I’ve spent a long time looking for good mid-temperature alpine and ice climbing glove. It needs to be warm enough to be useful down to the ‘teens temperatures, dexterous enough to operate carabiners and cams without frustration, weather-proof enough to keep my hands dry in reasonable conditions, and durable enough to withstand the abuse of alpine climbing. And it has to fit my hand well. Not an easy set of goals to accomplish at the same time, but the OR Lodestar glove (Retail: $89.00) seems to do the trick.
Strengths of the Lodestar glove:
- Pre-curved so your hand is in the natural position for grabbing an ice tool or a rock feature. These fit my hand amazingly well.
- Durable leather fingers and palm, stand up to the rigors of climbing and rappelling.
- Stitching is out of the way of common wear spots.
- Simple, effective Velcro cuff closure.
- Fast drying: actually quite an important feature. When these get a little wet on a pitch, they are warm and pretty dry after spending twenty minutes zipped inside my jacket.
- Medium dexterity: this is a mid-weight glove, so there is a little bulk around the finger tips. Also they slip a bit while hand-jamming. For maximum dexterity required for hard dry tooling/ mixed climbing, go with a thinner glove, like the OR Alibi II.
- Medium warmth: when climbing in temps below 25° I carry a warmer glove for belaying.
- Not waterproof. But hardly any glove really is. These are water-resistant enough to stay dry on all but the soggiest of ice climbs.
My go-to glove for ice climbing in temps between 10° and 35°, or spring ski descents. Also a good belay glove for chilly alpine rock climbing (i.e. rock routes in The Bugaboos, Patagonia), and useful for aerobic activities like skinning and Nordic skiing in cold/windy weather.