Gear We Love: Mammut Guide Work Gloves

Mammut Guide Work Glove.

Two years ago, in September 2011, I did a press trip to the Cascades with Mammut to attempt Mt. Baker as part of the Swiss company's 150th anniversary Peak Project shindig. Naturally, they set us up with some Mammut gear to try out, including a pair of lightweight leather gloves. Those gloves hardly seemed up to the task as we climbed up the glacier, with wind blasting snow and sleet horizontally. We ended up bailing around 1,000 feet below the top, fearing someone would get hypothermia or worse. My gloves were soaked. But, surprisingly, my hands were pretty warm.

Since, then the Mammut Guide Work Gloves ($99, have been my go-to gloves for aerobic winter sports or mixed climbing. Actually, pretty much anytime I opt for dexterity over pure warmth, including driving on cold days. The soft leather is supple and grippy—just the ticket for dry tooling. The cuff has a wide range and is easy to adjust, and a big pull-on loop makes these gloves easy to don even when they're stiff with frost. They're only lightly insulated, so these aren't belay gloves. But when you're moving, they stay dry and toasty. The extras work well, too: soft fabric on the back for snot wiping, an unobtrusive buckle for clipping the gloves together, and small clip-in loops on the forefinger to tote the gloves upright on your harness, so they won't fill with spindrift.

Best of all, these gloves are durable. I've worn them for dozens of ski and climbing days over two and a half winter seasons, including a fair amount of scrappy mixed climbing, and they're still going strong. I expect to get at least another year out of them.

I haven't worn the latest version of the Guide Work Gloves—they appear to have more leather around the cuff, and the layout of the reinforcements on the palm isn't the same as my two-year-old model. But otherwise they seem to be the same bomber, super-comfy gloves I still use nearly every day in winter.