review by Tony Lourens
I must be honest, I had never heard of the brand Mountain King before Morne at Adventure Inc handed me one of their trekking poles to put through its paces. I went home and Googled the name and discovered that poles are all they make. Yes! Pole specialists. Just poles and nothing else, which means they put all their brain power and efforts into creating the best mountain poles money can buy.
And their range is pretty impressive – several models of extremely light, compact, carbon fibre poles for runners and adventure racers, the same with their aluminium alloy poles for trekking, with multiple variations on hand grips, a range of hiking poles, and of course their expedition series. Practically a pole for any outdoor application you can think of.
The pole I was lucky enough to get was one from the Expedition series.
The Expedition EVA Speedlock, like all their poles, is a beautifully constructed product (this one in an aluminium alloy), anodised inside and out to provide excellent corrosion protection. The pole comes with two fully adjustable nylon and steel speedlocks, which allow you to vary the pole’s length from really short (for steep uphills), to a good long length that works well for downhill and stepping down awkward rock steps, etc. Even when fully extended, I found the pole to be really sturdy.
The handle system is also great (and unique) – they have a positive angle ergonomic padded EVA grip, with the standard (soft lined) adjustable wrist loop, but they have also extended the handle for a further 20 centimetres down the shaft, enabling a quick shift of grip, when you need to use the pole at different lengths over undulating ground, without having to make constant adjustments. I found this feature very handy!
All poles are fashioned with replaceable tungsten carbide wear tips and interchangeable snow and trekking baskets, that screw on and off for ease of use. Rubber ferrule paws are also available to fit over the tips, for protection and general hiking.
Trekking poles, for whatever discipline you are using them, are becoming more and more the norm with hikers, trekkers, runners and mountaineers. The advantages of using one (or two), particularly on steep descents are palpably obvious. Besides giving you greater stability and balance over uneven ground, trekking poles take a huge strain off your knees, ankles and hips on the downhill, which extends longevity in the old joints – something we all need, young, or not so young. They are also great as poles for a makeshift shelter or propping up a tarp, and for use as a splint or fashioning a stretcher in an emergency. When not in use, they fold up (light and compact) and slip into your rucksack with nary a tweak nor twist. The way I see it, it’s not if you should get one, but rather which pole suits your needs best, and as Mountain King have dedicated their research and development specifically to trekking poles for all uses and seasons, you would do yourself an injustice were you not to check out their range when next in the market for a trekking pole.
• Anodised aluminium alloy
• EVA grip
• Tungsten carbide wear tip
• Speedlock system
• Snow and trekking baskets
Length: 66–35 cm
Weight: 235 g
R1159 per pole
Available at: www.adventureinc.co.za