The Leki Super Makalu Ergometric AS was the first…
Price Paid: $140
The Leki Super Makalu Ergometric AS was the first trekking pole I have ever used. I used this pair on a recent multi-day hiking trip. Sticks were great to have--especially when footblisters occured. Sticks enabled me to carry the load my feet could not continue to carry.
However, I found using these poles rather frustrating. They are claimed to retain their adjustable positions with minimum torque. However, even with tightening the shafts nearly as much as I could, they would often fail a few hours into a hike and have to be re-tightened. Failure occurred with both poles, multiple times. When the pole partially collapses, it will catch one by surprise. Hopefully, one can recover from the stagger OK.
At one point during an aggressive, steep ascent over wet snow, as I pulled the pole out of the snow, the lower portion was loose enough that it pulled out of its pull all the way up to the plastic clutching mechanism. I found this out on the next plant as the pole bent. The bending was, I believe, restricted to the plastic clutching mechanisim, and central screw. However, I had to continue the steep, slippery ascent with one working pole, which was rather precarious. Fortunately, I had a multi-tool with a plier and I was able to get the pole back together.
Also, on the right pole, the shock mechanism started to stick, and eventually would not function. I did no maintainance on the poles (cleaning the insides), yet. Perhaps, this would obviate some of the slippage/sticking problems. However, it seems like a real hassle to need to be doing this regularly for a device used in backcountry and rough conditions.
I experienced a sprain type of injury in my left wrist due to use, also.
On the plus side, it was helpful to have adjustment capability for steep ascent or descent conditions. The carbine tips showed little wear dispite hitting lots of rocks and pounding soil and cinders. I found the poles very helpful in crossing streams. The small plastic baskets that came with them seem to work well in a variety of conditions--mud, creek bottoms, sand/soft cinders, and wet snow. Although, they are showing heavy wear after about 25 miles. The hard plastic edges have been feathered soft. The shock mechanism was very nice to have when it worked. However, the return from compression make this clicking sound and vibration in the pole. So, one would be clicking through the forest like a semi-droid with these.
Overall, the poles worked very well--when they worked. I think they were rather pricey give the trouble I had with them.