Trekking poles for ultra races ????

I am torn between 3 types of pole:
Black Diamond Distance poles

Black Diamond Ultra distance poles

Mountain King Trail Blaze

From what I can see the only difference in the top two is ones carbon and not aluminium, now is that worth the added cost ????

I am drawn towards the mountain king ones due to them being lighter than both the black diamond ones.

Does anyone have a set of the above or could advise me on any ???

Many thanks


  • Hi

    i did the lakeland 50 last year and by the end I was so jealous of those with poles that after the event I bought some............i bought the mountain king trail Blaze from Likeys and used them on a few races...............really pleased with them................will be taking them again with me to the lakeland 50 this year..................

    can't comment on the other two................

     good luckimage

  • Thanks
    I also did the 50 last year but borrowed some poles, which were long when stored on my pack.
    I have only just looked into them and the mountain kings seem to be getting a good review.
    If you don't mind me asking, are the handles comfy and also do the poles flex much when you apply weight to them (like climbing the hill). My concern is the feelin that the pole will snap as it's that thin ???
    Many thanks
  • the handles are comfortable and good on the hills........

    My only problem is to keep them taut when I set them up........not sure if i missed something..........sorted out by tying a knot part where up the string and hooking it over...........takes a while to get it in the right place...........someone else might know a knack to it...........

    they fold up and fit nicely into the rucksac.very light as well.....image

  • Yep from what I read a knot should already be tied in the line and you just pull it through to lock them out, maybe you have to tie your own.
    there the lightest poles around and would easily fit in my rucksack.
    Thanks for your advice, would you say they are sturdy or flimsy ???
    Might have to place an order image I dont use poles very often so probably can't justify the more expensive ones.
  • Oh this is interesting - I did the Nokia Scottish Coast to Coast last year and I couldn't stay on my feet on wet slate steps and then down a quagmire of a hillside. I was thinking of getting some poles - so I'll have a look at these.
  • Let me know which you are drawn towards pls image
  • hard for me to say if they are sturdy or flimsy as I haven't tried any others.......but they were definitely sturdy enough for me......image
  • Brilliant thanks, it's not like I'm going to be putting all my weight on them just if I slipped and put the pole out that it would take it (if that makes sense lol)
    Thanks for the swift replies, see you in Coniston
  • Right......

    I have ordered both the trail blaze and the black diamond ultra distance poles, will just send the ones I don't like back, but I just couldn't decide which to go for.

    Will keep you posted if anyone's interested image
  • The Mountain Kings do already have a knot you have to pull further than you think you should before it appears but it is not a problem I have been using the same pair for nearly two years. Here is a review I first wrote a few years ago before we had any concept of being a retail outlet image

    Trail Blaze Poles

  • Great review, made for an interesting read thanks

    I have only really used poles for uphill, never even thought about running with them, I will have to give it a go. Does it really make that much of a difference ??

    Many thanks
  • also known as cheating sticks, banned from a number of events.
  • and if they were banned from a race I wouldn't ever use them..........but the lakeland allows them.........even some of the first to finish used themimage
  • Didn't realise they were banned at some events, I only ever used them for the ascent but when these new ones arrive I will try running with them as it looks like they make a huge difference.
  • I have only really used poles for uphill, never even thought about running with them, I will have to give it a go. Does it really make that much of a difference ??

    hhmm, well not to speed no, I find that they will cut down on wear and tear and therefore keep your legs feeling fresher, longer.  On flater, technical ground your joints. tendons, etc. have to work to keep you upright and moving forward, using poles reduces these stresses hence why I believe they will help on longer events.

    That said I would be hard pressed to think of a flatter event where I would consider poles, probably getting in to 100 mile plus region then I may be swayed.

    We have been slow in the UK to catch on but they are widely used elsewhere, looking forward to hearing how you get on.


  • Here's a good link for those interested in using cheating sticks!
  • Lol
    I sense some bad feelings towards the poles image
  • cheating sticks are just as much cheating as wearing shoes or taking energy gels etc.............its only cheating if the rules of the race state do not useimage
  • Actually Nosh, they are not the same, they distribute some of the work through the upper body, thus making it easier on the legs. An obvious advantage for longer ultras image
  • and wearing shoes doesn't provide some protection that makes it easier..........image

    and headtorches are an advantage .............

    and gps

    and running with a friend...........and compression socks

    and millions of things..............

    so I think it depends on the race organisers to decide..............some racers let non competitors run with you for so many miles............doesn't seem fair to me but its the organisers choice

  • *Jimmy* wrote (see)
    Lol I sense some bad feelings towards the poles image
    Hehe, no bad feeling, just a micky take mate but it is true they help and so if you are more concerned about your own personal ability then maybe they are not, along with support crews and pacers the thing to use image
  • Keen to join the "cheating" brigade (?!) after doing the "Mountain Man" in Switzerland a couple of weeks ago and with UTMB a big goal in the future I feel these aids are definitely worth while considering (as well as far more training in the mountains)!

    Since this post started any more advice on any poles out there?

  • In my limited experience they are great for maintaining form (upright posture) when climbing, and good for balance on technical decent, and take pressure of the quads and knees.

    But you work harder for using them and it's easy to red line while ascending, as the better form makes the ascent feel easier. More difficult to remember to fuel and drink with your hands full too..



  • At Lakeland 100, I was conscious that the people with poles were having a much easier time of it than I was.  This was especially true on the big descents, in the latter half of the race.  At the end of the day however, I am a creature of habit, and will probably stick with what I know. 

  • Thats the spirit Ben... say no to poles!

  • I love my "cheat sticks" for the really hilly races. I have a strong upper body so find them very helpful - on the Lakeland 100 I was very happy to have packed them! Great for powering up the hills, but also for coming down, especially on the wet slippery rock. Definitely saved my quads. I like the leki telescopic ones so can adjust length as and when (shorter on the up, longer on the down).  

  • AndrewSmith wrote (see)
    Here's a good link for those interested in using cheating sticks!

    Hahahaha! Fair cop Smithy...

  • I guess if an aid station is busy you can just spear a peice of malt loaf with one from distance and carry on?!

  • ... and good for tripping people up who try and over take me...

  • Surely that never happens whilst you are using your poles though?!image

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