It makes sense that the Black Diamond Carbon Compactor Ski Poles would pull in best practices from avalanche probes and rando racing poles to make about the best backcountry poles you could imagine. After years of messing around with those Flicklock poles and all their rotten shortcomings (most notably, trying to re-extend them after they’d frozen shut on my pack) the first time I tested out the Black Diamond Carbon Compactors was nothing short of magical.
Flick Lock Poles
The Black Diamond Carbon Compactor Pole is a 3-piece game-changer that I swore by on multi-day backcountry split tours last winter. It marries modern durability with lightness and packability, bringing general dependability you won’t find in most other bits of tour gear for splitboarders.
Usually, the poles are the last thing I fold up, once I’m done with all the other transitions. For that reason, I’ve also got on my heavier snowboard gloves, which can make grabbing the Flicklock a royal pain. Not for the Black Diamond Carbon Compactor Poles – just hit the button below the handle, bam, it’s in 3 parts.
And better than my standard three-part Flicklock Pole, in 3 folding chunks I can actually fit these in my pack for descent. Which can help guarantee they won’t freeze up when folded together.
One thing to note, there is a limit as to the height you can adjust the poles to. However, the European AT Skiers and Splitboarders have started touring with high poles that they choke down on so it’s probably a benefit to have to grab elsewhere than the traditional handle.
If you need to, wrap Gorilla Tape over where your hands should fall at certain times, not only does it ensure your hand stays warm and gripped, it’s also a solution for the need to bring heavy-duty tape with you on a tour. Not a bad place to store backup tape.
The grip fits a hand very well and combines a convenient lip for easily adjusting risers while touring. The semicircle baskets rotate easily for retaining grip while ascending steep firm hills. And finally, a pleasant benefit of carbon poles is that much less warmth is pulled away from your hands than a metal equivalent.
The Black Diamond Carbon Compactor Ski Poles ($169.95) plays off the success of the Z-pole compactibility, Black Diamond brings you the sleek and lightweight Black Diamond Carbon Compactor Poles. Utilizing a tension-lock system, the assembly is completed in mere seconds helping to speed up your transitions.
The weight and speed of transition make these poles ideal companions for any days splitboarding, though they are likely not best for the demands of a day skiing. While these poles feel very solid even on the most demanding of slippery ascents, a potential weak point is the top of the shaft where the metal pin holding the pole’s tension rests on the pole handle.