BLACK DIAMOND ULTRA MOUNTAIN CARBON TREKKING POLES REVIEW – By Randy Johnson
Black Diamonds Ultra Mountain Carbon trekking pole is the perfect 4-season package. Lightweight, carbon fiber construction that utilizes innovative speed cone technology allows for deployment within seconds even. The Z-Pole’s compactability allows you to fit your trekking poles easily into your pack. The combined strength and lightweight technology will allow you to use these poles for packing heavy loads, touring in the backcountry or getting in some Powder!
Black Diamond Ultra Mountain Carbon Trekking Poles are clearly an item of gear that every hunter, backpacker, mountaineer or casual hiker should add to their “must have list.” Significantly lighter than other trekking poles that I’ve used it is extremely functional in regards to durability, and strength to weight ratio. The Z-Pole folding design is ingenious. I’ve listed below the facts that make this BD an incredible buy!
• 100% carbon fiber shaft construction is super lightweight and strong.
• Innovative 3-section Z-Pole folding design with coated inner cord provides the ultimate in packability; speed cone technology allows for lightning-fast deployment, even while on the move.
• Single-button push release provides equally fast pole breakdown
• Lightweight EVA foam grips and breathable, moisture-wicking straps ensure comfort
• Non-slip foam mini grip extension allows for secure choke-ups on steep terrain
• Includes Flex Tech Tips and non-marking rubber Tech Tips for multi-surface versatility ~ Flex Tech Tips with carbide provide durable and secure performance with added bite on hard or slippery surfaces ~ Rubber Tech Tips avoid rock and trail scarring, and offer excellent grip and durability
• 60 mm Trekking Baskets and Compactor Powder Baskets included
• Available in four fixed lengths: 100 cm, 110 cm, 120 cm, and 130 cm
• Collapsed lengths: 100 cm, 14 in. (35 cm); 110 cm, 15 in. (38 cm); 120 cm, 17 in. (42 cm); 130 cm, 18 in. (45 cm)
I’ve abused and worn out at least a dozen trekking poles over the years. I’m constantly backpacking into some of the meanest, most isolated terrain that southern Utah’s high mountain plateaus, towering mountains, and endless sandstone cut canyons can throw at you and to meet the challenge it’s mandatory in my opinion that you have the best trekking poles that money can buy. I can’t believe it but I’ve never used a pair of Black Diamond trekking poles until now and I’m impressed! Black Diamond really “kicked butt” with the Ultra Mountain Carbons. I’ve used mine in deep snow, through piles of broken up deadfall, and on rocky, very steep slopes and mountain canyons over the past month and they have stood up to every challenge. I even used them to keep a big rattlesnake from striking me. They are very solid although you will notice a slight vibration in the handles due to the interlocking cable system.
For the type of terrain that I spend my time in I utilize trekking poles to help me climb, with balance, and to maneuver down steep slopes. Believe it or not I have also used my new BD poles as a quick bipod to steady my binoculars on, to keep rattlesnakes at a safe distance, to provide a hunter with leverage to pull themselves up over ledges and to prop my heavy backpack up when I’m in muddy or very sandy soil.
These new BD poles are fixed length, so when purchasing them you must be careful that you buy a length that matches your height and uses. They are only available in 120 cm or 130 cm lengths and are not adjustable in length. At first, I didn’t think I would like this feature but it has worked very well for me. I have loved how easy it is to collapse these poles with a simple flick of a small button and pull on the two sections. With the trekking poles I’ve used previously I had to unscrew two sections, and telescope them together before putting them up. Trekking poles that have to be screwed together invariably get grit and sand in the tightening mechanism that will eventually wear out. You don’t have to worry about this issue with these Black Diamonds as the Z-Pole Rapid Deployment System consists of a concealed inner cord, a single push-button release and a one-pull deployment! Incredibly simple if you read the instructions which I didn’t the first time out! LOL The technology for these trekking poles was gleaned from Black Diamond’s tested avalanche probes where a Kevlar center cord provides surprising strength and stability. Similar to tent poles, the sections snap securely into place without the need for external or internal locking mechanisms. The result is weight savings and increased collapsibility that enables them to take up far less packed space than traditional poles.
I have enjoyed the BD’s non-slip foam grips, ergonomic handles that provide a very secure hand holds. If you are like me I like to shorten or extend my grip in different types of terrain and the design of the BD handles have met those needs. As a person who has went through Tunnel Carpal surgery I found that the compact straps have served their purpose of helping to relieve stress on my aching wrists.
Two sets of tips are included. Carbide tips deliver solid traction for hard surfaces or ice. Non-marking rubber tips can be used to prevent trail damage and provide grip and durability. An included storage bag protects your poles and includes an integrated pocket to house whichever set of tips you aren’t using.
Black Diamond Ultra Distance poles are sold in pairs at a cost of around $169. I do believe you can shop around and find a better price. They are expensive but are worth every nickel if you spend as much time “out on the mountain as I do.
What They Could Do Better:
The Ultra Mountain Carbon trekking poles are great. I loved them! It should be noted that carbon will bend if you were to fall on the poles in rocks. I put some tremendous torque on mine in a heavy boulder field and had not problem at all. I would like to see them add a couple more lengths to the fixed length of the poles.
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