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Black Diamond hiking poles problems

2020 Camino Guides

AJGuillaume

Pélerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
We were in Ribadesella, and wanted to see the cave. They had lockers large enough to put a backpack, but we needed to fold our Black Diamond hiking poles to put them in the lockers.
That's when I found out about problems with the poles.
I could fold my wife's poles, but the joints didn't look healthy at all.
I could fold one of mine, but with difficulty as the lower join wouldn't release, and in a similar, once I managed, the joints don't look good.
I couldn't fold my second pole at all: I can click on the release button, but I can't push that into the top part of the shaft.
I remembered that @peregrina2000 and @Kanga had problems, and looked up the post. @t2andreo has been very helpful with his comments, but applying some of the advice hasn't helped.
Obviously, we are going to have a problem when getting the poles on a plane to come back home.
We have walked over 1760km since 9 June with these poles, so we have the following questions:
1) if we write to Black Diamond, are they likely to do anything while we are still walking? We still have 25 days before we get to SdC.
2) we would be expecting more 'mileage' out of these poles. Is that correct? We bought them in Finland while visiting our son there, and from memory, we paid about €100 per pair, and we don't think it's trivial to just throw them away.
3) is there anywhere on the Camino del Norte, or even in SdC, where we could get these poles fixed?

Thank you!
 

Attachments

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
1) if we write to Black Diamond, are they likely to do anything while we are still walking?
Not likely.

2) we would be expecting more 'mileage' out of these poles. Is that correct?
You are correct in having legitimate expectations of a longer useful life. (My Pacer Poles have 10 years on them.)

Looking at your photos (speaking as a mechanical engineer), I'm wondering if most of what you are seeing is a combination of carbon dust and trail debris. This could interfere with the mechanism's operation, and be responsible for the difficulties you are experiencing. I prescribe the following self-help routine:
1. Visit your local store for some ear swabs and isopropyl alcohol
2. Disassemble the joints as best you are able
3. Moisten the swab tip with alcohol and commence scrubbing. Remove gunk from all the cracks and crevices at each joint.
4. Admire your shiny handiwork!
5. Reassemble and test the joint mechanisms

Good luck!
 
D

Deleted member 39850

Guest
I have similar Black Diamond poles. In addition to the cleaning steps recommended by @Kitsambler I suggest a little silicone lubricant at each joint. I've not had any trouble with my FZ poles over about 3000km, but the poles I had on my first Camino seized from dirt that wiggled its way into the joints. It happens.
 

Glamgrrl

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Travel318
You can email them if cleaning doesn’t help. They might replace them when you get back home. One my my husbands poles had a problem (different brand), and that’s what they did.
 

AJGuillaume

Pélerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
Not likely.

2. Disassemble the joints as best you are able
@Kitsambler, precisely one of the issues I have: I can't disassemble one of the poles. The bottom part will not slide into the top part. I can press the release button down, but nothing budges.
Any suggestions?
 

Attachments

dfunghi

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (2019) Portuguese.
Although no expert on these poles I do know a bit about the mechanics you are suffering from and I would say it is quite likely very fine dirt / debris that has worked its way and you might try a very long soak along with trying to loosen through pressure every 15 min or so. If successful I would suggest folding them down at least once every few days and especially after a very dusty walk. Soaking in a solution of Dawn (or similar) and water should begin to loosen dust and then it is only a matter of continuing to "work it free".
 

AggieWM

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 26 - June 9, 2016. Sept. 6 - Sept. 25, 2017.
We were in Ribadesella, and wanted to see the cave. They had lockers large enough to put a backpack, but we needed to fold our Black Diamond hiking poles to put them in the lockers.
That's when I found out about problems with the poles.
I could fold my wife's poles, but the joints didn't look healthy at all.
I could fold one of mine, but with difficulty as the lower join wouldn't release, and in a similar, once I managed, the joints don't look good.
I couldn't fold my second pole at all: I can click on the release button, but I can't push that into the top part of the shaft.
I remembered that @peregrina2000 and @Kanga had problems, and looked up the post. @t2andreo has been very helpful with his comments, but applying some of the advice hasn't helped.
Obviously, we are going to have a problem when getting the poles on a plane to come back home.
We have walked over 1760km since 9 June with these poles, so we have the following questions:
1) if we write to Black Diamond, are they likely to do anything while we are still walking? We still have 25 days before we get to SdC.
2) we would be expecting more 'mileage' out of these poles. Is that correct? We bought them in Finland while visiting our son there, and from memory, we paid about €100 per pair, and we don't think it's trivial to just throw them away.
3) is there anywhere on the Camino del Norte, or even in SdC, where we could get these poles fixed?

Thank you!
 

AggieWM

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
April 26 - June 9, 2016. Sept. 6 - Sept. 25, 2017.
I have Black Diamond poles, too. When my poles started to show that problem, I assumed it was moisture that was working differently on the inner part of the pole than on the outer part since I could not imagine it was dirt. Ever since then I have taken my poles apart after every hike, so that they could thoroughly dry out overnight and I have never had that problem again. They are now about 1000 km old. Agatha
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
@Kitsambler, precisely one of the issues I have: I can't disassemble one of the poles. The bottom part will not slide into the top part. I can press the release button down, but nothing budges.
Any suggestions?
I should think you'd be wanting to slide part B out of, rather than in to, Part A.
But regardless, you need to get some solvent down in the crevices to unstick the gunk. Find a (child's?) small toothbrush, and slather that alcohol (or even nail polish remover, which is technical grade acetone) around the offending joint, repeatedly, until it cries, "Uncle".
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I'm starting to believe mine have a personality all their own.

Last weekend one suddenly collapsed while I was bushwalking. One of the joints fell apart. It was still held to the rest of the pole by a long piece of something that looked like string, and I could not see the rubber tube thing that usually shows when the poles are folded. I thought it was going to be a replacement job.

One knowledgeable bushwalker with a multifunction tool fiddled a bit and found that the joint had worked its way up inside the next section. He managed to extract it and behold - fixed!

They are working perfectly again but I am a bit nervous. I start my Portuguese walk next week.
 

TimH

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 2016
Le Puy route May 2017
Camino Norte June 2017
St Francis Way Sept 2018
Kanga, we have had your problem with two sets of Black Diamond poles. The problem will happen again unless you “glue” the section that came out back into the pole sleeve. We ended up using silicon type glue to do this and they now seem to be fine. I found Black Diamond to be totally useless and non responsive which was very disappointing as they are otherwise great poles. I would not rely on your poles for another camino unless you have glued them.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Thanks @TimH. I shall get out the glue and see what I can do. Now that the joint is back in place I'm not sure what I can do. These poles have been on four caminos - so over 3000 km. I can't complain too much.
 

Charles Zammit

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean Pied de Port - Finisterra 2017
GR70 France 2018
Via Francigena 2019
WD 40 will attack rubber , silicon spray will degrade rubber over time even though it is sometimes recommended for such applications , acetone will degrade resin if left in contact with it and it will definitely degrade rubber and some silicons . As suggested good old dish washing detergent and warm water are probably the best solutions for cleaning , stinking hot water over the frozen joint will expand the outer a fraction , perhaps enough to allow you to free it , failing this try a hair dryer . If this doesn't work try the opposite and place the stick in a freezer [ if there is one big enough ] for an hour or two then try to twist it free . Rubber gloves , the dish washing type will help you grip it firmly .
If successful lubricate the joint with a candle , beeswax or sterene it really doesn't matter , it will allow the joint to slip as it should and won't attract dust and grit like a fluid lubricant would .
 

Colette Z

Happy Pilgrim
Camino(s) past & future
CF- Finisterre-Muxia 03/17; Camino SK 10/17; Norte 03/18; Ingles 11/18; Augusta 03/19
We were in Ribadesella, and wanted to see the cave. They had lockers large enough to put a backpack, but we needed to fold our Black Diamond hiking poles to put them in the lockers.
That's when I found out about problems with the poles.
I could fold my wife's poles, but the joints didn't look healthy at all.
I could fold one of mine, but with difficulty as the lower join wouldn't release, and in a similar, once I managed, the joints don't look good.
I couldn't fold my second pole at all: I can click on the release button, but I can't push that into the top part of the shaft.
I remembered that @peregrina2000 and @Kanga had problems, and looked up the post. @t2andreo has been very helpful with his comments, but applying some of the advice hasn't helped.
Obviously, we are going to have a problem when getting the poles on a plane to come back home.
We have walked over 1760km since 9 June with these poles, so we have the following questions:
1) if we write to Black Diamond, are they likely to do anything while we are still walking? We still have 25 days before we get to SdC.
2) we would be expecting more 'mileage' out of these poles. Is that correct? We bought them in Finland while visiting our son there, and from memory, we paid about €100 per pair, and we don't think it's trivial to just throw them away.
3) is there anywhere on the Camino del Norte, or even in SdC, where we could get these poles fixed?

Thank you!
I noticed that after a long time fully extended folding up of my Z poles is not easy. The rubber at each joint doesn’t retract up. After my 1075 km Camino in 2017 I took my poles back to the Canadian store MEC where I bought them (1.5 years earlier) and they gave me a new pair without any questions or original invoice (they looked up my purchase in their system by the payment card I used). So YES they should last even longer and 2. Send them home and get a free replacement pair as Diamond guarantees they’re for life.
 

AJGuillaume

Pélerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
WD 40 will attack rubber , silicon spray will degrade rubber over time even though it is sometimes recommended for such applications , acetone will degrade resin if left in contact with it and it will definitely degrade rubber and some silicons . As suggested good old dish washing detergent and warm water are probably the best solutions for cleaning , stinking hot water over the frozen joint will expand the outer a fraction , perhaps enough to allow you to free it , failing this try a hair dryer . If this doesn't work try the opposite and place the stick in a freezer [ if there is one big enough ] for an hour or two then try to twist it free . Rubber gloves , the dish washing type will help you grip it firmly .
If successful lubricate the joint with a candle , beeswax or sterene it really doesn't matter , it will allow the joint to slip as it should and won't attract dust and grit like a fluid lubricant would .
Thanks a million for that advice @Charles Zammit , I hadn't thought about dishwashing liquid.
I do try the hot water, but it might not have been hot enough. I'll try the hair dryer, too!
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 - 2019
Some very good advice here. Avoid using any petroleum based, or containing lubricant or solvent, as it will attack and degrade the silicone connectors.

Do contact BD with photos attached. It never hurts to ask.

I have previously mentioned but will reiterate that you should ‘take down’ rinse, wash with soapy water, and air dry your BD ‘Z’ poles after each use / Camino.

Do not store them assembled, as this keeps tension on the connection system and weakens it over time...like a stretched out rubber band.

Only use silicon-based penetrating fluids or sprays and to lubricate or ‘dress’ the silicone connectors.

Just as an FYI, if you have access to one of the several non-petroleum based, firearms cleaner - protectant sprays or liquids, this should work aptly. Avoid WD-40 for this purpose. It is a good multi-purpose penetrant and lubricant. But it is not kind to silicone over time.

I use ‘Break-Free’ brand weapons cleaner on my BD ‘Z’ poles after each post-Camino immersion bath cleaning. This aerosol, and other similar products; penetrates, lubricates and protects metal, silicone, plastic and carbon fiber components.

There are many, other, similar products available in shops selling supplies for hunting and other shooting sports.

Hope this helps.
 

TaijiPilgrim

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2011), Camino Frances (2015), Camino Ingles (2017), Camino Muxia (2017), LePuy(2019)
I'm starting to believe mine have a personality all their own.

Last weekend one suddenly collapsed while I was bushwalking. One of the joints fell apart. It was still held to the rest of the pole by a long piece of something that looked like string, and I could not see the rubber tube thing that usually shows when the poles are folded. I thought it was going to be a replacement job.

One knowledgeable bushwalker with a multifunction tool fiddled a bit and found that the joint had worked its way up inside the next section. He managed to extract it and behold - fixed!

They are working perfectly again but I am a bit nervous. I start my Portuguese walk next week.
Kanga, I had the exact problem at the end of August while descending a section of Wainwright's Coast to Coast. I was not happy as I was literally only halfway - at least 95 miles to go! That evening I met an amiable English hiker - a handyman by trade. After a pint or two, he managed to pull the joint piece back into place with the corkscrew of a Swiss Army knife. Then he applied a tiny bit of "nappy paste"- the only lubricant on hand- to all the pole joints. The pole was fixed and I completed the rest of the hike a few days later. When I returned home, I looked at Black Diamond's website but found nothing helpful about preventing a recurrence. I did not see anything about a lifetime warranty either. I love these poles but, like you, I am worried this could happen again.
 

backpack45scb

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2001 CF, 04-6 LP, 07 Port, 08-10 Arles, 11 Mozá,12-13 Gen-LP. 00-10 PCT, 15 Norte, 16 Primi
We have been using Black Diamond poles for 1000s of kilometers without a problem. Sometimes I've had to adjust or clean a little. Our poles are the carbon variety, a little lighter that the ones I see in the photos, but I think assemble the same way. In Bilbao, there is a Decathalon sporting goods store where we bought a pair of Black Diamond poles, after the originals were in a checked bag that disappeared forever. I did a Google search on black diamond poles cleaning and got several hits. One says that the aluminum poles oxidize. Don't use lube, but immerse in soapy water and clean off white oxidation as best you can: https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/88089-Cleaning-Black-Diamond-trekking-poles
 

susanawee

susanawee
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
I had problems with my first pair of Black Diamond poles, but took them back to Paddy Palling here in Perth where I live and they were replaced withoutut any fuss or argument at all. This second pair, were the more expensive ones and, they're very reliable and have been on many a walk since., Like Osprey, Black diamond, DO STICK to their guarantees .... I've no complaints whatsoever!
 

dfunghi

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future (2019) Portuguese.

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I don’t know how I missed this post, but would have been no help anyway. AJ, I hope you have found a way to make it to Santiago with these poles. I found that when I sent a picture to the customer service email, the response was rapid. New poles sent very quickly. So, save your pictures and make sure to contact them, though that is not very much help for right now.

I think that it is possible that leaving the poles in the locked position for such a long time might not be a good thing. Based on what t2 has advised, it seems like locking may allow a little moisture to get in and not get out. Since I had virtually no rain on my walk this year, I am not sure how much moisture could have gotten in, but I think that next year I am going to collapse the poles more often.

Your post reminded me to go check your polarsteps blog and lapse into a fit of jealousy as I see how these coastal options are going for you. Hope you are well AJ, buen camino to you and your wife, Laurie
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
I too have had problems with BD z-poles. My almost brand new poles were great over the entire Camino Frances in 2014, and I regularly folded and unfolded them so that I did not have to leave them in the communal pole bin at night. (They were by far the most expensive bit of equipment I had and I did not want to lose them!) Anyway, got home and decided to clean them, using soapy water as per the instructions. I left them to dry in the airing cupboard for about a week, folded, and then went to use them. Neither pole would work - in both cases the top section would not slide, it was stuck fast. Took them to Cotswold Outdoors where I had bought them a couple of months earlier. The assistant went to the office to phone, having been unable to do anything either, and came back offering me brand new poles! I've never dared to wash the (no longer) new poles in case they get stuck again.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
I think expensive poles are generally not worth the money (except maybe Pacers which are a specialised product). I have Decathlon ones (£11.99 each) with Leki rubber tips on. They are really light and have been strapped to the outside of my pack when checked in on flights a couple of times and emerged perfectly fine.
 

AJGuillaume

Pélerin du monde
Camino(s) past & future
Via Gebennensis (2018)
Via Podiensis (2018)
Voie Nive Bidassoa (2018)
Camino Del Norte (2018)
I don’t know how I missed this post, but would have been no help anyway. AJ, I hope you have found a way to make it to Santiago with these poles. I found that when I sent a picture to the customer service email, the response was rapid. New poles sent very quickly. So, save your pictures and make sure to contact them, though that is not very much help for right now.

I think that it is possible that leaving the poles in the locked position for such a long time might not be a good thing. Based on what t2 has advised, it seems like locking may allow a little moisture to get in and not get out. Since I had virtually no rain on my walk this year, I am not sure how much moisture could have gotten in, but I think that next year I am going to collapse the poles more often.

Your post reminded me to go check your polarsteps blog and lapse into a fit of jealousy as I see how these coastal options are going for you. Hope you are well AJ, buen camino to you and your wife, Laurie
Hello Laurie,
We still have a few days (and some coastal options! :)) before we get to SdC.
I have managed to fix one pole, although it is showing the same deterioration in the joints as you had on yours.
The problem is with the other pole, where I just can't fold it. I can press the release button, but I can't slide the lower section into the upper section, so I can't release the tension.
I have tried a few things, like pouring hot water, soaking with detergent.
I have also contacted Black Diamond by email, but haven't heard back.
I can still use the poles to walk, there's no problems with that, the only issue is that if I can't fold the pole, I won't be able to put it in our luggage.
Otherwise, our walk is going well. We're walking down to Oviedo where we'll spend two nights.
Buen Camino !
Andrew
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
I think expensive poles are generally not worth the money (except maybe Pacers which are a specialised product). I have Decathlon ones (£11.99 each) with Leki rubber tips on. They are really light and have been strapped to the outside of my pack when checked in on flights a couple of times and emerged perfectly fine.
Those look like nice poles. I bought the BD ones because they had a nice soft grip which was the right shape for my grip. None of the others felt comfortable. I've never had a blister in all the miles I have walked with them. But the price!!! And every time I fly I have to check them!! Double ouch!
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
Some Lekis are a ridiculous price. I can see that the cork handles are nice, but not that nice!
For me it's better to spend that money on a really good and super light sleeping bag.
 

Felice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP to Santiago Sept 2014
We are all so different!
Black Diamond handles are not cork, which I did not like. They have a soft fabric like finish to them. But it's their shape that I found so comfortable. A lack of ridges in places that would have rubbed.
As for sleeping bags - I hate them and instead prefer to use a piece of fleece material that I bought for £12 as a blanket! Not sure what I would do on a winter camino though.
 

Nanc

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (Sept 2016)
SDC/ Finesterre/ Muxia (2016)
in addition to the comments about dust dirt grim and rubber degeneration
some have talked about trouble with the cable
Most of these have access to the cable through the top of the handle - there is an attachment of the cable to the inside of the top which can be adjusted
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
...Rubber gloves , the dish washing type will help you grip it firmly .
...
I bought my Kilimanjaro walking poles some 15 years ago for like 14,99€ and they are still my trusty companions. But sometimes they just don't want to collapse. I know it's the dust in the joints. I'm not really weak with my hands but one hand twisting the upper part in one direction and the other one the lower part in the opposite sometimes wasn't enough.
Ask someone to twist lower part with both hands and you twist upper part also with both hands. Always worked for me ;)
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
I have over 5000 km on my BD Zpoles (carbon). I normally only use them when climbing or descending and fold them often.I seem to have no problems and show no signs of wear like those in the pictures appear to show.
I almost never leave them extended for any period of time. Always fold them when going into an albergue and put them in my pack. As others have said...I wonder if leaving them extended for long periods may be a root cause of the problem.
My wife uses Pacer Poles and also has no problems.. they are great and I would use them xcept they do not fit into a pack easily with the handles configured the way they are.
 

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