MSR Dynalock Carbon Ascent Poles

Review: MSR Dynalock Carbon Ascent Poles

MSR’s new Dynalock Carbon Ascent poles are lightweight, sturdy and quite versatile. With a folding design they collapse down to a small package that easily be stashed inside a pack when not needed. But when deployed the well thought out poles are a fantastic option for both winter and summer. Great for winter skiing, riding and snowshoeing with the powder basket but swap it out for the smaller summer basket and the poles excel at alpine climbing, trekking and mountaineering. The only thing that might be an issue for some people, though not for my 5′-10″ frame, is the lack of overlap in the lengths between the small and large options.

Features:

  • 3-segment folding design
  • Variable length:
    • Small: 100-120cm
    • Large: 120-140cm
  • Collapsed length: 37cm (small)
  • Dynalock length adjustment closure
  • Materials:
    • Kevlar-reinforced Carbon Fiber segments
    • Aluminum alloy segment joints
    • EVA foam handles
    • Carbide tips
  • Weight (per pair):
    • Small: 471g
    • Large: 496g
  • Summer & Snow baskets

I’ve been using a pair of these poles for just over 5 months or about 100 days now. I started using them as a ski touring and ski mountaineering pole but when summer rolled around I swapped baskets and have since been using them as my alpine climbing approach / mountaineering pole. With all this use and abuse the poles have stood up surprisingly well. I typically expect to break 1 to 2 lightweight carbon poles every summer. However, the MSR Ascent poles have stood the test of time. They may be scraped up, scuffed and worn in a few areas but they’re still going strong!

MSR Dynalock Carbon Ascent Poles
The poles come with both summer and winter baskets.

The poles are primarily constructed of a Kevlar-reinforced carbon fiber which makes them quite durable despite being very light-weight. That’s not the whole story though. Aluminum alloy has been used on the joints and on a cuff at the pole extension lock for increased rigidity and strength. The segments are held together with a thin plastic coated cable much like an avalanche probe while the Dynalock contraption looks to be a mixture of stainless steel and aluminum alloy.

MSR Dynalock Carbon Ascent Poles
The joints between segments are reinforced with an aluminum alloy. The cable connecting the segments is showing a bit of wear but I don’t expect any issues for a long time yet.
MSR Dynalock Carbon Ascent Poles
The Dynalock locking system allows the tension to be adjusted without the use of a screwdriver.

The Dynalock Ascent poles utilize a quick-deploy folding Z type design similar to Black Diamond but in a much more finessed package. First, the Dynalock name comes from a new adjustable locking system that can be tightened without requiring a screwdriver. And second, the lock is pointed in a backward direction, a small but important design feature. It means that the lock won’t catch on a bush or tree branch when skiing and inadvertently open. I’ve lost the bottom section of a few BD poles over the years that exact way.

The poles come in the two sizes, a small and large. The small poles are 37cm long when collapsed and have a working range of 100cm to 120cm when extended. The large are 120 to 140cm long when extended. The lack of overlap in the extended length will make choosing between a small or large a bit difficult for anyone that likes a pole around 120cm long, too bad there’s no overlap. The collapsed length of 37cm is ideal for stashing the poles in a pack which makies them a great option for split-boarders, climbers and ski-mountaineers.

MSR Dynalock Carbon Ascent Poles

Summary:

Pros: Lightweight, versatile, durable, very functional

Cons: No overlap in the sizing

Overall: A great option for both winter and summer as they work great for winter skiing, riding and snowshoeing with the powder basket. Swap it out for the smaller summer basket and the poles work great for alpine climbing, trekking and mountaineering.

A review sample was provided for testing but of course this did not influence us in any way.