Simms Pro Wading Staff

David Anderson accepts his vertical reality

There’s really no excuse. I was pretty much standing still on dry, nearly level bedrock on a favourite steep and nasty twiggy stream. A golf ball size stone under my right foot shifted, no more than a couple of inches, and I fell. One hand, the smart one, wrangled my two cameras to safety against my chest and the stupid one sacrificed itself to break a short fall that would have otherwise only resulted in bruised ego and possibly a sore bum.

Spending 10 weeks with a cast on my broken casting arm through the best part of the season gave me a lot of time to think, and I came to the conclusion that despite considering myself reasonably fit for my age, it might be time to stop laughing at the guys with wading staffs.

The new Simms Pro staff is very light and folds down to a compact and easily carried 45cm.  It adjusts out to 120–140cm with a simple locking lug. It is very cleverly packaged in a rigid holster with a lanyard on a large zinger so it can’t float away. I’ve found a place for it in a side pocket of my pack where I can easily grab it, give it a quick shake to lock all the sections into place and then wade confidently forward.

On larger rivers, like the lower Thredbo, the staff comes out for faster water crossings, or deeper water where I can use it to probe the bottom for the best footing. On any bedrock surfaces under water, it’s invaluable for the extra balance and confidence. I’ve also found the pro staff a very useful general walking stick on the sometimes steep slopes to and from the water. Walking down steep slopes in particular is much easier as I can remain upright and better balanced.

The Simms Pro Wading Staff comes in at $349 AUD and is now a permanent companion.