Gear Review: Black Diamond Ultra Mountain FL Trekking Pole – Women’s

(Last Updated On: July 31, 2014)

The Black Diamond Ultra Mountain FL Trekking Pole is one of the newest additions to my gear pile this summer. I have been impressed with the performance, durability, and range of uses for this trekking pole.

I have been testing the Women’s version of this pole, which is aluminum and comes in two different sizes: 1) 95-110 cm and 2) 105-125 cm. Being on the shorter side of the size-spectrum, I have been testing the shorter version of this pole, 95-110 cm.

The Black Diamond Ultra Mountain FL Trekking pole
The Black Diamond Ultra Mountain FL Trekking pole

Grip


The webbing on strap of the grip is soft and moisture-wicking, making it comfortable for bare hands. Additionally, Black Diamond shaped each strap as mirror image, making a defined left and right pole, increasing comfort. Most noticeable, though is that the grip is made from EVA foam which is also moisture-wicking. Putting this to the test, the EVA foam truly does work. My sweaty hands don’t slip on these poles. This is a huge difference from the plastic grips on my ski poles!

I also enjoy the expanded grip that moves down on the pole. This allows me to grip the pole easily (without slip) lower down on the shaft, great in technical rocky areas. The expanded grip makes this pole more useful in a wide range of trekking terrain.

Z-Pole Technology

For years, I have used trekking poles. While I often roll with one pole, I don’t always use two – until I have to start to walk long and/or steep downhills. My older poles typically did not fit into my average-sized daypacks, so I came up with creative methods to strap them on the outside. But, the Z-pole technology built into the Ultra Mountain Trekking Pole allows these poles to collapse to 14 inches which easily fits inside my day pack.

The z-pole technology allows my Ultra Mountain Trekking pole to fit into my day pack!
The z-pole technology allows my Ultra Mountain Trekking pole to fit into my day pack!

Compare this with last year’s women’s Trail Shock Trekking Poles (awesome in their own right, but less collapsible) which only collapse to 24 inches. That’s a huge difference!

Black Diamond Trail Shock poles vs the Ultra Mountain Poles
Black Diamond Trail Shock poles vs the Ultra Mountain Poles.

Backcountry skiers may recognize the technology used to allow these poles to collapese, z-pole technology. It was first used by Black Diamond in their avalanche probes. By pressing a little button, shown below, the tension in the pole is released, allowing it to collapse into the three different z-sections.
z-pole technology from Black Diamond

Adjustability

Flick-lock Pro technology is used to adjust the size of the poles. This same technology is used in my BD ski poles and Trail Shock Trekking poles. In these poles the Flick-lock is used to also collapse the pole, allowing for a huge range of sizing options. But, in the Ultra Mountain FL Trekking Pole, the z-pole technology limits the use of the Flick-lock. So, the pole can only be adjusted 15 cm. For most trekkers, this is plenty of adjustment, me included. My poles can go as short as 95 cm or as long as 110 cm.

BD flick-lock technology
Pole expanded to 110 cm
The poles shortened to 95 cm, with the Flick-lock lever open
The poles shortened to 95 cm, with the Flick-lock lever open

Tips

The Ultra Mountain FL Trekking Pole is pre-installed with carbide tips.

Carbide tip on Black Diamond trekking poles
Carbide tip

These are great for ice or snow. I personally also like them in dirt or mud. But, in rocky terrain, they slip. So, these poles also come with a rubber tip which can be easily interchanged. Forget those silly little tip-covers that always fell off! Those are a thing of the past!

Changing tips on a Black Diamond trekking pole
The tips can be changed with the aid of a simple multi-tool.
Rubber tip on Black Diamond trekking poles
The rubber tip screws on easily and should be tightened with a multi-tool.

Baskets

The Ultra Mountain FL Trekking Pole is considered to be a 4-season pole. However, the smaller basket won’t do in powdery conditions. That’s what the powder baskets are for, also included.

Baskets on Black Diamond poles
The trekking basket is attached, and the powder basket is to the side.

Video

The video below demonstrates how the z-pole and Flick-lock technologies are integrated to create an easy-to-use trekking pole.

Synopsis

I love the Black Diamond Ultra Mountain FL Trekking Pole. They are light, easy to use, easy to collapse or expand, provide enough adjustment in length, are comfortable on my hands, and seem to cope well with my sweaty hands. Although sold as a 4-season pole, the pole flexes a bit more than I’d like in an actual ski pole. So, I don’t plan on using it often for skiing. But, it’s nice to have the option to have the ability to use this trekking pole as a ski pole as well if needed. And that same flex is what makes this one of the beneficial features of the Ultra Mountain as a trekking pole.

This is the trekking pole I’ve always wanted. I just didn’t know it before 🙂

If you wish to purchase this the BD Ultra Mountain FL Trekking pole (Men’s or Women’s), click on one of the links below!

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things,Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate 🙂 Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

Latest posts by Brittany Walker Konsella (see all)

Brittany Walker Konsella

Aside from skiing, biking, and all outdoorsy things, Brittany Walker Konsella also loves smiles and chocolate :) Even though she excels at higher level math and chemistry, she still confuses left from right. Find out more about Brittany!

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