Black Diamond Expedition 3 Ski Pole Review

Black Diamond FlickLock

The unique grips on the Black Diamond Expedition 3 Pole are made of foam and wrap starting at the handle and running a good 6 inches down the top section of the pole. That was just the start, literally. In the market for new splitboard poles, these blow away the competition on all fronts.

Black Diamond Expedition 3 Review

Black Diamond Expedition 3 Poles

The reason to use the Black Diamond Expedition 3 Ski Pole is when you’re dragging your meat uphill as your arms shake and your poles stress. Those superlight skinny (carbon) poles feel like they’ll break any second (though supposedly they don’t…). The Expedition’s thick cylinders and beefy construction never lacks for confidence. Though that’s also how you test the FlickLocks.

Black Diamond FlickLock

Black Diamond has upped its FlickLock game in the past few years. From small fingernails, they’ve become easy little wings. The old model would take a bit of finagling, especially when frozen, while the new ones are easily popped open with just your thumb. And you need to be able to change length on the fly depending on terrain, activity, mode of transport. The Black Diamond Expedition 3 Ski Pole has this dialed.

And for a splitter, when the fun really begins you need to be able to pack your touring poles up real small. I was able to fit them inside my pack, preferable to the standard lash-to-the-outside-of-your-pack technique where they catch on tight trees or maybe even escape when you take a heavy beater. Nah, these guys shrink so small they all but disappear when you need them to. A packed weight of 1-and-an-eighth pound completes the portability package.

Black Diamond Expedition 3 Basket

Black Diamond Expedition 3 Baskets

I’ve seen complaints about the basket coming off, though mine never has (as an aside, why do you really need to change up to trekking baskets, I mean really? Sure, wider baskets catch on trees or shrubs or whatever but if you’re using trekking poles you’re likely on a trail wide enough to accommodate powder baskets; it just seems like the function benefits are negligible). And some people said snow freezes to the handles but I never had that happen to me, including during tours in actively-blowing wintry mix. In fact, I was trying to think of something they could improve but really couldn’t. I guess everything can always be lighter?

Overall Impression

The Black Diamond Expedition 3 Pole nails it. Innovative handles that repel cold. Stiff construction for extra support on tough tours. A strong FlickLock. And perfect packability and weight savings.

Black Diamond Expedition 3 Ski Pole

Some people have jumped into the folding pole craze but these pack up almost as small as those and in my opinion are more reliable, an attribute invaluable for the backcountry junky who needs gear that can last long seasons in rowdy conditions (not to mention they’re more adjustable, which I love to play with depending on whether I’m booting vs. skinning vs. if I have a long sidehill). After months testing them on sunny and spitting bootpacks and skins, on long tours and quick pre-work speed runs, the Black Diamond Expedition 3 Poles ($109.95) have set a standard other poles can only try to surpass.

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Black Diamond Expedition 3 Ski Pole

About the Author

Ryan Ariano
A mountain dilettante, by way of Baltimore and SoCal, raising a family in the Tetons on an endless quest for unobstructed views, high endorphin flow, experienced enlightenment, and the world’s best fried chicken.

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