Black Diamond Terminator Gloves


black diamond terminator gloves

The Terminator gloves from Black Diamond are a short cuff (as opposed to a gauntlet style), waterproof and lightly insulated glove aimed at technical ice and mixed climbing where maximum dexterity is needed, as well as protection from the elements; snow, ice, wind, water etc.

CGR Rating 3

Black Diamond say: “A minimalistic yet protective glove ideal for drytooling, mixed routes and ice climbing in milder temperatures, the Terminator features our highest level of dexterity with full waterproof protection.”

Black Diamond Terminator Gloves - great for summer alpine climbing.
Black Diamond Terminator Gloves – great for summer alpine climbing.

First of all the Terminator is not a super warm glove. Black Diamond rate them to a range of -7/2 °C, but these ratings are always subjective to the individual and the activity. They are designed to protect your hands on technical ground when you are working hard and the blood is pumping around your body from the effort. When you stop for long periods or on easy ground where your hands are spending a lot of time in contact with snow, then I’d recommend something with more insulation. Some may find these just too cold anyway.

Black Diamond market these as a glove for ice, mixed and alpine climbing. I have used these gloves on technical mixed routes in Scotland as well as alpine ice climbs and for general mountaineering in warm weather. I like the short cuff with simple velcro closure as it makes them feel secure, although short gloves do have the trade off of you getting cold wrists. This can always be sorted out (to a degree anyway) by wearing a base layer with thumb loops, then at least your wrist gets some protection. I usually find that on the technical climbs, these gloves are designed for, once my hands have gone through the initial warming up and hotaches stage, they tend to stay warm and then I swap for warmer gauntlets or even mitts for the belay. A good tip is to then put your climbing gloves next to your skin under all your layers of clothing and this will help to warm and dry them for when you put them back on. I tend to take 2 or sometimes even 3 pairs of thin climbing gloves on technical routes as they always wet out, even the waterproof ones, and once your gloves are wet, then your hands never stay warm.

Black Diamond Terminator Gloves - perfect for technical mixed ground.
Black Diamond Terminator Gloves – perfect for technical mixed ground.

I chose to size these gloves with a close fit. I was in between sizes and unsure whether to choose a small or medium. In the end I went for the small and was happy with the size which gave a close and dexterous fit without restricting circulation or the ability to clench my ice tools. The pre curved fingers helped with the fit and there was no excess leather on the palm when I clenched my fist. One thing that is interesting to look at when purchasing gloves is if you lay the glove palm up, is it totally flat? If it is a well thought out and ergonomic design it shouldn’t be. Your hand isn’t perfectly flat when it is relaxed. Also when you try a glove on, look for an excess of leather and fabric around the palm area when you flex your hand as well as floppy thumbs and fingers. These are things to avoid, especially in gloves like this where they are designed to provide maximum dexterity for climbing and handling gear. I have not experienced any issues like this with the Terminators.

I always say that gloves are probably the worst value for money of any piece of kit that I buy. However, we do ask a massive amount from them. Climbing rough granite, brushing snow off ledges and edges, pummelling your knuckles, they really go through the mill as one of your first points of contact with the mountain. The Terminators, with their goat leather palm and capped fingers, are holding up nicely after the first 6 months (but maybe haven’t had quite as much hammer as they usually would get, due to inactivity on my part). One disappointing thing was that the lining pulled out of the fingers on one of them when I took them off after only a couple of outings. This caused subsequent issues getting the glove on and off, particularly with damp hands and could have been stopped had the liners been completely sewn in rather than just attached at the finger tips.

Black Diamond Terminator Gloves - excellent feel and dexterity when handling ice tools.
Black Diamond Terminator Gloves – excellent feel and dexterity when handling ice tools.

The Terminator Gloves feature Black Diamond’s own B-Dry waterproof and breathable insert. This kept my hands dry for a while but the gloves did get wet inside through perspiration and the outers wet out after long periods in contact with snow or drippy ice pillars. This has happened with every waterproof glove I have used.

All in all the Terminators fall into the average category compared to other gloves of this type that I have used. The fit, feel and durability of the palms and fingers has been pretty good but I was disappointed with the lining becoming detached so easily. A good choice for Scottish mixed, steep ice, dry tooling and also summer alpine climbing.



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