By Owen Clarke
Hands are a climber’s most important asset. Everyone loves crack climbing (well… except this guy), but no one wants to look like they’ve been spending their spare time rubbing a cheese grater over the backs of their hands. From the minimalist Splitters to their Spartan-tough Splitter Work counterparts, Outdoor Research has gloves for any mission, on any rock, any time. Check ‘em out.
The Splitters were tested by one of the best (Hans Florine) on the best (Yosemite granite). No wonder they fire up cracks like a dream. Synthetic suede backed up by leather protection on the knuckles, backs, and wrists armor up your hands for the jankiest of cracks, without watering down performance. If I was giving you a high five, you couldn’t even tell I was wearing the things. Finger loops and a wrist attachment keep the Splitters secure.
The Splitter’s provide protection without impediments. At $39, they’re a hell of a lot cheaper (and lighter) than buying and carrying around rolls of tape for the rest of your life, and they perform better to boot.
Everyone likes a little hands-on rope contact when belaying and rapping, but nasty burns aren’t fun. The Fossils offer a new blend, going a step beyond typical fingerless belay gloves with unique features like protruding leather pull tabs on the middle and ring finger, which double to give just enough protection to stave off rope burn but keep the fingers free and tactile. Goat leather palms with cow split suede overlays and Kevlar stitching mean these bad boys are built to last.
With protection where it counts and mobility and tactility where you want it, the Fossils are a top tier belay and rappel glove.
The full-finger brother of the Fossil, for $6 more the Direct Route glove offers the same design and material (polyester/spandex blend, goat leather palm and cow split suede overlays, Kevlar stitching), with added armor for your digits. Whether you’re plugging a longer route, a bit shy of rope-skin contact, belaying duties are a bit more intensive, or you just want to make sure you can woo your sweetheart with your exquisite piano playing after you come home from the crag at night, snag the Direct Routes, and keep those fingers safe.
Stout, warm and ready to roll in all four seasons, Splitter Work Gloves are the beefier alter-ego of the minimalist Splitter. Made for big wall expeditions in gnarly conditions, the Splitter Work Gloves have all-over goat leather for durability and wind resistance, with suede on the palms for grip and a nylon skin out back to keep tactility up when jamming.
At $55, the Splitter Work Gloves are the perfect gauntlets when you’re doing some exposed vertical exploring.