Gloves may not be the sexiest thing in our kit collection but I could pretty much guarantee you, like me have lots of pairs yet strive for the ideal pair, for a number of different uses.
From warm days where you get cold summits, cold days where you move a lot and get hot and sweaty, belay stances where you would kill for someone to build you a fire – in your gloves – or my personal favourite ice climbing where you need the nirvana of gloves.
Indoor at the ice wall I can get away with thinner gloves, and then in the comfort of the walkways change into warmer gloves for belaying but on a real Alpine WI routes you can’t faff so much, so I need to find a happy medium “all-rounder” where possible. The choice and range of needs is almost infinite!
I often trawl outdoor shops both home and in Chamonix for that perfect of ice climbing glove – soft and flexible but tight enough to feel secure and like a second skin, articulate but with an element of control, thick enough to be articulate and tactile yet robust and warm enough not to freeze.
Until now I’ve had two “go-to” pairs – one a thin and uber tactile Edelrid glove (name escapes me but if they die) I’ll be heartbroken and a more robust pair of Mountain Equipment Super Alpine Gloves for colder mountain ice days. Add to this the thinny (base layer) gloves I always carry and the big ME Guide gloves for really cold times and its getting a bit bonkers… fast and light you say?
The Edlerids are superb for hot,agile and sensitive active work but their light construction and mesh back means cold hands when static. The ME’s are warm all round but too warm as you work hard and not close fitting enough for pumped moves when you are stressing about lots of things (well , I am !).
Therefore when I spotted the Outdoor Research Alibi II ice climbing glove i was intrigued. Intrigued enough to buy a pair and try them.
What Outdoor Research say
The Alibi II features a cuff closure with thermo-formed neoprene and articulating wrist harnesses for a secure fit, stretch fabric on the back of the hand for durability, and Pittards Oiltac® leather palms for enhanced grip and optimum control in both wet and dry conditions.
What I say
LOVE THEM! When in Cogne earlier this month I decided to give them a bash and they delivered – very well! Soft to touch so tactile on the axes, flexible but with a robustness that comes from a secure fit ,
Superb gripiness comes from the leather palms and there is even small amounts of padding where you need it on the outside edge of the hand (just where you usually bang it on lumps of curved ice).
The glove form is pre-curved and hence supports the natural gripping action when climbing. It also allows for closeness of fit without loss of articulation as unlike standard “box” formed gloves there isn’t extra material added to allow for flex.
Loops on fingers for hanging on harness (opening down to avoid snow) and just enough flex to accommodate swollen hand after climbing. Although not insulated they are more robust than my thinner, lighter Edlerid’s so made for more versatile use in my mind. I note they also won an ISPO innovation award so it seems others agree on how good they are.
They are made quite neat so I went for Medium, despite often being a small in gloves and they feel secure but comfy, no slippage or stretching as I get hotter and sweatier half way up a route.
All in all – a winner! not chucking my Edlerids yet but for days on alpine or less Scottish winter days on the ice I will be leading with my Alibi’s! Well done OR
RRP Price is around £60 but (when I bought them) they are on offer around £48 from many online sources (Joe Brown for example)