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Ice Climbing Gloves

There are two types of ice climbing gloves out there: leading gloves and belaying gloves. A good pair of leading (or following) gloves will be thin but have some insulation, have a grippy palm and fingers, and will not interfere with your grip on the tool.

Because your leading gloves will get wet and cold while you climb, you should also have a pair of thick warm gloves for belaying (and rappelling). Ideally, these thick gloves should have a loop on the pinky so that you can clip them off to your harness while climbing. Hanging the gloves by the fingers (instead of by the wrists) helps keep snow and ice chunks from falling into them as you climb. Leather palms are also nice to protect the gloves from abrasion on rappels. Belay gloves do not need to be rad or expensive. After setting up a belay, take your lead gloves off and put them inside your jacket. This will help keep them warm and dry for the next pitch. Put your belay gloves on before bringing your partner up. On very wet climbing days, it’s smart to have an extra pair or two of lead gloves in the pack.

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