GEAR REVIEW – Black Diamond Torque Glove.
This season I switched things up a bit. Rather than focusing solely on big mountain alpine objectives, an international move back to the states forced me to keep things a little more local. I jumped head first into mixed and dry tool cragging, which served as an excellent method to train for the bigger mountain objectives.
Armed with my bulkier alpine old trusties, the Black Diamond Punisher gloves, I left the ground to have a top rope hero session on a single-pitch M-near-double digits, the realm of something well beyond my pay grade at the beginning of the season. This was my first time mixed climbing cragging. I soon realized that my bulkier gloves contributed to major over gripping on the pumpy overhung terrain and I didn’t appreciate the warp speed acceleration of the dreaded pump clock or accidentally catching the extra fabric of the glove with my other hand.
Frustrated, I had a ‘when in Rome’ moment and switched to a pair of golf gloves like all the other dry tooling crushers in sight. The golf gloves were excellent for dexterity and grip but blew out rapidly, didn’t respond well to getting wet and provided ZERO warmth. Channeling my inner instagram stalker, I reached out to Will Mayo, a professional ice and mixed climber – “What gloves do you find best for mixed climbing?” The M-double digit crusher replied with a recommendation to try the Black Diamond Torque gloves. So, if they are good enough for Will, they should be good enough for me and with that thought process I ordered the Black Diamond Torques. Well, THANKS WILL!
Armed with my Black Diamond Torque gloves, I returned to my favorite mixed climbing crag in Vail, CO and eagerly hopped on the sharp end. I sent and once dirted, rejoiced in the lack of a pump. I didn’t overgrip and was stoked to throw myself at more. Et voila! I have finally found a go-to glove for projecting that M-hard route. All aboard the send train…
The Black Diamond Torque gloves are ideal for mixed routes with small sections of ice to negotiate and dry tooling routes you are working the moves on for a future red-point attempt. For true on-sight and red-point attempts in forgiving temperatures, I still prefer the golf gloves.
Black Diamond Torque Glove, $59.95
- Fit – I swear Black Diamond changes their glove fit more often then a teenage girl changes outfits, so double check their size chart. Two years ago, I was a size Small and now I am an X-Small. Once sized correctly, the fit was bombproof. For reference, my palm girth and length are both 7.5″. The gloves are formed from a pre-curved construction, eliminating fabric from bunching in your palm while gripped, and outfitted with a velcro hook-and-loop closure that I could cinch tight over my bony wrists leaving the snow and ice where it belongs, outside of the glove.
- Windproof – they definitely took the bite out of wind chill
- Waterproof – while not waterproof, they are water resistant.
- Durability – understanding that these are your project gloves and likely replacing your golf gloves for most climbing, they are durable. I would not belay or rappel in these, because you are docking precious send hours from their lifespan by doing so.
- Functionality – equipped with a super sticky palm and abrasion resistant soft shell fabric on the back, these gloves can take a beating on route. These gloves are lightweight and incredibly dexterous making for no fuss tool handling, screw placement, rope clipping and knot tying. The tradeoff for dexterity is inherently warmth and padding, making these the perfect glove for drytooling and mixed climbing outdoors, but leave them at home and opt for the warmer, more padded Black Diamond Punisher gloves if the day’s itinerary calls for multi-pitch ice.
- Warmth – rated to a temperature range of -4/7 ºC (25/45 ºF), these are not the warmest gloves BUT they are not meant to be. Ideally, these are worn for sending in moderate temps above freezing and stashed in your parka while wearing a warmer glove for belay slave duties and rappelling.
- Seams – There are a lot of seams on the palm of the glove, which can be felt from within the glove. While the seams don’t cause pressure points while climbing and managing tools, they will wear excessively fast with rope handling and rappelling. So, only wear them to climb.
- Pull Loop – Or lack thereof. I LOVE the inclusion of a pull loop feature on Outdoor Research gloves, it makes getting the gloves on such a breeze. Outdoor Research does make what appears to be a comparable glove to the BD Torques, the OR Alibi II. I have yet to try them as they are sold out in my size but I bet they are on par with the BD Torques (dare I say possibly better?).
Bottom Line – The Black Diamond Torque gloves are the PERFECT partner for dry tooling and mixed climbing in temps above freezing. They prevent over gripping fatigue and last longer than your Footjoys.