The Gripper

No glove sponsorship? No problem, says ice-climbing guide MARK MILLER, who reveals how he keeps his hands warm for less.


Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.

OUTSIDE: What do you look forin a glove?

MILLER: When you’re using leashlesstools, dexterity is king. You can get by with a thinner glove: Without restriction on your wrist, circulation is better. And becauseyou can let go at any time, it’s easier to shake your hands out.

What’s your favorite?

Unless it’s really cold, I pair a fairly cheap fleece liner—something you pick up for $15—with an inexpensive water-resistant but high-dexterity shell. When I wear out the shell, I just throw it away and keep using the liner. Or I’ll use a pair of waterproof,washable leather gloves from thehardware store. They’re mechanic’s gloves, and the dexterity is really good. I’ll barely get a full season out of them, but theycost just 15 bucks. I also carry another set that I use solely for belaying, whichreally trashes your gloves.

What do you use?

For semicold weather—zero to 20 degrees—I’ll use a pair of PrimaLoft-insulated leather gloves. Right now I’ve got the Marmot Work gloves ($80; They’re more expensive, but they’re made with higher-quality leather, and thelast a lot longer than the hardware-store variety. I had to start duct-taping the fingers after one season, but now they’re on their third. I’ll see if they can finish the year, but I doubt it.

Miller, 42, works for San Juan Mountain Guides and sets the course for the Ouray Ice Festival, the country’s premier ice-climbing showcase and competition.

promo logo