What do you often see people get wrong about choosing gloves for ice climbing?
It's a common misperception that a big, bulky glove will keep your hands warm while ice climbing. In fact, they tend to do the opposite. Bulky gloves make it harder to properly grip an ice tool, which in turn causes over-gripping. Over-gripping in cold weather, while simultaneously having your hands above your head and being scared, is a recipe for frozen hands.
Another way to think about it: If you put something hot in an insulated thermos, the thermos keeps the liquid hot. Put something cold in it, the thermos keeps it cold. Your hands are no different. In order to have warm hands, you have to generate heat no matter what glove you're wearing. So even though I’m a notoriously cold-handed person, I find that wearing lighter weather-resistant gloves allows for the most dexterity and best grip. If I have this, I feel less scared and pumped. In order to actually generate hand heat, I do a lot of shaking out and pretty much always have chemical hand warmers available.
Any other tips for choosing the right gloves?
Get ready to purchase a small fleet! Liners, dexterous climbing gloves and a warm belay glove or mitt is a minimum and should set one up for success.
Also, make sure the climbing gloves fit—err on the small side. I actually aim for gloves that are a little too small (kind of like rock climbing shoes). If they have leather in them (recommended) they'll stretch with use. If there's insulation, even just a little, that will pack out with use. There's nothing worse than a glove that's too big! If the fingers are too long, they fold over and catch on everything—carabiners, zippers, rope—and you'll find yourself constantly wanting to take them off for tasks.
RELATED: Ice Climbing Etiquette
Taking gloves off (though liners help) a lot in cold weather, sets you up for cold hands and the possibility of dropping a glove (less than ideal if you're many pitches up).