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The sadness of a a broken LT4
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Steve Cain
(hoosierdaddy) - F

Locale: Western Washington
Re: The sadness of a broken LT4 on 04/18/2010 21:34:43 MDT Print View

Last year while on the PCT, I tripped falling onto some large rocks, snapping one of my LT-4's in about the same spot that you did.

I contacted Grant at GG, wanting to purchase a replacement, telling it that it was entirely my fault that it broke. He said the first one is one him!!! Got a replacement in less than a week!

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: LT4 Expander Location w/ Break? on 04/18/2010 21:36:59 MDT Print View

Just curious -

Where is the locking expander relative to these breaks?

Edited by greg23 on 04/18/2010 21:38:11 MDT.

Bob Bankhead
(wandering_bob) - MLife

Locale: Oregon, USA
The sadness of a a broken LT4 on 04/18/2010 21:41:12 MDT Print View

I had the same experience last summer on the JMT that Steve mentioned - careless placement on my part levered the lower section of one of my LT4 over a rock. CRACK! The same stunt with my Lekis would have folded the lower secrtion like a piece of cardboard.

Glen replaced the broken section for free. As he said "the first one's on me; the rest you pay for.".

Send them back to GG, and remember the lesson learned.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
LT4 on 04/18/2010 22:02:07 MDT Print View

Ben - 210d Dyneema Grid is stronger than regular 210d nylon so poor comparison.

The fact is, some of use do more than UL overnighters and most of my trips have me 150 miles in the bush - I can't afford a break. A bend I can deal with by bending back. Maybe not straight but usable.

Also, some of us are heavier than 160lbs - we need the strength.

Regardless, It the wrong material used in the wrong application in my opinion.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: LT4 on 04/18/2010 22:59:11 MDT Print View

Right, I forget, we're talking about BC hiking. Sorry, Kutenay. :)

Kidding aside, these poles have their place, but they aren't for everyone or every occasion.

Edited by ben2world on 04/18/2010 23:56:50 MDT.

Pieter Kaufman
(Pieter) - F
breakage on 04/18/2010 23:51:39 MDT Print View

So I guess this rules out CF poles for use in winter mountains on slopes where you might need to use your pole to self arrest or for control during glissades.

The only conditions I use poles in are in snow, on slopes, and I only use one at that. I was about a breath away from ordering the LT4s, but breakage hadn't occurred to me until another recent thread hinted at that being a consideration with light weight CF poles. This confirms it I guess, which is too bad, as I was starting to get attached to the idea of using an LT4.

Jason Elsworth
(jephoto) - M

Locale: New Zealand
Aluminium pole failure on 04/19/2010 00:39:15 MDT Print View

A hiking companion took a tumble with his aluminium pole and it snapped in two - much to my suprise.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: The sadness of a a broken LT4 on 04/19/2010 00:53:54 MDT Print View

Looking at the cross section of the broken pole, I think they are just a bit too light for purpose. The golf club shafts I picked up for £4 each weigh about 3oz each, and being very tall, I need about 4.5oz per side. Very strong though, which they need to be when using 3 of the four sections as a pole for the Hex3.

I think the smooth gel coat on CF golf shafts assists in load distribution under stress.

Edited by tallbloke on 04/19/2010 01:45:47 MDT.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: Re: The sadness of a a broken LT4 on 04/19/2010 06:46:57 MDT Print View

Where is the locking expander relative to these breaks?

I just checked on mine, and by setting the good pole at about where I think I had it set Saturday, it looks as if the top of the locking mechanism was ~5"-6" below the break.

I saw many snapped carbon poles on the AT last year.

This is why, as I hiked on and ruminated over the break, I wondered about the suitability of UL CF hiking poles on trails as rocky and tree-rooted as I'm discovering East coast trails are vs where I've hiked in the past; Sierra Nevada, Grand Canyon and Pacific Northwest. Of course, if I'd read the manual(which hadn't occurred to me beforehand; I mean, they're trekking poles) I would've read:

We feel they are an appropriate balance between
weight and strength for people who are extremely committed to having the lightest weight
equipment. With that commitment comes the responsibility to potentially replace the poles more
often than heavier poles. Testing has confirmed that the poles, like any, are prone to breakage if
the tip gets lodged between rocks and you lever them forward. For this reason, we recommend
keeping the trekking baskets installed at all times, just to help prevent the tip from getting in tight
spots where breakage is likely.

My trekking basket were not in use when I broke the pole. Perhaps had I used them, the pole tip wouldn't have been stuck and I would've been able to drop the pole as I was able to with the right hand one.

When I took the poles out of the tube the first time and hefted them, my first thought was, "Wow, these are light" and my 2nd was "Man, I'm gonna have to be careful with these." As much as I'd like to believe GG and Tigoat have invented a magical process by which they can make CF poles that weigh half as much as my Black Diamond CF poles yet remain as strong, I know that's not possible. (Noting, again that this particular fall would've broken those poles and bent an aluminum pole likely beyond bend backable-ness)

I managed to complete my hike with the remaining pole with no problem, and I did lever it between rocks and roots a couple times(those baskets are on the poles and staying there for good from now on).

It's a lesson to practice more mindful hiking. My mind was wandering, I was walking without thought; if I'd stopped for a second, I'd have seen there was a route 5 feet to the right that was less steep and used that. Or I might've considered how slick they slope might be, and that there could be a slimy rock hidden under the leaf litter where I'd loose my footing.

I wasn't in the moment, focused on what I was doing; I was thinking about making miles, how far I could get and how fast.

Later in the hike, I was walking along, thinking about my lost pole and not where I was putting my feet; I managed to put my foot in a rock trap and as I stepped forward I levered my right leg again another rock. I was going slow, so I stopped with nothing more than an "ouch" but I had a brief flash of a snapped fibula, alone, out in the backcountry, late in the day, when the weather was likely going from bad to worse, keeping any other hikers that might find me at home. That would've been a lot worse situation than a broken LT4, and just as preventable by just being mindful of what I'm doing when I'm doing it rather than having my mind elsewhere.

Lesson learned.

Eric Beaudry
(itbvolks) - F
LT3's. on 04/19/2010 07:36:26 MDT Print View

E-mail or call Grant. He'll take care of you.

I'll back what Doug has said, I've had my LT3's for about a year now and I'm a pretty big guy @ 6'3" and about ~220 without pack. I feel these are a nice balance of weight/strength for their giving target audience.

So far, mine have taken some pretty serious pole stabs when one slips or during heavy decending. Overall I'm super happy with how they have performed. That being said, you need to understand the limitations. It's really light, large dia carbon (subsequently very thin walled). Big torque or side loads will put a lot of pressure on them and the potential for failure is there.

It's mandatory your careful while handling these on the trail (placement, etc) but I've found the extremely light weight worth price of carrying them.

Thomas Burns
(nerdboy52) - MLife

Locale: "Alas, poor Yogi.I knew him well."
LT4s vs. LT3s on 04/19/2010 07:58:28 MDT Print View

The LT3's are a bit more heavy duty and will take a bit more trail abuse. One of my LT4's broke right at the line where the bottom section fits into the top.

However, if you use a variety of shelters that require difference trekking-pole lengths, the LT4's can't be beat. At 3.3 oz, they may be an oz heavier than the 3's, but they still feel weightless in the hands, even without the straps.

Both types require extra care because of their low weight and relatively thin wall thickness. I'm constantly thinking about that gap between the rocks or that oddly slanted surface ahead of me. Such is the price we pay for the UL experience.


Edited by nerdboy52 on 04/19/2010 08:01:33 MDT.

JJ Mathes
(JMathes) - F

Locale: Southeast US
LT4's on 04/19/2010 08:56:17 MDT Print View

Peter - "That's why I use Leki's that are made of aluminum/Ti that don't snap like a twig. "

Don't bet on this, one of mine did, yes it was replaced at no charge, but my point is even Leki's will break.

Douglas- "...Of course, I grip them rather loosely unless pushing uphill, so if they get stuck between rocks and such I let go long before they break. A learned habit, I guess. If mine break, I'll buy another pair in a heartbeat."

I started using the LT4's last fall, I too use a light grip and release when stuck between rocks, and I would replace them w/o question with another pair.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
LT4 on 04/19/2010 09:14:29 MDT Print View

"Don't bet on this, one of mine did, yes it was replaced at no charge, but my point is even Leki's will break."

Yes - but not nearly as easily.

This is why Carbon tent poles tend to break with any logitudinal stress - vertical is good but any twisting or degree from vertical isn't. The only tent poles that I have seen that avoid this issue because of their combined straight edges that (I don't believe) have carbon fibre at any joints are the poles developed by Roger Caffin.

The responses from LT4 users are expected - you paid for the poles so you need to support their 'strength.' But realistically speaking, they aren't nearly as strong as aluminum poles in a trekking pole application. Light yes, strong no.

Same reason you never see carbon fibre stays in a pack if needing to pack a reasonably heavy load.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: LT4 on 04/19/2010 09:32:19 MDT Print View

"The responses from LT4 users are expected - you paid for the poles so you need to support their 'strength.' But realistically speaking, they aren't nearly as strong as aluminum poles in a trekking pole application. Light yes, strong no."

Can't speak for others, but I never said the poles were nearly as strong as aluminum poles. I said they were, as of now, strong enough for me. They've worked well and I've had no issues.

And, really, your statement could just as easily be turned around: the responses from aluminum/ti pole users are expected - you paid for heavier poles so you need to support the 'need' for increased strength.

Of course, I don't agree with either statement. I don't need to support anything. I'm just relaying my experiences so far -- quite valid experiences, just as the experiences of those breaking their CF poles are quite valid experiences. As I've said many times, doesn't make either of us right, just different, with different needs/desires. One of those needs, however, is not a need to justify my purchase.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: The sadness of a a broken LT4 on 04/19/2010 11:54:57 MDT Print View

The real potential cost here isn't the cost of replacing the broken pole but the (not only financial) cost of some busted ribs and a lost vacation.

To avoid that, I'm willing to over engineer the walking poles by a couple of ounces and also get the extra benefit of some tent poles which ain't gonna bust in a high wind.

It's a symbiotic relationship between manufacturer and user; we want the lightest possible gear, they want to meet our expectations but avoid warranty cost. The right trade-off becomes evident through shared experience.

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Gossamer Gear comes through again on 04/19/2010 12:22:24 MDT Print View

I heard back from Grant about noon his time today, (first business day after emailing him)and I got the same response Steve did above: "First one's on me."

So for the price of shipping, I'm getting my pole made new again.

And for my trouble, I now have a 19.5", .63oz Limited Edition Gossamer Gear pole extender for use with my Duomid.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
LT4 on 04/19/2010 12:42:52 MDT Print View

Is the second one on him as well? LOL

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
CF poles and strength in fabrication on 04/19/2010 18:52:11 MDT Print View

There IS a way to strengthen CF poles and SWIX has found the way to do this in their XC racing poles of CF.

SWIX's answer is called "Spider Weave". It's a helical WEAVE of the CF fibers around the mandril instead of a mere horizontal wrap, as seen on most CF trekking poles. This diagonal weaving costs more due to the machinery needed for overlapping weaves of the PRE-impregnated CF fiber.

Then, to protect the bottom 1/4 of the pole from skis (yours and competitors') Swix does a spiral wrap of fiberglass strands, which withstands abrasion and lateral blows better than CF.

Make trekking poles like this and then you'd see much better durability - but I'll still take aluminum. :)

I will say that the poster who wrote of glueing a tight fitting wooden dowel is the strongest repair possible. Be sure to epoxy the external CF fibers down at the joint of the repair. Also CF pole users may want to protect the bottom 1 ft.of their poles with a vertical strip of heavy duty clear packaging tape, overlapped on the front side. This is easily replacable after a season of use.

Edited by Danepacker on 04/19/2010 18:58:17 MDT.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
but I'll still take aluminum. on 04/19/2010 18:58:49 MDT Print View

Yes, I break poles like nobody, I've broken TiGoats and cheap aluminum poles. I abuse them, I put all my weight on them as I am a gimp and wear my arms out backpacking.

Most people don't put so much weight on their poles so the lighter the better.
Me, I go for the heaviest poles I can find, but I suffer from bad legs, so my poles take the brunt.

But I can backpack. If it wasn't for poles, I don't know what I would do :-(

/A .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: CF poles and strength in fabrication on 04/20/2010 00:08:51 MDT Print View

TiGoat AGP's have guaranteed upper shafts now, as of this year. They appear to be "woven" vertically and horizontally.