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Les Batons d'Alain

Model: Alain's A2-16 Sticks
Shipping: FREE*
Availability: In Stock & Ships Today
Price: $109.95
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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
-> 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.
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!
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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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by 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?
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Question from Sam
Any chance you'll be getting more of these in stock in the near future?
Answer from jbo
Hi Sam, yes, a 100% chance! 1-2 weeks likely.
Answer from Sam
Thanks for the response! Can't wait to finally get my hands on a pair.
Answer from jbo
Hi Sam, just letting you know lots more fun colors arrived!
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by thomc (used product regularly)
I was very doubtful, and don't ski 55 degree couloirs, but they are fine for punting around and a heck of a lot more. I wouldn't want them around in very tight terrain: bushwacking, tight trees, etc. I tend to go a bit starfish in those situations, and if skis or poles are too long I'll hit whatever cage I'm rattling. I do love that they are like an ice axe (absent the sharp stuff): you don't generally use a strap, so you just don't drop them (you can thread a strap on my old 135 cm yellow version). I might go down to a 125 or 130, but have used the full length of mine over time

They are at their best putting them between your shoulder straps/blades like a piolet: strapped and adjustable poles always hang up, these don't. I did put powder baskets on mine, the little discs seem like they are for summer. I've never heard of anyone breaking them, which is a plus if you've ever broken a pole (or a few).

They will stick in the snow either end down (little known plus). I will admit a friend once loaned me a Whippet on a tricky descent instead of one of these and I was grateful, but that could hold for any pole. And Brian H can clearly ski things I can't look at with them, so they work for those at that end of the spectrum too. I have enjoyed them for everything from ski mountaineering to casual punting around the woods. It makes the question of where to put your hands irrelevant: you grab them and go.
Comment on this review:

by Brian H (downright abused product)
Such a sweet turn of events. Been fan for years. Hard to get until now. Chapeau Skimo Co. If you need more convincing, get the propaganda here...

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