Improves Walking Pace

When the terrain is hilly, a different walking pace is adopted in the climbs and descents. People often grab their bags uphill by bending forward. Downhill, on the small slippery rock, one expects to slide at every moment, a little on the bright. With sticks, unless the terrain is really steep, the walking pace with 4 supports on the ground is much more uniform. 


We can keep a steady pace of walking in time. Without completely ignoring the terrain, one can almost disconnect and follow a metronome rhythm. This is one of my favorite sensations on the move. When I let my mind go about other things and I swallow without fail many kilometers.

Walking with sticks

Reduces the Effort on Your Joints

This may seem insignificant in a short distance but increase the gradients and the length of the trek and believe me, you will immediately feel the difference because the weight distribution is more homogeneous. Joints are less stressed. During my solo Tour of White Mountain challenge in less than a week this summer (5.5 days), I woke up on the morning of the 4th day with such horrible knee pain that I thought I had to give up. In the end, I was able to continue by mainly deferring the muscular effort on the sticks and using it as a crutch. 

 

Note that the ideal solution would have been to stop the hike at this point but I wanted to prove to myself that the mind is stronger than the physical. That was the case. Stubborn as a mule. I forced, I finished and I was entitled to more than a month of stopping all physical activity. (very clever, lesson learned. You’ll tell me, it’s like hiking with a bag too heavy to learn through suffering the benefits of light hiking.)

A Supply of Power and Speed

You walk faster with sticks because you also work the upper body. When climbing, you can take advantage of the thrust of its arms that improve traction effort. If your ascent speed is already high, this will keep it longer. If you are a fan of Nordic walking, you know that this increases your average walking speed on flat or false flat. 

 

In the mountains, it’s the same. Efforts are better distributed. In racing (with backpack), they allow rapid reflexes of support on stable positions with the upper body during changes of trajectories without hindering the movement of the legs and without major loss of speed.

Walking in mountains

Greater Balance and Stability Gain

You have 2 more points of support. With your feet, this gives us 4 stable supports. We could almost compete with the ibex. On slippery terrain, where I sometimes slipped because of mud or small rolling stones, I was very happy to catch up by leaning on my sticks. If you also want to start on a downhill race, the stability brought by sticks will be a big advantage.

Smoothing Difficult Terrains

In other words, it is easier to cross obstacles such as rocks (not requiring climbing) as on the Gr20. Crossing small streams also becomes easy.

Walking Comfort

Your walking posture is more natural, less arched (if you hold your sticks well). They must be at waist height, your elbow at 90 degrees when you stand. In fact you should not walk bent like Nepalese porters if you have sticks with you. A real benefit for your back and spine.