Why did the Outdoor Research Lodestar glove become my best mixed climbing glove this winter?
OK lets start with a little confession:
“Hello my name is Rich, I like to climb Scottish winter routes and I have a glove problem – but I can handle it…”
Anyone who winter climbs; whether ice, mixed or alpine, is likely to have a bit of a glove problem. Doubly so if you practice either of the former in Scotland. The problem is we want a glove for leading that is warm, waterproof, breaths well, can be taken on and off easily, is secure and dextrous enough to let us fiddle in pro whilst taking a selfie hanging off our leashless tools. Oh and they need to last more than a season. So did the Lodestar meet these (somewhat exacting) criteria? Well no, but back in the real world it is as close to being my ideal leading glove as I’ve yet to find.
The Lodestar is on first acquaintance a fairly simple glove; there is a pre curved goat leather palm with a micro grid fleece backing and a Polartec® Powershield® High Loft (pile) fabric making up the rest of the glove. The glove is fastened with a simple velcro closure that allows it to fit under or over a slim-ish cuff and generous pull-on loops assist donning the gloves or clipping to a harness. The high quality, pre-curved goat leather palm is well executed and is so far holding up well to a season’s use but there are several gloves in my collection that boast a similar feature. What seems to set the Lodestar apart is the stretchy Powershield® High Loft, though not waterproof it is fairly water resistant and its stretchy nature makes for an exceptionally dexterous glove of this type.
Warmth wise it is fairly average, plenty and enough for normal winter leads with excellent breathability. The breathability of the glove also helps with its other great feature – drying time. These gloves dry exceptionally fast, they hold little water and can be dried quickly back at the hut/car. They even get tolerably dry if you switch them out and tuck them into your jacket whilst belaying and seconding. The ‘single layer’ construction of the Lodestars also means that it is easy to remove and don these gloves with damp/wet hands, we’ve all had gloves with liners that ‘invert’ when a wet hand is removed. If your hand is cold at this stage you have anywhere from a mildly annoying to semi-panic stricken kerfuffle to get the glove back on. No such issues with the Lodestars, a big plus point.
There never will be a perfect mixed climbing glove but the Lodestar comes pretty close for me and have replaced my previous favourites the old BD Impulse. I originaly worried about the durability of the stretchy Powershield® but it has stood up well so far including some impromptu hand jaming antics so although it wouldn’t rate with the toughest of gloves it’s certainly up to the task. One word of warning, the sizing seems to be quite snug on these, I’m usually a medium in OR gloves but my first pair (remember I have a glove problem) of medium Lodestars were a bit too snug on my fat fingers the large were however perfect.
Stockists Tel: 0191 296 0212