Les Batons d'Alain


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The Chamonix ski mountaineering pole. Coming to us from across the pond and made in the shadow of the great and icy Mont Blanc, these unorthodox ski poles offer many small yet meaningful solutions to many small yet meaningful problems ski mountaineers face in the mountains. Made by mountain guide Alain Desez, the 18mm aluminum poles feature long ribbed foam grips which extend nearly halfway down each pole. Alain's Sticks are durable and allow you to grip anywhere along the top half of each pole without slipping. Also, no wrist straps! Straps can make ordinary falls rather dangerous and can make activating your airbag difficult in the event of an avalanche. Without them, you can more easily plunge the tops of the poles into snow. Proven by Chamoniard mountain guides on steep north faces and by American ski alpinists on routes like Foraker's Archangel Ridge, the highest level of pole design is now available to the powder-hunting, couloir-dropping, European-flag-loving masses.

  • 18mm 7075 anodized aluminum makes up the shaft for great strength.
  • The pommels (the plastic caps on the top) have a strap attachment point.
  • Reflective strips adorn these poles for improved visibility at night.
  • Includes easily swappable powder and piste baskets.
  • Tungsten carbide tips are slightly flexible.
  • Comes in lots of fun grip colors.

Lengths (cm) 115, 125, 135
convert to ounces
212g [125]
225g [135]
Weight (pair) 424g [125]
450g [135]
Sections 1
Grip 70cm long extended foam
Basket & Tip 85mm Powder baskets and 38mm mini baskets
Specs Verified Yes
Materials 7075 aluminum, EVA foam, polymer, carbide
Skimo Co Says
Usage Steep skiing, mountain running
Notes Infinite handle position
Bottom Line Burly, basic ski poles with limitless grip options.
Compare to other Fixed Length Ski Poles

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Questions & Reviews

David Miller (hasn't used product)
I suffer from carpal tunnel from skate ski wrist straps and it was impacting my work as a cartoonist of The Last Prophet Mohammed. Thankfully the Liberated French have come to my rescue with these strapless wonders. I can now enjoy the freedom of expression in the press and in the hills. Viva LA
Reply from jbo
This may be the best review on the site. It may also get us killed.
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Hayden (used product a few times)
To be completely honest, I was initially drawn to these poles because of all the hype that seems to surround them. In broken French that I asked Alain if he would send some to me in the states por favor, but unfortunately I found no success. Fast forward a couple yers and I see them pop up at my favorite ski shop, I just had to! But seriously these poles are really ergonomic and reasonably light (they seem quite durable as well). Shout out to skimo.co for always bringing in the coolest niche-y ski gear. Get yourself a pair before they sell out!
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chris l (used product a few times)
I held off for a looong time from buying these poles... I really wanted them, but found other poles with similar grip stye for half the price.
I finally felt i could hold out no longer, after my G3 poles iced up on me on Mount Rainier, and OH BOY what a difference these poles make!

A buddy got a pair and after feeling how light these things actually are I pulled the trigger.
The foam grip is amazing, the finger grooves are far superior to the smooth or smaller grooved poles that i have been using.

I definitely recommend these poles.
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Question from Parker H
Any plans to sell singles to pair with my whippet?
Answer from Teddy Young
Thanks for reaching out, we are only selling these poles in pairs for the time being!
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Question from Cam
I've wanted these but concerned about sizing. I'm 6'1", am I am a 125cm or 135cm?
Answer from Teddy Young
Hey Cam, I might recommend the 135cm! Luckily, with the seemingly endless grip length, it's nearly impossible to go "too long".
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Question from Patrick T
I'm looking for 135cm but not super excited about the in-stock color options. What color combos are you expecting to receive this fall? Anything not pictured?
Answer from Brett S
Thanks for your question, Patrick. We should be receiving Red, Black, Brown, Grey, Italian Flag, French Flag, and Blue colorways in the 135cm length this upcoming fall. If you wish, we can sign you up to be notified when they arrive in stock. To do that, please give us a call or send us an email to help@skimo.co Cheers!
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Question from Thomas Winkler
do you have the Alain de baton in the Blue/white/red? in 125cm. As shown on your picture. Thank you.
Answer from Cole P
Hey Thomas, we will be getting more Les Batons d'Alain this fall.
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Susan H (used product a few times)
After having mercilessly mocked Brian H all season for carrying jellybean-colored majorette batons, I came to the realization that I was just jealous and should probably try them before I continued to rag on them.

The poles I replaced were BD traverse adjustables from 2010 (the orange ones with the rubber choke grip that you still see everywhere). I stuck with them as long as I did out of a pragmatic belief that if something isn't broken, don't fix it. My BD poles took me to some great places, but the almost 200g weight savings was hard to ignore and the Skimo restock of the pink color seemed like a sign that it was time to try something different.

While determining what size to purchase, I set my BDs to 115 and 125cm and took them for a few tours at each length. I opted for the smaller size in part because I tend to palm the top of the grip while skinning and the shorter length just felt more comfortable. When skiing downhill, I grab them somewhere in the vicinity of a 105-110 cm pole (my usual touring length) and I haven't been bothered by the excess material above my hands. For reference, I am 160 cm tall.

I knew I would appreciate the lighter weight and bright colors of the batons, but what I didn't expect was to find them so freeing to ski with: no more fussing with hand placement or grabbing the cold metal shaft of the BD's. I can adjust my grip on the fly without even thinking about it. That is something I never knew I would want to do, but now that I can, I don't want to go back to the old way! Yes, the top of the grip is a little rough on the palms if you are skiing sans gloves, but no more so than the BD grips. I have small hands, so your experience may vary in that regard.

Bonus: apparently this year's 115 cm size is coming with neon pink baskets and tips instead of the gray. Fab-u-lous!

TL;dr: you know you want a pair, just do it.
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Question from Amanda
Recommendation on a pole length for someone 5'10"?
Also wondering if these come with straps, or if not, are they able to take straps somehow?
Answer from Cole P
Amanda, thanks for reaching out! I would recommend the 125cm pole for your height. They do not come with straps but they do accept straps and you can find them under Les Pieces d'Alain on our website. Here is a link to the accessories, here
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Question from Nils Breivik
Do you ship to Norway?
I’m looking for this pole in 135cm.
AS far AS I can see - you only have this length in brown. Com you please send me a picture!
Answer from eric
Nils, We do ship to Norway. I sent you a picture of the brown pole to your email.
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Question from Meech
I'm interested in purchasing the brown ones. Got a photo?
Answer from Patrick C

Here you go - hope it appeals to you!

Patrick // Skimo Co
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Question from Scott
Any idea on recommended lengths? I'm roughly 5'7" and tend to ski with a pole a little longer. I've been using a typical DH pole with bike bar tape on it for the last year but looking for something new!
Answer from TSB
Hey Scott! I would go for the 125cm length. As Dane alludes to in his review, it's hard to go "too long" with this pole since you can grasp it anywhere on the shaft. With the national tricolor (French/Italian flag) versions, you can even use the different color blocks to judge where to put your hands in different situations (skinning vs skiing vs sidehilling vs jump turning). That said, if you like a shorter pole that you can put your hands on top of while skinning, and use like a traditional alpine pole when descending, 115cm would also work.
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Dane (downright abused product)
These are fun poles. More useful than you would first think. My first pair from 2013 did have the foam grips start moving around after a lot of miles. Alain replaced them the next Spring when I got back to Cham. I tried the more common and available in Chamonix, Black Crow (too heavy and thick) and Cober (too light and skinny) versions as well that season. And I have made more than one pair that are similar all on my own back here in the States. Alain's are by far the best of the bunch from that mix for my own skiing. Yes I have dropped a pole and had to hike to get it back. But that was so little effort compared to what this pole saves you on a long tour. And I have only dropped a pole once! When the European Guides are asking you what your poles are on the Haute Route and where did you buy them, likely you have a winner. If I am touring this is the pole I use. FWIW I don't think you can buy one too long. Might take you some effort to wrap your head around that idea but worth a try.

See here for more than anyone needs to know on this style of pole :)
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NICHOLAS S (downright abused product)
I have broken a tip on my beloved Batons, a souvenir from a Chamonix trip 2 years ago. For anyone wondering about buying these, yes you should. I'd echo all the positives that other reviewers have mentioned.

I'm guessing the tip is not replaceable? Also, do you have spare baskets for these? Might be time to just get another pair...
Reply from jbo
Hi Nicholas, we don't have replacement tips, unfortunately, but we do have baskets.
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Question from bradley l
i know i'm late, but is my assumption correct that these won't be back in stock until next fall? thanks!
Answer from TSB
Hi Bradley, we anxiously await the announcement of the next shipment of beaux-arts batons from Monsieur Desez, though it may not be until next fall, sorry to say!
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Question from justin
Any chance of these in a longer length? 145 or even 155?
Answer from Teddy Young
Hey Justin, they are only available in 115, 125, and 135, my apologies!
Answer from jbo
Hi justin, fyi Alain snuck in a few 140s for us this season.
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Question from Nick K
Any thoughts when these are coming back in stock? Especially that fancy magenta color - maybe in 125 or 135?
Answer from TSB
Hey Nick! Unfortunately the man (Alain) behind the poles (batons) is busy being a mountain guide right now, so no poles until the beginning of next season, most likely. We'll keep you updated!
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Mav (used product regularly)
I can attest to the trail-running/hiking and ski-touring performance of these bad boys. They are pretty awesome. I'd been looking at something with like these or the Black Crows Furtis for the big adjustability factor that comes with such a long grip section. After reading Brian H's review (link in the review above this) on his blog, I was really close to ordering these directly from the inventor/manufacturer in Chamonix. I was glad that I held off for a week or so on that decision, because I spotted them during a visit to Skimo Co. for another product in mid November. Grabbed the 135cm grey/pink ones and have been cruising around with them every day or two since.

Highlights: Lightweight even after 10+ miles, durable, strong and comfortable to place between pack and back during on-the-fly stowage, hands stay warm during colder hikes without gloves during carry sections because the foam extends to the middle balance point of the poles (read: no cold aluminum to grab), the two different baskets are super easy to swap on/off, and neon tip/top color is easy to spot (even in low-light conditions—see photo).

Considerations: If you're used to palming the top of a traditional pole frequently (BD adjustable, for instance), the shape of these is slightly less ergonomic by comparison. That can make them somewhat uncomfortable in that orientation during gloveless wear. But, I find that I rarely use that "top" hand position because I sized up 5cm from my usual pole length (I'm not from a nordic background, so I wasn't super, super long) and my hands move around a lot more than they used to.

Other thoughts: I haven't made straps to put into the slots on the top caps, but I plan to create some like Brian H. did (and so nicely explained/depicted on his site) for long flat sections where the hand loop would be useful. The powder baskets seem really flexible, so I don't think they'll get in the way of good pole plants while descending firm steeps.
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Question from Nick K
Maybe silly question, but are these sold as a pair or singles? Thanks!
Answer from TSB
Pairs! Or, as they say in Cham, par deux!
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Question from Ben
Are you able to cut these poles down If I wanted to buy the 135's and shorten to around 130cm?
Answer from Teddy Young
Hey Ben, we have not attempted to cut these poles down so we can’t quite say for sure. The main question would be how strong the adhesive is for the plastic top cap, as it’ll be a simple procedure once that cap is removed. I think the fastest and simplest method may be just adjusting hand placement on the grip, but send us a few photos if you end up performing ski pole surgery!
Answer from Aaron O
Because the grip is so long, another thought is maybe 5mm of fudge is OK?
Answer from Alden S
I shortened mine by 4cm for a better fit because why not. The end caps are very easy to remove by lightly pounding them out from the inside after you have made your cut.

One tip, you need to leave some extra grip foam that overlaps beyond where you cut the aluminum shaft. You can see I did it properly in the top one, but didn't leave quite enough extra foam in the bottom one. Rolling the foam back and temporarily taping it out of the way for when you cut the aluminum worked very well.
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Model: Alain's A2-16 Sticks

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