Learning to hold a walking stick properly was a major improvement in my hiking ability. For those who disagree with what is about to be explained, please feel free to use whatever style you like. During my working time in Washington state a lot of hiking was done. My arthritic fingers always gave me trouble during a hike. Gripping the walking stick tight enough to keep my hand from sliding caused a lot of pain as the day wore on.
On night at the local REI store they were having a beginning hiking class. Of course my brain already knew everything, but it looked like it might be fun to just sit in. Much of the class was repetition of things already known. Carry extra water etc etc.
The instructor was as big a fan of using a hiking staff (walking stick to me) as I was. He started this session with the question “Does everyone know how to hold a walking stick?” Naturally a lot of snickers from the audience including me. WOW was I about to get a lesson. We will omit the embarrassing portion that happened next. When his point was proven that yes there is technique to holding a walking stick, my attention was riveted to his lesson.
There are many different criteria for choosing a stick that will fit your needs and wants. This blog entry is only about holding it properly.
Your stick needs a lanyard of some type attached at the top of the stick. A thick line will do, but you will soon see that a flat wide strap is a lot better. The one on my choice of sticks is shown in the next picture.
Your grip is only to control where the ground contact point of the walking stick goes. You never support your weight with your hand.
To hold the stick properly, insert your hand through the loop like you are going to shake hands with the stick. Your grip on the stick will always be very light to relieve your fingers and palm of strain.
The strap will lay under your palm toward your wrist as shown in the above picture. The exact position will vary slightly from person to person and during the day. All the weight of lifting your body goes into the strap. NONE of the weight goes into your grip. The strap is adjusted to give you some slack to wiggle the stick for choosing the placement of the point and position your grip at the chosen spot on the stick.
The reason many sticks are adjustable in height is so your forearm will be parallel to the ground when on flat ground. On mine the height is adjusted by sliding a portion of the stick in and out and locking it. When you head uphill, it is shortened some. When you are going down hill it is lengthened some.
Once you learn this technique, it will make walking or hiking a lot better for trying to have tooooo much fun. TheOFM.