The mountains pose a unique challenge to the human body- and this is often felt first in the fingers and toes! In this article, we will look at handwear- and I’ll share with you a little bit about my personal glove quiver.
I am always buying gloves. Since I began playing in the mountains, rarely a year goes by that I don’t purchase new gloves. While this is always troubling to my wife, it’s never troubling to my fingers! Right now, my glove selection looks like this:
- Outdoor Research Chroma Full Sun Gloves – these are my go-to liner gloves for summer in the mountains. They’re incredibly light, really breathable, quick-drying…and best of all, they’re light colored. Ideal use: the Muir Snowfield in July, in full sun.
- Black Diamond Trekker Gloves – no-slip grip, sun protection, and blister protection. They’re heavier than the Chroma gloves, but significantly less warm than the next pair of lightweight gloves I’ll discuss. Ideal use: ski touring on a warm or sunny day.
- Black Diamond Digital Liners – these are light, but fully windproof liner gloves. The fabric is Gore Windstopper. While they’re thicker than my Chromas & Trekkers, they’re still light enough to serve as “winter weight” liner gloves. Ideal use: cold, dry, breezy winter conditions.
- Outdoor Research PL 400 Gloves – these are hard-faced fleece gloves that fit snugly for excellent dexterity. Nothing fancy- they’re moderately thick, warm, and wind-resistant- but don’t offer any water resistance. Ideal use: very cold very dry conditions, cook tent use in the winter, or as heavy liners when I mix-and-match glove parts.
- Black Diamond Virago Gloves – these are very lightly insulated leather work gloves, and my go-to softshell or moderate conditions gloves. I’ve put many miles of use on these gloves, and the leather construction allows them to hold up well to ropework, sharp ski edges, & other climbing abuse. Unless it’s absurdly warm, I bring these absolutely everywhere. Ideal use: cool-to-cold mixed weather or high-dexterity situations.
- Rab Alliance Gloves – these are two-piece gloves, with eVent waterproof, gauntleted & lightly insulated leather shells and Primaloft-insulated liners. They’re great in bad weather & great in cold conditions- suitable for use even to high altitude if conditions are right. I often stick my Digital Liners inside the shells for a dexterous fit. Ideal use: cold, cold weather where dexterity is key.
- Black Diamond Guide Gloves – a long-time classic amongst mountain professionals, these are very similar to the Alliance Gloves in purpose, but different in design. The Guide Gloves are made of tougher leather, and the outer shell is unlined. In moderate temps, I often wear the Guide shells with the PL 400 gloves. Ideal use: with the right liners to swap in, any winter or high-altitude conditions.
- Outdoor Research Alti Mitts – the biggest handwear I own, the Alti Mitts are a two-piece high-altitude mitt designed for use up to and above 8000m. For those with cold hands, these can be great even at mild altitudes- and the two-piece design allows you to remove the liners and use only the shells for weather protection with lighter liners. Ideal use: the summit of Denali, Aconcagua, or just a ripping winter day on Rainier.