One of my partner's Fairydown, carbon fibre, poles also broke when levered against a sharp rock. My own 20+ year old, aluminium, ones have never broken even when really strained at times. I've been amazed at what they have been able to withstand. Bought them from Kathmandu back in the day when it was a real tramping shop - French made I think.
In my experience, Leki poles are the best. I tried some cheaper ones and they lasted two trips before the tips split. I have had my original Leki ones for over 10 years, just replaced them with a newer variant.
If you can afford it, the antishock system is good, saves you getting tendonitis in the elbows from the impact of the pole.
I've been a one pole fan for years but tonight bought two new ones tonight from rebel sport.my single old faithful had to go.
North ridge ,cheap at $40each.I'm doing Travers / Sabine in 2 weeks so that'll tell me if I've made a mistake or not.
Cupola track will be a good test.
Good previous comments pointing out tricks and tips with the poles. On our last trip we were going along the track with snow weighing down branches over the track. I found the basket on the pole great for quickly and efficiently scraping off the frozen snow on the branches. Having neglected to take my overmitts, it would have been miserable without the poles to lighten the boughs and make them spring up out of the way.
I've also used deepriver's trick of planting the pole for a good foot placement to avoid slipping in all sorts of terrain. It brings reassurance. I just use one walking stick. I guess it's what you're used to. I progressed to using a walking stick from carrying my ice axe on a 54 day trip, rather than toting it on the back of my pack where it would catch on vegetation.
I've noticed that using 2 poles can slow some individuals down as they have a feeble grip by not allowing their poles to dangle from their wrist when climbing steeply through scrub. The poles are too long to be able to dangle freely on the steep terrain. Of course they can shorten their poles but these individuals don't opt to do that. They both hold the poles in their hands and grab the scrub ineffectively with the long poles dangling. Awkward.
I have my walking stick very long for the descents and that saves my knees as it keeps my torso upright by stopping me for flexing forward at the hip. If I flex forward like this, it places a strain on my quads where they insert into my knees. So I'm a lot happier on the descents these days. When leaping across stuff such as streams or bogs, you can use the pole as a pole vault and make a much longer jump.
Been known to wave the stick at scary challenging cattle too. And wave it over my head at stroppy falcons. They get the message not to come too close to my head.
In May 2011 I attempted an unofficial record on the Bibbulmun Track in Western Australia, a 1000km hiking track running from Perth to Albany.
I trained 6 months solid for it, only working 3 or 4 days a week. I ran a half marathon 6 days a week, combined with gym work and cycling to prepare. I was FIT!
Day 1 arrives. I'm powering through. The plan was to trail-run the track in 10-12 days (the record at the time was 16 and change).
Then the unthinkable happens. I twist my knee. FIRST. DAY!
I pushed on until Dwellingup, managing 210km in 3 days. But I called it quits. My knee was like a balloon.
Afterwards, I was talking with a woman who was a very experienced ultra-runner, who incidentally went on to successfully break the Bibbulmun Track record.
She told me I should have used poles.
Until then, I'd never used them. Saw them as a total gimmick. But this is a woman I respected very much, and so I did some research, and bought a pair of ultra-distance Black Diamond Z poles.
And have never looked back! Those poles went right through SE Asia, Australia and every tramp I'd done in NZ right up until October last year when I snapped one in deep snow just below the Harris Saddle on the Routeburn.
I now own my second pair of poles. Black Diamond Alpine Z Poles.
Heavier than my beloved UD ones, but sturdier, and with removable snow baskets.
When tramping, my poles are an extension of me. They are invaluable!