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glove recommendation for ice/alpine


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Hey Folks,


My original Outdoor Research Alibi and Alpine Alibi gloves were great (climbed well and nearly indestructible) but I'm not impressed by the new Pittards Oiltac Leather after destroying my Alibi's in less than 5 days in the rockies.


I'm interested in what folks are using and abusing out there. I understand that even the best glove will be destroyed by handling ropes eventually, but I don't think it's too much to ask for a glove to last more than 5 days of climbing / rappelling.


Specifically, I need a lightweight tech glove and midweight insulated ice glove; i'm very happy with my heavy duty belay glove (BD guide).






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I like OR because you can just keep returning their stuff to them. They have the best warranty of any company I have ever dealt with. It takes a few weeks but you end up with new gloves. As you say, all climbing gloves are going to get destroyed so find a company or store that will let you return them! If you're in Bellingham, you could always go to MEC in Vancouver and get gloves because they have an awesome returns policy.


I also find that having Seam Seal handy will greatly extend the life of most gloves.


Another trick I've learned is to look for women's large sizes in the discount bin. I am normally a men's medium or small depending on how tight of a fit I'm looking for.


Finally, I have run of the mill leather work gloves for rapping if I am doing anything with a lot of long rappels.

Edited by trainwreck
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That was and is my continuing nightmare - finding the ice gloves that work.


$$$ already wasted and still no ideal glove found.


To begin with, I have cold small hands with thin fingers and, with such package, getting screaming barfies at least once per day is a must. I found that the severity of pain however largely depends on the outside temps and the glove design/insulation. Specifically, Primaloft 1 or wool plus Event insert is my current preference for technical rock and ice in -30C range. If glove fingers are too tight, you cut off blood circulation which leads to the same outcome - barfies. If the glove fingers are too boxy or long, you fiddle with gear for eternity. Another consideration is gauntlet style versus velcro closure. I prefer gauntlet gloves because of the ease of adjusting them over the layers which also provides for a better fit. Velcro cuffs are way more time-consuming to stick under the layers, plus oftentimes the glove would bulge and the fit would suck (like is the case with the 2012 First Ascent Primaloft Guide gloves which would be the perfect glove with a gauntlet).


My current favorite (which was ingeniously discontinued) for -30C range is the 2012 Ice Gauntlet glove by RAB. Super warm - thanks to Primaloft 1, always dry (Event), great grip and flexibility. Unfortunately, Rab has now totally changed the fit of these gloves: fingers are too tight and long and the sizing is off. My second go-to ice glove for very low temps is the Shak 2-layer glove by Ibex. Water resistant softshell outer and leather palm plus dense wool insulation. What I like about this glove is they mold to your fingers, rarely cause severe barfies and are very durable.


For mild temps (to -15C), I use Mountain Hardwear Hydra gauntlet gloves (not very warm and not very durable but totally waterproof with a good grip) and OR Prophets (GoreTex insert plus wool insulation - although like all good things, they are also discontinued).


I am currently looking at TNF Vengeance gloves and would appreciate any input if anyone tried them?



As for rapping, I am not Gene Pires and rapping with bare hands at -30C would send me straight to a hospital with a frostbite. So, I end up using waterproof and lightly insulated approach gloves with high dexterity like Rab Baltoro.

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insulated concrete/construction/garden gloves for hard ice/dt. insulated leather gloves from a hardware store for rapping. BD Verglas and now Punisher for anything up to WI6 on a moderately cold days (up to -15C). Hand warmers, better yet, toe warmers glued in, so it doesn't shift. Switch to belay mitts after each pitch, with toe warmers glued in. Mittens go under my armpit under my shell, and climbing gloves go the same place for belays, unless they get wet, and then I switch the pair. Fuck climbing at -30, no longer willing to suffer like that.

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I discovered the Mountain Hardwear Torsion glove over a decade ago, wore out three or four pairs, then MH discontinued them, but now they've reintroduced them, and the current generation is as good as ever. When on ice/mixed, I literally forget I have them on - my hands are warm, dry, agile...

I struggle at remembering to switch to a more durable belay glove, but even with rope-handling, I can get a couple of seasons out of them - quite reasonable wear for such a light glove. And they're far less expensive than other "dedicated" ice/mixed gloves. Last month I paid less than $40 for my most recent pair. Hardware-store mechanic type gloves are my second choice, but I have not found a version that keeps my hands dry.

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For over a decade I've been loyal to the BD Punisher as my 'go-to', and the BD Specialist if I need something slightly warmer. This is all I've used for pretty much everything from alpine routes in Alaska to ice routes in Canada.

If you seam grip them out of the box, they'll not only better resist getting wetted out, they will last quite awhile also.

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