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Black Diamond Helio Poles

Brand: Black Diamond
Model: Helio Ski Pole
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Availability: In Stock & Ships Today
Price: $299.95
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Light as Heli-o-um! Yet somehow stronger than your average carbon pole. The Black Diamond Helio Poles are inflation-molded into single, streamlined poling machines. The “grip” is simply part of the molded design, obviating the need for weighty or complex hand holders. Ditto for the touring rest that allows you to choke up on the pole when side-hilling or booting. The wrist straps are minimalist webbing with a release system that prevents your arm from getting pulled off if you catch a pole on a tree. The Helio poles demonstrate that innovation is not dead; a truly novel and robust design from Black Diamond.

  • Single-piece construction is 100% carbon fiber molded into an ultralight and strong shape.
  • SwitchRelease strap will disconnect on one side under duress to help avoid arm injuries.
  • Grip and touring choke are integrated into the mold and keep the poles simple and sleek.
  • Stiffened baskets have a hooking point to operate binding risers and feel for snow layers.
Specifications
Lengths (cm) 115, 120, 125, 135
Weight
-> ounces
144g [125]
162g [135]
Weight (pair) 288g [125]
324g [135]
Sections 1
Grip Molded into the carbon fiber
Basket & Tip Stiffened with hooked point
Specs Verified Yes
Design
Materials Carbon
Skimo Co Says
Usage Technical ski mountaineering
Notes Breakaway strap to keep your arm in socket
Bottom Line Supper light carbon pole
11/21/2018
Question from Jim
 
It appears the grip is carbon fiber since it's continuous with the shaft. Does that mean it conducts heat well? If so, could this be a problem in the cold?

Second question: is the choke grip effective?

Third question: What is with the lugs on the tops of the baskets? Is it to keep snow from sliding off?

Fourth question: Is the hook at the top of the grip grippy or slick? Grippy is good for manipulating bindings.

Fifth question: Nat's review cautions against using the poles for knocking snow off boots or whacking dead branches. Are they that delicate, or is Nat just being over-cautious? I routinely do both things with every touring pole I've ever had and have not broken any.
11/21/2018
Answer from Trace Leches
 
Hey Jim! Good to hear from you!

1) Carbon is a very, very good insulator (far better than aluminum, which is a good conductor) and thus tends to stay at a more neutral temperature than most metals.

2) The choke grip is definitely effective, but only if your gloves are grippy, or you grab tight, or if you just don't pole plant terribly hard (maybe just choke up on side-hills rather than during aggressive descents if you're worried about it). Better yet, do all three! If you have wet, slippery gloves and don't grab onto the pole tight when you're choked up, you'll likely slip. I wish there was more of a grip there, but I think it has more to do with the gloves than the pole itself in this case.

3/4) The arms on the baskets are incredibly stiff and the lugs are designed so you can manipulate risers and toe levers instead of using the grip.

5) Carbon fiber is really good for a lot of things, but sharp/focused impacts are not its strong suit. I'd definitely advise against knocking snow off of your skis with any carbon pole. We haven't ever seen any broken Helio poles for what it's worth, but the vast majority of warranties we file for carbon poles are from user error. You get to the top of the climb, knock snow off of your skis and boots by whacking them with the lower third of your carbon poles, transition, start to head down, put your weight on it for the first pole plant of the descent and bam, the pole fails in the same place that you hit your ski with. Happens all the time. Carbon poles are awesome for just about every single other situation you could put a pole in except for a focused impact and rarely, if ever, do we see them fail because of a manufacturing defect. Because they're so light (less kinetic energy) you'd either have to hit a tree branch really, really hard or hit something sharper (like a ski edge) just right. But yeah, like I said earlier, maybe they nailed it with the Helio construction because we just haven't seen any of them break which is awesome and confidence inspiring.
Answer this question:

10/26/2018
by Nat (downright abused product)
 
I put 50+ days on the Helio Poles touring in the 2017/18 season and they are still going strong. These poles are crazy light. Like blow away in the wind light. Be careful. They are also very strong and proving equally durable. I try to refrain from bashing tree branches on the skinner and whacking snow off my boots - otherwise I use and abuse these poles and would be surprised if I didn't get many more seasons of use to come. By far these are THE BEST poles I have ever used for touring.
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