Yosemite / Half Dome Santa List Part 6

Now your gift-giver has several ideas from you to make you very happy on Dec 25. Here’s an essential item that, like boots, is a little pricey (I hate that term – use “expensive.”) I’m talking about Trekking/Hiking poles. They are synonyms. Why is a a trek different than a hike? Beats me.

When I first started my obsession with Half Dome in1990, no one used poles. Then I noticed a few Europeans with them. Hmmm, Whazat? After hearing the explanation, I decided to try them. I since do every hike (training or real McCoy) with my poles. 3-section adjustable poles easily fit into my trunk.

The bottom line as to why you want poles is 3-fold. 1) They can take about 5% of the work off your legs when going uphill (keep them behind you and push.) 2) On level ground they give you stability and balance. Not a big deal in many places like Little Yosemite Valley, but if you are near a cliff, or on unstable rocks, they are pretty handy in keeping you upright. 3) Going downhill is where they shine. They take the stopping force off your knees (lengthen them and keep them in front.)  I honestly feel I can get up or down pretty much anything with my poles.

Hikers with poles on the Panorama Trail

Next – what kind should you ask for? There are a few brands to choose from. Komperdell, Black Diamond and LEKI are the big 3. Good poles will have left/right grips, shock absorbers in the shaft and quick adjustability. You can get aluminum, alloys or carbon poles, depending on your budget. Steer far away from Big Box store attempts at poles. They are made of low grade steel and don’t last. Your poles are a big investment in your hiking hobby. Look for a lifetime warranty.

One of my favorites is the LEKI Summit AS for $140.

Unrelated thought worth quoting: “Man’s real life is happy, chiefly because he is ever expecting that it soon will be so.” – Edgar Allan Poe

MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com

One Best Hike: Yosemite’s Half Dome

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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5 Responses to Yosemite / Half Dome Santa List Part 6

  1. Maureen L says:

    Little rubber booties that slip over the tips of trekking poles are available for those who hike on pavement as part of fitness/getting ready plan.

    The poles with shock absorption move a bit when you plant them. This feature can be turned off if you are on really challenging terrain, at least with Lekis.

    Be sure to check out the options for pole collapse and adjustment. You may have a preference for the twist the pole to loosen or the quick-flip version. (The quick flip is nice if you use the poles with gloves on.)

    The little baskets at the base of the poles can be changed out for wider, “snow” baskets if you also use your poles for snowshoeing.

  2. Dean says:

    Yes poles!

    I may have said before but I never used poles until last year when I used them for the very first time hiking from Happy Isles to Clouds Rest and back…total life saver.

    On the way up the poles acted like a railing allowing me to use both my legs and upper body to haul myself up the seemingly endless climb. On the way down I could move extremely quickly without significant shock on my knees and ankles, I practically ran down, thanks to the poles.

    What this meant was I was fit to hike Taft Point and Sentinel Dome the very next day rather than soothing my aching limbs sipping cocktails in the Ahwahnee ;o)

    Since then I don’t go on a major hike without my poles. BTW I strongly recommend shock absorbing poles which might cost a bit more but are worth it as it takes some of the strain off your hands and wrists.

    I have Leki Makalu, Mrs Dean has the Leki Summit AS.

    • I also have Makalu’s but didn’t see them on the LEKI website. They have an overwhelming list of products to try and choose from. The Khumbo’s went away when we weren’t looking. I liked them…Speed Lock and “Big and Tall” sized. German Marketing.

  3. Maureen L says:

    I’m glad to see that you’ve put trekking poles on the Santa list. I would have put poles right after boots and socks!

    Are good packs, water filtration systems, and water bottles/hydration systems going on the Santa list, too?

    with many grins, thanks for the excellent gear summaries.

    • Patience, my friend. Read the one I just posted. Thanks for the inputs. I was trying to go from the shoes upwards…poles are VERY important. Hope Santa gives you your heart’s desire – I know you’ve been good. :>)

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