1 pole or 2?

Half Dome – Yosemite Musing
Continuing the discussion on Trekking poles. I have heard them also called Hiking Poles or Walking Sticks. I don’t really know the precise definition of “trekking” vs hiking or walking. But I guess STAR TREK is a better name than STAR WALK. Whatever works – it’s all the same. Some folks ask if one pole is just as good as 2. Well, no. If you are walking like Moses through the desert you are at a disadvantage with just 1. I will  grant you that 1 pole is better than none. But why would you want to carry a long shaft that might weigh 3 pounds? I often see “wilderness” folks carrying a tree branch as their walking aid. I want to be as light as I can and go minimalist. 1 pole causes your body to torque with each step. You tend to favor one side as you sashay down the trail. When you use 2 proper hiking poles, your body is symmetric which results in an easier time of it. You also get the best push off as explained a few days ago. Trekking poles are only sold in pairs anyway. The shafts are identical but the grips (straps) are left & right. Look at your straps. On LEKI’s there is a little ® or (l). At first I thought the ® meant registered trademark. I learned. So I now put a piece of red tape on my right pole (red is right). This makes for quick starts. I saw this woman at the Glacier Point snack bar.


What a hoot. A walking staff with a tiny tennis shoe on it. I love this kind of humor.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Tin soldiers and Nixon’s comin’. We’re finally on our own. This summer I hear the drummin.Four dead in Ohio.” – Crosby, Stills, Nash (and Young)
*Mr. Half Dome -Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

About Mr Half Dome - Rick Deutsch

Mr Half Dome. Has written the only half dome hiking guide, One Best Hike: Yosemite's Half Dome. Has hiked it 31 times to day. Lives in San Jose, CA Available for presentations. Carpe Diem Experience, LLC
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3 Responses to 1 pole or 2?

  1. mrhalfdome says:

    Good tips guys. Whatever makes life eaisier for you!!

    Ricky D.

  2. Bill says:

    I (56 year old male) use two Leki poles with springs and it has made the hike so much easier on my knees. I used to come down the JMT, but now come down the mist trail and use the poles for extra support. I found the JMT to be slipery at times with the small gravel, so I now take my poles and come down with 4 points of contact on the steps.

  3. Dean says:

    I don’t use poles (yet) but I used 1 hiking up Franz Josef Glacier.

    I felt it gave me stability when there was a drop on one side, though it was a pain constantly switching it from side to side. Maybe I would have been better with 2, but the 1 I had worked OK.

    Whatever you’re comfortable with I suppose.

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