Author Topic: My pole experience ( not for the faint hearted or those short of time)  (Read 2965 times)

barewirewalker

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I long thought poles more of an affectation than, serious walk aid. A bit like the modern rock climbers addiction to chalk. The only benefactor being the seller of the paraphernalia, unlike chalk I can a split a pair of poles in half. Some years ago I found a pole with a camera thread to act as an alternative to a tripod, I now use the pole more as a walking aid than a photographer's accessory.
I am not tempted to take part in the Spine Challenge, though I carry around a permanent reminder of that part of my anatomy, the reason I choose to carry a walking stick. My problem is not forward motion or even the reverse, it is being immobile in the upright position. An attitude that is frequently forced on me in the urban environment, in a very short time I will get intense pain in my lower back, this will then spread down my left leg and increase, but perfectly manageable if I am in control of by environment.

Since adopting a walking stick, my family have expressed the opinion that I should not get defendant on it. But when I walking through the urban ways, I can swing the stick with panache that give my demeanor a modicum of swagger, belying the condition I am dependent on it when standing. It served a useful function 3 nights ago, returning from a show in London West End, a much younger man than my 76 yrs surrendered his seat immediately on my squeezing into an overcrowded underground train carriage. I was very grateful as it saved me from 20-30 minutes of very intense pain, many would resort to chemicals to relieve. Mrs BWW however did not receive the same level of public solicitude, her youthful appearance at odds with the extra 10yrs of nursing employment beyond retirement. I did point out to a youth, who immediately occupied a seat I tried to hold for her, that a lady had stood for many stops before he got on the train. Shamed into offering it, but Mrs BWW thought he looked more in need of it than she.

I have offered Mrs BWW poles on a number of occasions, but as she skips around the hillsides in a manner I taught he 20 or so years ago, I follow with some envy using the photographic accessory to prevent stumbles or falls, the occasional push to augment failing muscles and other balancing assistance.  However we both enjoy the poles added uses in forcing a way through nettles, holding up barriers of barbed wire and many other hidden uses.
BWW
Their Land is in Our Country.

ninthace

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My overall experience with poles leads me to the conclusion that they are useful to me under certain conditions.


My overall experience is poles are useful under all conditions except scrambling when they do rather get under your feet!  If it is a short easy one I just hang then from the wrist loops, for longer and harder scrambles I stow them in the loops provided by Osprey.  I also stow them in the pub so I don't wander off without them - not that I ever get far if I do as I soon notice the lack.
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archaeoroutes

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As a skier, sticks are what you hold in your hands and poles are what you weave round in slalom. But anyway...
There have been times in my life when I needed sticks for walking, usually when recovering from knee problems. It had been many years since I needed them, touch wood.
However, as a mountain leader I frequently carry them on my rucksack. No, it's not to look cool. Well, not the main reason, anyway. They are a real lifeline if someone twists an ankle, has footing confidence issues, needs something to focus on that isn't the mountain for a bit, crossing rivers, and many other things.

Having worked with people training for big events, I can perhaps throw another few pieces of light on the speed argument.
1. Footing confidence - the extra security (real or perceived) can allow people to push themselves harder on less than ideal terrain.
2. Moving the arms can increase the natural leg pace. Try running with your arms held still, then let your arms move naturally as your run, then try pumping your arms faster and see what happens to your pace. Obviously, this comes at the price of tiring quicker, but if your goal is moving faster then it is effective.
3. There is more than one factor affecting tiredness. One is energy used, which poles alone do not reduce (there is some argument over posture etc but this can be better achieved in other ways). Another is muscle fatigue. It is the latter that usually does people in first. If some of the weight is taken off leg muscles and transferred to arm muscles then the legs can keep going longer.
Also, in training, it can burn energy faster as more muscles are being used, which can help with weight loss which long-term can help with performance. Once a long time has been spent trainign with them, stopping using them without feeling odd can take a while, so carrying on to the event is normal.
Walking routes visiting ancient sites in Britain's uplands: http://www.archaeoroutes.co.uk

phil1960

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An interesting debate this one. My own experience is that poles help most of the time, although I have to admit I donít use mine all the time. For me Iím neither quicker or slower I donít think, but when I use them there are occasions when I feel better balanced and feel less pressure on the knees especially descending.
Touching from a distance, further all the time.

ninthace

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As a skier, sticks are what you hold in your hands and poles are what you weave round in slalom.


So did you stick plant or pole plant?
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April

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This is an interesting debate  :)

I always take poles with me but I don't always use them. Like jimbob I store them in my Exos pack ready for use. They are there for when I encounter rough, uneven, or steep ground on ascent and descent. If I don't use them I am much slower over this type of terrain. I have poor balance because of spinal issues and pes cavus feet and struggle a bit if I don't use them.

The reason I use them is to not fall over, I'm not bothered about being quicker.
"Who would've thought...... you are light and darkness coming through" words by Tim Armstrong

Ronin83

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I use them for mountains where I know there'll be harsh descents, but for my area which is mostly flat I don't bother. If I hadn't used them recently on the salkantay my knees would be totally destroyed instead of one being injured.


I think illI avoid them for going up in future in order to strengthen my legs more. Having said that, specificity is key to training. How do you SAFELY train for descents? Negative squats?

Owen

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I'm another that uses poles when on rough terrain carrying a heavy pack. I don't bother when just out for a day walk with a light load.


I've put a loop of bungee cord on one shoulder strap of my pack, and another on the side near the bottom. So I can fold my poles and push the pole tips through the bottom loop and the handles through the shoulder loop. You don't need fancy built in pole carriers.

Rob Goes Walking

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I've put a loop of bungee cord on one shoulder strap of my pack, and another on the side near the bottom. So I can fold my poles and push the pole tips through the bottom loop and the handles through the shoulder loop. You don't need fancy built in pole carriers.

This is a good idea thanks for that.

jimbob

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I've put a loop of bungee cord on one shoulder strap of my pack, and another on the side near the bottom. So I can fold my poles and push the pole tips through the bottom loop and the handles through the shoulder loop. You don't need fancy built in pole carriers.
No, you don't need fancy pole carriers. What you describe is what Osprey (and others) provide.
Too little, too late, too bad......

archaeoroutes

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So did you stick plant or pole plant?
Stick plant. And when working in the hire bit of the club we'd always ask if they wanted boots, skis and sticks.


I wonder if it is regional (I grew up skiing in the north-west of England and in Scotland) or time (this was over 20 years ago) or because I was on a race team and we needed to distinguish easily between slalom 'poles' and ski 'sticks' in conversation.


When walking with a big rucksack (120L+) or dragging a pulk back in the 90s, we would always use 'our sticks' to reduce knee damage. Back then, they were simply ones from skiing being used for walking.
I guess the change to calling them walking poles came about to distinguish from the ones people with mobility issues lean on or elderly people tended to carry on walks (with metal badges of places they'd been tacked to them). I must admit, we never called what we used 'walking sticks' for that reason, just 'sticks'.
Walking routes visiting ancient sites in Britain's uplands: http://www.archaeoroutes.co.uk

Bigfoot_Mike

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I am mid-fifties and overweight. On the flat I walk pretty fast and without sticks can maintain 4 mph+ for a couple of hours at least off road. Iím not sure poles make me much faster in these circumstances, but do help me get fitter by activating more muscles. They definitely help me on slopes, increasing my speed and stability.

Rob Goes Walking

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I am mid-fifties and overweight. On the flat I walk pretty fast and without sticks can maintain 4 mph+ for a couple of hours at least off road. Iím not sure poles make me much faster in these circumstances, but do help me get fitter by activating more muscles. They definitely help me on slopes, increasing my speed and stability.

Just out of curiosity Mike, what's your double pace count over 100 metres? Mine's 77 (I think, better go double check) and I move at approximately half your speed!
« Last Edit: 19:17:09, 24/04/19 by Rob Goes Walking »

Bigfoot_Mike

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Just out of curiosity Mike, what's your double pace count over 100 metres? Mine's 74 and I move at approximately half your speed!
That would depend on how much I am pushing it Rob, but about 60 I would estimate. I generally find around town that everybody else is slower than me. It is a running joke at work that I appear to be undertaking a route march, while I think I am on a gentle stroll. I also ascend stairs very quickly. At work it is quicker for me to use the stairs than the lift. I often surprise much younger and thinner people. On a longer ascent I definitely slow down significantly. The excess weight starts to tell. Once I get some fitness back my stamina and speed does increase.


Loch Muick south of Ballater is an 8 mile circuit which I have completed in 2 hours. There is not much ascent and the path is in pretty good condition..

Rob Goes Walking

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I was expecting it to be about 50 on account of you being a big towering beast. You remind me of the M18 Hellcat, Hellcat Mike ;D