The new LT5 3-piece trekking poles are here! Brand Ambassador Sirena Dufault took them for a 5-day backpacking trip on a route in the Grand Canyon and here are her first impressions:

I have been using Gossamer Gear's LT4 collapsible trekking poles for two years now. I love the light weight and have found them to be sturdy enough for off-trail travel. When I backpack in the Arizona desert or the Grand Canyon, I am often using my reflective umbrella, which requires me to put one of my poles into my Mariposa's side pocket. The two-piece LT4's, when collapsed, stuck out of my pack just a little too far and had caused some clearance issues when scrambling.

The new LT5

That's why I was thrilled to hear that Gossamer Gear has come out with the new 3-piece collapsible carbon fiber hiking poles, the LT5. I took these poles out on a recent backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon on the Escalante Route and Tonto Trails, from Tanner to Grandview Trailhead.

Here are the specs on the new poles:

Pole with strap and basket - 5.3 oz / 150 g Pole - 4.6 oz / 130 g Strap and screw .- .4 oz / 12 g Basket - .3 oz / 8 g

Adjust from

23.5" / 60 cm when closed to 51" 130 cm when fully extended for hiking

Section Lengths

Top section 19.5" / 49.53 cm Middle section 19.25" / 48.98 cm Tip section 18.75" / 47.62 cm

The Escalante Route starts, as most hikes in the Canyon do, with a 4,600 foot drop in elevation to the Colorado River. The Tanner trail is steep, loose and rocky and I had my poles lengthened for the downhill. Several miles from the river, the Tanner Trail slopes to the right away from the hillside. This causes one part of the trail to be significantly higher, so I shortened the uphill pole. My knees are a weak point for me and I wear patellar tendon straps when hiking. I made it to Tanner Beach on the Colorado River with no knee pain.

Tanner Trail in the snow - photo by MarkS

Descending to Tanner Beach

Though it had been snowing on the rim, by the time I got down to 2700 feet it had warmed up considerably. I stowed one of my hiking poles and got out my umbrella. The LT5's profile fit the Mariposa well when collapsed and put into the tent sleeve.

Escalante Route - Photo by India Hesse

The next day had lots of uphill and more of the sloping thin trail headed into Escalante and 75-mile Canyons. Again, having the uphill pole be shorter helped. I had started with the rubber feet on the poles, but removed them to be able to dig my pole tips into the soft soil.

Thin trail in Escalante Canyon - photo by MarkS

The following day the route goes up the 35-foot Papago Wall and down the Papago Slide. I stowed everything to scramble up the wall and get up to the apex of the climb before the Slide. At the Slide, the poles came out again to help navigate the 300-foot talus-filled gully back down to the river.

Up the Papago Wall

India on the Papago Slide

That afternoon, it started to snow, then rain about an hour from camp and I had to set up my tent. The poles have measurements on them so that I could easily extend them to the right length for The One. A great feature when it's raining and you want to get set up as quickly as possible. After the rain, we were treated to the most wonderful evening light and sunset at camp.

The One after the Rain - Photo by India Hesse

The next day we were on the Tonto Trail, which stays on the Tonto Plateau, contouring into and out of Hance Creek and around Ayer Point to our camp in Cottonwood Canyon. No more rain, so I was able to sleep under the stars once again on a perfect ledge above the creek.

Mariposa lilies and Mariposa Backpacks - photo by India Hesse

Lookout point on the Tonto Trail - photo by India Hesse

On the hike out, we went from 3700 to 7400 feet at the Grandview Trailhead in 4.5 miles. The trail is very steep and I used both poles to aid my ascent. Overall, I was very happy with the way the new 3-piece poles performed and I look forward to using them on my future hikes.

Up the Grandview Trail - photo by MarkS

April 21, 2017 — Brian Fryer