/ The Perfect Winter Climbing Gloves ??
Over the past year, ive been winter climbing in Scotland and have tried so far 5 different pairs of gloves, the last being a pair of Berghaus GoreTex ones. Unfortunately I still cant keep my hands warm or dry. Speaking to various people this isnt an unusual problem !!
All I want to know ,is am I wasting my time hoping to climb ice/mixed routes with warm dry hands or is the only solution a pair of Marigolds !!
If there is anyone out there who has solved this problem, id be more than happy to hear from you.
1) I were pretty happy with BD enforcers, they were fairly durable and warm, and not too clumsy (though a lot clumsier than some of the thinner ones). Removable liner gloves in these make it easier to dry them up.
2) In cold weather I carry merino wool inner gloves and a pair of belay mitts. In very, very cold I replace the normal belay mitts with down mitts; sometimes I even add chemical hand warmer pads. In very cold weather getting wet is not as much of a problem than getting generally cold.
3) Overall it's a good idea to carry extra dry pair of gloves / mitts in case you need one.
4) Keeping the other parts of your body warm and dry is as important as having dry gloves.
5) Part of the water that wets your gloves is from the jacket (dripping into glove through the sleeve's fabric). Though I like soft shell jackets they're a bit more prone to this problem than hard shell jackets.
6) I've heard that some people use sealskinz as inner gloves, don't have any first hand experience though.
...so in essence it just was: carry more gloves / mitts. :-)
Here's also a link to wider selection of winter / ice climbing gloves: http://www.tribevine.com/quicksearch?open=true&tab=null&searchword=&val_cat-typ=2-253-25...
Everyones different, listen to peoples opinion and see what works for you, here's my opinion:
You need different gloves for different activities otherwise your hands sweat and gloves get wet (then get cold,) or gloves are too thin and hands get cold.
I carry three pairs of gloves. A thin pair for the activity of walking in, these usually get damp from sweat, so are stuffed in the bag at the climb and not seen again. Normally it's a wee bit too cold to go gloveless, especially if walking with poles. If without poles, hands go in pockets and are toasty.
The second pair of gloves are climbing gloves, that are fairly thin. The BD ones recommended on the tribevine sight would be too warm for me to climb in and would get wet from sweat after a few pitches. BD Punishers were fine for this, but wore out too quick for me. Search this site for Dickies work gloves to find cheaper recommendations.
The third pair are for belays and are mitts because my fingers warm each other up. The climbing gloves go in armpits to keep them warm, as warming them up chills my hands out and climbing gloves aren't warm enough to wear on a belay for a while. I found that Mitts are warm enough that I can wear them without issue on belays, but would wet them from sweat if I climbed in them.
Hope this helps.
My theory is this (and it works for me)
Always wear polyproylne inners (£6 from Cotswold)
Wear gloves that fit well, not too tight, not too big.
Wear gloves that allow a good grip on your tools so you don't have to hold too tight.
Wriggle your fingers regularly.
If your hands are getting cold flick some blood into them as soon as you can.
Slapping your back on the stance warms fingers up.
Get a belay jacket with big pockets to put your hands in.
I wear Marmot XT or BD Punisher.
Btw. kind of shell mitt approach might work in warmer temperatures too, i.e. climbing with fairly thin gloves and having a pair of mitts with just the outer, that could be pulled over the gloves.
BTW, I find these: http://www.livefortheoutdoors.com/Gear-Reviews/Search-Results/Winter-kit/Rab-Latok-Glove-2012/ pretty much the perfect ice climbing glove, although I wish they were harder wearing - something I've found is a bit of an issue with RAB stuff. But they are a bit bulky for mixed climbing where you need to take a number 2 nut off a rack of ten for example.
"Perfect Winter Climbing Gloves" - no such thing!
IMHO gloves are only part of the solution. When cold, your body will retract blood from the extremities to keep your core warm. So, if you can do a good job of keeping your core warm, the blood supply will be better to your hands - all other things being equal. One of those factors is the annoying necessity of keeping your hands above your head when climbing. This is where going leashless helps a lot because it is far easier to drop your hands and improve blood flow when they're not choked by a leash attached to an axe above your head.
Back to your core - how do you effectively regulate it's temperature so you stay warm but don't sweat to death and get chilled? I don't know the science but my hunch is your body works better when hydrated. I only carry 500ml of water so I try and drink 1.5 litres of slightly salty water (or sports drink) before setting out for the day. Also I wear a bodywarmer (Patagonia micropuff vest).
Eat fat to keep warm. This is the fun bit. As well as muesli or porridge, I eat a couple of stodgy pastries or croissants for breakfast. I don't really do lunch, but in one pocket I have a zip bag of chopped salami and cheese and in the other pocket a zip bag of wine gums to graze on throughout the day.
Finally, the gloves. I think it actually much easier to keep your hands warm when it is really cold, because you don't have to deal with water or wet snow that sticks to everything. Even the most "waterproof" glove will get wet on the outside (possible exceptions are the xtrafit or outdry ones), so even if your hand is dry, the glove outside the membrane is wet and you'll get cold from evaporation. I've found that a thin shell mitt works really to reduce this.
Personally I find that a thin glove that is dexterous enough that you don't need to take it off much (or at all ideally) is better than a thick glove that you have to take off to do anything. (But others much more experienced that me (Andy K) think the opposite and climb in huge mittens and use bare hands for anything fiddly)
Here's what I use:
HH Polypro liner gloves (I've smudged a bit of seamgrip on the fingertips and across the palm for grip and durability) - walk in
Outdoor Reasearch Alibi - dry tooling (not durable)
Rab M14 - dry/mild conditions, dry tooling, scrambling
ME Randonees (not waterproof)- wet/active
ME Mountain stretch - wet/ less active
Ride keprotec overmitts - belaying/ seconding
Defo, I was referring to Scotland and summer Alpine stuff.
alas the hunt for the perfect boot,hat,and gloves go on. (and will continue to do so for many years to come)
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