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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Winter Alpine and Ice Glove Choices: part 1

Doug in a pair of the new Alpine Alibis.

Last couple of years my winter alpine and ice glove selection has narrowed a lot.  I no longer go looking for all the "new gloves".  I found what I thought were some pretty good gloves over the past couple of winters.  From what I have seen on the show room racks I have no reason to make any big changes in brands or the current styles from what I am using with a few exceptions I'll get to later.

What follows is *not* the list of gloves I have tried over the last two or three winters but my list of the "best" gloves currently available for my own climbing, leashless in cold weather.  Generally I can get buy in relative comfort using a fairly lwt glove.   You might not so YMMV.  Nothing worse than cold hands or feet.  Try  the idea of lwt gloves before you buy into the idea too deaply.  Take something besides just the glove I suggest on a climb and see how it goes.  You might regret my suggestions ;)

Two manufactures that I think are worth looking at, Outdoor Research and Mountain Hardware.

Outdoor Research first, simply because I have been using them the longest.   Another blog coming on Mtn Hardware gloves shortly.   Outdoor reasearch has a long list of great gloves made specifically for alpine and ice. But not everything I use from OR was designed for cold weather climbing.  It says a lot for their products I think that even the Vert I use a a good bit of the time in winter as one of my main climbing gloves in the Cascades and almost as often in Canada.

I use the Vert, the Extravert, the Arete, the Alpine Albi and the pretty amazing Firebrand (more on it later) depending on the temps and what I am attempting to do.  

The Alpine Alibi is an exceptional glove now with heat pack pockets both front and back in this glove.  It allows a much more user friendly glove (read thin) to be use in colder weather.  They are awesome with a nice gautlet and leather palms.  It is now one of my go to gloves.

Almost all the OR gloves were redesigned and improved last year and the difference is stark.  The gloves were good before.  They are awesome imo now.  Best thing besides the performance offered I think is the range of retail prices OR offers.  Vert is $50 and a steal imo for a winter glove that will do anything.  Arete is $89. and will do anything, go anywhere for a Goretex winter climbing glove with a removable liner.  What is not to like?

The Vert, while inexpensive can be used on approaches, back country skiing and on the climb.  I've used the several times on Polar Circus in mild conditions and amazingly, couldn't have been happier even on the long raps.  The new Extravert is a bit warmer and better reinforced in the palm with a velcro closure.  It is an awsome glove for most winter activity if you can stay out of running water..

The Vert

The Extravert

The Arete

And the over the top OR Firebrand for the most extreme conditions
More on it in part 3

Lee in a pair of the OR Arete 


Ian said...

The Arete has rubber palms and gets slimy when wet. Long raps will kill the palms. They're inexpensive so maybe it doesn't matter but there are better options from OR.

Dane said...

I find the rubber gripped gloved sticky, not slimy and generally prefer a leather palm for that reason. Also while not perfect for rapping I've had the same rubber palms hold of pretty well when required on rappels. But again I prefer leather.

Worth noting all the other gloves I suggested are leather palmed. That wasn't by accident.

But a full Gortex glove with a removeable liner for under $100 is hard to beat as is OR's lifetime warrenty.

Ian said...

Check out the Highcamp glove, it has a leather palm, removable PL100 liner, and Primaloft1 insulation. I replaced my Arete gloves with the Highcamp. Retail is under $100.

I found they run a little tight but after a couple of uses have stretched a bit. I also switched to a regular PL100 liner glove that stay on when you pull off the outer glove. The shell is pretty good all by itself as well.

SweBrian said...

How's the sizing on the Alpine Alibi II's? Can't find a local retailer that has them in stock in sweden. . .

Dane said...

I'm an XL and found them a little tight. The Hydra fits me better over all.

Anonymous said...

dear dane,

what do you think about the nordwand glove from mammut or expertpro glove, or the siam glove also both from mammut

it's for winter mixt climbing


Dane said...

Sorry, I have not used any of the Mammut products. Hopefully that will change in the future.

Anonymous said...

ok thanks anyway

would you use the quark (petzl) with orwithout te trigger from the trigrest

Dane said...

Several pictures here of my own Quarks...I remove the trigger.

Unknown said...


In regards to the Alpine Alibi II, have you ever had any issues with them because they do not have a removable liner?

I'm thinking about pulling the trigger on these and/or their new Warrant gloves for this coming ice season. Thoughts?

Thanks a million, love the blog!

Dane said...

Hi Chris, Both are really nice, well made, leashless gloves. Both are pretty thin and not made to a have a removeable liner. Goretex keeps them dry and OR's awesome warrenty if it doesn't. Both are great to climb in as long as it isn't really super cold. For what they are intended I suspect you would like either one...I do.

Unknown said...


How do you feel these hold up when subjected to rope work (rapping)?

Dane said...

Rapping on wet gloves can eat them up pretty quickly if you aren't careful. I've chewed up more than one pair rapping at night and not paying attention. But OR's warrenty is awesome. And at least with the leather palmed gloves I've had great long term results and durability.