Skimo Co

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) 105, 115, 125, 135, 145
convert to ounces
201g [125]
225g [135]
Weight (pair) 402g [125]
450g [135]
Collapsed Length   N/A
Sections 1
Grip 70cm long extended foam
Basket & Tip 85mm powder baskets and 38mm mini baskets, carbide tip
Diameter 18mm just below the grip
Specs Verified Yes
Materials   7075 aluminum, EVA foam, polymer, carbide
Strap Sold separately
Skimo Co Says
Usage Steep skiing, mountain running
Notes Infinite handle position
Bottom Line Fixed length aluminum with limitless grip options
Compare to other Fixed Length Ski Poles

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Questions & Reviews

Taylor M (downright abused product)
An amazing pole for touring to ski mountaineering! I am 6’1” and I chose 135s for long flat approaches in other ranges outside of the Wasatch but I haven’t regretted the length at all, especially on skinners across slopes of a decent angle where it’s nice to grip the top of the pole on the downhill side.

I have used extended grip poles that have a directional grip before and I far prefer the round grip of the batons. The grip is less complicated and doesn’t need to be readjusted for directional use.

These are great for quick adjustments on skinners and are great for boot packs where I can hike way up on the grip quickly. No more faffing about with telescoping poles when starting to boot.

Would absolutely recommend!
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Will (downright abused product)
I love these poles and this is my third pair but they have a major flaw... DURABILITY especially the tips and end caps! I've smacked the tip of two different poles off three times and smacked the end cap off twice as well. The plastic used for the tip and end cap is not up to the task. Never had an issue with any other poles but have repeatedly busted these. Major bummer. Be prepared to ask for warranty parts or buy them from Skimo...
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Question from Gabe
Hey there - do you all have the option of ordering a single pole? I had a pole break last season and would prefer not to have to purchase two since one is still in perfect working order. Thanks!
Answer from Carlos M
Hi Gabe,

Unfortunately, we only sell them in pairs - but think of it this way. If you buy a new pair, then you have a backup pole in case one breaks again!
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Question from Scott
I’m 6’2 and use a 130 cm pole for resort skiing. I think 140 would hit the sweet spot for these poles, but I know they don’t make it. Would 145 be too cumbersome?
Answer from Gabriel I
Hi Scott, the best part about these poles is that you can hold them anywhere along the handle. If you're comfortable on longer poles to begin with, getting the 145cm's and choking up on the grip a tad will get you right where you want. You'll have options if you want to move your hand position up or down, too.
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Dane Burns (downright abused product)
I first wrote about these poles on my old CT blog...10 years ago now. Kinda funny as I brought back a few pairs on every trip to France and gave many of the away as gifts. I had kind forgotten what a joy they are to use. I also used and brought back from France the 1st Black Crow (Furtis, heavy 7075 Aluminum versions) and the Cober Ultra Trail version. (intended as a lwt a trekking pole). Both appeared to be playing catch up with Les Batons d'Alain. I found the older Furtis too heavy and a poor swing weight for my taste. Although in the right snow conditions they might make a decent anchor. I've just never found the right conditions to warrant the down sides. I try to bring the appropriate gear if I suspect I'll need an anchor. The Cober does make a great trekking pole and a decent lwt ski pole with an added basket. But even then, I like Les Batons grip better as a trekking pole. YMMV.

I went back and reread all the comments and reviews before posting again. Been lucking enough this winter to get some good skiing in. Even one trip using the Cobers ,for no other reason than they were handy. I have 14 pairs of poles going back decades sitting in my shop space. 6 of them adjustable. My choice in poles since I found the Les Batons is.....generally the Les Batons. I've not used an adjustable since. Even the Whippets seldom get used with the newest lwt axes. And I have been using ski crampons more. My only complaint on durability was on an early pair over 10 years ago now, when the foam slipped. Alain simply replaced them. These days Skimo Co. will sort you out faster than a return to Cham to get it done. I am still a big believer of going long on these poles. I had been using a pair of 125cm to track my time on a 1000', one mile skin track. As my fitness got better my times did as well. Switching to 135cm set of poles and then eventually to a 145cm set of poles, took big chucks out of my recorded times. Time reductions that were almost as big as switching to my old race boots and skis. My normal downhill pole is a 125cm. My preferred skimo pole is a 135. The 145 is an amazing ski mountaineering pole where I am doing more skinning than skiing. But it is a little unbalanced for my taste as a pure ski pole. That said if the 145 was all I used, I suspect I also be perfectly happy with that size. Straps? For the last decade I have not used straps on my Les Batons. But one dropped ski pole on the Haute Route and a 5-minute rescue, made the thought reoccurring when there are long skin tracks. Could have very easily just been a lost pole with 3 days yet on the tour. A strap makes a good support and allows you to use your arms on the uphill more effectively. I use 1" flat nylon tape with a simple overhand knot. And I stress the cap tightening the strap. No poles/caps broken to date. No bent poles. And thankfully no lost poles from dropping them in the wrong terrain.

I still have a good sized quiver of skis and boots that I use. And as I mentioned a lot of different ski poles available to me. Without a doubt I have some favorite gear and clothing for our crazy sport, just like everyone else. Given a choice outside pure downhill skiing, the Les Batons are still my skimo pole of choice by a fair margin. Trust your gut and buy them long.
Reply from thomc
Good to see sign o the Dane again. Spot on as per usual
Comment on this review:

Stephen C (used product a few times)
Broke second time

I have used a lot of aluminum poles. These are only ones to ever break. Burly? Not so much.
Reply from PRB
I've only ever seen aluminum break like this if it was dinged or scored. Did the poles take a hit? (FWIW, I've only damaged the plastic parts of my Batons, and then only in heli baskets or jumbled up in roof-top boxes on cold days.)
Comment on this review:

Comment from PRB
If you do need to replace one, the top caps are a pain to get off, but here's what I did. First, I broke the top part of the cap off when trying to tug on it with some channel locks, so don't do that. (Turns out that it's glued on, so that wasn't going to happen anyway.)

Next, I went to the hardware store and bought a washer and lag screw and then threaded the lag screw into the the portion of the cap down in the aluminum shaft. I grabbed a decommissioned dyneema runner, girth hitched one end over the handle of a 45# kettle bell and looped the other end over the washer. With the tip of the pole pointed straight up and the runner taught, it took about a dozen hard yanks straight up (each of which lifted the kettlebell a bit), but the rest of the cap popped out (as shown). I was then able to pound on the replacement. (This method did not require clamping the aluminum shaft or risking deforming/denting it.)

FWIW, I've also had to replace a tip, and that was much easier in that it just required warming up the plastic and pulling the old one off.
Reply to this comment:

Question from Lydia Breitenstein
Do the poles come in a set? Or do I have to order 2? HAHA
Answer from jbo
Hi Lydia, these are sold in pairs!
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Zach W (downright abused product)
These are good poles. I got +10cm of my normal size and they work great. I have no need for adjustable poles.

One nice attention to detail is the opening in the cap so you can add a strap, but I've never done it.

Another plus is that I've never had a problem with the powder baskets. I carry an extra but kind of don't think I need to.

I concur with the flaws other reviewers have noted:
- Icing on grips when putting them in the snow. When booting, especially if you're using your poles for leverage (e.g., when wallowing), the grips ice up and it's kind of impossible to get the packed snow off if it's high moisture.
- Pole caps are very fragile. Poles should be able to take an impact when stuck upside down as a belay.

I got ninja black and am really happy I did so. I don't really like the funky colors. The poles already look dorky and mark you as a skimo nerd.

I have never had an issue with these flexing. They feel more than burly enough for me. 5'8" 155 lbs ish.

Kind of split on how I feel about these. Yeah, they're nice poles, but they're also $130. You can get 90-95% of the functionality with a normal aluminum pole and some self-sealing tape. On my resort poles ($10), I wrapped electrical wire with that tape and it's almost as good. That said, looking at other pole listings, somehow 130 bucks for a piece of aluminum is cheap in the ski touring pole market...
Comment on this review:

Anthony O (downright abused product)
This is an updated review from owning since 11/19, aka before they were cool.

Please note one of my aliases is the thicccness with the quickness so my durability issues do stem from from skiing 1700-2000g skis (per ski, not a pair) and that I weigh 190. So I am very not skimo anymore.

Everyone knows why fixed grips are great so I'm going into specifically why these poles are an inferior design to the black crows furtis. (Shots fired).

1) absolute strength. Furtis is stiffer and doesn't flex into different shapes. They both flex, but the cham stick will bend. And you will have to bend it back. It's not fun.

2) cham sticks foam sux. If it gets moisture it will refreeze and it's a pain in the ass. Gripping ice isn't fun. I remedied with electrical tape, but it stinks to have to fix a new product.

3) the tip is epoxied on, not threaded (I'm talking the entire tip interface not the basket). It has come off on me multiple times, from factory, and after cleaning and reapplying a new tip with a boat load of epoxy and roughing the surface for better adherence. Skiing without a tip sucks. Having it happen multiple times sucks more. The fact it isn't threaded and cannot be fixed in the field is eggregious. Future designs should b threaded with loctite.

3) top caps also pop off and are not as streamlined as a furtis for plunging.

I've had the furtis since 2017 at least, just broke my first pair after hundreds of more days of use than my pair of cham sticks. Plus they are a carbon composite. What's more skimo than that?
Reply from Anthony O
Let me finish by saying skimo's support for these poles, however, is as expected-excellent. and skimo assisted me quickly with my original breakage. I do want to reiterate also that I am an outlier user, all things break, and ymmv.
Reply from Ben
Has anyone in Utah ever had ice form on their Baton grips? I can’t remember it ever happening to me over hundreds of days. I have had ice form on other pole grips in Utah from different companies but not with the cham sticks
Reply from Anthony O
As for the icing, One of the primary reasons I use fixed grip poles is because I flip them and I plunge them into softer snow. This happens regularly on slopes over 45 degrees or climbing steeper slopes. So in Ben's case hundreds of days of wiggling in 20 degrees would not cause moisture to enter the foam because the foam isn't plunging into snow. Users like this are better suited towards adjustable poles like whippets for all the of mountaineering instances they regularly encounter
Reply from PRB
I've gotten the icing, too, and it's definitely a thing in PNW temperatures and snow.
Reply from Andrew M
Anthony do you still recommend Furtis as the alternative? I broke a baton this past weekend under what felt like surprisingly light pressure, after slightly less than a season of use. Seeking a more durable option
Reply from Dillon E
The 1st Gen Furtis alloy is the strongest pole I've used (for actual ski mountaineering) hands down. They are slightly heavier, but are trustworthy.
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Question from Ben
Do you sell replacement top caps?
Answer from Tristan M
Hi Ben,

Yes we do! Check out our Les Pieces D'Alain listing. We have a few different colors to choose from!
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Question from Jack Z
Curious about sizing on these... what would you recommend for 5'10? I know a traditional sizing would put me at the 125s, but it seems the beauty of these is to get them a bit big so you can size to whatever climb or descent you want?

Also, I the grip material of the "champagne" color cork?
Answer from Tristan M
Hi Jack,

Sizing is definitely preferential with these poles. I would size you with the 135cm length. It will probably be slightly longer than your traditional alpine poles, but it will pay dividends on the way up. For the way down, just choke down!

The Champagne colorway is tan with something embedded in the foam that gives it a pattern. The texture is slightly different than the other pole color options.
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Question from Hillary
What size would you recommend for 5’7”?
Answer from Lrow
Hi Hillary,

We're the same height! I'd recommend a 125cm; if you're standing and your elbow is at 90 degrees with a comfortable grip on the pole, that's what I would recommend!
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Millard (used product regularly)
Bought two pairs of these at the beginning of last season. My buddy and I used them for just about everything. Very versatile and comfortable. The foam really doesn’t get cold. And they’re super light weight by my standards. Problems began around march. One tip had broken. And we lost a basket the next week. By the end of the season we were down to one functional pole. Two shafts were bent with some tie downs. Overall I would say that these pole are a lot of fun but need to be beefed up a bit. Screw-on plastic tips are never going to work.
Comment on this review:

Travis C (used product regularly)
I was in dire need for a new set of poles this season, and finally pulled the trigger on buying these in January. I've mainly used them for resort skiing, plus a little bit of touring. Overall, they are awesome. I am 5'10" and was worried the 125s might be a bit short, but that length is perfect for me. I agree that they are overkill at most resorts, but if you ski somewhere with hikes/sidesteps/traverses, they definitely serve their purpose. One unexpected benefit I found is on deep days, I could just choke up my grip instead of having chicken wings trying to keep my poles from dragging. I've used them in a variety of temps so far and no issues with durability, however I will say that if you purchase a pair with the orange caps and baskets, they are really bright. It's a safety orange color that has a neon glow outdoors. So if neon isn't your thing, maybe get a pair with the white or black caps and baskets instead.

After dropping them a few times while skating on flats, I ended up making my own straps with some paracord. A lot cheaper than the straps sold alongside the poles, plus the length can be dialed in for your preference. Also if you really can't fathom paying this much for poles, a little bit of gorilla glue and foam bike handlebar tape on an old pair of aluminum poles will accomplish the same thing for a fraction of the price. Looks way better than the hockey tape trick as well. But if featherlight weight combined with durability is what you're after, batons can't be beat.
Comment on this review:

EG1 (downright abused product)
I'm impressed with the durability of this pole given the fact that it is relatively normal foam on the grips they are aluminum shafts. I've shoved these on the sides of many packs next and dragged them across rock while approaching summits and never had an issue with bending or denting. Also, I strap them to skis with G3 ZED's on them and the bindings often close on the grips, temporarily depressing the foam but never ripping it or pulling it off the pole. Tips are really strong as well - no issues with snapping off the bottoms in hardpack.

Personally, I find 5cm longer than normal poles to be plenty or else you're really choking up for the downs. I also would just do a vari adjust/grip option if you're looking for a pair to crush resort and backcountry - these are overkill at the resort (obviously).

Sure, there's a "these are in" stigma - but they're really good. Chamonix guides wouldn't be using them religiously if they weren't...
Comment on this review:

Question from Aaron Squier
The strap holder broke off the pommel one of my poles. Do you know if it's possible to replace this part?
Answer from Jeff
Hello Aaron, Yes, we sell the caps, straps and baskets here - parts.
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Question from Ben
Can you give an idea of when/if you will get more stock? Looking for all black 135s or other colors in general in the 135 size. Thanks!
Answer from Brett S
Hey Ben, if you don't like any of the 135cm colors we have in stock, we'll be receiving more in the Fall!
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Question from Richard S
I am 5'9" and got the 135's. I got the 135s because when i am polling while skinning, I usually extend my BDs to 135. And just thought I would choke up on these for the downhill (I tele and like my poles smaller). But these things seem HUGE!!!
A lot of people have written that they are around my height and got the 135 and like them. Anybody have problems with them being too long????
Answer from Ian C
Hi Richard, haven't heard that specific complaint myself. Sounds like the 125cm might be more up your alley!
Answer from Thomas M
Hey, I'm 5'10'' and rocking 135 for everything (alpine skiing, ski touring, trail running, trekking). The beauty of these beasts is that you can hold them as low as you want on the grip. Up the hill, I often hold them on top and when going down between 15 and 20 from the top with no issue. Have fun !
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Question from Clancy
Are you guys going to get any more of the rainbows in stock? 135-140? Thanks
Answer from Julieana
Hey Clancy, we will probably get more in at some point, however I can't tell you if or when exactly as we are rather at the whim of Alain on these... he sends us however many of whatever style he decides to make a few times throughout the season. It makes it that much more exciting when we do get them in and that much more exclusive when you get a pair! If you send us an email at we can set you up to get a notification when he does send us some rainbow ones in that size!
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