Best Gloves for 14ers | My Advice & Recommendations
People often ask me “what are the best gloves for 14ers?” On Class 1 fourteeners, nothing more than a hike, gloves aren’t usually necessary. However when scrambling or climbing on Class 2, 3 or 4 terrain, many people prefer to bring gloves along to protect their hands and provide more grip. Other people insist that bare hands are better for climbing and prefer the natural feel. Here are the pro’s and con’s of wearing gloves, along with my recommendations for the best gloves for 14ers.
The Pro's of wearing gloves on 14ers
There are several good reasons to wear gloves while scrambling or climbing on 14ers. First, people sweat while climbing, which makes your hands slippery and reduces your grip. On Class 3 and 4 climbs, this can make a big difference safety-wise. It can also get especially cold at 14,000 feet. Insulation helps keep your hands warm when working on cold rock for hours on end. And of course, rocks are sharp and can cause a lot of damage, especially if you fall and try to break your fall. Gloves provide a bit of extra protection in an already dangerous situation.
The Con's of wearing gloves on 14ers
There are also a few reasons people don’t use gloves. As many people point out, technical climbers rarely use gloves, instead relying on the grip of their hands and feel of their skin to find their way up routes. Some people also find gloves uncomfortable or don’t sweat very much and prefer a cooler hand outside of a glove. In highly technical moves, gloves definitely can make it more difficult to grab a small handhold, though these kinds of movements are rare on most 14ers. In these climbers’ opinion, there are no best gloves for 14ers.
The best gloves for 14ers: My Four Recommendations
Considering the pro’s and con’s, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether you need gloves on 14ers. I recommend brining them along on an easier Class 2+ scramble to see how they feel without putting yourself at much risk. If you do decide to use them, here are my four personal recommendations for the best gloves for 14ers.
Intra-FIT Climbing Gloves
These Intra-FIT climbing gloves are a flexible pair of gloves that work for many different 14er situations. Whether you’re hiking and want gloves to use for your trekking poles, or you’re scrambling or climbing up Class 3 and 4 peaks, they’ll protect your hands and keep them warm as you scramble along. They’re one of the best gloves for 14ers currently available at an affordable price. Buy them here.
Black Diamond Crag Half Finger Climbing Gloves
Many people like half finger gloves because they provide more breathability and allow you to use the tips of your fingers for delicate handholds. These Black Diamond Crag Half Finger Climbing Gloves are very affordable (around $25.95), however they’re durable and built to last for tough 14er scrambles and climbs. They’re what I personally use for Class 3 and Class 4 scrambles and climbs. Buy them here.
Black Diamond Transition Gloves
For those looking for full coverage from their gloves during warm weather seasons, Black Diamond Transition Gloves are a fantastic choice. The absorb sweat to provide a better grip and are extremely well rated when it comes to comfort. Keep your hands and fingers safe while climbing with these gloves. They’re definitely one of the best pairs of gloves for 14ers. Buy them here.
Mountain Hardwear Men's Power Stretch Gloves
Planning a climb in colder times of the year? These Power Stretch Gloves provide a bit more insulation than these other options without sacrificing dexterity thanks to its thin material. You can use them as liners and wear warmer mittens over them during approach hikes and while in camp to stay even warmer. Buy them here.
The best gloves for 14ers
I hope these recommendations and factors help as you try to find the best gloves for 14ers. Whether or not you decide to bring gloves, remember to always pack the ten essentials to stay safe when climbing and scrambling up the Colorado 14ers.
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About the Author: Alex Derr
Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. He is working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, and the 20 tallest peaks in California. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. When not climbing, he is managing the Communications strategy at Visible Network Labs.