Navigating through the formidable and glacial terrains of ice climbing, I’ve often found that the quintessential ally against the bitter, numbing cold is a pair of robust gloves. Through countless ascents, my fingers have curled around ice axes and manipulated carabiners, all while enveloped in the sanctuary of well-chosen gloves, which have been pivotal in turning potentially perilous climbs into triumphant conquests.
In extreme cold, where the ice beneath your fingertips can be both a beautiful and brutal adversary, having the right gloves is not merely about comfort, but survival.
Join me as we delve into the intricate world of ice climbing gloves, exploring options that have been tested and proven in the crucible of icy verticals, ensuring your hands remain a reliable asset rather than a liability in your chilling journey upward.
My 4 Favorite Ice Climbing Gloves
8 Best Ice Climbing Gloves In Detail
Now it will be much easier for you to decide. The wide variety of gloves are narrowed down to give you a list of the best ice climbing gloves in 2020. Here are the top-notch products offered by some of the best brands from around the world.
1. Hestra Army Leather Ice Climbing Gloves
Ice climbing demands durable, well-fitted, and extremely functional gloves. The best pick, Hestra army leather ice climbing gloves, are truly the warmest and the most durable companion on your way up the mountain.
This product is specially manufactured for professional mountain patrollers and guides. But this is also best for free riders and ski instructors. Or to anyone who is in need of high-quality gloves to combat the freezing weather.
It is undoubtedly durable because the backhand is made of Hestra Triton fabric, and the palm and fingers are manufactured from army goat leather. Originally, this kind of leather was only used to manufacture military gloves. But now Hestra utilizes this to provide you with the ultimate protection you need in climbing icy mountains.
Who would have thought that there is a glove that can balance breathability and durability well, like this one? Furthermore, the materials used make this product highly exceptional because it is water resistant both to water and wind.
The glove liner is made of thin polyester fiber. It has an outstanding insulation capacity that can hold heat despite the wet conditions. The G-loft insulation is specially used in these Hestra ice climbing gloves because of its quick-drying properties and its exceptional capability to retain warmth.
Another excellent feature that this product boasts of is its five-finger design. It is specifically designed to provide the highest possible dexterity without compromising comfort and warmth.
For greater adaptability, you can also combine the cozy and soft lining of this ice climbing glove with other liners. The lining is also removable, so you can replace it if you want.
Hestra also ensures ease of accessibility by designing this glove with Velcro closure along with elastic straps. Through this, putting on and off will be done swiftly. In addition to this, it also features a snow lock, which is responsible for keeping the heat in and blocking the cold from getting into your hands.
Apart from that, you can benefit from comfy and precise handling due to its eagle grip design. It is pre-curved, following the hand’s natural shape and position. There is no doubt why it is also dubbed the best ice climbing gloves in 2021. please read here best running gloves
If you take the gloves off, you can ensure that you won’t lose them because you can always put them by your side. That is possible because these Hestra army leather ice climbing gloves also feature leashes or handcuffs.
- Made of durable fabric
- Great insulation
- Maximum dexterity
- Highly breathable
- Provides comfortable grip
- Has a snow lock
- Some buyers have sizing issues
- Others have claims against its durability
2. Black Diamond Soloist Gloves
Now let me introduce to you the best budget ice climbing gloves manufactured by the most trusted brand – Black Diamond. The soloist glove is definitely the right choice for those who have budget restrictions yet are in need of waterproof and highly functional hand protection.
Ice climbing is a strenuous sport, so you need a glove like this, which is lightweight for ease of hand mobility. If certain parts of the climb require added dexterity, you can easily take it off and put it back due to its pull-on closure feature.
Despite its affordability, the brand didn’t sacrifice the durability of this glove. As a matter of fact, the outer layer of the shell is made of quality materials such as nylon and spandex. Additionally, the woven shell has a four-way stretch, which makes this item resistant to abrasion.
The palm is the most prone to impacts and tearing so they used goatskin leather in constructing this area. It also comes with Kevlar reinforcements for the glove to withstand the difficulties of rappelling and rocky terrains.
These ice-climbing gloves also have an excellent dry insert. It features a 100 percent waterproof property. You can enjoy any winter activity while keeping your hands safe and protected from moisture.
But what I love about this product is its removable liner, which allows me to dry it overnight, and it can readily help me battle against the cold weather the next morning.
More so, the glove lining features Prim aloft insulation both in the backhand and the palm. It provides versatile protection in any weather conditions, including winter. With this glove, your hands will be supplied with sufficient warmth that they need.
This Black Diamond soloist glove is a good choice because it is a combination of warmth, dexterity, and durability.
However, I discovered that the hanging loop started to fray after a few uses. It is just a small issue, but it could get annoying sometimes. Another drawback of this product is its bulky form. Nevertheless, I highly recommend this for those who have colder hands.
- Affordable quality
- Waterproof and abrasion-resistant
- Lightweight and highly dexterous
- Made of durable materials
- The shell can be used alone on warmer days
- Provides sufficient warmth and comfort
- Hanging loop frays quickly
- You might need to purchase one size up
3. Savior Leather Heated Gloves
The next product in this review is considered one of the best-heated gloves for ice climbing. Savior is a battery-powered mitt that can provide whole-hand protection and warmth in any weather condition.
I will recommend these best mountaineering gloves to hiking enthusiasts and mountain climbers. It will protect your hands from extreme coldness and keep you safe against any sort of threat that pointy and hard objects bring as you climb.
Still and all, this glove is also perfect for other outdoor activities such as racing, hiking, fishing, skiing, hunting, running, motorcycling, and sledding. Indeed, this is designed for you to enjoy your favorite sport even in harsh winter. Just like these gloves, you can find more amazing heated gloves on the market. please read here best arm warmers for hiking
Anyway, they used genuine sheep leather in manufacturing the whole fingers and palms of these gloves. Such soft material makes it comfortable for you to wear it all day long. Aside from that, it features a wrist belt design. This is adjustable, making it suitable both for men and women.
The glove includes 7.4 V 2200mAh batteries. You need to change them for three to four hours. Then it will be ready to keep your hands warm for a maximum of six hours.
Depending on the warmth that you need, you can adjust the temperature of these heated gloves. You can choose from the three heated settings. When you turn it on, you will feel that your hands are eventually getting warmer in just 30 seconds.
What makes this glove highly exceptional is its touchscreen feature. The manufacturer coated the index finger with a conductive material that allows you to swipe and tap your mobile gadgets. With this, you can keep your hands dry and warm inside while capturing a snapshot or texting a friend.
Above all else, this kind of glove adopts elements of far infrared heating. That is why it is great to relieve stiffness and numbness of fingers caused by extreme coldness. Savior-heated gloves are also helpful in maintaining good circulation. Even if you have Arthritis or Raynaud’s, it cannot stop you from going for an adventure.
- Touchscreen feature
- Has three temperature settings
- Applicable to a variety of outdoor sports and activities
- Made of genuine leather
- The perfect solution for stiff joints, arthritis, and more
- Hard to find replacement batteries
- A USB-C charger is more convenient to use instead of its special charger
4. Outdoor Research Women’s Project Gloves
When we talk about the best gloves for ice climbing, without a doubt, it’s Outdoor Research project gloves. The brand takes pride in providing versatile products with great features and materials like this one.
It is the best women’s gloves for moderate weather because it is designed with an adjustable hook. It will surely fit their small hands. This is available in two sizes that you can choose from – small and large.
Much more, women prefer less bulky gloves. So this glove is absolutely perfect for them. However, it is not as warm as other gloves, so I suggest that you use other mitts on top of them if the weather gets more and more frosty.
Outdoor Research has carefully chosen the materials of this glove to ensure that you will be provided with the excellent features that you need for the climb. For instance, the nylon and spandex material make these Outdoor project gloves resistant to water and wind. Moreover, the Gore-Tex grip liners provide even more protection against moisture.
For its palm, they used Pittard oil tac leather that is molded with EVA foam for added dexterity. By the same token, the leather material provides extra breathability. In addition to this, it is capable of wicking away moisture from your hands caused by sweating.
The snow will be kept away due to its loop closure design. Needless you have to worry that the snow or dirt might enter into your hands as you do different activities. The prim aloft grip insulation also guarantees no slipping.
All in all, the best women’s ice climbing gloves provide precision and warmth because they also feature a 3D fit. You can enjoy the steepest slopes with Outdoor Research project gloves protecting your hands from ice sucks.
- Hand washable
- Wind and waterproof
- Can wick away moisture
- Less bulky
- The hooks are adjustable to ensure fit
- Suitable for moderate weather activities
- Not advisable to use for extremely cold temperature
5. Arcteryx Alpha SL Gloves
Another great option is the Alpha SL glove of Arcteryx. This glove features versatile construction, weather resistance, and windproofing.
If you are planning on going for a challenging climb, then the glove that you need is something with high dexterity like this one. It is specially articulated for technical ice routes. The gloves are made with thin lining, which allows you to perform better and use your hands more skillfully.
However, if your hands tend to run cold quickly, you might want to consider something thicker than this one. But for those who can withstand coldness, this is suggested because it has a lighter weight, which will allow you to execute like you are just using your bare hands.
Now you can handle ropes and other ice tools and gear necessary for ice climbing with great ease. The palm leather will also provide your fingers with better traction to hold onto the gear. Aside from that, the pulley system also allows for easy closure of gear and a perfect grip on the ice axe.
You won’t have to worry about the possibility of layer slippage. In addition to this, the glove is constructed to deal with and resist risks of shearing caused by pointy ice and other objects.
In choosing the materials to use in manufacturing this glove, Arcteryx prioritizes weight over durability. It fits next to the skin. Thus, it is much less bulky than any other product in this review. It also emphasizes customizable fit through its adjustable pulley feature.
Although they used superlight materials, they still can guarantee that you will be protected no matter the weather conditions. It can block the wind from getting through your hands. Apart from this, it can also keep your hands dry at all times due to its waterproofing ability.
Arcteryx Alpha SL gloves can also provide sufficient protection against alpine environments. The liner of this best glove for ice climbing underwent a fleece construction. The insulation layer provides warmth while keeping your hands comfortable due to its extra soft texture.
- Extra lightweight
- Offers maximum dexterity
- Fits next to skin
- Windproof and weather resistant
- Secure a good grip
- Has an adjustable pulley system
- Not as durable as other products
- Not suitable for extremely cold temperature
6. Camp USA GeKo Ice Glove
Durability, waterproofing, and breathability are just some of the outstanding features of Camp ice climbing gloves, making it a great companion as you take on high-level climbs in winter.
The Geko ice gloves utilize premier quality materials and the most advanced technologies to make a glove for cold-weather climbing activities. The best gloves for your climbs are specifically designed to provide precision and warmth for cold fingers as you ascend to the mountain’s peak.
The palm construction uses technology that will prevent the slipping of the glove from your hands. It is also responsible for binding the palm material with the other layers, such as the lining and the insulation. Through this, the glove allows precise gripping for the necessary tools that you need in order to climb.
In addition to this, the product has a Dryzone membrane, which exhibits 100 percent breathability. Furthermore, it also has a waterproof property that gives your hands enough protection against moisture and water. Aside from that, it also prevents wind from passing through your hands.
The 100g/m2 Primaloft insulation guarantees that your hands will be kept warm no matter the weather conditions. Along with it, the inner lining made of Sherpa fur brings maximum comfort to your hands due to its extremely soft and smooth texture.
More so, the product boasts of its sturdy construction. You will benefit from the suppleness of this glove brought about by premium goatskin leather material used on the palm area of this glove. Furthermore, the Geko ice glove features reinforced fingers for added durability.
With its snug fit design, you can freely move your hands and fingers. It is specifically shaped following the natural position of the knuckles thus, ice climbing gloves allow excellent grip and dexterity.
- Has breathable membrane
- Has Primaloft one insulation
- Possess reinforced fingers
- Provides maximum comfort and warmth
- Highly dexterous
- Precision in gripping
- Quite pricey
- Not recommended for climbers with cold hands
7. Black Diamond Punisher Gloves
The Black Diamond Punisher has always been included in the list of top-notch gloves because of its functionality and affordability. Mountaineers and ice climbers rated this product highly because it can last longer compared to other competing brands.
The manufacturer focuses more on creating the best glove in terms of providing better dexterity for ice climbing. However, it sacrifices some of its insulation. The fleece lining provides 100g of insulation only, which is a bit short compared to other gloves in this review.
Nonetheless, such insulation is well scattered throughout the gloves, and it provides warmth that can suffice the needs of some climbers. Moreover, it has other great features that can make up for its shortage of warmth. That is why buyers still patronize these Black Diamond punisher gloves.
For instance, it has an inner liner that guarantees 100 percent waterproof properties that can keep your hands warm even in wet conditions or cold conditions. Aside from that, the manufacturer also uses fabrics that can resist abrasion. More specifically, they utilized woven nylon in creating the shell of this glove.
What more can you ask? It can supply enough warmth while giving the right amount of dexterity needed for the climb at the same time. It can withstand constant winter use and abuse due to its premium-quality materials.
The soft fleece lining ensures that your hands will be kept cozy in whatever condition. The fingers are meticulously curved, allowing you to have a better hold on gear, ropes, and other ice tools. Its goat leather palm also contributes to easy gripping.
Moreover, it delivers an articulated fit, making it comfortable to wear and reduces the risks of slippage. More importantly, this ice climbing glove gives a strong barrier through its padded knuckles that can shield your hands against the danger of shattered plates and accidental bashing of knuckles on hard objects.
Given its great functionality, Black Diamond Punisher Gloves is offered at an affordable price. It comes in a variety of sizes, and you can further choose from the two colors available.
- Flexible leather palm
- Breathable lining
- Extremely durable nylon shell
- Has protective padded knuckles
- Great dexterity
- Requires you to order a size larger
- Not the warmest glove in this review
8. Rab Guide 2 GTX Glove – Men’s
The sturdy yet flexible glove will save winter professionals, skiing enthusiasts, and mountain guides like you from severe coldness. The ergonomic design of these Rab ice climbing gloves will keep your hands comfortable and allow you to hold tools properly.
It is highly advisable that you go for a glove that has waterproofing ability when you are planning on having a climb. This product utilizes a Gore-Tex material that makes it waterproof. Other than that, it makes the glove lightweight and breathable. All of which is exactly what you need for ice climbing.
Ran guide gloves have a pre-curved design for increased comfort. The manufacturer has ergonomically designed this following the natural form of your hands. As a result, you are allowed to keep a better grip on the tools, handle ropes carefully, and dig through your backpack.
Although the glove is highly dexterous, it does not compromise insulation. The Primaloft gold can provide just the right amount of warmth that average climbers need. But if you have colder hands, you might want to go for a glove with a higher insulation capacity than this one.
The leather exterior shell offers great durability. It will permit you to handle slushy snow, rock scrambles, and other frozen elements. In addition, the product boasts of its digital leather reinforcements, which is why it is recommended for the strenuous ice climbing activity.
Although the glove provides a lesser amount of insulation than other products in this review, still the Rab ice climbing gloves have a bulky form. But it is not a big issue, because the glove still allows excellent dexterity despite its drawback. Apart from that, it is also ultra-lightweight. So it is not a hassle to wear it all day.
- Tough gloves suited for different activities including ice climbing
- Ergonomically designed for maximum dexterity
- The leather material makes it highly durable
- Lightweight and breathable
- A little bulky
- Short in insulation
Things to Consider When Buying
All the features that I will discuss below are ideal in order to get the best glove for the climb. However, there isn’t a glove that possesses all of these attributes. At least not just yet. So what we are trying to do is to find the product that balances, though not all but most of these features.
At some point, trade-offs are to happen between them. But you must be clever and wise enough to make the decision. Indeed, choosing the best ice climbing gloves can get very tricky. Nonetheless, here are some of the things that you have to consider.
Given that ice climbing will expose you to absolutely low temperatures. In most cases, the number of degrees will fall or even drop below zero. Besides, our hands are constantly in contact with gear, tools, and ice. Thus, you need a significant buffer of warmer gloves to protect them against frozen aggressors.
It is a must to include insulation in your ticklist. There are quite numerous types of insulation, but I would recommend gloves with Primaloft insulation, especially when you want to prioritize warmth over other attributes.
Usually, a 100g of insulation is enough to keep your hands warm. But if your hands tend to run cold, then I suggest that you go for a glove with up to 200g of insulation.
The challenge starts here. Most gloves with higher dexterity sacrifice insulation and vice versa. It would get really tiring to decide which you would sacrifice. If you go for a glove with better insulation, then you might find it difficult to tie knots, place ice screws, and perform other delicate tasks.
On the other hand, if you opt for a more dexterous glove, it might not be able to keep your hands warm in harsh winter weather. So the key in order to get the best gloves for ice climbing is finding something that balances the two.
But then it will still depend on the routes that you will be taking. Whatever glove you choose, you might want to consider those that have extra features. Like for example, stretchy inserts, articulated fingers, pre-curved design, or any other feature that improves grip while reducing hand muscle strain.
The whole ice-climbing process will inevitably soak your hands. If the hands get wet, it will become more and more frigid for you as you climb. Thus, you need to check if the glove has waterproofing ability to prevent this from happening.
Some fabrics may resist water, but it will eventually degrade as you climb higher. Other fabrics are completely waterproof. However, if your hands get sweaty, this type of fabric cannot let moisture escape from the inside. In turn, it also cannot keep your hands dry as well.
What I am trying to say is you should find something that can keep your hands dry and, at the time, could let the moisture from inside the glove escape. This is dependent on the fabric that is used in manufacturing the product.
You must check if the material allows the glove to resist moisture while providing excellent breathability as well so that you will prevent your hands from sweating too much.
Another important factor to consider is the durability of the product. It needs to be tough and strong enough to withstand harsh weather conditions. Furthermore, ice climbing is an extreme activity, so you might also need something that can resist abrasives.
The durability is directly related to the materials used for the outer shell of the product. It is the first layer of defense against your pointy tools and anything else that your hands will encounter along the way.
Generally, the fingertips and the crotch are most prone to tearing. So you can consider those gloves that have reinforcements in these areas. More often than not, gloves with leather inserts can particularly provide more durability.
Therefore, I would recommend that you find a pair of gloves that use leather material, especially around the fingers and palm area.
Leather is renowned for its durability and ability to withstand wear and tear. When ice climbing, hands are frequently in contact with sharp ice, equipment, and rough surfaces. Leather gloves can offer a robust shield against potential cuts, scrapes, and abrasions, ensuring your hands are safeguarded during your ascent.
Grip is paramount in ice climbing, and leather excels in providing a secure, non-slip surface, ensuring reliable hold on ice axes and ropes. The texture of leather can grip onto surfaces securely, providing the climber with a confident hold as they navigate icy terrains.
Size and Fit
The fit and size of the gloves are very crucial. It can greatly impact the performance and functionality of the glove. Provided that, the accurate fit will provide better grip, dexterity, and more warmth. Hence, you need to ensure that you will acquire something that fits just right.
Remember, too tight gloves might affect your grip and worse reduce the insulation. While too large gloves might cause slippage. But if you intend to wear another liner glove within, then you might opt for a pair or pairs of gloves that are one size larger than your size to leave room for it.
Now that you have learned the essentials in finding the best pair of gloves for ice climbing, I am confident that you can choose the right pair that suits your needs. Hopefully, it is one of the gloves included in the list above.
All of them are dependable and extremely great choices. But my top choice is Hestra gloves, Black Diamond Soloist, Savior heated gloves, and Outdoor Research project gloves. Without a doubt, they are the best among the best ice climbing gloves on the market today.