What do eating your lunch, putting on a jumper and doing up your flies have in common? These are all things we’ve had to help clients do because they’ve lost the feeling in their fingers when climbing Snowdon!

It maybe June and allegedly ‘summer’ here in the UK however we’ve just had a weekend of well below zero temperatures at the summit of Snowdon. We’re constantly surprised how poorly people are prepared for climbing the mountain. Our clients receive a full kit list in advance of their day out telling them exactly what to bring; gloves are on that kit list but sometimes a simple pair from the back of the wardrobe just isn’t enough.

In the examples above (all genuine things we’ve had to do in recent weeks), each of those clients had gloves on but they were either too thin or got wet and just not up to the job. Your extremities will always feel the cold the most and whilst it might be just a bit inconvenient having cold hands watching the kids play football at the park on a chilly Sunday, when you’re several hours into a mountain climb and you start losing the feeling in your fingers, it becomes a much bigger problem. You might find you’re not able to do up zips, undo your rucksack straps, change layers, eat a sandwich, have a drink or even go to the toilet. Your hands will usually recover as you descend but in one case it wasn’t until the next day that one particular client recovered completely. This can make for a challenging few hours/days.

Of course, everyone’s different. In the same group recently with a client who lost the feeling in their fingers, another client was in shorts all day! I think they were probably colder than the let on but some people will feel the cold more than others. If you’re someone who often experiences cold hands on a day-to-day basis, it’s definitely worth investing in some descent gloves for your Snowdon climb.

In a typical mountain leader’s rucksack, we’ll carry multiple pairs of personal gloves. We might wear a thinner pair such as liner gloves as we’re walking up the mountain (as the energy you’re using to climb will be keeping you warm); as we get higher and the temperatures starts to drop we’ll switch to a warmer pair and then as we reach the summit or start our descent, we’ll swap to a much thicker, winter pair.

A typical Mountain Leader’s selection of gloves (the black hides the snot better!)

The downside of this is obviously cost. You can pick up a pair of liner gloves for around £15, a good standard pair of gloves might cost £40 but you can easily spend £100 on a pair of winter gloves. You can shop around and find unbranded version of all these for considerably less … which will probably be fine for a one off Snowdon climb.

So don’t make your day any harder than it has to be. Pack a decent pair of gloves for the weather you’re going to experience.

If you’d like to learn more about climbing your first mountain, buy our book ‘How to Climb a Mountain’ (see what we did there?)

It tells you everything you need to know about clothing and equipment, mountain navigation, understanding the weather, walking with children, how to go to the toilet and much more! It’s also includes details of popular mountain challenges and 11 detailed route maps and guide with Ordnance Survey mapping.

Buy now from www.howtoclimbamountain.uk

Main photo by Fabrizio Conti on Unsplash