The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles are Black Diamond’s lightest trekking poles to date. The trekking poles are manufactured with three vibration absorbing carbon fiber sections, natural cork grips and carbide tips. The Black Diamond trekking poles come with dual FlintLock adjusters that allow for easy slip free adjustments, that won’t accidentally loosen while on the trail. These poles also have nubuck leather webbing wrist support loops, dual density top knobs and foam extensions below the top grips. These foam extensions allow the user to drop the uphill hand lower on the shaft while traversing steep terrain. The Black Diamond trekking poles also come with both snow baskets and 1.5 inch low profile trekking discs. These poles come in a silver and black color.
My first impressions of the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking Poles was one of surprise due to the light weight feel and comfort of the poles, but also one of apprehension due to concern over the durability and strength of such a light weight product. I then proceeded to begin utilizing these poles in the Ozark Mountains of Southern Missouri and Northern Arkansas.
As I used these poles, I quickly found myself excited and continued to be impressed with the light weight and comfort of these poles. The natural cork grips provided a comfortable platform with which to grip the poles and the nubuck leather webbing wrist support loops, were not only comfortable and light weight, but very supportive and strong. The poles themselves were very easy to adjust, but utilizing the flintlock adjusters. These adjusters have a locking screw incorporated into the device that allows the user to adjust the locking mechanism. This flintlock adjustment not only proved quick and easy to use, but over the months of testing these poles provided flawless performance.
My initial concerns about strength and durability of these trekking poles were dispelled time and time again, as I used them in all types of weather and terrain, including crossing streams and rivers, climbing in the ice and snow, rain, mud, rock and scree. There were even times that I lost my balance and was forced to place most of my 200 pound body weight on one pole or the other and found them to not only hold my body weight, but to perform quite well. I especially like the foam extensions below the grips that allowed me to slide my hand down the shaft of the pole as I traveled up steep grades. Being able to slide my hand down the shaft onto the foam extension allowed me to lower my center of gravity and continue to obtain the best possible leverage and position of strength on steep terrain.
The carbide tips and provided baskets also performed well on any terrain and under all conditions. Even after hundreds of miles of use, both the baskets and tips continued to perform well and did not show any unusual signs of wear. The 3 carbon fiber sections of the poles, did show numerous scratches, some nicks and even some paint chips, but I consider this to be just normal wear and tear from being utilized for hundreds of miles in rough terrain and in a variety of weather conditions.
After several months of use, I was so impressed with these poles that I decided to utilize them on an expedition trip to Iceland in August of 2009. During the two week expedition, I utilized the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking poles in some extremely rough terrain and weather conditions. I utilized these poles while crossing, extremely cold and fast running glacial streams, climbing through volcanic rock, traveling across glaciers, through snow and mud and even through hot springs. The ever changing Iceland weather also provided challenges like rain, freezing rain, wind, sun, fog and snow during the expedition. Through all this, the Black Diamond trekking poles handled everything with relative ease. At times these poles were covered in volcanic mud and soaked with rain and snow and continued to perform well. The poles continued to be easy to clean and more than once, I used a damp cloth to clean the poles in a glacial stream. The poles were also easy to pack and store while traveling due to their light weight and their ability to pack small.
Caring for the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Trekking poles is both simple and quick. Black Diamond recommends keeping the Dual FlintLock system unlocked while in storage and using a clean cloth to wipe off mud, moisture and debris after use. Upon cleaning, I stored the poles in my gear storage area. The durability of these poles also proved to be excellent, as after months of use, these poles sustained no real damage. The natural cork handgrips showed no signs of wear and the carbide tips also proved to be extremely durable.
After using the Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Trekking Poles for a number of months, I was very impressed with the performance, durability and the materials of these poles. These trekking poles provided excellent support in a variety of terrain and weather conditions. I was initially concerned with the durability of these poles due to their light weight and the carbon materials, but found this concern to be unfounded. While using these poles to cross streams, climb mountains and descent steep rock ledges, there were times that I found myself putting undue stress and weight on these poles, yet the poles did not break or show any signs of any damage. These poles are very light, easy to care for and above all tough and durable. The flintlock system is both easy to use and does not seem to be problematic. To date, these may be the best trekking poles I have used and would recommend them for any outdoor enthusiast.