Selection and correct use of trekking poles for hiking

In recent years, the number of climbers and hikers using poles in the mountains has increased significantly. This is mainly due to the improvement in design and materials, making them a very lightweight and foldable utensil.

In the 70s, the brand Leki invented the first lightweight and foldable mountain stick, with the model Makalu their success was unstoppable. Years later, in 1978, Reinhold Messner used it on the first Everest ascent without artificial oxygen with great success.

Up until then they were limited to the world of skiing sports and then fully entered the world of mountaineering.

What size should I choose when buying new trekking poles?

As a reference, the rule of thumb is:
• Less than 155 cm in height: 100 cm in length of the sticks
• Between 155 cm and 172 cm: 110 cm
• Between 173 cm and 182 cm: 120 cm
• About 182 cm: 130 cm

The correct height for the use of the poles is determined when standing stationary, holding the poles perpendicular to the ground while keeping the elbow at an angle of 90 ° with the forearm parallel to the ground. It is ideal to shorten them by 5-10 cm on the ascent and to extend them by 5-10 cm on the descent.


The use of sticks distributes the load on the upper and lower body of the human body. Studies show that about 20% of leg effort is reduced, reducing fatigue and risk of injury. In addition, the joints are spared, especially the knees on the descent. Also one gains in security by the higher number of bases. However, using the sticks in continuously for support can lead to a loos of the sense of balance.


The differences between the different types of sticks are in folding, lightness, resilience, handle style, plate, loop, etc. If, as a climber, I could only pick one stick for general use, I would
recommend to use foldable aluminum or carbon sticks, as here the resilience prevails. The main advantage in addition to the weight is that this type of sticks can be folded much smaller than the telescopic poles and occupy only about 40 cm of space. A cork or foam grip to absorb sweat and a tungsten tip provide the necessary security and resistance at the point of contact.