Kincos Leather Glove
$25 or less!
Among other things, ice climbing is all about managing your warmth, and the place that for me often gets the coldest the quickest is my hands. I've had many many different styes of gloves over the years, starting with Dachstein wool mittens, and most recently ending with $150+ high tech specialty climbing gloves. Worn with a liner, the Dachstein's were actually fairly warm although they were bulky and slippery. I just never felt comfortable managing gear with them and simply couldn't imagine climbing leash less in a pair of mittens. Pretty much all of the fancy-schmancy ice climbing gloves that are out there these days are great. All the companies have the fit and finish down and in general they all keep your hands warm and, as long as you size them properly, allow you to manipulate your gear with impunity.
Frankly, the downside of the specialty glove is the price. Let's face it, if you climb a lot, or are a guide, you go through gloves. Belaying, hauling ropes, and rappelling all put a lot of wear on your gloves. I've gotten into carrying a pair of old work gloves to use for rapping and hauling, but it's a bit of a drag to keep swapping back and forth. Plus the work gloves I have display an annoying tendency to fill with snow & ice chips. YUCK
Over the past year or so I've been noticing that I see fellow guides and folks who climb a lot wearing these Kincos brand work gloves. The most popular seem to be the lined pigskin leather palm models with the knit wrist. They are sold at pretty much all the same places that you get construction stuff and sometimes hardware stores. Here in the Mount Washington Valley they are available at Lucy hardware, but you can find them on Amazon for a bit cheaper.
I bought a pair a while back and frankly I can't imagine going back to a climbing-specific glove unless a company gave them to me. The large size fit me reasonably well and allow me a surprising amount of dexterity. The knit cuff isn't too tight, I hate tight things around my wrist, yet keeps the snow out. Kincos has their own HeatKeep® lining which keeps my hands surprisingly warm, even on winter days at Lake Willoughby. The most recent time I went to their web site they had a picture of an of a climber using a pair of these same gloves in a very alpine environment!
One thing about these gloves, and honestly most specialty gloves as well, is that they aren't waterproof. About 10 years ago I did a ice glove roundup for Climbing Magazine that featured ice-specific gloves from all the major manufacturers. In that group only one was truly waterproof, and that one was so stiff and uncomfortable that I would never consider climbing in it. However, you can make these fairly water-resistant if you treat them with Neats-Foot-Oil. That will also serve to break them in a bit so that they are more pliable.
I've used a lot of different gloves over the years and some have been great. However, for the money these are amazing. Sure they aren't as slick as the latest offerings from the big climbing gear manufacturers, but if you go through a couple of pair of gloves a season like I do, this is just what your accountant ordered. Plus with the money you save on gloves, you can buy another ice screw or a couple of cases of good beer! And you sure can't beat that!
Grain pigskin palm
Trademarked material back and cuff
Snug knit wrist