I’ll be honest… When I first saw the Trail Blaze poles I thought I’d break them within a month. Perfect for ultralight backpacking and mountain running (which is what they are designed for) but not tough enough for everyday mountaineering and hill walking use.
After a year of regular use and abuse they are still going strong, they live under the seat in our camper and get used every time I go out, they are so compact and lightweight I never have any issues about packing them. They click together in seconds like a lightweight tent pole or avalanche probe, and I like the simple, practical design, the less faff the better in my opinion.
I’ve only had one near disaster when I first got my hands on a pair. I tripped over them running down Loughrigg at full speed and took a whipper… they were bent but I straightened them eventually. They still work fine even under load! The ultra lightweight Trail Blaze is clearly not designed for really heavy work, but they are the toughest compact poles I have ever used at this weight and constantly surprise me with what they can handle.
I’ve just returned from an amazing day on Grasmoor opposite Crummock Water; perfect weather, great views and a fun but challenging loop up Whiteless Pike, on to Grasmoor and descending Red Gill by one of the best scree runs in the Lakes. This is a tough test for poles and boots, but Mountain King have done well with the Trail Blaze pole and they came out battle scarred but unbeaten. Not only were they stiff enough to drive me along during the walk, they helped to keep me on my feet when descending at speed and supported me during the occasional wild lunge for balance – no mean feat!
Pete (Head to the Hills) 22June 09
TRAIL BLAZE specifications:
AVAILABLE LENGTHS: 110cm & 120cm.
WEIGHT: 110cm; 110g/pole. 120cm; 115g/pole
SECTIONS: 4 sections. 110cm pole packs to 33cm. 120cm pole packs to 37cm
MATERIAL: 7075 Aluminium
COLORS: Black, Magenta & Blue (pictured)
PLACE OF MANUFACTURE: Newcastle, England.