More glove system replies

A couple of additional replies that arrived after my earlier posting:

From Conrad Anker:

  • Gloves are your most important piece of clothing for winter climbing. No debate in my book.
  • Gloves affect how well you climb and are essential to keep one’s digits intact.
  • I pack a small stuff sack (on old hot pink Chouinard Dry Seal bag just for fun) with gloves for the day.
  • Approach – thin fleece with maximum breathability. Count on getting these drenched on the approach between thumping the snow and sweating.
  • Lead – Seconding. I bring three pair of gloves that work well with my CF or Fusion tools. Skin tight thin leather (not sure what the name is) for M-climbs or warmer weather, a mid weight with leather palms and the red fleece lining (not seeing it on the web page), and Pursuit (soft shell & thin liner combo) for cold temps.
  • Belaying – Back Up. I have a pair of TNF mitts – might be the Absolute – these are the lightest mitten, leather palm and fleece liner. One can second with these and still pull screws and fiddle with gear.

I am not a fan of the Torque. The fabric wears out quickly and the handcuffs impede circulation.

Gloves to look at – OR. Their new dry tooling glove is pretty swell.

On Meru I did not bring enough gloves. Next time for these types of missions I am bring more gloves. Reason? Drop or wear out a glove and loose your hand dexterity one is setting the stage for the snowball effect of mistakes. Plus it allows for a day to dry out gloves. But then again I might have different priorities for gloves.


From Doug Heinrich:

I certainly have my own opinions about gloves and I really like to hear real users’ take on what works and what doesn’t….

I have a few thoughts on gloves:

1)      Dexterity is key – you have to keep your hands moving to stay warm

2)      I agree with Will [Gadd] – if your core is warm it will help keep your hands / extremities warm

3)      I rarely take my gloves off – hence I climb with lighter gloves (I’ve climbed all day at -30F with an old pair of Dry Tool gloves (light weight Schoeller soft shell gloves that cover the wrist)

4)      It’s critical to keep your wrist and lower forearm insulated – gloves with neoprene cuffs work quite well.

5)      I hear a lot of people complaining about their gloves inverting and finding them hard to get on and off – I always wonder why they are taking the gloves off during a pitch – seems absurd to me. They are simply climbing in too thick of a glove. The whole idea is to climb in a glove that you don’t need to take off!

6)      I hear a lot of people complaining about sweating out the gloves from the inside out…same thing – they are using too thick of a glove. Do they try and lead a pitch with a fleece jacket, down jacket and a hard shell and wonder why they are over heating? Road biking is good example of the thin line of temperature regulation. You are working super hard to hit the summit of a 4,000′ ascent and then you head downhill at 40mph 10 seconds later. They key is to not “sweat out” and saturate your jersey etc…the same rules apply to climbing and it’s much easier to regulate than super aerobic sports where you are hitting the anaerobic threshold like cycling or running up really steep terrain.

7)      I hear a lot of people complaining about inserts – Gore or private label PU inserts like the BDry. We offer gloves with and w/o inserts. If you are in a cold dry environment – no insert is needed. If you ice climb in Utah, then climbing w/o an insert is a joke. They all wet out eventually with or w/o an insert, it just takes longer to wet out with an insert. The argument that the inserts trap moisture between the layers is not valid from my POV– if you wet out any glove to the point where it is soaking wet you simply need to wring it out from the fingers to the cuff and get rid of the water. For sure the non-insert gloves will dry faster but they also get wet faster – so pick your poison. The insets also act as a VBL and traps the warm air that your hands are generating. IF you are wetting out the glove from the inside, then you are wearing the wrong glove. Same as base layers, mid layers etc…you have to go with the minimum and add a jacket at the belay as well as belay mitts or gloves. That’s why most of us have moved away from hard shells and wear double-weave pants and tops unless it’s fully nuking….

8)      DWR is key – From my POV Schoeller has one of the best DWRs (NanoSphere) on the market and it really makes a huge difference in the gloves ability to shed moisture. I am testing the Polartec Hard Face double weaves compared to the Schoeller – I am hoping the Polartec fabric out performs the Schoeller….it’s much more cost effective than Schoeller.

11 thoughts on “More glove system replies

  1. Hi Kelly,

    I enjoyed reading the glove reviews and I’ll add your blog to my Blog list and post a link. Nice stuff.

    If its not too much trouble, you should have your glove guys contact me. We are one of the largest internet glove retailers in the world and I’m always looking for gloves that are a cut above the rest.

    Thanks, Joe

    • Thanks much, Joe, sorry for the long delay here. Checked out your site — amazing! Had no idea there were so many gloves out there for every specialty and purpose imaginable. Here I thought climbers were the only ones to dork out so much on gloves :). I passed along your info to a couple of the companies I know that make gloves.
      Happy New Year!

  2. Hey man, good shtuff here about gloves. Just wondering though about waterproofing the leather on modern leather gloves. What do you use for your ice climbing gloves?

  3. Howdy Chris — yeah, applying waterproofing treatment is key. Most of the serious climbers I know really keep up on this, and even take a tube of waterproofing wax with them to base camp on trips. Makes a huge difference. For my gloves I use Nikwax, though for no reason other than I’d heard from people hear and there that it’s good. Haven’t heard to the contrary. There might be other brands that do just as well or better — if so, I’d love to hear it. But yeah, like part of unpacking your kit at the end of the day — set the gloves out to dry (make sure they dry first), and then put them on, squeeze a couple globs out into the palms and rub your gloved hands together, get all the leather, including the fingers, etc. Takes like one minute, well worth it.

      • cool, Joe, thanks — never had seen or heard of such a thing. seems like they’d be great for road trips or expeditions, when you can’t just come home and put your gloves on the heater, but you need them dry for the next day’s use. What a great idea (makes me think, “duh, why didn’t I invent that”). Will have to try them. Thanks for the link.

  4. Kelly,
    My review of the OR Alpine Alibi:
    Wore through the palm at the thumb seam in a few days climbing in Cody. The leather is too soft, seams weak and design poor at this connection. I don’t get the plastic wrist cuff, but the gauntlet snug and release is clever.I also wore out a pair of older OR ski gloves. I loved these to death.They had a wool interior that worked great, but the leather too soft again, wore right through all the fingers and thumb.
    The new Arcteryx ice glove with schoeller back and tough leather palm was a hit for Jessica, I could not find a pair to fit me.

  5. My big issue is my hands get inhumanly sweaty and wet the gloves from the inside. I vividly remember a pitch or two in VT when my nice OR g-tex mitts forming ice on the outside which killed the breathability. I used liners and then went with no liners then the lightest gloves all with the same result- wet hands that became colder hands (and a stuff sack full of the best gloves, liners and mitts on the market).

    I then went with a vapor barrier system and has worked for me ever since. After much trial and error between latex, rubber and different “mils” of thickness, etc. I use a dishwashing glove which is a good compromise of durability and dexterity.

    Because of the “no moisture from the inside”, I don’t use ???-tex gloves/mitts at all; go exclusively with soft shells that dry quickly in the sleeping bag, buried in my clothing layers, the dashboard of my car or the radiator in the hotel. It’s idiotproof and judging from the blog here I guess I’m an idiot.

    • thanks, volk. good stuff. nah, doesn’t seem idiotic to me, actually — as Will said in his feedback (in the body of the post), sometimes it’s just so wet that nothing works perfectly. he used the example of Norway and using thin Gore-Tex gloves, but he has a pile of them that he didn’t have to pay for, and he’s using them for the waterproofing there, not any notion of breathability. The dishwashing gloves work for ya when it’s so pissing wet that breathability becomes moot (and they’re waaaaay cheaper than Gore-Tex) — makes sense. In other cases, sounds like you prefer the dry-ability (high breathability) of soft shells. looking at all the replies, it seems that gloves indeed remain the “last great problem” of the clothing system. thanks for your comment.

      • thanks for the quick reply, looking at the quickness of the reply you are still convalescing and I hope on track… I wish I had that problem- skads of free gloves. Anyway, I have to clarify on my application of the dishwashing gloves. I use them as liners. I wear them whether dry or wet, cold or cool conditions. Once on they stay on. It frees me to worry more about climbing. As for the cheapness, correct, if internal moisture is no issue no need to chuck hard-earned ducats on WPB lined gloves/mitts that require constant care, maintenance and attention (CCMA): when doing actual climbing and then upkeep like rejuvenating the outers.

        finally, yes once I have used them as shells. Emphasis on “once”…

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