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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Leashless Gloves?

The simply amazing OR Vert.

Two items in winter climbing are a major concern for me on every trip. Those are boots and gloves. Match the wrong set to a climb and things can be miserable. Get the right set of boots and gloves for the effort and temps involved and things can sail sweetly along with you living in comfort and warmth.

Gloves for me are as much a chance choice as a well researched project. Kelly Cordes has a good article on his blog and a bunch of real world users that added their own data points. Nice to see what I came up with over a few seasons as choices for my own use are pretty much what was recommended there.

Dig around in Kelly's site for glove info. There is more besides this link.

I am a big believer in carrying multiple pairs of gloves. Although with the best gloves (I am using now) the extra pairs required is going down. Another caution...these gloves and my glove system WILL NOT work well in cold weather if you are climbing on leashes.

The "go to" BD HeavyWeight

First glove I use a lot and really like is a simple Black Diamond liner glove call the "HeavyWeight". Cheap at $30 a pair and seem to last for ever. I use them on every approach that requires a glove. They are a must have for me.
BD's info and spec.
Style Number: BD801066_cfg
Ideal for gaining vertical without overheating.
•300 g (11 oz) Polartec® Power Stretch® fleece
•Full goat leather palm with Kevlar stitching
•Silicon-imprinted fingertips
•Knit cuff to seal out the weather

The OR ExtraVert

The next two gloves are from Outdoor Research and considered part of their "work glove" line up. Still on the grand scheme of things fairly cheap. $50 for the Vert and $60 for the ExtraVert a pair which seems like a real deal price wise to me. I am most likely to actually climb in the VERT. But the ExtraVert was the glove that first brought me to OR. I've found over time that climbing leashless and with the right amount of clothes (with good wrist seal designs) I can go even lighter on my glove choices. Wrist seals on the shell gear and half glove extensions on my inner layer allow for the lightest gloves while still having warm hands in even some pretty cold conditions.

The third glove and one of my all time favorites, like the OR Vert, a pair I am most likely to be climbing in is the Mountain Hardware Hydra glove. These guys rock for cold weather leashless climbing. Big enough internally to take the HeavyDuty or any lwt liner if required on cold belay duty. But also climb every well and are warm just as they come.

The exceptional MH Hydra

From the MH web site.
Hydra Glove: A flexible soft shell glove designed for alpine climbing, with OutDry® Waterproof Technology. We bond the waterproof, breathable OutDry® membrane to four-way stretch soft shell fabric, sealing out water, wind, and cold. Lined with high-pile fleece for comfort.
MSRP: 100.00
Gender Mens
Usage Alpine Climbing / Mountaineering
Weight 7 oz. / 190 g.
Lining Velboa™ Raschel
Palm Material Water-resistant Goatskin Leather
Body 4-Way Stretch Nylon Soft Shell
Laminate OutDry® Waterproof Technology

I have all sorts of other gloves/mitts but these are what I am actually using and have for a few seasons now. Couple of things worth noting. All have a leather palm. Leather palms and fingers are durable for raps and most importantly easy to place screws with. Decent grip on rubber wrapped shafts as well. All but the ExtraVert are very easy to dry out. The Verts I have soaked through and literally had to wring water out of several times on the same climb and then could wear them dry while rapping down in below zero temps. I was impressed. If only boots were so easy! With a tiny bit of redesgn the Vert from OR could easily lead the field in gloves for my style of climbing.

My list of features for a good glove?
Leather palms, Shoeller material body, nose wipe, medium to long, well tailored, wrist cuff, both finger and cuff hangers and preferably a low profile velcro seal on the cuff and wrist. Or at least a better elastic draw cord arrangement than what is common in most everyone's design. Easy to turn inside out to dry....or at least easy to dry. And most importantly FLAT SEAMS on the bottom of the little finger and hopefully those seams on the side, not the bottom of the finger. Seams there, when climbing leashless, will make your life miserable in the extreme.

Outdoor Research and Mtn Hardware are both very close to my "ultimate" glove.

There are obviously lots of gloves out there. I've tried all sorts of off the wall answers that were not climbing specific. And BD has an entire line of climbing gloves I have never seen. No one seems to carry them all locally. Others must make good gloves as well I suspect. Look around! Some of the better cross country ski glove manufactures make awesome gloves that will work great for leashless climbing. After all the best gloves I have found are "work" gloves from OR. OR doesn't even consider either model than many of us are using climbing gloves! Even REI makes some nice gloves that can do double duty. In fact one of my favorite gloves to solo shorter alpine and ice in is the REI Minimalist. But you can't easily place a screw with the super sticky rubber palm and they are a bitch to dry out. It takes a least a full day and some times more at home to get them dry with that glove turned almost inside out. At $35 a pair or better yet $15. a pair on sale I use them from time to time. A leather palm and a OutDry liner would make the REI Minimalist a real keeper imo even at $60.

Like anyone would take note and actually make a climbing specific glove for today's standards?!

The REI Minimalist


James925 said...

Dane, what do you think of using a thinnish neoprene (2-3mm) glove for dry/mixed climbing? I picked some up at work today after it occured to me that the biggest problem with gloves is getting wet, so why not just get a pair that stays warm when they are wet? I bought the MEC Humboldt 2mm gloves. They have leather palms, are made from Polartec Stretch Neo, and have sticky tack all over the underside of the hand for grip. $20. Your thoughts?

Dane said...

They sound great to me. Let me know how they work out please?

Nickname unavailable said...

Hey Dane,
I see this is from 2010. Can you give us an update on newer gloves you have had good experience with?

I am looking for a waterproof glove with good sensitivity for climbing vert ice leashless on Nomics.

Side note I have pretty big mitts.

I have MH Talisman xl, I love the feel they give, but they have zero waterproofing, and the seams on the inside of fingers take up precious realestate.

I also have Marmot Amphibian xl (older ones with whiteish palms)
They are to small, and the water resistance has gone from poor to zero....

Thanks for all your insight :)