Originally Posted by rocdoc
Any thoughts on the automatic release Leki poles? I splurged on a pair after a bad wrist sprain, but of course since then I haven't had a bad fall to test them... They seem pretty tight in there and I can't get them to release by just yanking at them. Are you supposed to set the release tension on those things?
I use Leki triggers, and can confirm from personal experience that they will release if yanked hard enough. There are actually a number of points in the process where the trigger system will protect your shoulder from dislocation. The first is the strap releasing from the pole. It does take a real hard yank, and you're going to feel it, but it will generally release before you hurt yourself. However, that's if it's at the right angle.
Failing that, the fastener that secures the trigger strap to the wrist strap at the top of your wrist will release or break. If it breaks it sucks, but its cheaper to replace a trigger strap than to get shoulder surgery. I've had to replace one trigger strap so far in the 6 years I've been using these poles.
The other thing that can and will occur is that the strap will yank your glove off. I don't fasten the velcro super tight, I put the strap on my glove and secure it so I can take my glove on and off without adjusting the velcro. Since the strap is secured to your glove instead of actually on your wrist, it'll pull your glove off. This happened to me just yesterday. I had to have one of my students grab my pole, and then found my glove about 70 feet below me, at the bottom of a narrow chute. Had to sideslip the chute to get it, and there was snow all in the glove... but again, no shoulder surgery.
The tendency to snag a pole is exacerbated for me because I have the big snowflake powder baskets on my poles. Great for keeping me from stabbing through soft snow to the grip, but it does get caught a lot easier than the little yellow baskets the poles come with.
I agree with crank about pole strap use. Without the triggers, I won't put pole straps on when I'm in the trees. I'd rather lose a pole than an arm.