Who doesn't know the dilemma: Gloves are often forgotten when you need them later. And if you think about packing some, they turn out to be the wrong ones afterwards. Reason enough for some practical tips for climbers, mountaineers and ski tourers.

A contribution by Fabian Reichle - Bächli Bergsport

Clammy fingers are certainly not one of the health problems that pose the greatest risk, but they are definitely one of the most tedious. Opening zips, handling ropes or holding rocks - all of this gets really corrosive with cold hands. The solution: Gloves. That's how people have been doing it for thousands of years, at least according to a small, non-binding jaunt at Wikipedia.

But as simple as the general, as complex as the details. Or to put it another way: Mittens filled with down are extremely unsuitable for filigree climbing passages, whereas the light and thin wool gloves have no place on a high-altitude tour in the freezing cold.

With the right gloves, activities in the mountains are much more fun.
With the right gloves, activities in the mountains are much more fun.

If you put on gloves, the first step is to think about which activities you would like to pursue. What temperatures will you be exposed to? Do you need range of motion and grip? Do your hands get wet or are they exposed to strong winds? Does weight matter? Does the glove come into contact with rough material? Is it necessary to put on and take off the gloves regularly?

One is none, why different gloves make sense

The answers to such questions already limit the selection and a suitable model will emerge. First of all: There will not be one glove for everything. The decision makes it easier to think in personally relevant categories.

As an example, the case of the author of this article, which is primarily based on the weather. A pair of very light, thin gloves for cool temperatures and everyday use. A pair of all-rounders that are solid in winter and, above all, stay dry, and last but not least, a pair of leather mittens with a fur lining for those really nasty days on the mountain (under which you can even wear the thin gloves in extreme cases).

Cold, moisture and freedom of movement place very specific demands on gloves when ice climbing.
Cold, moisture and freedom of movement place very specific demands on gloves when ice climbing.

A knack for warmth: Four examples of different gloves

An important point when buying gloves is wear and tear. Where there is planing, there are shavings and our tools are our feet and our hands. In other words, a glove definitely does not have the same life expectancy as other items of clothing.

The service life of a glove can be increased many times over by investing in high-quality models.

The all-rounder for everyday use

Softshell gloves like the are primarily suitable for normal everyday life and for activities such as securing a rope in the climbing garden Venta Glove by Arc'teryx. They protect your hands from being exposed to the weather, provide the necessary warmth on cooler days and allow you to work almost freely. Many models are even touchscreen compatible.

For use on rock or in the snow, and generally in very wet conditions, such gloves are rather impractical. Attention, even thin leather gloves, such as those designed for via ferrata, are less suitable for the cold, as they primarily offer protection against physical exertion.

For everyday use or when belaying on rock: The Venta Glove from Arc'teryx.
For everyday use or when belaying on rock: The Venta Glove from Arc'teryx.

The secret weapon for ice cream

For those looking for gloves that get down to business, there are specific, super-tough models like the Punisher Glove by Black Diamond well served. These have been developed explicitly for ice climbing and dry tooling.

They offer the best grip on natural material in mixed routes but also on steep ice axes. Nevertheless, they offer enough freedom of movement. This is achieved through the clever combination of tough goatskin and stretch textiles.

Black Diamond's Punisher Glove is ideal for ice climbing or mixed routes.
Black Diamond's Punisher Glove is ideal for ice climbing or mixed routes.

The superlative in the fight against the elements

A different spectrum is served, for example, by the Absolute Zero Gore-Tex Down Mitt by Mountain Hardwear. This category of gloves commits itself to the superlative - not only in the length of the model mentioned, but also in protection against the elements.

This is where absolute waterproofness and windproofness come into play without sacrificing breathability. Down, leather and the highest quality textiles are standard.

The Absolute Zero Gore-Tex Down Mitt by Mountain Hardwear is completely waterproof and windproof.
The Absolute Zero Gore-Tex Down Mitt by Mountain Hardwear is completely waterproof and windproof.

The joker for underneath

As mentioned before, there is no such thing as a glove and even if the supposedly perfect model has been found, it can happen that they are not warm enough. In this case, so-called underwear gloves are worth their weight in gold. They provide the decisive additional heat, require hardly any space and are relatively inexpensive. A nice example is this Merino Wool Liner Active by Hestra.

Liner gloves such as the Merino Wool Liner Active from Hestra provide additional warmth if required.
Liner gloves such as the Merino Wool Liner Active from Hestra provide additional warmth if required.

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About Bächli mountain sports

Bächli mountain sports is the leading Swiss specialist shop for climbing, mountaineering, expeditions, hiking, ski touring and snowshoeing. At currently 13 locations in Switzerland, Bächli Bergsport offers its customers expert advice and high-quality service. Published on LACRUX Bächli mountain sports periodically exciting contributions to the topics climbing, bouldering and mountaineering.

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Credits: Cover picture and article pictures: Bächli mountain sports

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