Can You Wear Gloves for Climbing?


Wearing gloves for climbing is not a strange sight at all, especially when climbing mounts with cold climates where wearing gloves is actually advised.

Should you wear gloves when you climb mountains? Generally speaking, you should and for a few reasons. One, it provides you with a better grip in case you need to hold on to slopes, tree branches, tree trunks, and so one. Another reason is to protect your hands from environmental factors like harsh temperatures and rough surfaces.

While it may seem silly to novice climbers, wearing gloves is actually one of the most essential methods to make the climb easier and to avoid deadly accidents.

Equipment to Have When Mountain Climbing

When you are planning on climbing a mountain, you are going to need some equipment. However, the type and number would depend on the factors surrounding the mountain. For example, if you are just going somewhere close where the climate is stable and there are no dangerous wildlife about, you will only need to prepare the bare minimum of gear.

Simply put, the level of preparation for your mountain climbing will be based on:

·         Distance

·         Remoteness

·         Wildlife

·         Environment

·         Traffic

·         Size

·         Climate

·         Terrain

When you look at all of those factors, you can get a reasonable sense of just what you will need to bring. As for what types of equipment you might need to get, the table below should offer a good idea:

GearReason for Getting
RopeFor ascending, descending, securing, pulling
JacketProtection against the elements and bugs
PantsProtection against elements, bugs, and shrubbery
Hiking shoesPunishing conditions require sturdy shoes
GlovesMakes it easy to grab, hold, and climb
BackpackHolding essential equipment and consumables
CanteenTo hold water
Utility knifeFor cutting, cooking, self-defense
Camping gearIn case of overnight climbs
Hiking stickReduce strain on the limbs
FlashlightIllumination at night or when entering caves
HarnessFor more secure ascents and descents
CarbineerFor securing rope
First aid kitIn case of injuries

So, there you have it. Those are the most basic of basic equipment that you will need to bring and those apply mostly to moderate climbs. If you are going to go on more demanding mountaineering expeditions, you will also need such things as helmets, ice axes, shovels, pulleys, nuts, bolts, and so many others.

Suffice it to say, going on a mountain climb is not a joke. It isn’t something that you just decide to do one day and rush off to the nearest tall peak that you can find. Even when you are just walking in the woods in your own area can be risky if you aren’t used to hiking. Climbing mountains without preparing adequately is just asking for trouble.

With that said, there are also services on more popular mountain climbing sites that offer to rent you the gear that you need. However, these will not be yours and as such, you will not be used to them. They will feel significantly different compared to when you are using your own set of equipment.

If you don’t have the budget to go for the complete lineup right now, you can get what you are able to and leave the rest for later while renting the rest. However, as much as possible, you need to have your own equipment that you can use without even thinking about it.

Why Gloves Are Essential for Climbing

All right, now that we have covered some of the most essential gear that you can bring with you when you go mountain climbing, it’s time to discuss the reasons why gloves fall under that category. Simply put, they can be multifunctional pieces of equipment that can help with practically every stage of the climb.

Now, it’s worth pointing out that a lot of this will actually depend on the kind of gloves that you will be using. As such, it is always best to choose the ones that will serve your needs. Coming back to the points about the usefulness of gloves, though, they will basically act as protective tools as well as assistive implements.

You already know that your skin is quite sensitive and prone to damages, but this is doubly true for the hands. Gloves offer an extra layer of protection against cuts, abrasions, and burns. What’s more, they also keep your hands warm when you are in a cold environment. However, this is not their best function.

Gloves will also make it easier to grab things because you won’t need to worry as much about your skin being damaged. With that being the case, you can push, pull, hold, climb, and handle things that might have been difficult if your hands were not covered.

Types of Gloves to Wear

Now, there are actually quite a few types of gloves that you can choose from. They are made of different materials, come with different designs, and will also have differing levels of functionality. For example, if you are going hiking in a temperate region where there is a lot of vegetation, a full-finger leather glove set would serve you nicely.

However, if you are climbing somewhere cold, using wool gloves that offer extra thermal protection might be the better option. Likewise, traversing peaks located in sunny, tropical areas might be best done while wearing fingerless gloves and you can compensate for the reduce protection with powder.

Even with this suggestion, though, you will also have different brands and sub-types to choose from. Some wool gloves are fingerless, for example, while there are also designs that basically incorporate the concepts from all three. That is to say, a fingerless wool glove with leather patches.

Which of these gloves you get will depend on where you are going and what you can expect when you get there. Your choice will then impact your experience, along with your safety and satisfaction during the climb.

Related Questions

Is Climbing Bad for Your Hands?

Considering that you might need to use your hands to assist you with climbing over difficult terrain, mountaineering can potentially be quite bad for your hands. This is especially the case if you are not taking the appropriate precautions for actually protecting them.

What to Do with Climbing Blisters?

Mountain climbing is hard work and may even result in blisters. To treat these skin issues, you will need to wash your hands to clean the dirt. Once done, dry your hands and then apply any kind of moisturizing cream. There are special creams to help speed up the healing process, but those are not necessary.

How to Choose Your Gloves?

With all of those details about equipment and the gloves, especially, already discussed, let’s talk about how you are going to choose the gloves that you are going to wear. This should be a simple enough question to answer. You just need to consider the following:

·         Climate

·         Terrain

·         Earth composition

·         Trails

·         Difficulty rating

·         Vegetation

·         Wildlife

As long as you keep all of those factors in mind, you should be able to choose the gloves that you really need with no issues. For example, if the climate of the area you will be climbing in is cold, leather gloves will hardly be your best bet. The same goes for when it is the opposite.

If there is a lot of sharp rocks, loose earth, and challenging slopes, you will need gloves that can withstand a significant level of wear and tear. However, if the path is straightforward enough and the use of your hands will be light, there is no need to go that far.

Gloves and Hot Weather

As you might expect, wearing gloves in places where the weather is hot can be a tricky issue. This goes doubly true for places that are both hot and humid, which can be a nightmare scenario for many. This is why so many hikers and climbers simply choose to go without gloves when climbing peaks that are in regions that fit such a categorization.

On the other hand, you also need to consider the dangers that come with not wearing gloves. If the mountain that you will be climbing does not have particularly good paths, for example, you can be sure that you will be using your hands quite a lot. If you are not protecting them with gloves, you can be sure that you will be getting a ton of scrapes and bruises.

As such, you will need to find a compromise in this regard so that you can still climb as you need to but your hands won’t end up soggy by the time you are done. This is where fingerless gloves can come into play. Since they are not covering your digits, you won’t be as stuffy.

What’s more, there are fingerless gloves that are made of breathable materials while still being relatively safe. With that being the case, you really need to make your choices as carefully as possible. Choosing the wrong gloves for the wrong climb can absolutely ruin your fun.

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