CGR take a look at the new Vengeance gloves – a great all round winter glove.
The North Face Vengeance Glove is a technically advanced modular 2-layer Summit Series glove for mountaineering and alpine pursuits.
CGR Rating ****
Now don’t even get me started on gloves. Of all the kit I’ve wasted money on (and I’ve spent a small fortune on climbing kit as my long suffering wife will attest) over the years gloves have been my biggest headache. I must have owned well over a hundred pairs and am only just about getting it right for winter climbing. I now have a general climbing glove and a belay glove. I also carry my beloved Yorkshire woolen dachsteins for emergencies and a light pair of approach gloves. Richie admitted to carrying 5 pairs the other weekend so we can see that gloves are a complicated area and the first thing we need to is talk to the elephant in the room – in my humble opinion there is no glove that will keep your hands dry and warm for an entire day out in the mountains. I have brilliant circulation and will always get the hot aches, mine just aren’t as long or painful.
Now that we’ve got that one out the way we can talk about the new The North Face Vengeance Gloves. These are a fully featured winter climbing glove suitable for mixed, ice and mountaineering. The gloves are constructed from 3 layer Gore-tex Pro Shell, tough Taslan nylon and perforated Pittards Goat Skin. So there is no question that The North Face have used top quality fabrics, as you would expect them to in a Summit Series product. The glove is a gauntlet style glove that is designed to go over your sleeves.
The stitching has been reduced by not having a normal box finger construction. The fingers are constructed in two parts with some articulated stitching at the knuckle. This reduces the stitching and therefore the leaking. All the seams were very well taped. I would have liked to seen double taping and some Gore-Tex reinforcement on the high wear areas, namely the inside of the fingers as this is an area that always wears through quickly, but there were well constructed in this area.
The main part of The North Face Vengeance Gloves were made from sticky, perforated Pittards Goat Skin. This is the gold standard of glove material and has been tried and tested through every climbing situation throughout the world. The perforation is something new with the theory being that it allows for better moisture management. My feeling was that it made that glove more susceptible to cold water seeping through and I feel that the glove would perform better without them. The ripstop nylon felt tough enough to be around sharp ice screw tips and had a good DWR treatment to keep the water off for a while.
One of the things I really liked about The North Face Vengeance Gloves was the modular system. This means that the inner is a separate glove I have used this before to good effect, I like because you can dry the gloves out quicker, whether that is in a drying room, stuffed inside your jacket or even your sleeping bag. It also means that you take out the damp inners and replace them with dry ones. This ensures that your hands stay as warm as they can be. The North Face do not offer an extra inner as an accessory but it’s easy enough to wear another glove as a substitute.
The inners are made from a combination of top quality Polartec Wind Pro fleece with the back of the hands from 100g of Primaloft Gold. I have used a similar combination in wool with the theory being that the flatter palm means the glove has better dexterity whilst the back has better insulation against snow. It did work very well and the back of my hands always felt warm. They were really easy to remove and insert and they were helped kept in place with two small velcro patches. In dry conditions this also means you can save weight on approach gloves and a systems I have used in the past for very cold, dry conditions is: walk in with inners, change inners to dry ones for climbing-stuff others inside jacket to dry out, change inners over when hands are cold or for the walk out. This worked well with the Vengeance Gloves and further warmth was provided with the hem cinch which worked really well one handed. The gloves also come with detachable wrist leashes which I ditched immediately as I don’t get on with them in any glove system – it’s all personal choice though and I’m not saying it won’t work for you.
The North Face Vengeance Gloves worked really well as an ice climbing glove and for belaying, I felt they weren’t dexterous enough for fiddly UK mixed climbing conditions when I used them for belaying (which they were brilliant for). They would also be great for ski mountaineering and general mountaineering as well as polar expeditions where you might have some climbing to do.
- Superb build quality
- Great modular system
- Very warm
- No need for the perforations
- Not dexterous enough for fiddly gear placing