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First Ice trip: glove advice, Banff


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cmqr9001 Black · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 135

My cousin and I are taking an ice trip the first week of February to Banff. Online research shows lows of -15C in the Banff area, and growing up in the southwest US I have no concept of what that means. Looking for some basic advice on Glove layering systems that would get me by for this trip and basic ice in the lower 48. 

Also if anyone has experience climbing ice in Banff any helpful advice is appreciated! Thanks!

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,795

Of course model names of gloves change over time, so some of the specific rec's in these articles may be outdated. But the principles described are timeless.

beaki · · San Jose · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 100
cmqr9001 Black wrote:

My cousin and I are taking an ice trip the first week of February to Banff. Online research shows lows of -15C in the Banff area, and growing up in the southwest US I have no concept of what that means. 

"The Celsius scale, also known as the centigrade scale,[1][2] is an SI scale and unit of measurement for temperature." its basically what the rest of the world uses. ;-) 

now seriously, its probably a very very good idea to part from the idea that there is ONE best pair of ice climbing gloves, or to only carry one pair of gloves. it is _very_ common to have three pairs: 

a.) one for the approach; they might get a bit moist from sweat and you leave them at the base. b.) the climbing gloves; as thin as possible (for you) for best dexterity; you basically only have to last one pitch in them: you put them on, climb like hell, arrive at the top, rip your third pair of gloves out from under your jacket where you kept them warm and you belay your partner up. 





AlpineIce · · Upstate, NY · Joined Mar 2011 · Points: 255

Multiple thin pairs of gloves with little to no insulation for active climbing.  Add a pair of highly-insulated mittens or gloves to your pack for the belays. Remember, the warmer you keep your core, the warmer your hands & feet will be. Stand by for barfies if you've never climbed ice; especially in northern, winter climates.

Briggs Lazalde · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

Climbed a 200' fall on Christmas eve and this time the barfies definitely hit. Got away with some serius neoprene-like kayaking gloves before which are great. They're dexterous and grippy and fairly insulated. However I'm glad I had spare gloves this last time. Carried some arcteryx sl gloves and some BD forget the model. The waterfall had some spray mid way up so down below we were quick to get wet from the get go. I think as others recommended to me, have multiple thinner gloves than 1 pair. Also I opened up a hand warmer for each pocket for pitch 2 and if it ever got real bad I would hang for about 30 seconds and squeeze the warmer in my pocket, focusing on finger tips and it did quick work to get them back to tolerable. Definitely be keeping activated hand warmers in each pocket from the get go on ice climbs from now on.. If you havent been exposed to much winter weather I wish you the best of luck. Dealing with the elements has a learning curve you can only feel out with time and exposure. Be safe

Bill Kirby · · Baltimore Maryland · Joined Jul 2012 · Points: 480

 I'm assuming you guys are hiring a guide? 

 Buy a pair of warm cheap ski gloves. They're not the best to climb in but you wanna be fine temperature wise. You'll probably be toproping at Grotto, the Junkyards, Johnston Canyon or Haffner Creek for the first couple days. All those places should be dry. So you don't need fancy waterproof gloves. If you end up needing a spare the guide will have a pair for you to use.

 If you pick up ice climbing enough the next spot might be Professor Falls or Lake Louise Falls. Pray you dont walk off Professor Falls. its.. ummm loose rock above cliff bands.. fun stuff. 

 Canmore is cheaper than Banff. Ski Lake Louise if it snows while you're there. Low angle ice sucks after a storm anyway. Check out the Fairmont Lake Louise, the Gondola in Banff and Field BC.

 

Bryan Gilmore · · FLG, AZ · Joined Nov 2005 · Points: 1,225

I typically have one pair to wear during the approach, these will be damp by the time you get to the base from sweat, touching show and ice while walking. Then I have two pairs, minimum, for climbing. If it's not particularly wet, then one bigger, warmer pair to wear while belaying and following pitches and one thinner, more dexterous pair. Disclaimer, I'm an Outdoor Research Ambassador. I use the Lodestar glove while approaching, warm and fuzzy, plus great breathability. Then, on route I typically bring the Stormtracker for harder leading and the Alpine Alibi or Luminary for belays and following. Finally, I was just in Canada in early December and this setup worked great, I did not wear mittens, but usually bring them if it's really cold. 

Nick B · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 56

Try wearing surgical gloves underneath your regular gloves.  Makes a great vapor barrier and extends the functional time of your gloves while climbing!

Briggs Lazalde · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0
Nick Baker wrote:

Try wearing surgical gloves underneath your regular gloves.  Makes a great vapor barrier and extends the functional time of your gloves while climbing!

Uhhhh. Sorry to be critical but absolutely not . P runey sweaty hands are gonna be the result after 2 minutes. Your skin wants to breath

Nick B · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 56
Briggs Lazalde wrote:

Uhhhh. Sorry to be critical but absolutely not . P runey sweaty hands are gonna be the result after 2 minutes. Your skin wants to breath

Lol.  It work quite well at keeping your gloves dry and hands warmer. 

Your skin doesn't want to "breath", it wants to cool itself off by evaporation.  A vapor barrier prevents this evaporative cooling action from making your hands colder and ruining your glove insulation. They actually teach using gloves as vapor barriers in millitary Arctic survival school. People also use them regularly in boots.  

On a day of cragging having your gloves wetted out is not that big a deal.  On a multiday or week trip it can be a real problem.



Slogger · · Anchorage, AK · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 80
Nick Baker wrote:

Try wearing surgical gloves underneath your regular gloves.  Makes a great vapor barrier and extends the functional time of your gloves while climbing!

I have never tried them ice climbing but have used mechanics gloves (like surgical gloves, but a little tougher material) extensively while fishing in the winter. You still get the dexterity for dealing with baits and knots, but just keeping the water directly off your skin makes a huge difference in how warm your hand stays while fussing about. I imagine they would work fairly well ice climbing, I'll have to try this.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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