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Which Mittens for Liberty Ridge?


Original Post
greggrylls · · Salt Lake City · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 152

After searching the forums and the net i'm coming up short on which mitten to get.  This will be my third time up Rainier so I know what to expect and have other systems dialed.  Traditionally I've carried a lighter weight outdoor designs mitten but it's been more of a backup pair that isn't much warmer than my climbing gloves.   Looking for something warmer to have bit better of a safety margin but something dexterous enough to hold on to a ice tool.  (no 8000 M mitts lol)  Also will be early season (May)

I've searched the net and there isn't much on what mittens are liked right now in the weight class of Black diamond mercury/Outdoor research Meteor.  I've tried both those mitts on and prefer the BD mercury.  Have also tried on the camp summit'n which I like.  Down filled so lighter but less resilient and feels less durable.  

Anyway what are people liking for a oh shit mitten for cold ice climbing days or mountaineering in the PNW?


Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 337

My favorite is the OR Baker Mitt with a mitt liner (rather than the fingered on that comes with the Bakers). 

Most people don’t carry mitts on Rainier in the summer though, as far as I have seen at least. The forecast is actually really good out here. 

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 661

OR Mt Baker Mitt

greggrylls · · Salt Lake City · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 152

Thanks for the replies Chris and Nick.  I tried those on and really like the feel but was worried about warmth.  I guess reading the trip reports of people's hands freezing on Liberty freaked me out.  I'll give those another looks since they're endorsed by two locals.  Thanks guys!

Gabe B. · · Madison, WI · Joined Apr 2013 · Points: 86

I personally am not a fan of the Mercury Mitts for multi-day excursions. I find the fleece interior difficult to use with liner gloves. I prefer to not expose my hands when futzing with stoves, laces, etc. The Arc' Alpha SV mittens look sweet, but crazy expensive. 

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 337

I personally have not climbed LR, but I have climbed a good amount in the Cascades and in the Andes. I’d imagine that people getting frostbite out here are either going up without looking at the forecast, going up during the spring or winter seasons, or going up and getting caught for a much longer than anticipated period of time. 

The coldest I have ever been was on the shoulder of Tocllaraju in the middle of the night with high winds and a non-moving climber. I literally got brain freeze from how cold it was. The Baker Mitt shells with mitt liners held up! 

greggrylls · · Salt Lake City · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 152

I think you're exactly right on that one Chris.  I've got a meteorologist friend so so far both my rainier trips have had great weather.  I have a respect for the shitty weather that mountain can have so we always look for large weather windows.  That being said my first time I did it was in early June and we had cold temps and wind and it was CHILLY. 

Thanks for the endorsement of the Baker mitts will definitely be checking those out.  I guess superior quality does come with increased cost :(

Ocalslay Onlyyay · · Not That Into Climbing · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 1,160


If you're asking about Mitts on LR...worrrrrried

greggrylls · · Salt Lake City · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 152
Locals Only wrote:


If you're asking about Mitts on LR...worrrrrried

You shouldn't be.   I think it's reasonable to ask what current mittens locals are using since mine are pretty beat and I don't have money to sample all the offerings from the different manufacturers. 

Next question I don't own crampons will yak trax be enuf for liberty climb?!  ;)


Stiles · · the Mountains · Joined May 2003 · Points: 840

Hand Warmers

ChrisMurphy · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 0

I've been on Liberty Ridge a few times, finally managed to summit via the ridge last time out, and none of us ever brought mitts.  we have usually climbed in soft shell gloves then had our regular ice climbing gloves as our heavy pair which for me are BD Punishers.  These attempts were always mid to late June and this June I'm going to attempt Ptarmigan Ridge with the same glove system...no mitts

Ocalslay Onlyyay · · Not That Into Climbing · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 1,160
greggrylls wrote:

You shouldn't be.   I think it's reasonable to ask what current mittens locals are using since mine are pretty beat and I don't have money to sample all the offerings from the different manufacturers. 

Next question I don't own crampons will yak trax be enuf for liberty climb?!  ;)


sno-sealed leather work gloves from Home Depot with a thin liner worked just fine last time I was there.  I mean, that's what I used on my boots for traction.

Allen Sanderson · · Oootah · Joined Jul 2007 · Points: 1,146

Mittens are great when the conditions are really cold or if your hands are prone to easily getting cold. The glove systems these days are really functional and warm. For many climbs I wear a medium weight windstopper fleece glove. I will wear a shell over it when needed. When the temps dip or my hands are cold I will swap out the fleece glove for an insulated glove that goes into the shell. For an extended trip I will often take lightweight gloves. I have used that glove combo on most every Rainier climb since the early 90s. Before that yeah I used mitts - as in Dachstein Mitts cause BITD they were the norm.

John Alcorn · · Boulder, CO · Joined Sep 2014 · Points: 390

Climbed LR early July last year. Brought OR Arete gloves and they were more than enough. I own OR Mt Baker mitts (which are great btw) and I left them at home. This was in July though with perfect weather - we were in t-shirts on the Carbon. I'd say consider leaving the mitts at home if you can reasonably bet on good weather and you're fast. Remember you have to carry over and the less stuff you have to haul the better. If in doubt though you could carry a light pair of mitts as a backup, but I would not plan on doing the majority of the climb in mitts unless you've struggled with frostbite in the past or something.

greggrylls · · Salt Lake City · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 152
John Alcorn wrote:

Remember you have to carry over and the less stuff you have to haul the better. If in doubt though you could carry a light pair of mitts as a backup, but I would not plan on doing the majority of the climb in mitts unless you've struggled with frostbite in the past or something.

Oh for sure John.  We are going earlier than that when weather can be quite a bit colder.  I've got climbing gloves I plan on being in for the vast majority.  Was more inquiring for a mitten for summit day or for if weather get's crappy.

Ruth23 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 0

Maybe check out the MEC Citidal mittens.  Insulated over mitts with lobster claw liners that you could switch out with whatever gloves you already have on. Sort of the same idea as the Deadbird SV's, but a heck of a lot cheaper. I just snagged a pair to use as belay mitts. Haven't used them yet, but they seem pretty sweet.

greggrylls · · Salt Lake City · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 152

Thanks for all the replies. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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