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The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

The cold world of skimo & alpine climbing

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Full Spectrum of Gloves?

When the rock does this to a set of picks in a few pitches...think what it will do to gloves?

                          How every alpine glove eventually ends up.

One of the topics that came up in the requests was more glove info.  Most of us are on a constant search for a better glove.  That might be a warmer, more durable, more water proof or easier to dry glove.  It depends on your need at that moment for that particular adventure.  If anything it is worth noting that few of us climb in the same gloves.  And there are a gazillion manufactures out there.  I am about as anal on my glove choices as I am on my boots always buyer and reader beware ;-)

Here are some examples of the glove styles I use constantly.
full leather gloves
glove liners, both wool and synthetic
wool gloves or mittens
all synthetic gloves
leather and synthetic combination gloves

                                                    Dave in his prefered BDs.               
(I own mittens but so seldom use them I'll leave them out of the conversation)

The brand names that I prefer at the moment are Outdoor Research and Mountain Hardware.  My partner's (all of them)  most commonly used glove is one form or another from Back Diamonds.  And I have used BD gloves myself.

The flip side to Matt's pair of BD gloves above.

And all better now ;-)

 It wouldn't have been my first choice but still good enough to get Matt up the Ginat last week in less than stellar weather.

The brand name gloves I have used a lot in the past are:
Helly Hensen
Black Diamond

Here is how I divide up my glove choices and there is some over lap generally.  But easy to get some cash  wrapped up in gloves.

Liners/approach gloves
leather/rap or bush whack (think 10' high slide alders or Devil's club)
XC ski
DH ski
tech climbing gloves
alpine climbing gloves
cold weather gloves

My first go to glove is the BD Polartec liners either Midweight or the Heavyweight.   And I generally loose them before I wear them out.  And I wear them out by melting them on a stove.  Awesome glove.  Works for approaches, XC skiing, spring DH skiing, as a lwt tech glove or a warm weather alpine glove or nasty bush wacking.  Many designs like them but these are the best I have used.

Leather? I use them in the alpine on bush wacks and  on nasty steep raps with 7mm twins  My favorites are a pair of thin steer hide I buy at Lowe's.  But they have to fit perfectly and they aren't cheap.  They generally last 4 or 5 years with consistent use with a chainsaw and around the yard.  I'm also partial to the Metolious full finger belay glove.  Although i never use them for belaying.  I like a glove you know isn't going to come apart in use.  This is the glove I use for the free rap off the Midi's bridge in cold winter temps.  It is awesome and cheap.  Mine are now 10 years old and just getting broken in.  Nice glove!

I use  my gloves for all sorts of stuff but the only skiing specific gloves I use are made  by these guys:

I generally have pretty warm hands and seldom suffer through the scream'in barfies even in pretty cold weather.  So a lwt XC glove often gets used for DH skiing.  I like Model ”S” 0103-00 for what it is worth.
These make a decent thin dry tooling glove as well.

Thomas Smiley photos:


Alpine climbing for me generally means winter.  In spring, summer and fall any combination of gloves on this list can and generally do get used.  But winter I have some old favorites.  Mtn Harware and OutDry are my favorites along with a couple of pair of the OR gloves.  You can read more on the Mtn Hardware Hydra and the OR Vert in earlier blogs.

I have found the OurDry to keep my hands dry even when the entire outer shell and insulation is soaking wet and frozen stiff.  Not the best situation but then my buddy's are often in some version of the Black Diamond Gortex or BDry and have wet hands and frozen gloves.  Some difference but not a lot.  OutDry seems more durable as it is harder to punch a hole in the water proof liner..."I think".  But nothing scientific here just anecdotal evidence. 

The one thing I have convinced myself of is that thin gloves like the Hydra work very well in some pretty cold conditions. When it gets colder I used to be convinced a removable liner was mandatory.  Not any more.  Truth is when it gets really cold and I need a warmer glove,  I really need more insulation.  Liner may or may not be useful depending on how good the glove is and how easy it is to use.  If it is that cold drying the glove out hasn't been a problem as the inner of the glove doesn't get very wet.

I used the Mtn Hardware Typhon this winter as my back up, warmer glover to the Hydra.  Dave was using the Mtn Hardware Jalapeno when he got cold or wet enough.  I thought the Jalapeno easier to use and just as warm as my wool lined Typhon.  Typhon's liner comes out, the Jalapeno's doesn't.

From  Mtn Hardware I now use the Minus One, the Hydra, the Torsion and the Typhon depending on temps, use and need..  I'll likely start using the Jalapeno next winter. 

I like a thinner glove with leashless tools so I don't have to remove my gloves for any reason.  But get cold enough and the thicker gloves require me to pull the gloves off more than I want.  Removeable liners that stay on when you pull the shells work well there. Big gloves, the Typhon and Jalapeno for example, are like good double boots, a pain in the ass to climb in...but without them you (me anyway) wouldn't still be climbing.  

One of the things I found interesting this winter is the gloves I can generally climb with in Canada just weren't warm enough in the Alps this winter.  That was a surprise.  Thankfully I took some warmer gloves along but I wasn't happy climbing in them generally.  It took so getting use to the thicker and stiffer gloves on technical ground and with my (tight) Nomic or Ergo handles.   I used the Quarks with a more open grip some specifically for that reason.  While I didn't have cold hands on that trip it was PP planning all around on my part. 
Look around and try what you think will work for you.  When you find some that do, be smart and buy 2 pair.  Gloves are like climbing footware you'll want the RIGHT pair for every occasion

Pray you don't end up with this glove collection!  And these are just the good ones ;-)


Anonymous said...

Dane, just wondering what your system is and what gloves you bring on different climbs?

Dane said...

For alpine climbing if the temps allow it, the Mtn Hardware Hydra is my go to glove. Other than that the details of what gloves I change around to are in this glove blog.

Anonymous said...

Cool, I was wondering more glove systems - do your bring one pair or two pairs, maybe a pair a pitch, ect.
What would you pack for a summer trip or one in deep winter?
How much has Outdry allowed your to bring less gloves on a climb?

Personally for me I'm all about the changes - in the summer OR Vert for the approch/climbing. 4oz PacLite Mitts for snow climbing and 100 weight powerstreach liners for cold/boosters.

Was just wondering how you put the list together for different temps, and how much OutDry changes (if it changes) what you bring.

Dane said...

Ah, that makes sense. systems? No system these days past what I bring for spares. If the temps are reasonable I'll bring a pair of Hydras as spares. Or depending on the climbing (if it is hard for me) maybe a pair of Minus One. If it is cold my second pair will be a pair of Typhoon.

Gone are the days or three or four pairs of gloves in my sack, switching as the day goes by.

Outdry has made a big difference for me. I generally can wear one pair of Outdry gloves on the entire climb, even really water water ice.

Winter or Summer really doesn't matter..temps do. The med weight Black Diamond liner gloves get used a lot. Winner and summer. Generally alone.

I think one thing that really makes a different is the gauntlet design and Outdry on the Hydra. The guantlet really helps keep the glove dry and useful. I also suspect it makes them a bit warmed as well.

Much as I like the OR glove designs, I don't use them any more for serious stuff just because I know the Outdry gloves will stay dry all day.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dane, thats really interesting to hear! -- sounds like some outdry is in my future...

marcello said...

you are one lucky sob! my hands get cold SO easily! if i go ice climbing for one day and there is an approach, i have to take three pairs of gloves and two pairs of liners and i have to have 2 pairs of mittens, gloves get too cold too fast. Which mittens aren't that bad I am surprised how well i can work in them but still. you almost never use mittens how lucky you are! Also my gloves get wet whether they are sweated out or snow melts into them.

mountsun said...

Hey Dane, have You ever used Salewa Batura PTX gloves?

like these ones:

They fit my hand perfectly, much better than Black Diamond Punisher which I also took under consideration.
But I dont know anyone who use them and I dont see any review of them in the internet.
I wanted to use them with Nomics on some mixted routes.
Do You know anything about the material which is used within those Gloves?

Dane said...

sorry Mike, no clue.