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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 2

Yep, that is me in a pair of Mtn Hardware Hydras.  On a "warm" day last Feb. high on the Midi.

Obviously I am showing some brand loyalty on my glove choice here.  But as I mentioned briefly these are *NOT* the only gloves I have climbed in, bought or tried or seen fail on my partner's hands in the last few years.  Just what I like this year and have a history with the earlier versions.

So...the Mountain Hardware gloves?

The amazing Hydra


Minus One


There are four gloves from Mountain Hardware that I use a lot these days.  The Minus One, the Hydra, and the Typhon or Medusa.  Again Mtn Hardware also has a lot of good glove designs available for climbing.  These are what I like for my own climbing and not the only Mountain Hardware gloves I have used.

Funny thing about gloves. Until last winter I didn't think it got much colder than the Canadian Rockies.  I've spent some pretty cold days and nights out climbing on the Columbia Ice Fields mid winter.  So last winter when I headed to Chamonix for a couple of months of  winter climbing I wasn't expecting anything I hadn't done previous.  Or being any colder.  Silly me fior thinking that.

The Hydra, like the OR Alpine Alibi but a little warmer, seemed to be to be enough glove the majority of time for me climbing any where.  Well they were anyway until we rapped off the Midi Bridge and I then stuck my hands into some cold powder snow for the "hike" down to the  gullies we wanted to climb.  Didn't take long to figure out a Hydra weight glove wasn't going to cut it most of the time in the shade at 12K feet.  Hello?!  The only time I have had cold hands like that was soloing Shooting Gallery in too much snow, mid Jan.  It is the reason I now add tape for insulation on my tools for a high dagger position.

So I ended up in either a Medusa or a Typhon for most of that trip and a majority of the climbing.  And at times they weren't warm enough either if I wasn't moving quick enough.  A little shocking for me really.   Which brings me to Part 3 or my glove choices.

But in general here (Cascades and Canada) the Hydra/Alibi is warm enough.  The mixed thin technical glove, the Minus One (or a Vert)  is great if the temps are warm enough and the climbing hard enough to keep you warm.  I've used the Minus One and Vert on some cold windy days in the Icefields as well, as long as we kept moving.

All the Mtn Hardware gloves are lined with OutDry and water proof and well as breathable.  I like that technology a lot.


marcello said...

Whats ur view on mittens? I love them! They are so much warmer than gloves. If i need to do something with my hands I just take my hands out, and with twice the amount of dexterity ;do the task. Then i reinsert my hands and they are warm as can be, immediantly! Although this doesn't always work, Its my go to system.

Dane said...

Mittens are good. Used them a lot. But haven't in a while as the gloves are warmer these days and more importantly the leashless tools keep your hands warmer as well. Never been a big fan of taking my gloves off....ever. So don't abide Twight's recommendation on that one. Always thought it was dumb for various reasons having worked outside most of my life in winter. But Mark came by the idea honestly so who am I to say?

I still have one more post on the gloves.."part 3". Which addresses mittens....or what I use instead of mittens these days.

Luc said...

I've been running around Montreal trying to find alpine gloves for this season.
MEC had 4 pairs of Alibi II gloves and Alpine, my size (medium) disappeared the day they came in, probably the staff grabbed them...
A couple other stores had the Enforcer and Specialist.
Saw one pair of Impulse in my size.
no Mountain Hardwear climbing gloves...

I still have a pair of BD Ice (?no tags) gloves so no point in doubling up with something similar.

Ended up going back and picking up the Impulse, can't wait to try them out with my Quarks.

For cold weather (This is Quebec, cold is COLD!) I've got my Patagonia Nitro gloves I've pampered for all these years.

I miss the dense wool gloves with thinsulate I had many years back.
I had lined the inside of the hand with beads of seam-grip to protect and add some grip on my axe. Learning the miracle of wool on ice friction.

Jakekirk said...

How do the typhon and the medusa compare? which one is warmer? How is the dexterity?

Dane said...

Jake, from what I can tell they are pretty much the same glove. With only minor changes in how the palms are sewn for added dexterity. Not sure that the idea worked though. The Medusa has a bit better fit for the most part beccasue of how it is sewn but not thrilled with the wrist cinch. So I like the Typon's elastic a bit better. Warmth? Same/ same imo.
Big gloves that are are going to be tight in your normal Nomic setting.

Dynapar said...

I think I am chiming in a bit late, but I was curious if you could provide some more details on the MHW Medusa Glove. Right now these are pretty high on my list of contenders for an ice glove.

How is the dexterity and the size of the glove? How about the warmth and durability? Is the laminated waterproof system as good as claimed? I am debating between the Medusa and the OR Arete.

Thanks in advance!

Dane said...

Medusa is a big glove. Not your typical ice glove if you are leashless. It is too thick. I have and use them but only for really cold temps and long days.
They are durable. Yes on Outdry..try a search here this and more has already been talked about/discussed.

I take an XL and MH fits me well. OR is hit or miss in the XL sizing for me. Arete? There is a reason for the difference in price.