These are a beefed-up version of the Ultra Distance trekking poles and, in a sense, answer my query about using the lightweight poles in winter. These poles bring Z-Pole technology into the heavier use mountaineering and snowshoeing world, so what do they offer the hillwalker and backpacker?
The Ultra Mountain FL’s provide a good balance between acceptable weight (600g) and a stronger, more robust construction, and offer a genuine four-season performance. Like the Ultra Distance (see overleaf), these poles use the Z-Pole technology but combine it with 20cm of adjustability. On top of that, the Ultra Mountains come in three different sizes so you can get the exact pole size for your requirements. Once you’ve selected your basic size of pole simply free the sections, push the inner top section down until the sprung button clicks, then adjust the height using the Flicklock and you have a strong and robust walking, trekking or skiing pole.
These poles are made from aluminium, so will tend to be a bit longer lasting than carbon fibre, and have an EVA foam handle that extends down the neck of the pole grip. Wrist straps are easily adjustable and I’m delighted to see that Black Diamond actually designs a left and right hand strap. This stops the straps crossing over and creating rub points between the thumb and forefinger.
The Ultra Mountain FL comes supplied with two pairs of season-specific baskets, making it an excellent pole for all season use. I liked these poles very much but I do wonder how retailers will take to the idea of having to stock different lengths? Only time will tell. These are also very expensive at £120 per pair. Ouch…
First published: Sept 2013