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Jim_Lavon

Warm waterproof gloves

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Well, this newbie finally has a reason to post. I'd really appreciate any advice on gloves - so would my wallet. My hands were mildly frostbitten as a kid and I'm still wasting good money looking for decent gloves that will keep my hands warm in the freezing rain/snow mix that seems to be standard fare on my days off these days. Now there's a run on sentence for ya. I make the run (or try to anyway) up to Camp Muir every Thursday morning and if I dare to take off my gloves to take pictures or whatever - it's all over within a half hour. This only happens at less than 35 degrees in the rain/snow transition. What the hell happened to the Summer anyway? Just thought I'd throw that in there. If I have to spend $100 to overcome this problem - so be it, but I will not give up the picture taking under any circumstances. Does this mean that I'm condemned to start carrying those hand warmer things? Any thoughts about how much of my problem is due to my earlier frostbite? My latest gloves, by the way, were REI's "One Glove" @ $46 a pair. They were the first REI products to ever fail me - utterly. OK, enough whining from this newbie. Thanks for any help!

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There are plenty of waterproof gloves out there, but you'll probably have to shell out a bit more than $46. That REI One stuff, if I remember correctly, is a softshell, so it's not even advertised as waterproof.

 

You might try getting some minimal waterproof shell gloves with enough room for your cheap liner of choice (wool, fleece, etc.). Or if you're really cheap, get some big rubber gloves and put liners in 'em.

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'waterproof glove' is an oxymoron. No glove will stay dry. Why? Cuz there's a huge gaping hole in them.....the one that your hand goes in.

 

Have you tried mittens and a thin liner glove? Get some beefy synthetic-insulated mitts, wear a light fleece glove inside them, and wear the light glove when you need dexterity. Another advantage of mittens is that they work better with chemical handwarmer packets. Like slothrop says, the 'One' isn't anywhere close to waterproof, or warm.

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Thanks for the info Slothrop. I was at the REI Labor Day sale in Tacoma when I made the impulsive decision on the "One Glove" after finding that the gloves section had been ransacked. What a jungle. I was in a hurry and needed something now. Oh well...Actually, I do carry (as a backup) cheap gloves with cotton liners. I've read up a bit on the shell/liner options. More trial and error (and money!), but maybe that's what I'll try next. REI must love me this year. When I finally do get the right combination, it will have been worth it - as long as I haven't been reduced to eating fish heads and rice. In any case, thanks a bunch for the advice.

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OR makes good gloves and they are having a sale at the company store in Sodo this friday. check them out. I use the Baker Modulars and they work for me.

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jim,

if you have chronic hand problems due to cold, just be sure to have multiple pairs of gloves (if you are ice climbing definitely do this)cheap fleece works fine for me, but i haven't had any problems with frostbite...on my hands anyway. just got back from climbing in china and one of my partners who frostbit her hands a few years back brought 6 pairs of gloves shocked.gif and she is a huge fan of the really small handwarmer chemical packs (that's what she uses iceclimbing all winter in ak). for my money i would get a waterproof shell (such as OR mitt) and use a fleece glove, best of both worlds. and you can keep another set of gloves warm in your chest pocket.

cheers!

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Thanks Cracked. More practical advice. Yeah - I wondered about that waterproof business as well - unless you put a tourniquet on your wrists...how do you keep out the rain? I'll have those hand warmers on future trips as insurance. Are mittens compatible with trekking poles and scrambling? Dumb question. Obviously yes. Haven't tried mittens for years. I like the idea of using them with the hand warmers and the dexterity with the liners that would still allow me to use a camera. Get ready REI. I hope they've restocked. I'll go in there and make a careful, well thought out decision. Thanks again.

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Thanks externalX & bDubyaH. Jeez - I had no idea I'd get such a response with this! I was after OR gloves that day at REI, but they only had some microsized pairs left. They looked really practical and functional though. At the time, I still had some undefined resistance to the idea of mittens - still do! But, I'll get over it if I have to. The specs on those hand warmers is impressive - 135 degrees for several hours! I don't know why they aren't listed as a recommended item for climbing - well I can't speak from experience yet, but will be able to after Thursday. I didn't know OR had a local store. I'll have to check it out. I've been in the area 6 years and have limited myself to REI so far - probably more out of laziness than anything else. Or maybe it's the lure of that dividend check? Not. Time to get out more I guess. If it ever stops raining. Thanks again you guys. I appreciate it.

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Most gloves come with drawcords or elastic near the wrist that (barely) keep out some of the wetness. Of course, if it's raining, you're likely wearing a jacket and can layer the glove's wrist with the end of the sleeve according to which way the water might come in to the glove. For ice climbing, glove on the outside; otherwise, I tighten my jacket's wrist over the glove.

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I have a great pair of Lowe Ice Climbing gloves which have removable fleece liners;they've been down to 20 or 30 below with no problem.Some of the newer gloves for ice climbing by Black Diamond,Lowe,and Mt. Hardware are almost too hot.

 

Here's another approach. Depending on your age(younger is better) it may be possible to somewhat recondition your hands to the cold by practicing progressive exposure as the season turns.It may also depend on just how severe the original frostbite was.

I badly frostbit my ears one winter in Wyoming while moving cattle.The rest of that winter,and for several years,the ears were very sensitive,but I didn't want to have to wear earmuffs year round,(it's always cold in Wyomimg)so I just put up with it,and eventually normal circulation and resistance to cold was re established.

Hermann Buhl,the famous Eiger hardman,was know to ski without gloves,and to walk around carrying iceballs to condition himself to the cold.There are many other examples of this.

 

You might begin by simply refusing to wear gloves in cooler weather,when not in any critical climbing situation,as long as you can possibly take it.This can also go for clothing in general.Don't bundle up all the time, especially not for mild cold.Take it one step at a time,going with less and less as you build tolerance.Don't worry,the body knows how to do it.You just have to get your mind around it.In town I wear shorts and thongs year round unless I will be outdoors exposed to wind and not moving much,or no thongs if it's extremely wet,snowy or icy.Even then I'll push it.It can be very intersting to notice the body's reaction as it begins to get the idea.When I go out to the bus stop on the first really cold mornings,you feel really cold at first,and almost think you won't make it,when all of a sudden you can feel the heat starting to come from within.I've been doing this for over 30 years now,never get cold hands or feet until after long exposure in very severe conditions,or when I haven't been taking enough food or water in serious cold.

 

I used to feed cattle in Wyoming with a team and sled in the winter,and we would often be out there in our shirtsleeves in 40,50,60 below zero.A Blackfoot medicine man in Alberta once told me that the proper mental attitude regarding the cold was not to get all tensed up and scared,(hunching up his shoulders to demonstrate),but to relax,"like this" he said,and he let his shoulders fall,shook his arms,and stood up straight,chest out,head up.Take it easy.

 

Go to the library and see if you can find the biography of Willie Wiley(or Wylie),a rather famous and eccentric character from the 20's and 30's around Spokane.The son of a prominent banker,from a sickly youth,he became a very rugged,hale and hearty outdoorsman who wore little else year round but khaki shorts and sandals,and sometimes a cap.There's a photo of him in the book taken the day of his first plane ride on his birthday in about 1930.He's sitting on the wing of a biplane in his shorts and sandals,with one of the old leather flying helmets,no shirt or coat,with a huge grin on his face.There's snow on the ground,and everyone else in the photo is all bundled up in fur coats,thick gloves,scarves,earmuffs,etc.Only the pilot is smiling besides Willie.

 

This is definitely possible for you to at least some degree of improvement,it's simply a physiological adaptation your body WILL make if you discipline yourself.And of course you will also want to find good gloves and other proper clothing for climbing,because there are certain physiological limits.Just what these limits are,is a little vague,because the climber who first told me about this,(including the book about Willie Wylie), back in the late 60's was a cardiologist who had just returned from a Himalayan expedition where he'd seen porters carrying loads barefoot across the glaciers,very lightly dressed in thin cotton pants,unlined coats,or,if they did have shoes,without any socks.He later returned to do research on these people and became convinced that it was possible to push the limits far beyond what we think of as normal.Think of how Beck Weathers survived on Everest next time you feel a little chilly,and just keep going.And turn down the thermostat,too.Absolutely no need to keep it so tropical in our houses all winter long.You might save enough money right there,over time, to pay for some good gear.Give it a try.

 

grin.gifwave.gifthumbs_up.gif

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You seem sortof reluctant about the Hot Shake packs and I don't understand why. They are not really expensive (check Home Depot, gas station etc. - REI may not have the best price) and they are a heat source that doesn't require your body to produce and transport the heat. You can tape them wherever to your body you need the heat etc. When they are shoved into gloves they last longer than the 'specs' though at a lower peak temperature (due to reduced access to air to fuel the rxn). For dexterous liner gloves you might experiment with snug (not tight) rubber dishwashing or latex surgical gloves (allergy potential!). I don't think more expensive == better in the glove world. Sometimes a low-tech hardware store pair will be the best for a particular application.

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Try crossing the street from REI and checking out Feathered Friends (or Second Ascent in Ballard, or ProMountain Sports in the UDist). It's pretty hit-or-miss who you talk to in any retail shop, but your odds of getting decent (experienced) advice are much better in one of the smaller shops. The dividend really doesn't seem that valuable when you're freezing your ass off.

 

Here's my general setup- the OR Powerstretch liner gloves, tucked inside the OR Modular mitts. If conditions are really wet, like what you'd described, I use wool gloves instead- less dexterous, but the suckers keep you warm even when sopping wet.

 

YMMV

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Thanks for the additional advice Mtguide, fern, Squid & slothrop. Last night I checked this post and saw that it was too much to take in before leaving for work - so I printed it out and took it with me. Wow! You guys, especially you - Mtguide, have given me a lot of information.

 

I would love to be in a position to complain that my gloves were too warm! I bought 15 of those hand warmers this morning and will use them on future trips. The consensus on this post seems to be leaning heavily towards mittens with liners. I'll pick them up tomorrow after checking out a few places besides REI. They've added the inevitable rain to Thursday's forecast - so I'll get to check out the new gloves and then bore you all with a review. smile.gif

 

As for cold weather training or adaptation (mind over matter - where there's a will, there's a way) I've used it often, but my hands seem to have a fixed physiological limit. I don't mind the numbness so much as I do the nearly disabling pain. It may be more than frostbite related. I've often heard that any serious bump or break in a joint will come back to haunt us later. Or maybe it just comes down to excessive wear and tear with the warranty voided. Anyway, I'm one of those guys who only very rarely turns the heat on - so cooler weather is OK by me. Some of my friends (one calls me polar bear) have told me that this has led to my problem! I don't buy it though. I did see a guy arrive at Camp Muir on the 12th of August with nothing but shorts, boots, trekking poles and a cell phone. No pack. A few people couldn't help teasing him about ordering a pizza. It wasn't cold by any means, but I was amazed that he could get up there without water. He told us that the snow and streams were all he needed - then he headed down. Anyway, thanks again everyone. I am much obliged.

thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif

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Hello everyone. After looking around for a while Wednesday morning, I settled on a pair of OR's "Summit" mitts from their Seattle store. By this point, money was no object anyway ($129.47 with Gary Locke's cut). I took them with me to the Muir Snowfield (Rainier) Thursday morning - and they were great! thumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gifthumbs_up.gif If it wasn't for the problems caused by my addiction to taking pictures - I might even say these mittens were toasty. Hell, they were toasty and of course, they really are waterproof - and I'll admit to cheating with those hand warmer things. Very roomy. Thanks again to you all for your advice and input. Now... if only it was possible to have a dry shocked.gif weekend (Wednesday / Thursday). Is that too much to ask? hellno3d.gif

 

2004_0916_072935AAsmall.jpg

Welcome to Mount Rainier, perpetual land of Rain, Snow and Ice (guaranteed on Wednesdays and Thursdays)fruit.gif

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Mitts were the way to go Jim. I fussed with all sorts of gloves and finally went to oversized mits. Easy to slip into. You might try a pair of thin glove liners on your hands so when you pull out of the mitts to focus-and-click your hands are a little happier. Happy trails!

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Thanks vw4ever, Dave and a1leyez0nm3. I do appreciate the information and the benefit of your experience. Those Marmot gloves look particularly nice - I might just give them a try since decent gloves are the things I'm still lacking, but the root of my problem goes back to carelessness as a youngster (frostbite). My mitts are great, but useless for taking pictures and they're something of a pain in the ass with trekking poles. I'm familiar with seal skinz, but have yet to try them myself and I exhausted the hunter store glove option early on (great deals there on an incredible range of things). For someone in my situation, I just have to remember not to bitch when my hands freeze up right after I take off my gloves/mitts to take pictures or whatever... It's usually worth the price as long as not too many people see the ritual I have to perform in order to thaw out.

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Reynauds syndrome. If you google it you will come up with all sorts of nonsense, but it is basically the phenomenom some people suffer in which the circulation to hands and feet is restricted in cold weather. My ex-wife and daughter both suffer, in that they can be dressed warmer than me or my son, and their hands will be white and frozen, even when its not cold out (for us!)

 

My own theory is that the internal thermostat is set wrong. This is probably a genetic thing, that is to say not easily modified through conditioning, though I believe it could be.

 

It is well documented that the blood flow to the extremities is restricted as a body freezes, in order to reserve heat for the vital organs. I see no reason that every person should be set to make this happen at exactly the same temp, and given the nature of variation, there must be extreme outliers. Oddly, my son and I seem to be on the opposite end - My hands don't get colder than rest of me, even when severely hypothermic. My ex and daughter will have ice cold hands even when its barely "chilly" out.

 

As an aside, there is something that is called BAT - brown adipose tissue or brown fat. It bypasses normal metabolic process, I can't remember offhand which steps in the ATP cycle, to change stored energy directly to heat. Apparently most infants have some, and they have found many Finnish lumberjacks have a band of it along the muscles of the spine. (I think the original study was in Finland) The bat fat responds to low temperatures by producing a surge of heat. Back when I went to university, they hadn't satisfied whether this could be induced through conditioning, but I'm convinced it can be.

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Thanks for the information Bogen. Reynaulds syndrome is something that sounds vaguely familiar. I know my mother always seems to have unnaturally cold hands. I don't have that particular problem at least, but Mom has seen the problems I have putting car chains on and insists that it runs in the family. I still think my problem goes back to minor frostbite. I wonder though if there could be a gender connection (Reynaulds)? I also seem to remember reading about a study of certain people who seemed to have some built in anti-freeze ability (BAT?). I used to think I did. Anyway, thanks for the information.

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I loves my neoprene Glacier Gloves. Only problem is, you still get wet from sweat. Non-breathable.

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Hi Jim,

 

I bought the OR Summit mitts as well and have been pretty happy with them. I did notice that OR came out with the Alti mitts if your Summits ever seem cold. They look like expedition-type mitts, probably overkill for around here (for most people anyway).

 

Jeff

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Reynauds... I have that. It’s also referred to as “White Finger”. My index, middle, ring finger and sometimes pinky on both hands turn white at the second knuckle. There is NO blood flow to the tips which is pretty bad news unless you have a heat source to bring them back. You’ve seen some guy skiing down Saint Helen’s stopped waving his arms around? That’s me forcing the blood to my fingers!!! I asked my Dr. what I could do and he said stop subjecting your hands to the cold.... Ya, not likely... He also suggested high blood pressure medication might work to dilate my vessels. I haven’t tried that yet... It most often happens when I’m gripping something like the steering wheel, ice axe or ski pole in the cold. There are many reports of loggers with this condition the theory being that the operation of vibrating tool during the cold (mostly Canadian loggers) can lead to the condition. I’ve been experimenting with gloves for a bit and currently my system is to use the Seirus Therma-Lux Glove Liner w/ heat pocket, or as I like to call them my "Michael Jackson’s" due to the gold mylar mixed into the stitching. I keep at least a half dozen of those hand warmer pouches on me or in my pack’s FA kit depending on the length of the trip. My outer gloves are the BD Guide. When I start having a problem now I just stop and break out a few hand warmer pouches, put them in the liner gloves hand warmer pocket. As far as water proof glove... warm hands are happy hands be them wet or dry. The key is to have a second liner so a dry one can be used while the wet ones are drying somehow.

My $0.02

Mike

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