After securing a place on the UTMB in 2016 (race report here) I started thinking about kit for the event.
One of the things that came up was to use poles or not to use poles. It’s never something I’ve considered using in the UK but talk to anyone who has done the UTMB and there’s not many who won’t recommend a good pair of ‘cheat sticks’
One name that came up in conversations more than any other was the Black Diamond Distance Carbon Z Pole
So I bit the bullet and bought a pair. They come in 4 sizes but I settled on the 120cm versions which are the perfect length for my height of 5ft 10in allowing me to have a 90degree bend in my arms when holding them on the ground.
Using the Distance Carbon Z Pole
I headed up to Scotland to test them out on one of my training runs over the Lawers Range. 31 miles and 14,000ft of elevation would be more than enough to know if I would be taking them to Chamonix with me.
Lightweight, strong and fold away for easy storage. Beautifully made but pricey. Highly recommended for events such as UTMB. I’ve seen a few other reviews questioning the strength of the carbon version but after catching them in holes during the night on the UTMB and swinging all my bodyweight onto them they are still in one piece. Personally I think they are plenty strong and durable enough to withstand some serious abuse.
- Lightweight, EVA foam grip with breathable, moisture-wicking grip
- Non-slip EVA foam mini-grip extension
- Three-section foldable shaft with speed-cone deployment and FlickLock® adjustability
- 100% carbon fiber construction
- Interchangeable, non-scarring rubber Tech Tips and carbide Tech Tips
- Stopper basket with shaft catcher to secure folded sections
- Z-Pole Rapid Deployment System
Weight Per Pair :
- [100 cm] 280 g (9 oz)
- [110 cm] 285 g (9 oz)
- [120 cm] 290 g (10 oz)
- [130 cm] 295 g (10 oz)
Usable Length :
- [100 cm] 100 cm (39 in)
- [110 cm] 110 cm (43 in)
- [120 cm] 120 cm (47 in)
- [130 cm] 130 cm (51 in)
Collapsed Length :
- [100 cm] 33 cm (13 in)
- [110 cm] 37 cm (14 in)
- [120 cm] 40 cm (16 in)
- [130 cm] 43 cm (17 in)
Black Diamond Z-Pole Rapid Deployment System
Watch Tor Brown, Black Diamond’s Mountain Category Director explain the Z-Pole system in detail