/ Advice - Winter Climbing Gloves

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Mattlloyd10 - on 12 Feb 2017
Hi, apologies for the really basic question but for the past few years, I have struggled with cold hands while out winter climbing.
I have always suffered with cold fingers but now it is getting to me.
Finance is a problem and ended up making do with Extremeties Gore-tex gloves with leather palm etc. I wear these over fleece glove liners.
My spare gloves in my bag are ski gloves so although warm, not waterproof and rubbish for holding axes.
On a days climb I take both these pairs and 5 pairs of fleece liners to try and survive. I get through all pairs on one day trip.
Advice welcome without breaking the bank please.
Any advice on these mitts I see people with?
Babika - on 12 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

Mountain Equipment Couloir Guide glove does it for me.
You can find it at a reasonable price if you search around.

But you're right - for real warmth mitts are the best option. Friend of mine still swears by Dachstein mitts whenever ice climbing.
Jim Fraser - on 12 Feb 2017
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Ron Rees Davies - on 12 Feb 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:


That's a bit harsh when your search suggests the only similar thread in the last 6 years was in 2015.
1philjones1 - on 12 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

Hi Matt, amongst others, I use Sealskin cycling gloves. They do a winter version which is very warm and waterproof but is also dexterous. They have a bit of padding on the leather palm but I find it improves things rather than getting in the way. You can get them for around £20 if you search around. Worth trying if they fit you. Phil
Pay Attention - on 12 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

I've had frost nip in the past due to letting my hands get wet.

I've found the argon gloves (£6.50) cheap and useful as I can take four pairs out with me so always have a dry pair to hand. I've recently been advised to try a Simond pair sold by decathlon

https://www.decathlon.co.uk/mountain-leather-gloves-ii-id_8359558.html

I also take a small towel so I can dry my hands before putting on the next pair of gloves.
1
wee jamie on 12 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

Maybe your core temp isn't warm enough. I go overboard on insulating layers, especially while hanging around on belays but also when climbing. I get hot, but it's better than being worried about your fingers.
Another tip is to make sure your gloves aren't too tight.
Also, if you feel your fingers getting cold, stop and sort them out before it's too late (hot aches).
Finally, make sure you have a good covering between your wrist and your glove - don't let your jacket sleeves ride up and leave exposed wrists.
Breathable gloves work best for me, so I like eVENT-lined insulated gloves with primaloft, but if you're on a budget, the Decathlon Cascade gloves are good, just not as breathable so can get a bit clammy and therefore cold on long climbs.
Mattlloyd10 - on 12 Feb 2017
In reply to Jim Fraser:
Apologies if this additional gloves thread has annoyed you. Maybe next time just scroll past a thread instead of trying appear like a'Bigman'.
It was my impression that most climbers and outdoor enthusiasts of whatever experience would welcome new and inexperienced climbers to ask these questions to help keep them safe. Next time I won't bother.....
Really hope I never bump into you on a mountain where I may need some assistance.....
Ian McIntosh - on 12 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

Get wrist gaiters. I would be tempted to bin the liners esp if they make your gloves really tight (as Wee Jamie points out above). Would your budget stretch to BD Punishers? They are quite a popular choice judging by previous glove threads. I think they are great.
Mattlloyd10 - on 12 Feb 2017
In reply to mac fae stirling:
Thank you. Unfortunately a bit expensive for me but thank you
Mattlloyd10 - on 12 Feb 2017
Thank you to everyone for your input I think I've now got enough ideas to start my hunt for warmer hands
nniff - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

Apologies if this isn't terriblty helpful, given your comments about budget, but with gloves it really does seem to be to be a case of 'buy cheap, buy twice', except that it's not just twice, it's over and over again until you get something that works. BD Punishers with liners work for me, but there are some Decathlon gloves that look really good at about half the price. Equally, if the Argon ones work for you, as they seem to for quite a few people, then perhaps that's a cheaper solution - personally, the dampness associated with the latter rules them out for me.
Dr.S at work - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

For a light and cheap backup option/belay mitt then the Buffalo Mitts are a good choice.

I've just invested in a pair of ME randone gauntlets, which also seem a popular choice.
Wayne.Gaudin - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

BD punishers for me after trying out a few different types. Tight enough not to get finger tips stuck in gear but big enough to be warm. Then I just stuff then under my thermal layers to dry/warm up and wear a big pair mitts to belay. I also found arm swings while belaying helped push warm blood into my hands so they started off warm before climbing.
subtle on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

Try these (at £6ish a pair) http://www.arco.co.uk/products/14G4800?s=1

They are very warm so good for walk in and belaying - I find them too hot to lead in though but fine for seconding
One pair of these, combined with one pair of gloves for leading in does for me, just remember to swap round gloves after leading.
Good luck in finding the best system of gloves, its a bit of a holy grail!
99ster - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to Pay Attention:
>I also take a small towel so I can dry my hands before putting on the next pair of gloves.

That's a good suggestion. Nothing worse than trying to force on a relatively tight fitting pair of technical winter gloves if you have wet/damp hands!

And BD Punishers are the way to go.
Post edited at 14:57
1
CurlyStevo - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to Pay Attention:
the argon gloves are way too cold for me (and a couple of my friends that have tried them) , and that's only using them to actually climb in with mitts at belays

I now use mine for cycling on days its a few degrees above freezing anything colder and I need a thicker glove.
Post edited at 15:04
CurlyStevo - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to 99ster:

I agree bd gloves are great. I own the enforcers and they are both dextrous and warm.
CurlyStevo - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:
Extremites gloves are terrible. I had one model I sent back 3 times as it wasn't up to the job (it was a climbing specific glove). Finally the last pair of a different model were harder wearing on the outers, but they were not very dextrous and the inners need patching up as the stitching failed.
Post edited at 15:07
subtle on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to CurlyStevo:

> Extremites gloves are terrible.

I agree with you on that point, have found that as well

What gloves did YOU wear at the weekend though, and how were your hands?

4
normie boy - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

3 suggestions. ...
Decathlon's Simond gloves are OK and we'll priced. I often use their simple beige work gloves. Note plenty Guides do same.Once they are wet they keep me good n warm. Also their bigger climbing gloves are OK.

Dachsteins remain excellent in icy conditions.

Also google Nordic outdoor... I think... in Keswick and Edinburgh... their kit is superb. I swear by their wooly Base layers... but their black leather mitts I reckon will be very good. And not pricey. I have my wee eye on those...
carr0t - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

I've had a few combinations, and generally it's a linear trade-off between comfort and dexterity. What I've found works well is the following:

1- mittens. Enough grip for most moves and warm. For delicate work pop them off and do what you need to do.

2- very thin and skin tight leather gloves with a pair of convertible mitts over the top. For general work have the mitten up and if you need dexterity, flip back the mitten to expose the fingers. I usually have stickies footwarmers in the back of the flip bit of the mitten and another one stuck to the back of my hand between the two gloves. It's not waterproof, but stays warm enough even with very thin gloves.
CurlyStevo - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to subtle:
Whether I went out at the weekend or not is not of your concern and has nothing to do with the question posed. Why don't you stop stalking me and mind your own business.

If you must know since I got knocked of my bicycle over a year ago I have not been well enough to winter climb and even my summer climber ambitions have been somewhat curtailed.

However that does not stop me posting on threads regarding my experience climbing over the years.

Conversely why don't YOU post from your normal profile instead of slinging insults at me from your anonymous one which doesn't tell anybody anything about how experienced or who you are.
Post edited at 16:03
subtle on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to CurlyStevo:

> If you must know since I got knocked of my bicycle over a year ago I have not been well enough to winter climb and even my summer climber ambitions have been somewhat curtailed.
However that does not stop me posting on threads.

Quite.

Hope you get over the bike injuries soon and are able to get out climbing again, both winter and summer.

CurlyStevo - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to subtle:
I don't know what axe you have to grind with me (which you obviously do as you are stalking the majority of my winter posts). However just because I can't climb now and don't know when I will be able to again - if at all like I used to, it will not and it should not stop me posting on UKC.

I think I have both enough knowledge of winter / ice climbing and rock climbing to legitimately do so.
Post edited at 16:09
subtle on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to CurlyStevo:

> I don't know what axe you have to grind with me (which you obviously do as you are stalking the majority of my winter posts). However just because I can't climb now and don't know when I will be able to again - if at all like I used to, it will not and it should not stop me posting on UKC. I think I have both enough knowledge of winter / ice climbing and rock climbing to legitimately do so.


In case you missed it the first time:

Hope you get over the bike injuries soon and are able to get out climbing again, both winter and summer.
CurlyStevo - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to subtle:

I also didn't miss the not so subtle dig before the comment.

Anyway thanks...
Jim Fraser - on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to Ron Rees Davies:

> That's a bit harsh when your search suggests the only similar thread in the last 6 years was in 2015.

Although most of the models of £100 glove have changed, the fundamentals of keeping hands warm haven't changed much in the last 2 or 4 or 6 years.

The first thing to do has always been to make it easier for your body to fill your hands with nice warm blood. So your trunk has to be reasonably warm and your arms especially have to be warmth. If you have a problem with cold hands then sleeveless garments should not be part of your clothing system. Wrists are a 'thin point' where both clothing and the blood supply have a weakness. Tight cuffs make it worse.

Mitts always win over gloves for warmth.

Some materials that are popular are simply cheap rubbish. Acrylic is top of that list.

Polyester fleece is better than acrylic but very particular fleece constructions are suited for gloves. Wool can be fantastic but again in particular constructions or treatments. Leather has made a major come-back in the last decade, and rightly so, but it needs to be good quality and with a good quality treatment. (Nikwax do a glove product.) Polypropylene has largely disappeared from the glove rack in recent times but it performs and wears well and it's still out there though difficult to find.

Too many layers can be a problem for warmth since they may constrict circulation. One light close-fitting liner of a good material and a looser fitting item over the top might end up better than several layers. This is especially true if you persist with gloves instead of mitts.
Tricadam on 13 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

Here's my solution: https://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=608912 Still going strong 2 years later (with minor repairs to the G2 Alpines. I've recently discovered Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather is good for these.)

Combines grip, dexterity and feel of a thin climbing glove with everything that is amazing about Dachsteins. Put them on at the gear up and no need to change gloves all day. And once the G2s have some moisture on, they operate a touchscreen pretty nicely!

For the walk in I wear North Face Etip Denali gloves. Remarkably good: very breathable while decently keeping out the wind, and work well with a touchscreen. Word of warning though: I usually take M or L in the gloves, but need an S with these.
Old but keen - on 18 Feb 2017
In reply to Tricadam:

Neoprene divers gloves 3mm or 5mm I think for for me. I had rubbish hands in cold weather and for the last 23 years have used these. I also keep a big pair of mitts for emergency usr

Misha - on 19 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:
I suffer from cold fingers worse than most people. Keeping them warm/functioning is a mini-science and is about a lot more than just the gloves you are wearing - in fact that isn't necessarily the most important thing.

1. Keep you hands warm and dry when not climbing.

On the walk in - mitts are great for that. I have a pair of BD ones with a separate inner compartment for the index finger, which makes belaying easier - they're about £100 but it's money well spent.
While gearing up - change into medium weight gloves which are dextrous enough to let you gear up (see 2 below re keeping these gloves warm).
On the belay - again, mitts are great but don't forget to periodically (this could mean every few minutes) move your arms to get the blood going - windmills, clenching and unclenching fingers and so on. After leading, your fingers should be warm but get those mitts on straight away anyway.

2. Keep you spare/belay gloves warm and dry.

Put your gloves in the pockets of your midlayer (I use a softshell underneath a hardshell, the softshell's pockets are ideal for this) or just put them next to your body inside your outer layer once your harness is on. Putting your spare gloves in the pockets of your outer layer isn't ideal as they will get cold. When climbing, you can similarly put your belay mitts inside your outer layer.

In the morning, fill a Nalgene type bottle with boiling water/squash etc, wrap a couple of pairs of gloves around the bottle and stick the whole lots in your sack, ideally against the back of the sack. When it comes to gearing you, your gloves should be warm and the water should still be warm as well - bonus!

3. Keep your core warm.

If your core is cold, the body will divert even more blood and energy to keep it warm, so your extremities will get even colder.
Invest in a good quality synthetic belay jacket with a hood which will easily go over your helmet and make sure you use it. Often when you've just walked in or led a pitch, you will feel pretty warm but it doesn't last long, so get that belay jacket on!
Keep hydrated and eat energy bars etc on a regular basis, even if you aren't hungry.

4. Keep your wrists warm.

Uncovered or partially covered wrists are a weak point because there are blood vessels close to the surface of the wrist, so you need to keep this area warm. Gloves with decent sized cuffs are preferable. You can also buy wrist warmers or make your own out of an old pair of walking or ski socks.

5. Keep the blood flowing through your fingers when climbing.

Warm the fingers up as much as you can before starting the pitch (again, windmills etc).
When climbing, relax your grip on the axes (this will make you less pumped as well) and take a hand off to shake out whenever you can (even if you aren't pumped, blood will flow a lot better if your hand is off the axe and handing free; I find that if I can stop and take a hand off for say 30 seconds, it will start warming up.
If there are any ledges, it's worth stopping for a few minutes and letting your fingers warm up. If they've got properly cold on the belay and the blood has drained out of them from some steep climbing off the belay, you'll probably get hotaches at this point. I have this concept of a hotaches ledge - a ledge a few metres off the belay and with some steep climbing to get to it.
Embrace the hotaches! If you get them, just stop and wait till they've passed, it will hurt but afterwards your fingers will be nice and warm.

Don't wear wrist leashes as they cut off circulation and make it harder to take your hands off the axes (hardly ever see anyone with wrist leashes these days but thought I'd include this).

6. Use thinner gloves for hard pitches.

This might sound counterintuitive but a thinner, more dextrous pair of gloves can work better on a hard pitch where you have to fiddle around with gear in pumpy positions. This is because you'll be able to get the gear in quicker, meaning less hanging around with one arm above your head. Doesn't really work when the weather is really bad but worth trying on a decent day.
Mountain Equipment Superalpine are my preferred gloves for harder pitches - dextrous, grippy, decent sized cuff and at £55 (or less with a BMC discount etc) not too expensive.
BD Punisher gloves are my preferred gloves for all other climbing.

I wouldn't waste money on cheap stuff. Better to save up and get something decent. Cold fingers are annoying at best and debilitating at worst...

I'm sure there will be more good tips out there.

Good luck!
Post edited at 01:25
Shone on 19 Feb 2017
In reply to Misha:

Good wrist warmers are really difficult to find, anyone know of any?
Smythson on 19 Feb 2017
In reply to Shone:

eBay has a selection. Or just cut the sleeves off a soon to be retired fleece / soft shell - I made some rather fetching ankle warmers like this ;)
Dave Kerr - on 19 Feb 2017
In reply to Misha:

> I wouldn't waste money on cheap stuff. Better to save up and get something decent.

I think it is worth experimenting with the cheaper solutions, you might find something that works for you and if it doesn't work then they'll probably be ok for use on the walk in.

The Skytech Argon gloves (c£6) are good in some regards but limited in others. They are very dexterous and give superb grip on axes and rock but if you have sweaty hands or climb in damp conditions they get wet quickly. This means cold hands on subsequent pitches.

The Decathlon Simond leather gloves (c£25) are warmer, highly water resistant and breathable but not quite so dexterous.

Depending on the difficulty of the route and conditions I swap between these two options with a set of mitts for the belay. I use the Argons for really hard pitches as the feel is superb and the Simonds for everything else as they don't wet out so quickly.

One thing these threads show is that there is no one size fits all solution.
Dave Kerr - on 19 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

Also, a top with thumb holes works much better than wrist gaiters which tend to be bulky and can move around.
neuromancer - on 19 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

I don't know how anyone manages to climb in a top with thumb holes. They are almost always actually hand guillotines and cause death defying pain when they cut off all blood supply to hands above the head. Fine whilst walking in but a soon as you start to climb....
Dave Kerr - on 19 Feb 2017
In reply to neuromancer:
> I don't know how anyone manages to climb in a top with thumb holes.

Those it works for have probably got one that fits. Mind you I only tend to put the loops on when belaying unless it's really cold.
Post edited at 11:17
Tricadam on 19 Feb 2017
In reply to Misha:

Misha makes a really good point about consciously relaxing your grip on the tools the majority of the time, and frequently having a quick shake out whenever you do have to properly grip them. The first time I went winter climbing, I wore nothing except a pair of Mountain Equipment Randonnee gloves: good gloves, about halfway between a climbing glove and a belay one. They were nice and warm on the belay, but I found that my hands got really cold whilst climbing, followed by hot aches at the next belay! Once I realised that the only possible explanation was that I must be over-gripping the tools, and stopped doing so, no more problem.

Something else to think about is breathability vs waterproofing. Unless you're swimming up a powdery gully, your hands will principally be out of the snow. Sweat is therefore likely to contribute more to your gloves' moisture content than snow, so you're better off with something that prioritises breathability over waterproofing - depending on how much your hands sweat, of course. (In my case, plenty.) The exception to this is *leading* mixed, where you're having to use your hands to clear out tool and foot placements. (Seconding, they should be clear enough already, unless it's blizzarding.) Here, I can see why some folks like eg the BD Punishers and I've got a longer-cuffed version of them myself. I've found though that my convertible Dachstein solution referred to above is highly preferable: the more snow gets stuck to the outside of the Dachsteins, the warmer they get, without compromising the dexterity of the underlying G2 Alpine. Plus the Dachsteins are a lot more durable for this sort of thing than any leather glove.
Misha - on 19 Feb 2017
In reply to Dave Kerr:
Fair point re cheaper stuff and totally agree no one size fits all solution!
Dave Kerr - on 19 Feb 2017
In reply to Misha:

> Fair point re cheaper stuff and totally agree no one size fits all solution!

It is the eternal quest. Sometimes I think finding the perfect glove is the real point of winter climbing.
iksander on 20 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

Two groups of factors: 1) what changes your body temp and 2) what preserves it.

1) What increases your body temp:

Stay well fed and hydrated - your warmth comes from food and blood circulation. Activity (belay disco), moving makes you warm.

What decreases your body temp: windchill - ambient temperature, windspeed, moisture and inactivity

Keep as dry a possible (from rain, melted snow, sweat). Keep the wind off your gloves/hands. Even waterproof gloves will saturate outside the waterproof membrane (and inside from sweat and snow ingress), chucking some (even thin shell) mitts over your climbing gloves will keep your hands a lot warmer.

2) What preserves you body temp:

Keep your hands warm, rather than try and get them warm. Actively manage your core temp so you are warm but not sweating. Minimise the time your hands are exposed. Personally I prefer walk in in thin gloves then put climbing gloves over them. Then put belay mitts over those (rather then change them if at all possible) when not climbing. Obviously if conditions are benign then changing gloves is OK but if not I would rather put mitts on over damp gloves than get wooden fingers trying to change gloves

Fit is important for warmth as well as dexterity

Try as many pairs of gloves as you can then look out for them in the sales at the end of the season or on eBay. In my case ME Mountain Stretch gloves fitted really well and I picked up two pairs for £25 each. I got a pair of OR Mutant (two part goretex and fleece lobster mitts) from a US army surplus ebay seller for £20 and use the shells as over mitts for belays.

Winter climbing is gear-intensive; it's never going to be cheap but you can save a lot buying out of season and or secondhand. Buying gear that works is obviously more cost effective than buying useless gear, no matter how cheap.
lordyosch - on 20 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

I have worn TNF Tempest Gloves for years. They are ski gloves I think, long wrists which close up tight. Grippy palms. Not the most dextrous but not too cumbersome. Despite not being officially waterproof I haven't had a problem with them at all. For the walk off I switch to mittens if I'm cold.
Cuillin Calling on 24 Feb 2017
In reply to Mattlloyd10:

I agree with a lot of what has been said before esp Dave Kerr's note about the eternal holy grail and Misha's advice. My tip is START WARM, STAY WARM. Black Diamond lobster guide gloves for wet conditions and Rab Baltoro's for dry conds. Both very warm but I still use synth liner gloves too, and have at least two other pairs of cheap fleece gloves for the walk-in and back up for the walk out. I tend to have more clothing layers than most but I'm skinny with no in-built insulation so keeping the rest of the body warm throughout the day is important for me.
Daniel Caola - on 11 Mar 2017

There's a pair of wild country goretex+pile mittens going on ebay if you're interested size medium (not mine!)

-oh and a black pair in large
Post edited at 16:42

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