Variant Approach


Page Type Gear Review
Object Title Variant Approach
Manufacturer Life-Link
Page By cluck
Page Type Jan 23, 2003 / Jan 23, 2003
Object ID 638
Hits 4055

The hybrid, do it all, trekking, ski, compact, expedition, super light, wonder. The Variant Approach has been hiding in our trekking line but has been asked for by our pro’s every spring as they head overseas on expeditions. With it’s 14 oz. per pair total weight and ability to pack to 30” for stowage in duffle bags, on packs, yaks, or in technical terrain, it’s no wonder the Approach is such an all-purpose expedition pole. The short length works excellent in steep accents, and is an ideal tool when the optional Claw self-arrest grips are added. Converts to an avalanche probe with the optional (20” long) probe extender.


  • Non-slip Ovalized Alluminum upper and oval lock system

  • Releasable “break away” straps incase the pole gets caught by a tree

  • Overmolded soft, comfortable grip, great shape for small hands

  • Built in 6 degree corrective angle on grip

  • Carbon fiber shaft for excellent swing weight, less drag and low total weight.

  • Friction zone, on shaft, for adjustment in even the worst weather

  • Adjustment Range- 30”-49”

  • Weight 14 oz. per pair with baskets

  • Reviews

    Viewing: 1-2 of 2

    cluck - Jan 23, 2003 1:05 pm - Voted 5/5

    Untitled Review
    These poles are the BEST. Super lightweight carbon fiber shaft means you hardly notice you're carrying them. They are extremely compact when stowed on a pack. Grip tape around the shaft by the basket makes it very easy to adjust these even in the snow with thick gloves on. The best feature is that you can screw out the shafts and combine them to make a 6 foot probe pole. Also, you can buy a 20" probe extender ($11.50) to combine with the shafts and make a probe almost 8 feet.

    hmronnow - Jan 29, 2005 2:55 am - Voted 4/5

    Untitled Review
    I also really like these poles.
    The fact that they are in only two sections makes them sturdier and lighter, and still pack short enough to be of no annoyance when attached to pack.
    The grip zone just above basket indeed makes it very easy to adjust. However, I'm not sure the avalance probe option works well. It requires pulling off the baske, which is no easy job and might easily be a major obstacle in the hectic situation that I imagine an avalanche aftermatch would be to most.

    My poles have taken some bashing during 2 years. The carbon-fibre part is fine, the tips are still very sharp, most painting has come off the alu-shaft, but that doesn't matter for durability. I ski-tour and have done a couple of week's resort skiing with the poles as well - still no bends or breaks. However, the plastic ring/seal between alu-part and carbon-fibre part sometimes slips down. No big deal, but if it gets worse it will be a nuissance.

    On two occasions in foul weather have I experienced that the alu-part froze over with an up to 5mm layer of ice - nothing on the carbon part. I do not know if this is a frequent phenomena, but it did make the pole heavy, and I imagine that an all alu-pole would freeze over also on lower part making it even more heavy.

    Mine are the slightly heavier version (rubber instead of foam grip - still lighter than almost any 3-section pole), but in return they gave me both small and large baskets. It is possible to buy grips that have a miniature ice-axe-like pick built in. I may consider this option, or perhaps try one of the axes on the market that have a telescoping pole built into the shaft. (problem is to get top notch in both functions).

    In summary, I give 4 stars because I like them - but they are not perfect.

    As a side-remark, I generally think that people give too high ratings on this site. Remember that the purpose of reviewing gear is to help othe people decide what to buy. It is not much help if most of the reviewed products all have the same top grade 5. I suggest the following approach:
    3: an ok product
    4: a good product
    5: a perfect product - i.e. a product wehre nothing could be improved.

    Viewing: 1-2 of 2