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  • Writer's pictureJeannette McGill

Summit Steps: Trekking Poles?

Updated: Jun 23, 2020

Happy Trekkers in Nepal all using poles for added balance and comfort

When trekking poles first became popular many people equated them to fancy walking sticks, but once you learn how to them correctly we think that you will agree that they are a hiker girl’s best friend.

The most balanced of animals all go about on 4 legs; humans also have 4 limbs but our arms don’t touch the ground while upright and so that’s the role of poles: to give you optimal weight distribution.

It’s best to use both poles if you decide to use them. Use the wrist loops to support your arms and to provide additional leverage (really useful on steep uphills). Then they should hit the ground slightly in front of you – so not like a walking stick alongside you. The adjustable ones are great as you tend to make them longer for downhills and shorter for steeper uphills. The steeper the terrain the further away from you they will land on each step.

Trekking poles are especially useful carrying heavier loads and to relieve knee pressure for sustained downhills. And if all else fails hold them high to make for awesome scenic photos!

Jeannette’s tip is to scratch a marking for the uphill and downhill setting onto your poles for quick adjustment.

Saray knows that they can be awkward with gloves so find an easy adjusting mechanism. The press in “knobs” can freeze so clasps can be better.

Authors: Jeannette McGill and Saray Khumalo

Summit Steps: As part of Summits with a Purpose (check out the FB page) Saray Khumalo and Jeannette McGill are collaborating to share knowledge around hiking and mountaineering with the aim of making a positive and inclusive impact allowing more African woman to dream big and reach their outdoor goals.

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