All about that Scraper Grip: Touring with the all-new BCA Scepter Aluminum ski poles

All about that Scraper Grip: Touring with the all-new BCA Scepter Aluminum ski poles

The thought of geeking out on ski poles is pretty farfetched, right? I mean, plenty of skiers forgo using ski poles altogether.

No poles, no problem in the park.

But, as opposed to skiing in the park, when venturing into the backcountry, your ski poles are as integral a component to your setup as your skis and skins. New for 2015-16, Backcountry Access (BCA) is introducing a line of backcountry-specific ski poles, dubbed the Scepter line. I took the Scepter Aluminum out on a recent Berthoud Pass, Colorado backcountry adventure.

BCA Scepter Aluminum ski pole

The BCA Scepter Alumnium ski pole. Image courtesy of BCA

Despite its aluminum build (weight-crazed backcountry skiers will look to the BCA Scepter Carbon Alum pole), the Scepter Aluminum weighs in at a petite 8.8 ounces. And while it’d be nice to yoke out my triceps with some beefier poles, conserving energy is higher up on my list, so easing the poling efforts on the uphill is key.

The Scepter Aluminum also comes with a few other built-in features I found handy. The “Scraper Grip” was designed to help scrape off excess snow from the top of your ski to shed weight. The nifty graphic below reveals how much weight can be saved by ridding your top sheets of excess snow. For example, a 184 cm-long K2 Pinnacle 118 with an average of five millimeters of buildup on each top sheet has 404 grams (.9 lbs) of added weight per pair. According to BCA co-founder Bruce Edgerly, “one pound on your feet is the equivalent of about four pounds on your back, since you have to push this up the hill with each step.” I’ll take those weight savings any day.

BCA Scepter Poles weight saved graphic

Saving weight with the Scraper Grip. Image courtesy of BCA

There wasn’t quite enough snow for that to be an issue for me, but I found the Scraper Grip useful when changing modes and transitioning the heel elevators on my Salomon Guardian bindings. A built-in utility hook on the front of the grip also aids with this. The grip is also designed to fit comfortable and securely in your hand without the use of straps. The straps are included with purchase, but are easily removable for safer travel in avalanche terrain.

Scraper Grip for the win!

The Scepter Aluminum also has a sprayed-on grip texture that enables solid hold when choking up on the pole in uneven touring terrain. The adjustable-length shaft helps achieve this, too.

If you’re in the market for some new backcountry ski poles, aren’t overly obsessed with carbon construction and looking to enter at a lower price point, check out the Scepter Aluminum poles in the fall of 2015.

Related: The BCA Float 8: A minimalist airbag pack ideal for lift-accessed backcountry laps

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