I've used aluminum poles for over 15 years never broke one...fractured the BD carbon fiber pole in 18 months.
FWIW, below is the reply from BD on the BD Alpine Carbon Fiber Cork Trekking Pole fracture, image shown on the following thread:
Thank you for your patience.
It is difficult to tell exactly what caused the failure but the pictures are consistent with a common mode of failure for carbon trekking poles that have been scored from rock damage and then loaded in a 3 point bend scenario near the point of damage. The lower pole sections are constructed with unidirectional wraps of carbon fiber, laid up in varying directions with a small glass fiber content added for reinforcement. It is the nature of carbon fiber to fail similar to the circumstances in this case where there has been some form of previous damage. Another point to note, if the trekking pole baskets were removed (due to the wear on the threads), allowing additional damage to the lower section from scree, and for the lower shaft to be broken from leverage. The purpose of the trekking baskets is to minimize penetration of the lower section into scree, softer ground, or manmade obstacles like foot bridges.
In reference to the “brooming” effect, fiberglass is a different material and exhibits a different set of failure modes relative to carbon fiber. Brooming is also a result from a linear fiber orientation, and our poles are built with many layers of opposing fiber orientations to gain stiffness and strength.
We do not believe that this could be stress corrosion cracking for the following reasons:
· Carbon is very corrosion resistant and should not be subjected to a severely corrosive environment in this application. What would be driving corrosion related cracking if the poles were cared for properly?
· Typically, to drive stress corrosion cracking, the part must be CONTINOUSLY subjected to high tensile stress (This is why this is seen in press-fit parts, riveted parts, pressure vessels, retaining rings)
The nature of this failure is more likely related to the fiber orientation in the layup and damage (nicks, scratches, etc) that are on the surface. There are many circumferential wraps of carbon in these poles, and it likely broke along the boundary of one of these wraps at some point of weakness cause by a scratch or ding in the surface. This failure mode is very typical of a pole that had a deep scratch (like that from a ski edge, or rock) which may have weakened it in a specific spot.
It’s important to note that we don’t put the level of engineering into trekking poles that you may be thinking. We look to hit targets for strength, stiffness, and durability while hitting cost targets and aligning the product life expectations to constraints of the given materials. Performance with regard to these targets is evaluated through a lot of lab and field testing, and iterating on the layup, wall thickness, and fiber orientations to optimize these constraints. These poles (with millions sold and very low rates of return) show that we have done ok by evaluating these using these empirical (not overly theoretical). The lower shaft section is replaceable inexpensively, so we can accommodate the occasional failure in the very damage prone area of the lower shaft that is subject to damage. These are available directly from us on our website here or by phone at (801) 278-5533."
BTW, BD was reasonable on an adjustment......and I'm still using BD CF poles, just a little bit smarter on their weaknesses.