poles ??

bitoffluff

Posted: Tue, Aug 6, 2019, 20:34

How much % of the north part of the GR20 is rock and scrambling ? I find it difficult an dnot helpful to use poles on rocks and they get in the way of scrambling. If there is a lot I will not take my walking poles so will save weight and not carry them. Thanks



Argonaut

Posted: Tue, Aug 6, 2019, 23:05

I can't give a % figure, but there's quite a lot.

It's a personal choice but I would not have been able to manage the North section in such good form if I hadn't used poles.

I saw quite a few people who obviously hadn't thought about to use poles properly, struggling unnecessarily.

Being able to use your whole body to drive yourself uphill and to brake going downhill is a game changer.

I would suggest getting comfortable with them.The Carbide tip bites into rock nicely, even at acute angles. There's no valid reason to not use them, in my opinion.

If you pinch the shafts of the two poles with a thumb, you still have the rest of that hand to grip chains when climbing. On around 8 occasions, for a few seconds at a time, I put my poles aside so I could use both hands to properly grip chains or to grip a rock face. The rest of the time, I relied very heavily on my poles.

Just my 2c.

--

"Who possesses this landscape? –
The man who bought it or
I who am possessed by it?"
Norman McCaig



bitoffluff

Posted: Sat, Aug 10, 2019, 19:37

thanks Argonaut - as you say tricky call seeing it is a personal thing. I guess the downsides are - 1 the faff of either stashing them for scramble sections or using your pinch technique, 2 weight to carry when not in use, 3 I find they skitter off angled rocks. So for me only seem to help on either flat rocks, scree or turf so if anyone has a % guess that would be really useful.



SQFP

Posted: Sat, Aug 10, 2019, 20:22

Real scrambling (when you have to use your hands) is uncommon even in the northern part,probably less than 1% over the whole GR20.

Using poles is a matter of personal taste - they prove absolutely necessary to some people (those carrying a heavy load, or with aching joints, or in need of balance...) but a disturbance or even hindrance to some others.
Even on flat ground the path is predominantly rocky, narrow, or uneven: you'll have to pay constant attention to where you place your feet (...and your poles on top of that). I'd say 25% of the GR is of the "very easy" kind, with a flat or well-defined or sandy path, like this: https://imgur.com/a/YO5jtRH

--

Geologist in Corsica



Argonaut

Posted: Sun, Aug 11, 2019, 21:02

You're welcome :)

A useful exercise can be to don your pack and walking gear, then stand on scales with your poles on the ground and pull down with your lats as if you are about to drive off the poles (but without moving your feet) and note how much lighter you appear at that moment. If it's a significant difference, your knees, hips and lower back may benefit over long distances. If not, then ... meh :) That may help you to make a decision?

Have a great GR!

--

"Who possesses this landscape? –
The man who bought it or
I who am possessed by it?"
Norman McCaig