White mountain and gear question

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White mountain and gear question

Postby perzeetorres » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:56 pm

Hi all! I've been away awhile. This summer my best friend and I have signed up for an Rei trip to the white mountains. I am looking for poles. Any thoughts? I've never used them, but I have started getting foot and knee issues and hope these can help.

Also, does anyone have a specific training plan for backpacking... Currently I'm using the treadmill at 12% , and lifting weights, stretching... Other suggestions?

Thanks!
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby Jen » Fri Apr 05, 2013 10:32 pm

I was late to the party with my trekking poles. I never thought I needed them and now I can not imagine hiking without them. I think the clincher was falling on my arse repeatedly in a creek bed coming down off of Rainbow peak. :evil:

I love my Black diamonds. They are light weight and clearly durable because I have abused them horribly and they are still fully functional!

PS. I moved this from the trip reports section but I wasn't sure where where it should go since it has several topics. We will save you a spot in the trip report category for after your epic adventure in the White Mountains! :arrow:
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby joybird » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:00 am

I used to think hiking poles were silly unless you had a heavy backpack on...until I tried some myself. Now I swear by them. Being able to use my arms helps me power up hills and they help ease the stress on my knees going downhill. I find they prevent the "sausage fingers" that I get when hiking all day with my hands in a more dependent position. And, like Jen said, sometimes they can be a tremendous help for balance in sketchy situations. Because I sometimes have "heights issues," I also find it helpful to have the extra points of contact with the ground when exposure gives me a sense of instability or vertigo and I feel a tad off-kilter.

I have beaten the heck out of a pair of low-end Komperdells for about 7 years and they're still going strong, though I did have to replace the completely worn-down tips (for <$10) after a few hundred miles. This year, I decided to splurge for a new, lighter-weight pair of Komperdells and so far they're working out fine -- although I preferred the feel of the real cork handles on my old set. I like the twist-lock mechanisms rather than a more bulky external lock because it makes it easier to slip them into my pack when I'm on the move, though on my new poles occasionally you have to fidgit with it to make the lock engage, which can be irritating.

One thing to consider is the collapsed pole length: I like the more compact 24" length so that when I stow them in my pack (for scrambling or bushwhacking etc.) they don't stick up too high and get caught on stuff. Also, it makes them easier to transport in a suitcase.
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby Hockey Ref » Sat Apr 06, 2013 6:15 am

Training: Nothing beats real-world conditions. Load your backpack the same as you'd have it for your actual trip, put on your boots, and head out to the closest trail that offers conditions similar to those you will encounter on your trip. I know that may be easier said than done, especially if you live in the flatlands like I do. But take advantage of what's around you and do what you can to simulate "real world" conditions.
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby perzeetorres » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:45 am

Thanks! I picked up some $90 Rei power lock aluminum, with cork handles. Used the 20% coupon.. Willing to upgrade, but not sure... I know good gear is best, but wasn't sure how much better one pole could be to another.

I do have issues sometimes going down hill on state inclines... Hoping these will boost my confidence. Ives a,so noticed the bottom section is a bit tight extending... But is that better for locking tight?

I hope to take them out to our local forest preserve with a "hill" today,
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby il2gnp » Sat Apr 06, 2013 4:28 pm

I've been using a single walking stick for years and finally decided to try a pair but I didn't want to invest a fortune. I decided to start with the REI cork handle trekking poles and used the 20% discount. They have been great! My next pair will probably be lighter weight, but this is a good beginning.
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby joybird » Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:20 pm

Hockey Ref wrote:Training: Nothing beats real-world conditions. Load your backpack the same as you'd have it for your actual trip...and do what you can to simulate "real world" conditions.


I agree with Hockey Ref. It's also a great way to work the kinks out of your gear system so that you won't be distracted from the views by a strap rubbing you wrong. :(

Another way I like to "train" is to load my daypack with jugs of water and then go walking (or hiking, if I have time to get up into the nearby mountains). The benefit of using water (rather than gear or weights) is that I can load myself up as heavy as I want and know that there's always the option of dumping part of it if I later decide I'm carrying more than is good for me -- or if I just decide that I've had enough "training" midway through the day and want to go light and breezy again. :wink:

My goal is always to get comfortable with a bit more weight than I expect to be carrying on my actual trip. That way things will seem relatively easy there in comparison to what I'm used to. Also, I think building up some extra capacity is a good way to prepare my body for the big elevation difference between home and Glacier.
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby Selkie » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:04 pm

perzeetorres wrote:Thanks! I picked up some $90 Rei power lock aluminum, with cork handles. ... Ives a,so noticed the bottom section is a bit tight extending... But is that better for locking tight?

I hope to take them out to our local forest preserve with a "hill" today.

I hope you enjoyed using the poles!
Is it the White Mountains in NH? (There are others.) I'm a bit surprised, if so, as EMS - Eastern Mountain Sports - pretty much owns the territory and has a store in North Conway, whereas REI has no stores in the 3 northern New England states.

I used my 20% discount on a sunshirt. :D

Have a wonderful trip!
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby perzeetorres » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:36 pm

Didnt get out today... Worked on taxes instead :? I did do 3 miles on the treadmill, though.. Hoping for better weather tomorrow. I live in Chicago, so we do have Rei. I'm going to the white mountains in NH in The summer. Doing the Rei hut to hut trip. I haven't back packed (more than a day trip with little kids along) in 8 years! Last big trip was Shenandoah AT. This trip seems luxurious in comparison since we will be sleeping in beds, and staying in huts with people cooking for us! No kids this trip either. However I'm taking hubby and kids (they'll be 9 this summer!) to Shenandoah in June, ( also D.C. and New York).

The white mountains trip has two purposes: time with best friend, and goal to get back in shape!
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby Selkie » Sat Apr 06, 2013 10:58 pm

Hi, perzeetorres, I'm sending you a PM.
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby perzeetorres » Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:42 am

I just thought of a "newbie Plow question".

"Do you extend them when going down hill?" I was told to adjust them so that my arm was parallel to the ground. That put me close to the 120 mark. My poles only go to 125.... Or do you just bend your arms? I'm going to practice on a sled hill at our local park later... There aren't many hills in my area!
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby Hockey Ref » Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:13 am

perzeetorres wrote:I just thought of a "newbie Plow question".

"Do you extend them when going down hill?" I was told to adjust them so that my arm was parallel to the ground. That put me close to the 120 mark. My poles only go to 125.... Or do you just bend your arms? I'm going to practice on a sled hill at our local park later... There aren't many hills in my area!

I believe the "arm-parallel-to-the-ground" thing is an overall guideline for flat land. I don't adjust mine going up or down hill as I'd be stopping and starting too much. Seems to work just fine that way for me.

Also, someone above mentioned "sausage fingers," and poles definitely help prevent those.
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby llholmes1948 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 3:13 pm

Selkie wrote:
perzeetorres wrote:Thanks! I picked up some $90 Rei power lock aluminum, with cork handles. ... Ives a,so noticed the bottom section is a bit tight extending... But is that better for locking tight?

I hope to take them out to our local forest preserve with a "hill" today.

I hope you enjoyed using the poles!
Is it the White Mountains in NH? (There are others.) I'm a bit surprised, if so, as EMS - Eastern Mountain Sports - pretty much owns the territory and has a store in North Conway, whereas REI has no stores in the 3 northern New England states.


I haven't been to North Conway for a few years but there should be a number of outdoor equipment stores in the area. In addition to EMS, there is an LL Bean outlet store in North Conway.

When my daughter was hiking the Appalachian Trail a couple years ago, she broke the tip off one of my Leiki poles that she was using and got it repaired at an equipment store in Gorham, New Hampshire. I don't know the name of the store but they did a great repair job on the pole. That White Mountain granite can be pretty tough on poles.

Be sure to take some warm clothes. Those mountains can be pretty cold and windy. Hope you have a great trip and we look forward to your report.

Lyman
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby Marmotman » Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:00 pm

Sometimes going down hill I'll grab the top of my handles with my palm on top. This gives the poles a little more length and allows me to use them as shock absorbers for knee saving!
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Re: White mountain and gear question

Postby Heff936 » Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:38 pm

Ive' been extremely happy with my Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork trekking poles. They are a bit pricey but very light and I really like the cork handles better than rubberized handles. The cork seems to absorb the sweat without getting slick. The flick locks area huge improvement over the twist locks since you can tighten them in the field if they loosen up. When the twist locks go bad your poles are done, so investing a little more for flick locks is a good idea.

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