Getting a grip

I’ve written a few times about the relationship between me and my new Pacer Poles.

I used them on my Galehead walk with Paul, and liked them. I used them on my Wildcat Ridge walk with A, and had a problem that I’ve characterized as user error. Multiple user errors, really. The first one is simple: parts of White Mountain trails are simply too steep and rough for walking poles. I knew this already, of course, but now I know it, if not in my bones, then in my sinews. Not being a confirmed user, I’m still annoyed by the necessity to stop and stow/stop and redeploy. But I’ll get used to it.

The second one is both simple and complicated. Let’s start here: My former backcountry ski poles (and seldom-used de facto hiking poles) were Black Diamond Expeditions. I love the FlickLock mechanism, which is simple to use and essentially bombproof. (On the other hand, one of the Expeditions is now hanging, bent and broken, on my office wall as a trophy of a spill on the Tour du Mont Blanc.)

Like almost all other poles, Pacers use the more common (and to my mind, vastly inferior), twistlock mechanism, and they are very clear about the proper technique: turn the shafts, not the mechanisms, and tighten “steadily and firmly (not fast and abruptly).” But—perhaps it’s my general old age and decrepitude—I often had problems loosening these twisters once I’d steadily and firmly tightened them. So I started twisting them just a touch less firmly and tightly. The result was that, coming off Wildcat Ridge, gravity took a hand and loosened them for me. Fast.

But—ta-da—I now carry a small tool to handle these problems. It is this:

a jar-opener—one of those thin little rubber pads that allow you to get a good grip on a bottle top. Works a treat on pole twists, too. So now I’ll be carrying this little floppy disk with me.

My bottom line? Pacer Poles are mighty fine. They’d be slightly better if they supplied either jar openers or strong-armed walking partners—and perfect if they used FlickLocks.


Getting a grip — 2 Comments

  1. Interestingly I borrowed a pair of Pacerpoles for a weekend in the Lakes with Lord Elpus and Shirl a month or so ago. I was given a bit of a masterclass in how to use them from the designer of the poles herself! She gave me a piece of material to tighten and loosen the poles – it was grippy stuff and would work when the poles were wet.

  2. I like my Pacepoles too. I have remembered, so far, to give an extra tightening twist when entering steep up or down terrain. Also, a check twist if the temperature changes considerably. Thanks for the grippy material advice. I too am getting old and feeble!!

    My biggest issue and one I find quite funny is I sometimes find myself walking with a rolling gait and realize I started off on the wrong foot!! A little hop-skip and I am back to straight ahead cruising!! 🙂

    By the way, I did purchase the camera mount attachment and it does come in handy. I leave it on the pole all the time. It isn't in the way and doesn't weigh much.

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