The Mountain Equipment Women’s Guide Glove is a great ‘go to’ glove for aspiring alpinists. What’s great is that Mountain Equipment offer a women’s specific fit glove that delivers a performance product that is breathable, reasonably fitted and offers sufficient protection against the elements, making it an ideal product for future trips to come.
Mountain Equipment’s description:
The workhorse of our glove range providing superb all-round mountaineering performance. A versatile, warm and waterproof mountaineering glove that combines excellent protection and dexterity. Articulated fingers give a secure grip on an axe or ski pole whilst the Cowhide leather palm ensures durability for more technical mountain use, single-handed draw cord closure easily seals out the elements.
Price: £50.00 Weight: 190g (Small fit)
Protection & Breathability
Climbing in an alpine environment involves increased exposure to the weather (very high levels of UVA/ UVB rays) as well as refracted UV rays from the snow. Wearing gloves is a necessary item for all mountaineers as it is important to protect skin from the sun. It can also mean the difference in coping with drops in temperature, from waiting for abseils to be free in the shade to building belay on snowy and icy routes.
A feature I felt was missing from the gloves was whether they were rated against the sun. Whilst this would have been less important for a product I would used during winter mountaineering, for summer mountaineering I would have liked to have seen a UPF rating, which is an industry measurements for the amount of UVA and UVB radiation that penetrates the fabric. Whilst I feel that the gloves offered some necessary protection from the sun’s strong rays , it’s a useful feature for consumers to know that the product protects them from the sun.
Gloves need to be breathable and keep hands warm when they get wet handling snow and ice. The Guide gloves have a DRILITE® insert which the manufacturer’s say is waterproof and breathable. A combination of micro fleece on the inner lining of the palm opposite a fleecy, fibre pile lining on back of hand means the gloves are pretty warm and comfy when you’ve got them on. However , after a day’s wear in the mountains, they felt slightly damp. I had to air dry them out on the apartment balcony the day after. This was to be expected – after all gloves can get sweaty from wear and no gloves are fully waterproof and breathable.
Wearing gloves takes some getting used to, particularly when you’re placing gear such as fiddly slings and karabiners. For some gear placements, I found that the Women’s Guide gloves articulated fit meant that I had restricted flexibility for certain movements. For example, some placements like cams, which involved pushing index and thumb, were fine, whilst more dexterous movements such as opening and closing karabiners and nut placements were trickier to do whilst wearing the gloves.
Gloves need to fit well to avoid cold spots and excess room. It’s also the difference between having sensitivity to feel the route and feeling like you’ve got boxing gloves on. For someone with smaller than average hands, finding women’s gloves that don’t have abnormally long fingertip room can be frustrating at times. I was impressed with the overall fit of these gloves, which were easy to put on even after multiple times when tired cold hands tend to get harder to put inside the gloves. There is also a ruched zig-zag stitch along the wrist which is added for a close fit aspect, however they do look narrower than other gloves. The single-handed draw cord closure has a small toggle which can be pulled down to tighten around the wrist easily to keep hands warm when conditions turn, and pulled to release when you get to the shelter of the lift station.
When climbing on chossy, rough rock, the gloves provided sufficient protection from the rough gneiss and granite ridges. The cowhide leather palm and material on the thumb offered enough grip to trust my hands when moving along tricky and exposed ridges.
I noticed on my return that the middle and index finger looked particularly worn and have started to fray. Mountain Equipment have mentioned one of the product features includes ‘durable roll- tip fingers’ where the leather panel material from the back of the finger nail through to the palm, however I have noticed there is some small scuffing on both the ring and middle finger on both sides of the gloves. There is also some noticeable wear along the palm of the glove, which could have been contributed from wearing these gloves whilst abseiling off routes. Wear is highly subjective - looking after your kit will prolong it and small scuffs and nicks are to be expected- but the wear feels a bit unexpected if you’re spending up to £50.00 for your gloves to look worn after one trip.
The top of the gloves have a ‘ Storm Grey’ fabric upper on the back of the gloves which contrasts with the Black cowhide material on the palm and a small electric blue accent colour on the Karabiner carry loops. The colour is merely used for locating the loops at ease, the idea being that if you wanted to quickly clip them out of the way they will hand downwards on a harness to avoid snow getting in them. The drawstring cord is also in matching electric blue. On the Mountain Equipment Men’s Guide glove both loops and toggle is in red, which is not a significant factor in affecting my opinion of the product, but some users may prefer the red accent colour on the men’s product.
And another thing….
Most climbers know that when a runny nose strikes , a tissue can never be found easily… Mountain Equipment have made sure that there is a ‘reversed suede nose wipe’ on the insert nearest to the thumb, meaning snotty noses can find a bit of relief when you’re on the go.
Whether or not this was used on this route is yet to be revealed….
When moving quickly through the mountains, the kit required needs to protect you from a combination of extreme and challenging elements. Overall, I feel confidant that the Women’s Guide Gloves would be used on repeat alpine adventures, and will be continuing to monitor the product wear over the course of the next year or so.