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.
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..
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