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Reviews > Trekking Poles > Poles > Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork Poles > Test Report by Kurt Papke
Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork
|Height:||6' 4" (193 cm)|
|Weight:||225 lbs (102 kg)|
|Email address:||kwpapke at gmail dot com|
|City, State, Country:||Tucson, Arizona USA|
The Black Diamond Alpine Carbon Cork are lightweight telescoping
trekking poles with a cork handle for comfort. Length is
adjusted without tools using the "Flicklock" mechanism, a
cam-driven tightening lock. They are designed for four
season use, with the provided snow baskets.
Note that I have previously tested a different model of Black
Diamond poles. See the BackpackGearTest.org website for my
review of the Black Diamond Trail Shock poles.
||Alpine Carbon Cork
|Year of manufacture:||2016
|Country of origin:
||Only one color is available, black and white
||Listed: 1 lb, 1 oz
Measured: 16.4 oz (466 g)
||25 in (63 cm)
Usable: 25-51 in (63-130 cm)
||One year from
purchase date and only to the original retail buyer that the
product is free from defects in material and workmanship.
||Shafts: 100% carbon
Grip extension: EVA foam
|June 26 - July 1, 2016
||Yosemite National Park in California
Meadows to Cloud's Rest
|August 6-12, 2016||High Uintas mountains in northern Utah||Highline
rain, snow, sleet and hail in the afternoons
|August 13-20, 2016||Snowmass Wilderness in the Colorado Rockies near Aspen||Four Pass Loop
Some sun in the mornings, otherwise cloudy and wet
|August 29-30, 2016
||Goat Rocks Wilderness in Washington State
||Goat Rocks Loop
Mix of sun and clouds
This was a 6-day, 5-night backpack trip done in
conjunction with the Tucson backpacking Meetup group. I used
the poles for 100% of the hiking miles. They even carried me
up Cloud's Rest as shown in the photo at left, with Half Dome in
the background to the right.
The poles took a lot of abuse this week: hiking over granite
surfaces, through streams, and getting bashed on trail
rocks. They worked reliably, comfortably, and with no
I did have to tighten the set screws on the FlickLocks
twice. I was seeing a bit of slippage from time-to-time, so
I incrementally tightened them down until they refused to
budge. This is an inherent downside of the FlickLock
mechanism: it takes a few tweaks to get the tension in the set
screws dialed in where they are still easy to use, yet do not
slip. I suspect that they will need no further adjustment
from here on out though.
I was really pleased with the lightness of the poles. They
are *so* much lighter than my aluminum poles. The cork is
also very comfortable on my hands for all-day use - my palms did
not feel sweaty against the surface.
I did adjust the length of the poles a few times when we were
doing some extended climbing/descents. I am a big fan of
adjustable poles, as I like to lengthen them substantially on
This was an exploratory trip to a new area for me, so I was not
aggressive with the mileage. Also, this was a high-altitude
Alpine hike with a high pass I had to cross twice, so I huffed and
puffed a lot. I really appreciated the light weight of the
poles when doing the climbs, and they saved my knees on the
descents. The trails were very rocky in places, but the pole
tips dug in nicely and I had no traction issues. I did not
need to adjust the FlickLock set screw during this week-long trip;
I think I now have the tension spot-on. In the following photo the
poles are leaning up against a monster cairn - these are to be
found along the higher altitudes of the trail, most likely to be
visible in the snow:
After a one-day break from the Highline
trail, I headed up into the Rockies for a week-long trip around
the Maroon Bells. Altitude was about the same as the
The poles are shown along the trail at left, propped up against a
trail sign. As can be seen, this is rugged terrain.
The trails became very steep right near the summit of the
passes, and I really appreciated the toughness of these poles to
power me up the final stretch. I also had to rely on them to
support much of my weight as I began my descent on the far side,
picking my way down the slopes.
Overall, the poles performed flawlessly on this trip. Once
again I did not have to adjust the FlickLock set screw.
This was a one-night jaunt located several hours drive from my
daughter's home in Portland, Oregon. I've been wanting to
visit this for a while, and had my Jeep on this trip so got the
chance to make the excursion.
The trail was fairly foot-friendly, so I didn't utilize the poles
as extensively on this trip as on some of the prior outings.
During this test period I hiked over three weeks with the poles,
so I feel like I've given them a pretty good workout. My
main concern that I had upfront about the durability so far has
been unfounded - the poles are holding up perfectly.
|August 29-30, 2016
||Goat Rocks Wilderness, Washington State
||Goat Rocks Loop
|October 4-6, 2016
||Aravaipa Canyon Wilderness||Aravaipa Canyon
Thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Black Diamond for the
opportunity to contribute to this test.