Gloves for Scottish Winter Walking and Mountaineering
When your hands are cold they don’t work well, so gloves are an essential part of your Scottish winter kit.
Firstly, no one glove will work all day, in all weather conditions so you will definitely need more than one pair. We recommend thinking about your gloves as a system with three categories: the approach glove, the working glove and the summit/descent glove.
The Approach Glove
A thin glove that you can wear in the warmer conditions lower down the hill or mountain. It should be just warm enough for the high exertion of walking up hill, with just enough wind resistance to keep a chilly winter breeze off your hands.
Pop these on as your begin your walk in and then swap them for a warmer pair of working gloves higher up the mountain. Approach gloves with grippy palm are good when using trekking poles. A few examples of approach gloves are
The Working Glove
This will be a thicker, warmer and tougher glove that you’ll wear higher up the hill or mountain. In fact, you will probably use this glove for most of the day.
Your working glove should give some protection to your hands when using an ice axe and digging and scraping through snow and ice. I like gloves with a leather palm as they are durable and the leather moulds to the shape of your hands. Use a leather re-proofer to keep them supple and water resistant. I usually carry two pairs of working gloves. We’d recommend the following working gloves:
- Mountain Equipment Mens Guide Glove
- Mountain Equipment Women’s Guide Glove
- Alpkit Gabbro Glove
- Rab Guide 2 Glove
If you’re after a more technical mountaineering/climbing glove, the Mountain Equipment Couloir Glove is a good choice.
The Summit or Descent Glove
Higher up the mountain it will probably be colder, your working gloves might be wet and you’ll be generating less heat. This means your hands are going to get cold, so it’s time to put on your summit/descent gloves.
Your descents gloves main role is to keep your hands warm (you may be navigating off the hill with map and compass so your hands do need to be kept toasty). This means they can be thicker and warmer than your working gloves. These are also the gloves you’ll put on if you have to stay static while waiting for help or assistance (or helping someone else) if your day hasn’t gone according to plan.
If you get really cold hands then mitts are a good option. Have a look at the Mountain Equipment Citadel Mitt
Of course all the above depends on your objective and most importantly the weather. On nice dry day (sometimes rare in Scottish winter) you may only use two pairs, probably your approach glove and a working glove. Scottish winter aficionados, guides and instructor will often discuss the weather in terms of how many gloves they used: ‘that was a four glove day!’. The weather forecast may suggest dry conditions but always pack an extra pair just in case. Gloves blow away or get damaged.
Your hands are extremely important in managing a safe day out in winter conditions. You need then to navigate, eat food, manage your hoods and zippers, hold an ice axe and operate your phone. Look after them by investing in good gloves.
If you would like some winter training delivered by friendly, highly qualified and experienced instructors then have a look at our winter courses here https://www.beyondtheedge.co.uk/winter-walking-skills/
Beyond the Edge Ltd is based in the Peak District, easily reached by train from London and within easy travelling distance from Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham and other Northern towns and cities.
We are one of the UKs most experienced providers of climbing, walking, scrambling, mountaineering and navigation training courses.
Most of our courses are run in the Peak District National Park which has some of the finest rock climbing, bouldering, walking and hiking in the world.