The Black Diamond Spire trekking pole is unique in having elliptical pole shaft sections. This means you can handle the pole far more easily than a conventional round-shafted design. Furthermore, you get greater stiffness in the pole – which is useful when on steep descents where you are applying extra twist and stress on the poles as you negotiate rough boulders with a big pack. The other big advantage of the Spire is that length adjustment is easier than on any other pole. The pole adjustment incorporates a LipLock cam, which can be easily operated with cold, wet hands – and as this is an external system it does not suffer from the problems associated with condensation and corrosion that develops inside all other trekking poles. You get very comfortable tilted handles for a more natural holding position. The hand loops are easily adjusted and well-padded, while the padding extends down the shaft. The baskets are easy to change too. It has a maximum length of 140cm, which is longer than many others too, making it ideal for taller trekkers. Use this for backpacking in winter or rough scree descents, and the advantages will win the day over other designs. But the packed length is quite long (72cm), which is not great if you need to store your poles regularly on the side of your rucksack while scrambling or mountaineering, or while using an ice axe during winter walks on steep ground. The weight too is not ideal, with a number of others scoring better during the weigh-in. You might rue the lack of anti-shock provided by this pole, but many people do not find anti-shock of any real advantage, so this is not necessarily a major drawback. The handle does not allow such an easy, energy-efficient walking system. So there are clearly advantages of other poles over this depending on your exact style of activity. Other poles are lower in price of course – indeed, some are half the price!
Handle: moulded with non-slip foam
Shaft: 7075 aluminium alloy plus foam sleeve
Max length: 140cm
Min length: 72cm
Weight: 584g per pair
Made in no info provided
Stores in UK: no info provided
Verdict: Buy it if you want easy adjustment, great handles and don’t need the shortest packed length as this is otherwise a great pole for tackling rough ground, where durability and ease of adjustment are the priorities.