The Alpha Glove boasts a full featured specification and on paper (or on the screen) they gave all the attributes of a glove that will suit a winter outing, Montanes description:
From the outer fabric to the inner lining, the Alpha Glove utilises some of the world’s most advanced fabrics and technologies making this one of the most cutting-edge, high performing softshell gloves on the market. A SCHOELLER® outer fabric with its 3XDRY® finish provides extreme protection from the elements whilst a POLARTEC® Alpha Direct lining, with a superior warmth to weight ratio and great wicking properties, keeps hands warm and dry. It also includes 60g of PrimaLoft® GOLD ECO Insulation to provide extra warmth for the harshest of conditions. Together with supple yet tough goat leather palm and fingers, the Alpha Glove offers unrivalled performance in a comfortable, dexterous package.
Price £80, Weight 126grams (book), my size large 141 grams.
On arrival the Alpha Glove was immediately dexterous, not like some winter gloves that are stiff to begin with and require a bit of a pounding to make them supple. The leather palm is very pliable and continues to be resilient and grippy now after a decent season of use.
The Schoeller outer is water resistant and has resisted a good amount of moisture from rain, punching into snow and dripping ice. There was a day where the last stages of the climb and part of the walk off I got particularly wet, the outer of the glove was understandably breached and the moisture gathered in the insulation in the fingers, obviously due to gravity. The glove was still warm and could of gone on a bit longer before I swapped them out.
Even following that day the the outer’s DWR was still maintained on subsequent outings. Anytime I worked up some warmth inside the glove I never noticed any issues with sweat.
The Alpha Direct lining is comfortable, as you would expect it coats the full inner. I can prove this as the day where they got wetter than I would of liked when I removed my hand from the glove I had some Alpha residue stuck to my wet fingers. In general use I have been able to go from active use on the climb to standing still on the belay and not suffer too much from the cold. Anytime hot aches reared their head they didn’t last long.
The Primaloft feels as though it is on the back of the fingers and hand, it’s hard to tell without pulling the glove apart (which I don’t plan to do as I intend to keep using them). As with the Alpha, this additional insulation kept my hands warm even on the coldest of days with the wind howling up a gully.
Small issues highlighted themselves through use, the fingers are a little boxy on the ends for me anyway. I’d like to see them taper a little towards the end. I did get them trapped a few times in the gates of carabiners, this could be the issue of the user and not the glove I accept.
There is no sign of real wear on the glove, and I have given them a bit of a thrashing. The leather is worn but a bit of oil and they’ll last no problem. There are what I can only imagine is something to prevent wear on the web between the thumb and the index finger, some of this is starting to wear off.
I’d also like to see a “nose wiping” patch on the thumb, I think it’s one of those things that us snotty cold climbers have come to expect. It comes in handy in my experience.
The Alpha Glove is articulated and fits my hand really well, gripping ice tools on the sculpted leather is comfortable and the dexterity of the glove helps to prevent overgripping as there is no force required to keep your hand in place.
A simple but effective and extremely useful feature is the loops on the fingers, these are common on winter gloves. For those who are unsure of what there for, they are used to clip the gloves on to a harness or pack strap so they are kept to hand and the opening downwards to prevent them filling up with snow, moisture and debris. Some gloves, even some of Montanes, have a very short strap which makes the getting the carabiner through it, especially in the cold. Difficult. The simple solution here on the Alpha Glove is the band wraps around the finger and as the glove is soft the biner clips in and out easily.
The gauntlet cuff does well to get over the cuff of all of the layers I have worn whilst they were in use and the pull cord tightens and releases easily whilst wearing the glove.
For a pair of gloves they have enough features to warrant the amount of words I have put in the review. There is no doubt the Montane’s Alpha Glove has performed better than any glove I have used in the winter before now. Dexterity, warmth, breathability, water resistance all in one package and at a reasonable price! As part of a winter glove “system” you could leave a set of gloves behind by including the Alpha Glove. I highly recommend them.