ProView – Backcountry Access Scepter Carbon Poles
With the nicest handles and flick lock mechanism, it is clear to see why the Sceptor Carbon poles from Backcountry Access are my new favorite poles for ski touring and ripping pow in the backcountry. With the mountains getting pounded by late winter storms, I set out on a hut trip in the Northern San Juan’s to put these poles to the test.
Backcountry Access Scepter Carbon Poles Review
Product Description: Our lightest pole for the weight-conscious crowd. With an adjustable design, scraper grip, and utility hook, you will be ready for the steepest backcountry terrain.
Offer price: $119.95 MSRP
I really enjoyed using these poles. The handles were comfortable, and I used the scrapper function frequently. The bails worked extremely well in the fresh snow. On the downhill, the poles felt like they had the right amount of stiffness and flexibility that you would expect from an adjustable pole.
- Comfortable handle that doubles as a scrapper
- The leash is basic and not as ergonomic as others on the market
Located at roughly 10,000 feet in the shadow of Mt. Sneffles’ sisters, the Burn Hut became the proving ground for BCA’s Scepter Carbon poles. A massive late winter storm cycle had recently brought feet of snow to the Rockies, and it was continuing to dump. Confident we could remain on low angle terrain and out from beneath any suspect slopes, we elected to embark on the 5.5-mile tour to the hut. For the skin-in, the air temperatures were warm; however, there were occasional snow flurries and 20-30mph wind gusts.
The first few miles of skinning took us through a mix of Aspen forests and open hills. Immediately upon using these poles, I noticed the flick-lock mechanism. Rivaled to others I have used, they were very easy to operate even with gloves. The carbon fiber lower sections had clearly marked lengths and slid smoothly in the aluminum upper shaft. The handles feature removable leashes, and an ergonomic grip, which indexed well. Admittedly, I am not a user of leashes, especially in the backcountry. However, for testing purposes, I opted to uses the leashes on the day one skin-in. The leashes are made from flat webbing and a buckle. Compared to other poles the leashes are simple, and not as ergonomic, however, they did function as leashes should.
At higher elevations, the snow continuously fell making the skin track hard to see. BCAs concave hex basket worked well when breaking trail in the 12-16 inches of fresh snow. The scrapper handle was invaluable in removing the wet heavy snow from the top of my skis making for more pleasant skinning. As we reached the hut, the weather deteriorated: the temperatures dropped, the snowfall increased, and the winds picked up. With tired legs and wet clothes, the dogs, yurt mates, and I retired to the hut for card games and après ski(n).
Waking to single-digit temps, the 18+ inches of fresh snow was dry. I donned my boots and newly unloaded pack and skinned up to a nearby ridge to download the avalanche forecast. The entirety of my short excursion was to the soundtrack of relentless explosions of avalanche mitigation. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center website showed the Northern San Juans were flashing red with an avalanche warning for treeline and higher. With several recent burials and fatalities in the area, we practiced very conservative route selection– keeping the day’s pitches to fairly low angle terrain close to the hut.
Ease of Use
Switching from tour to downhill mode, again I was impressed by the ease at which I could operate the flick-lock and adjust the length of the pole. I also like the grip texture that is applied to the upper shaft. This simple and clean design allows for an excellent grip when choking up on the pole for steep uphill terrain. The handle also features a notch under the top of the handle for releasing boot buckles without having to bend over. As these are one of the lightest backcountry ski poles on the market, they appear durable and have the right amount of stiffness and flexibility for making great turns.
These poles were awesome in the backcountry. They were easy to adjust and performed great! The added features of the removable leashes, scrapper, and buckle notch is the icing on the cake or first tracks if you prefer.
About the Gear Tester
Brook is a Grand Junction, Colorado based professional photographer focusing on the outdoor space. Brook is a contributor to Rock & Ice and Mountain Flyer magazines. When not behind the lens, Brook can be found adventuring around the west or climbing in Spanish speaking countries. You can view Brook’s work at www.brookhayerphotography.com or on Instagram @brookhayer. Connect with Brook by email at [email protected] or on IG.