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My hiking poles have started making an odd, springy noise with every step. The noise sounds like the poles themselves are vibrating each time I plant them into the ground, and it starts about an mile or two into a hike. The poles work well, but this noise is slightly alarming. Is something in the poles about to give?

Information that may help:

I'm using a pair of Black Diamond trail ergo cork poles. They're aluminum, the locking mechanism is the latch/pressure type, and they don't have shock absorbers. I usually extend them to about 115cm. My usual hiking stride is a short nordic walk, to give me speed while supporting my knees a little.

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    Do the poles flex in length at all? Those BD poles shouldn't be moving based on their design. Or is it just the vibration of the poles hitting the ground? Aluminum poles won't suddenly splinter, that's not how the material fails, so I wouldn't be too alarmed. Might be you just hit your rhythm 1-2 miles in to the hike. – Brian Eagen Oct 26 '14 at 23:30
  • They do flex a little bit, what I assume is a normal amount. I had a pair of (I think) CF poles before this, and they never made a noise like this. Is this normal with Aluminum poles? I only started hearing this noise last year. – neilfein Oct 27 '14 at 1:47
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Based on where the pole is striking the ground, the surface hardness, and the extension of the poles you can get some vibrations and noise (I do). My guess is since the poles aren't extended all the way the shaft surfaces (where the extra length is hiding inside the pole) are colliding and causing that noise. You might be able to add a small o-ring to the level locks to help dampen the movement. Or try extending the poles all the way to see if it still happens.

As far as safety goes I wouldn't be concerned. The material won't suddenly have a catastrophic failure and the vibration noise (either from the locks or shafts colliding) isn't unusual. That being said, if you don't like hiking to the sound of your poles vibrating it might be worth replacing the poles.

If you regularly use a 115 cm pole then just purchase a single length pole which would be lighter, cheaper, and eliminate the noise. You just won't have the adjustability. Or maybe going back to a carbon fiber pole would be better.


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