User Review: Mountainsmith Rhyolite 6061
Price Paid: Free w/ Maverick Backpack
I received these poles for free with my Mountainsmith Maverick pack. For the price (free), you can't beat them. At the time of purchase, I never used trekking poles. But, I wasn't prepared to turn down a free set. Now that I've started using trekking poles, I find them indispensable. Most of my hiking is uphill into the mountains for the night and back downhill the next day. The stability added by trekking poles makes the purchase of a set worthwhile.
That said, I've used these poles for about 2 years. Until recently, most of my complaints have been mostly annoyances. The hiking baskets on the tip tend to come loose and fall off at the worst times. My friend who had the same set lost both of his almost immediately after purchase.
I was able to keep both of mine until last weekend when I lost one while snowshoeing atop 30 feet of snow in the Hakkoda Mountains. The pole was rendered useless in snow without a basket.
The strength is also not great. My friend bent one of his while backpacking in Italy and I bent one of mine in the snow last weekend. Luckily, I was able to straighten mine for the remainder of the trip. My friend's pole was rendered useless.
I'm also not fond of the locking mechanisms. With mine, I usually had problems getting them to unlock after a trip. I usually had to get my pliers on them in order to get them loose. In the snow, however, it was a different story. When cold, I couldn't keep the locking mechanisms tight enough to prevent collapse. Coming down the slope, I finally gave up on them after continuous collapsing. As a result, I spent a lot of time picking myself back up from the snow.
Overall, I wouldn't recommend the purchase of these poles by themselves. A little extra money would be well spent on better poles. However, I would recommend the purchase of the Maverick pack/trekking pole combo. The pack is a good buy for the money and these trekking poles are a decent enough introduction to trekking poles.