Black Diamonds Pure Carbon Ski Poles are a two-piece 100% carbon fibre pole designed for Ski Touring. Featuring Black Diamond’s FlickLock® Pro adjustability, an ergonomic grip and massive snow baskets, they look and feel the part, but do they stand up to the test of time for all things Alpine/Touring mountain adventures? Lets found out…
So we have probably been slightly unfair with these poles as we have tested them in scenarios way out of the realms they have been designed for – this has however really put to test the durability of this product through this excessive and diverse use. We have been hiking through technical trails, alpine trekking, glacier walking, ski touring, piste and free skiing.
Starting with the snow based adventures, the pistol a-symmetric grips are very comfortable and secure (even with a variety of glove thicknesses) the trap webbing is secure and robust (and also non-padded, fairly common with ski kit). That said, they have been surprisingly comfortable in hiking in milder climates without the use of gloves, although the grip can get a bit sweaty due to non-breathable grip.
There is an argument in the ski touring community (probably) whether the reduced weight of Carbon over Alloys is worth the risk of the brittleness, carbon tends to shatter where as an aluminium pole will usually just bend (the latter leaving you rather less comprised on longer mountain adventures).
Much abuse later, I can confirm they are still in one piece, even after having accidentally in-paled myself on said pole at speed in a rather spectacular freeride stack (for me anyway) of the season. After over 5-months of abuse, from grip to tip the poles have proven themselves very robust and show no real sign of wear.
Okay, this is going to sound a bit girly but i can sometimes find locking systems fiddly and awkward which increases the time you spend standing still adjusting them. Not ideal when on an exposed mountain peak trying to prep your equipment and pack ready for a descent freezing your… ‘bum’ off.
There is just one FlickLock Pro fixing on each pole and as a Flick type lock goes is relatively easy and fast to adjust and lever in place whilst on the move, with gloves on. The locking system has never failed me thus far at any point which would confirm to me that this is a very secure and reliable locking system. I have had a few adjustable poles in the past break or shafts slip slightly at the locking system.
Size & Weight
When it comes to saving weight, Black Diamond have put thought into every detail from the fluted grip interior (i.e. hollow) and lightweight webbing and lock in addition to the carbon shaft. The 100% carbon fiber 16mm upper and 14mm lower shaft weighs in at 600g for the pair.. Not the lightest compared to trekking poles but extremely light for a stronger touring pole. The adjustable length ranges from 95cm to 145cm and the collapsable length is 94.5cm.
Because of the fairly long collapsed length, the poles tend to overhang your pack making it possible to stab yourself (and others nearby) with your poles whilst manoeuvring. If you require a set of poles to adjust smaller then there are z-pole/ 3-piece carbon pole alternatives, but they’ll likely weight more – in this case, we’d go with the longer length compromise.
The Black Diamond Pure Carbon Ski Poles are fantastic, all-round, ski and ski-touring poles that will stand the test of time even on the most ambitious and biggest of mountain adventures. Their versatility, build quality and resistance to damage do justify the price tag, another great line from Black Diamond.