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I have some walking poles that have not been used for some time. They have become stuck.

How do I unlock the sticks which have not been used in a while?

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This actually happened to me the other day!

It's likely (if they've not been used for some time) that they've corroded slightly and this has produced a seal between the moving parts.

I'd probably try the below in this order:

  1. Spray it with Wd40 or GT85 or someother spray oil leave it to penetrate; try and move them
  2. Get some latex (grippy) glove and try and move them
  3. Wrap the poles in gaffer tape (to protect them), get some mole grips, grip the gaffer tapped area try and move them

If they still won't move then try a couple of times if they are still not moving then try heating and/or cooling the stick to break the bond.

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    "tramping sticks", "mole grips", I'm learning new words on this site everyday. – ShemSeger Feb 25 '15 at 4:26
  • I wasnt sure about "gaffer tape" either @shem – user2766 Feb 25 '15 at 7:08
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    Gaffer tape is similar to duct tape, but considerably more expensive. If you peel the tape off properly and don't leave it on long it will come off clean, it doesn't make the sticky mess duct tape does. It's commonly used by photographers to attach things to the scene, although I have used it for things like making a hinge to accurately align a screen protector. – Loren Pechtel Dec 4 '18 at 2:13
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  1. Anchor

    Place upper section of pole in a vice. Wrapping the pole in a rag or soft cloth will help prevent damage to the pole. Tighten enough to prevent slippage, but not too tight as to crush the pole.

  2. Unfasten and Twist

    If the poles are of the latching variety, make sure latches are disengaged, then pull and twist lower section of poles to loosen.

    If the poles have a twist-lock mechanism, you will need to twist the lower section in a counter-clockwise direction only. Twisting in a clockwise direction will only tighten the pole more.

    NOTE: Gloves with rubber palms may help you maintain a firm hold on the pole.

  3. Pull Apart and Clean

    With the vice you should be able to loosen the pole enough to remove it. Before putting it back in, it is a good idea to clean it well to prevent oxidation or debris from jamming the pole again. You might try some oil like WD-40 to lubricate the pole, but be aware that this can prevent it from latching properly, especially with twist-lock poles which need to hold firmly to the interior walls of the tubing and rely on friction to stay in place.

Future Prevention

Trekking poles often get stuck for a variety of reasons, especially when left for long periods of time. Before storing them it is a good idea to disassemble or fully extend the poles. Moisture trapped in the collapsed poles can cause the aluminum to oxidize and prevent them from extending them again.

Good luck!

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    One technique I've found with less risk of damage than a vice is to wrap a leather belt around the pole to hold it. This acts in the same way as the specialist tool sometimes used by plumbers to rotate pipes, or the similar device to help arthritic people get lids on or off jars. – Toby Speight Mar 10 '17 at 10:14
  • I just had the exact same experience. Tried EVERYTHING. And then hubby twisted the bottom part (foot). Had no idea my poles had that. – tjitske Jun 7 '17 at 1:52
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A simple solution is to hold the trekking vertically and repeatedly knock the pole with a piece of wood or rubber holder of a screwdriver. Knock the entire pole from up to down. Make sure the tip is pointing downward so when you knock the pole and if there is any movement on the inner pole..you will notice the inner pole start to move a bit and come loose. When you see the inner pole is moving down a bit then you can pull it out by hand. Never use any oil or wd40 or use any heat treatment. Just simple repeated knocking on the pole to loosen the oxidation will do. I solved my stucked BD trail poles with this method.

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I got a pair from the local thrift shop and they were set at five feet. I tried everything without success until finally read somewhere to use rubber gloves. I got a pair of my wife's gloves she uses for dishwashing and with just a little effort they came right apart.

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    While I appreciate the anecdote, I don't think this really adds anything to the existing answers. If you could expand your answer some to include new information that would be better. – Erik Mar 7 '17 at 1:05
  • The dish washing rubber gloves worked like magic for my pole! – Grace Leung Jun 26 '17 at 22:24

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