Marmot Exum Guide Glove

The Marmot Exum Guide Glove on test in the Alps. (©Alasdair Fulton)

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Recommended Retail Price: £80 from Marmot

The Marmot Exum Guide Glove is a neat fitting, leather/synthetic lightly insulated, waterproof glove, similar in fact to the Black Diamond Kingpin which we rated as a 5-star product. It is designed for mountaineering, alpine climbing, and skiing. It is padded enough to protect your knuckles when ice climbing and dexterous enough for fiddling with karabiners.

Gloves, gloves, gloves. Possibly the most expensive and frustrating purchase facing anyone who takes part in any winter activities, be it mixed climbing, alpine climbing or skiing, is gloves. They never last, they are not warm, dexterous, or tough enough, they wear out quickly and they’re never as waterproof as you might hope.

Marmot Exum  Guide Undercuff GloveI have tried many gloves, some with waterproof membranes, some softshell and some simply boiled wool. Invariably my hands get wet and cold. Does this sound familiar?

When I am climbing steep mixed or ice routes I like to have one pair of gloves with me that I can rely upon to keep me just warm enough but still be very dexterous. When I am pumped, shaking and desperate to clip into the no.3 wire I have just fiddled in, I want a glove that can handle the rope. This is what I hoped the Marmot Exum Guide Undercuff Glove (catchy name, eh?) would be.

Well, it is and it isn’t.



Fit

These gloves fit my hands perfectly, with no slack material and the finger lengths are just right – a promising start. They are quite thin with very little insulation. These are not for cold days. The knuckle protection is flexible and did a good job of preventing bashing knuckles when climbing bulging ice. I even found them a close-fitting enough for making free moves when mixed climbing.

Weatherproofing

When they were new, they kept out the moisture reasonably well as long it was not too snowy or damp. They worked best on crisp days mixed climbing out on the Chamonix granite.

Longevity

This is where my positive views of these gloves started to fade. The seams quickly started to fall to pieces. I re-sewed them, seam gripped them and then re-proofed them with Nikwax. From then on they just sucked in water and became saturated and cold in less than a pitch, unless it was bone dry and just a few degrees below freezing. Then the stitches would blow somewhere else.

After persevering for a few routes, each time fixing a new seam,  I consigned them to summer belaying and abseiling duty.

Summary

I am not sure I can recommend these gloves. While they provide an excellent fit and are very dexterous, they are neither warm enough, tough enough or waterproof enough for alpine, ice, or winter mixed climbing. They are quite good for easy alpine rock climbing on cold days (i.e. on ridges etc. where you want a little warmth and protection but are not using ice tools.)

With a few tweaks, they could be an excellent crux-pitch weapon. Maybe Marmot will work on the shortcomings.

Things we like: Fit, dexterity

Things we don’t like: Durability, lack of insulation, weatherproofing





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