking poles could easily trip me.  And my hands were still strapped to the tops of those poles, and so I could easily go down without catching myself, and those trailside boulders and rocks started to look a little ominous.


                  So I took my hands out of the straps. (And when I got home, I took the straps off, which might seem like overkill, but it occurred to me I could put a bolt into the handle so the tip sticks out, usually with a nylon nut on it, that could be a camera mount, turning my pole into a unipod, which is very useful.)


                  When I was on Mount Whitney, I have to confess I made myself a bit of a nuisance, encouraging people to take the straps off their hands when they're in rocky and treacherous terrain.


                  It occurred to me that if this circumstance were ever to cause an accident, how would we know?  It is unlikely that John Likely died because he tripped over his own hiking poles (assuming he even had some), but if that's how it went down, it is almost impossible we'd ever know.  But a tired person would react even slower, and it is hard to imagine a more hazardous place to trip, with one's hand strapped to meter-long poles that might or might now get in one's way.


                  The chances of anyone suffering from such a fall seem very remote, but if you take your hands out of those straps, then even that small chance vanishes.


                  As motorcyclists say, keep the sticky side down.

                  -- 

                  Richard 






                • Ray Rippel
                  Good day, I feel obligated to come to the defense of those of us who are pro-strap. I use the strap -- in the correct way and properly adjusted -- almost all
                  Message 8 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014
                    Good day,

                    I feel obligated to come to the defense of those of us who are pro-strap. I use the strap -- in the correct way and properly adjusted -- almost all the time. For me, using any other technique would render them a fraction as effective. (If you are using your straps just so you don't drop your poles, you are missing the whole point.)

                    When I first started to use poles (I describe the experience here), I noticed that different people had different approaches. I talked to some expert long-distance hikers, did some web searching, and was directed to Ms. Jayah Faye Paley, the putative "queen" of trekking pole technique. I even ordered her DVD.

                    Poles can cause a trip regardless of whether or not your hands are in your straps. All that takes is both ends of the pole to be anchored somehow, while stretching across and in front of your legs. Those two anchors can be a jam between rocks and a hand in a strap, or an unstrapped, fallen, pole that is wedged behind two rocks.

                    One thing I will admit: you will bend more poles if you use the strap (although I've never tripped with them, I have put weight on them in such a way to cause a bend). I've done that in Hawaii a few times because of the wet, slippery clay. The difference in effectiveness with using the straps, however, makes it well worth replacing a pole every once in a while.

                    Good hiking, Ray



                  • Paul Fretheim
                    The water is wet and cold. Just kidding! Yes there is plenty of water all around the Rae Lakes loop. There is still some snow in the higher elevations, more
                    Message 9 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014

                      The water is wet and cold. Just kidding! Yes there is plenty of water all around the Rae Lakes loop. There is still some snow in the higher elevations, more than the last couple of years at this time.

                      On Jun 23, 2014 11:48 AM, "Larry Beck becklaurence@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                       


                      This isn't specifically a JMT question but it does intersect. Does anyone know what the water conditions are on the Rae Lakes Loop coming up out of Road's End. I'm planning a July 4-7 clockwise hike of the loop. I assume there's plenty of water but I thought I'd ask. 

                    • cjoslyn99
                      I ll advocate the other way and, as with many things, politely suggest there is no right answer. On flats and up hills I use the straps as leverage to help
                      Message 10 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014

                        I'll advocate the other way and, as with many things, politely suggest there is no "right" answer.  On flats and up hills I use the straps as leverage to help power me along and on descents as momentum stoppers.  I've experienced innumerable "strap saves" preventing stumbles big and small because I've been able to support myself rather than having a pole slip out of my hand.

                         

                        I've never come close to having a pole cause me to trip or prevent me from keeping / recovering my balance.  I have had them get stuck in between rocks/cracks and the lesson there is to slow down and keep things in control.  I'll admit to getting a pretty good jolt in my wrist one time when I was able to arrest a wicked stumble by bearing down on the straps...though I can't imagine what would have happened to my ankle if I didn't have the straps on.  You can walk with an injured wrist...not so much w/ a bad ankle.  I'd also hate to drop a pole down off the top of a steep ascent heading up some place like Glen or Whitney...would suck for me and potentially the hiker below me.

                         

                        I do remove straps on log / rock hops / crossings.

                      • Roleigh Martin
                        Joslyn, you describe exactly the way I hike with hiking poles now, but I keep feeling foolish and guilty when I read the counterpoints given about the danger
                        Message 11 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014
                          Joslyn, you describe exactly the way I hike with hiking poles now, but I keep feeling foolish and guilty when I read the counterpoints given about the danger of straps.  Maybe I hike slow enough that it is not an issue for me to worry about.  That's been my thinking for the last 14 years on the trail.

                          -------------------------------------------------
                          Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                          _



                          On Mon, Jun 23, 2014 at 4:13 PM, cjoslyn99@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                           

                          I'll advocate the other way and, as with many things, politely suggest there is no "right" answer.  On flats and up hills I use the straps as leverage to help power me along and on descents as momentum stoppers.  I've experienced innumerable "strap saves" preventing stumbles big and small because I've been able to support myself rather than having a pole slip out of my hand.

                           

                          I've never come close to having a pole cause me to trip or prevent me from keeping / recovering my balance.  I have had them get stuck in between rocks/cracks and the lesson there is to slow down and keep things in control.  I'll admit to getting a pretty good jolt in my wrist one time when I was able to arrest a wicked stumble by bearing down on the straps...though I can't imagine what would have happened to my ankle if I didn't have the straps on.  You can walk with an injured wrist...not so much w/ a bad ankle.  I'd also hate to drop a pole down off the top of a steep ascent heading up some place like Glen or Whitney...would suck for me and potentially the hiker below me.

                           

                          I do remove straps on log / rock hops / crossings.


                        • cjoslyn99
                          Yeah, I the the point is not to feel guilty or foolish but recognize that there are tradeoffs / risks on either side and make an informed decision.
                          Message 12 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014
                            Yeah, I the the point is not to feel guilty or foolish but recognize that there are tradeoffs / risks on either side and make an informed decision.
                          • cehauser1
                            I watched the same DVD and thought it was very helpful. Perhaps there is no right way to use hiking poles, but the techniques presented in the DVD are very
                            Message 13 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014
                              I watched the same DVD and thought it was very helpful.  Perhaps there is no "right way" to use hiking poles, but the techniques presented in the DVD are very specific and very different from not using the strap.  Also, based on the way straps are attached to the tops of most poles, it seems like this is how they are designed to be used.

                              These days, I hardly even hold on to the poles:  when going up or down hills, I just push down on the strap with my hands wide open.  To swing the poles forward, I just use one or two fingers.  Poles are rarely in front of me.  Hard to describe, but it feels very natural and very efficient.

                              Chris.


                              ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <ray.rippel@...> wrote :

                              Good day,

                              I feel obligated to come to the defense of those of us who are pro-strap. I use the strap -- in the correct way and properly adjusted -- almost all the time. For me, using any other technique would render them a fraction as effective. (If you are using your straps just so you don't drop your poles, you are missing the whole point.)

                              When I first started to use poles (I describe the experience here), I noticed that different people had different approaches. I talked to some expert long-distance hikers, did some web searching, and was directed to Ms. Jayah Faye Paley, the putative "queen" of trekking pole technique. I even ordered her DVD.

                              Poles can cause a trip regardless of whether or not your hands are in your straps. All that takes is both ends of the pole to be anchored somehow, while stretching across and in front of your legs. Those two anchors can be a jam between rocks and a hand in a strap, or an unstrapped, fallen, pole that is wedged behind two rocks.

                              One thing I will admit: you will bend more poles if you use the strap (although I've never tripped with them, I have put weight on them in such a way to cause a bend). I've done that in Hawaii a few times because of the wet, slippery clay. The difference in effectiveness with using the straps, however, makes it well worth replacing a pole every once in a while.

                              Good hiking, Ray



                            • Jmt
                              I haven t seen the DVD, but I went to an REI course led by Jayah two weeks ago. It was very helpful but her approach seems to challenge the conventional
                              Message 14 of 24 , Jun 23, 2014
                                I haven't seen the DVD, but I went to an REI course led by Jayah two weeks ago.  It was very helpful but her approach seems to challenge the conventional wisdom in that she discourages the poles to be set such that your forearm extends at a 90 degree angle from your upper arm.

                                I then did a short but steep hike to try out her approach (gotta love Mission Peak).  I found it eminently better for me, at least when compared to what I read on backpacking light.  I like the pole to be a bit shorter when on the flats so as to allow for a more natural movement.  Then I adjust as necessary for uphill and downhill.

                                Regards,
                                Rob

                                Sent from my iPhone

                                On Jun 23, 2014, at 10:33 PM, "cehauser1@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                                 

                                I watched the same DVD and thought it was very helpful.  Perhaps there is no "right way" to use hiking poles, but the techniques presented in the DVD are very specific and very different from not using the strap.  Also, based on the way straps are attached to the tops of most poles, it seems like this is how they are designed to be used.


                                These days, I hardly even hold on to the poles:  when going up or down hills, I just push down on the strap with my hands wide open.  To swing the poles forward, I just use one or two fingers.  Poles are rarely in front of me.  Hard to describe, but it feels very natural and very efficient.

                                Chris.


                                ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <ray.rippel@...> wrote :

                                Good day,

                                I feel obligated to come to the defense of those of us who are pro-strap. I use the strap -- in the correct way and properly adjusted -- almost all the time. For me, using any other technique would render them a fraction as effective. (If you are using your straps just so you don't drop your poles, you are missing the whole point.)

                                When I first started to use poles (I describe the experience here), I noticed that different people had different approaches. I talked to some expert long-distance hikers, did some web searching, and was directed to Ms. Jayah Faye Paley, the putative "queen" of trekking pole technique. I even ordered her DVD.

                                Poles can cause a trip regardless of whether or not your hands are in your straps. All that takes is both ends of the pole to be anchored somehow, while stretching across and in front of your legs. Those two anchors can be a jam between rocks and a hand in a strap, or an unstrapped, fallen, pole that is wedged behind two rocks.

                                One thing I will admit: you will bend more poles if you use the strap (although I've never tripped with them, I have put weight on them in such a way to cause a bend). I've done that in Hawaii a few times because of the wet, slippery clay. The difference in effectiveness with using the straps, however, makes it well worth replacing a pole every once in a while.

                                Good hiking, Ray



                              • b2bhiker
                                Hiking pole straps - I once discussed this with a hand surgeon who told me that there is very specific (and hard to correct) hand injury that can occur when
                                Message 15 of 24 , Jun 24, 2014
                                  Hiking pole straps - I once discussed this with a hand surgeon who told me that there is very specific (and hard to correct) hand injury that can occur when one is "strapped into" a hiking pole and falls onto that hand--apparently the side of the pole can be jammed into the space where the thumb joins the hand.  She recommends using straps verysparingly.



                                • cehauser1
                                  I can see how a fall like that would damage the soft tissue, and also damage the thumb joint. I think the strap supporters would say that using the strap
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Jun 24, 2014
                                    I can see how a fall like that would damage the soft tissue, and also damage the thumb joint.  I think the strap supporters would say that using the strap prevents carpal tunnel issues.


                                    ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <b2bhiker@...> wrote :

                                    Hiking pole straps - I once discussed this with a hand surgeon who told me that there is very specific (and hard to correct) hand injury that can occur when one is "strapped into" a hiking pole and falls onto that hand--apparently the side of the pole can be jammed into the space where the thumb joins the hand.  She recommends using straps verysparingly.



                                  • cehauser1
                                    Cool you got to take the course. Are you saying that she recommends poles to be shorter than the conventional approach? That is definitely what is
                                    Message 17 of 24 , Jun 24, 2014
                                      Cool you got to take the course.  Are you saying that she recommends poles to be shorter than the conventional approach?  That is definitely what is recommended for going up hill.

                                      Thanks,

                                      Chris.


                                      ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <jmtorbust@...> wrote :

                                      I haven't seen the DVD, but I went to an REI course led by Jayah two weeks ago.  It was very helpful but her approach seems to challenge the conventional wisdom in that she discourages the poles to be set such that your forearm extends at a 90 degree angle from your upper arm.

                                      I then did a short but steep hike to try out her approach (gotta love Mission Peak).  I found it eminently better for me, at least when compared to what I read on backpacking light.  I like the pole to be a bit shorter when on the flats so as to allow for a more natural movement.  Then I adjust as necessary for uphill and downhill.

                                      Regards,
                                      Rob

                                      Sent from my iPhone

                                      On Jun 23, 2014, at 10:33 PM, "cehauser1@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                                       

                                      I watched the same DVD and thought it was very helpful.  Perhaps there is no "right way" to use hiking poles, but the techniques presented in the DVD are very specific and very different from not using the strap.  Also, based on the way straps are attached to the tops of most poles, it seems like this is how they are designed to be used.


                                      These days, I hardly even hold on to the poles:  when going up or down hills, I just push down on the strap with my hands wide open.  To swing the poles forward, I just use one or two fingers.  Poles are rarely in front of me.  Hard to describe, but it feels very natural and very efficient.

                                      Chris.


                                      ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <ray.rippel@...> wrote :

                                      Good day,

                                      I feel obligated to come to the defense of those of us who are pro-strap. I use the strap -- in the correct way and properly adjusted -- almost all the time. For me, using any other technique would render them a fraction as effective. (If you are using your straps just so you don't drop your poles, you are missing the whole point.)

                                      When I first started to use poles (I describe the experience here), I noticed that different people had different approaches. I talked to some expert long-distance hikers, did some web searching, and was directed to Ms. Jayah Faye Paley, the putative "queen" of trekking pole technique. I even ordered her DVD.

                                      Poles can cause a trip regardless of whether or not your hands are in your straps. All that takes is both ends of the pole to be anchored somehow, while stretching across and in front of your legs. Those two anchors can be a jam between rocks and a hand in a strap, or an unstrapped, fallen, pole that is wedged behind two rocks.

                                      One thing I will admit: you will bend more poles if you use the strap (although I've never tripped with them, I have put weight on them in such a way to cause a bend). I've done that in Hawaii a few times because of the wet, slippery clay. The difference in effectiveness with using the straps, however, makes it well worth replacing a pole every once in a while.

                                      Good hiking, Ray



                                    • Mike Bake well
                                      My ortho m.d. says proper use of straps can help prevent trigger finger. Sent from my iPad
                                      Message 18 of 24 , Jun 25, 2014
                                        My ortho m.d. says proper use of straps can help prevent trigger finger.

                                        Sent from my iPad

                                        On Jun 24, 2014, at 7:38 PM, "cehauser1@... [johnmuirtrail]" <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:

                                         

                                        I can see how a fall like that would damage the soft tissue, and also damage the thumb joint.  I think the strap supporters would say that using the strap prevents carpal tunnel issues.



                                        ---In johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com, <b2bhiker@...> wrote :

                                        Hiking pole straps - I once discussed this with a hand surgeon who told me that there is very specific (and hard to correct) hand injury that can occur when one is "strapped into" a hiking pole and falls onto that hand--apparently the side of the pole can be jammed into the space where the thumb joins the hand.  She recommends using straps verysparingly.



                                      • waywardfred
                                        I read this post from Ray Rippel s blog last year. I was inspired to give these gloves a try: TrueTip Gloves Review by Ray Rippel
                                        Message 19 of 24 , Jun 25, 2014
                                          I read this post from Ray Rippel's blog last year. I was inspired to give these gloves a try:

                                          TrueTip Gloves Review by Ray Rippel

                                           


                                          I don't use poles straps. But I have found that a barehanded grip, without straps, slips and slides.

                                          So I tried the Atlas Venturlus, without straps, on the JMT last summer.  I found that they offered a much better grip than bare hands.

                                          I cut of the tips of the fingers. They are durable and easy to clean. They breath well, dry quickly and are surprisingly cool:

                                          Atlas Ventulus 380 Gloves

                                           

                                          Available on Amazon:



                                        • straw_marmot
                                          Those gloves look similar to Gorilla Grip gloves, you can get them for a few dollars at Home Depot. They are a thinner version of nitrile-coated work gloves
                                          Message 20 of 24 , Jun 25, 2014
                                            Those gloves look similar to Gorilla Grip gloves, you can get them for a few dollars at Home Depot.   They are a thinner version of nitrile-coated work gloves - loose knit back, polymer-coated grip side, giving protection but really good dexterity.  I original wore them only for scrambling, but now wear them all the time when hiking - they are thin enough to leave on in warm temperatures, and have almost eliminated problems with cracking fingers. 




                                          • Roleigh Martin
                                            The WhitneyZone thread on Mr. Likely continues, http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/38108/7 It is amazing knowing what is revealed on this
                                            Message 21 of 24 , Jun 29, 2014
                                              The WhitneyZone thread on Mr. Likely continues, http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/38108/7

                                              It is amazing knowing what is revealed on this page.  If it is true the group last saw him from trail camp at 6:45pm, as Likely was descending near the cables, it is inconceivable that the group would not have stayed at Trail Camp unless they were prohibited by law from doing so.  It is also unbelievable that Likely would want to continue after he got down to Trail Camp, if he was at the cables at 6:45pm, I'm wondering what time would he have gotten to Trail Camp -- 7:30-8pm, sometime around then.  Why would he want to continue.  He should have setup camp there, the hell with catching up with the group at Outpost.

                                              And then (read the thread, start by going back to page 6 of thread and viewing the video about the SAR recovery and frozen snapshots from that video -- on youtube, the video is here




                                              -------------------------------------------------
                                              Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                                              _



                                              On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 6:28 PM, ralphbge@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                               

                                              Those gloves look similar to Gorilla Grip gloves, you can get them for a few dollars at Home Depot.   They are a thinner version of nitrile-coated work gloves - loose knit back, polymer-coated grip side, giving protection but really good dexterity.  I original wore them only for scrambling, but now wear them all the time when hiking - they are thin enough to leave on in warm temperatures, and have almost eliminated problems with cracking fingers. 






                                            • Peter Hirst
                                              Much of the debate at WZ is about the issue of his friends going on ahead. But John had did not have the option of camping at TC. This was not a JMT exit;
                                              Message 22 of 24 , Jun 29, 2014
                                                Much of the debate at WZ is about the issue of his friends going on ahead. But John had did not have the option of camping at TC. This was not a JMT exit;  this was a day hike from base camp at Outpost Camp:  he had only a small day pack, was wearing shorts, all his gear at OC, 2.5 mi and ~2000 ft below Trail Camp.


                                                On Jun 29, 2014, at 3:41 PM, Roleigh Martin roleigh@... [johnmuirtrail] wrote:

                                                 

                                                The WhitneyZone thread on Mr. Likely continues, http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/38108/7

                                                It is amazing knowing what is revealed on this page.  If it is true the group last saw him from trail camp at 6:45pm, as Likely was descending near the cables, it is inconceivable that the group would not have stayed at Trail Camp unless they were prohibited by law from doing so.  It is also unbelievable that Likely would want to continue after he got down to Trail Camp, if he was at the cables at 6:45pm, I'm wondering what time would he have gotten to  Trail Camp -- 7:30-8pm, sometime around then.  Why would he want to continue.  He should have setup camp there, the hell with catching up with the group at Outpost.

                                                And then (read the thread, start by going back to page 6 of thread and viewing the video about the SAR recovery and frozen snapshots from that video -- on youtube, the video is here




                                                -------------------------------------------------
                                                Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                                                _



                                                On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 6:28 PM, ralphbge@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                                 

                                                Those gloves look similar to Gorilla Grip gloves, you can get them for a few dollars at Home Depot.   They are a thinner version of nitrile-coated work gloves - loose knit back, polymer-coated grip side, giving protection but really good dexterity.  I original wore them only for scrambling, but now wear them all the time when hiking - they are thin enough to leave on in warm temperatures, and have almost eliminated problems with cracking fingers. 









                                              • Roleigh Martin
                                                Peter, I did not know he didn t have gear to allow camping if he was behind schedule or tired. Had it been me, I d have taken at least a sleeping bag and a 3
                                                Message 23 of 24 , Jun 29, 2014
                                                  Peter, I did not know he didn't have gear to allow camping if he was behind schedule or tired.  Had it been me, I'd have taken at least a sleeping bag and a 3 oz cuben fiber bivy, and I would have rather stayed alive and gotten a fine from the ranger than hiked on beyond my endurance level.  Yes, Likely probably felt he was not beyond his endurance level, hence his refusal for company from those hikers he met.  Very fooling decision on his part, his last opportunity to have stayed alive.

                                                  -------------------------------------------------
                                                  Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                                                  _



                                                  On Sun, Jun 29, 2014 at 5:07 PM, Peter Hirst peter@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                                   

                                                  Much of the debate at WZ is about the issue of his friends going on ahead. But John had did not have the option of camping at TC. This was not a JMT exit;  this was a day hike from base camp at Outpost Camp:  he had only a small day pack, was wearing shorts, all his gear at OC, 2.5 mi and ~2000 ft below Trail Camp.


                                                  On Jun 29, 2014, at 3:41 PM, Roleigh Martin roleigh@... [johnmuirtrail] wrote:

                                                   

                                                  The WhitneyZone thread on Mr. Likely continues, http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/38108/7

                                                  It is amazing knowing what is revealed on this page.  If it is true the group last saw him from trail camp at 6:45pm, as Likely was descending near the cables, it is inconceivable that the group would not have stayed at Trail Camp unless they were prohibited by law from doing so.  It is also unbelievable that Likely would want to continue after he got down to Trail Camp, if he was at the cables at 6:45pm, I'm wondering what time would he have gotten to  Trail Camp -- 7:30-8pm, sometime around then.  Why would he want to continue.  He should have setup camp there, the hell with catching up with the group at Outpost.

                                                  And then (read the thread, start by going back to page 6 of thread and viewing the video about the SAR recovery and frozen snapshots from that video -- on youtube, the video is here




                                                  -------------------------------------------------
                                                  Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                                                  _



                                                  On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 6:28 PM, ralphbge@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                                   

                                                  Those gloves look similar to Gorilla Grip gloves, you can get them for a few dollars at Home Depot.   They are a thinner version of nitrile-coated work gloves - loose knit back, polymer-coated grip side, giving protection but really good dexterity.  I original wore them only for scrambling, but now wear them all the time when hiking - they are thin enough to leave on in warm temperatures, and have almost eliminated problems with cracking fingers. 










                                                • Peter Hirst
                                                  Fine from the ranger was not not an issue. His group was on an overnight permit - at least 2 nights and still good - and camps are not restricted even in the
                                                  Message 24 of 24 , Jun 29, 2014
                                                    Fine from the ranger was not  not an issue.  His group was on an overnight permit - at least 2 nights and still good - and camps are not restricted even in the Whitney Zone. With the overnight permit, once you are past the trailhead, you camp wherever you want (except Mirror Lake).   It was his 6th Whitney summit, so I am sure you are right about his feelings about his endurance level.

                                                    Lots of lessons from this case.


                                                    On Jun 29, 2014, at 5:11 PM, Roleigh Martin roleigh@... [johnmuirtrail] wrote:

                                                     

                                                    Peter, I did not know he didn't have gear to allow camping if he was behind schedule or tired.  Had it been me, I'd have taken at least a sleeping bag and a 3 oz cuben fiber bivy, and I would have rather stayed alive and gotten a fine from the ranger than hiked on beyond my endurance level.  Yes, Likely probably felt he was not beyond his endurance level, hence his refusal for company from those hikers he met.  Very fooling decision on his part, his last opportunity to have stayed alive.

                                                    -------------------------------------------------
                                                    Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                                                    _



                                                    On Sun, Jun 29, 2014 at 5:07 PM, Peter Hirst peter@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                                     

                                                    Much of the debate at WZ is about the issue of his friends going on ahead. But John had did not have the option of camping at TC. This was not a JMT exit;  this was a day hike from base camp at Outpost Camp:  he had only a small day pack, was wearing shorts, all his gear at OC, 2.5 mi and ~2000 ft below Trail Camp.


                                                    On Jun 29, 2014, at 3:41 PM, Roleigh Martin roleigh@... [johnmuirtrail] wrote:

                                                     

                                                    The WhitneyZone thread on Mr. Likely continues, http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthreads.php/topics/38108/7

                                                    It is amazing knowing what is revealed on this page.  If it is true the group last saw him from trail camp at 6:45pm, as Likely was descending near the cables, it is inconceivable that the group would not have stayed at Trail Camp unless they were prohibited by law from doing so.  It is also unbelievable that Likely would want to continue after he got down to Trail Camp, if he was at the cables at 6:45pm, I'm wondering what time would he have gotten to  Trail Camp -- 7:30-8pm, sometime around then.  Why would he want to continue.  He should have setup camp there, the hell with catching up with the group at Outpost.

                                                    And then (read the thread, start by going back to page 6 of thread and viewing the video about the SAR recovery and frozen snapshots from that video -- on youtube, the video is here




                                                    -------------------------------------------------
                                                    Visit my Google Profile (lots of very interesting research links)
                                                    _



                                                    On Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 6:28 PM, ralphbge@... [johnmuirtrail] <johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                                                     

                                                    Those gloves look similar to Gorilla Grip gloves, you can get them for a few dollars at Home Depot.   They are a thinner version of nitrile-coated work gloves - loose knit back, polymer-coated grip side, giving protection but really good dexterity.  I original wore them only for scrambling, but now wear them all the time when hiking - they are thin enough to leave on in warm temperatures, and have almost eliminated problems with cracking fingers. 













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