Guide to Jamming Gloves
It wasn’t long ago that anyone seen climbing on grit wearing jamming gloves or with taped hands was instantly ridiculed and laughed off the crag! (Usually to the strains of ‘Soft, southern Nancy!’). Now, if you want to climb consecutive days without pain jamming gloves are considered to be acceptable although most climbers will not have used them – yet!
What are jamming gloves?
Jamming gloves originated in the USA where ‘taping-up’ your hands has been de-riguer for surviving the long, fearsome jamming cracks characterising so much of American climbing folklore. What is their purpose? - to make jamming painless, keeping the back of your hands scab free! As a man of advancing years (!!) whose aging skin has been scarred by years of ‘naked’ hand-jamming I can recommend jamming gloves. They save the backs-of-your-hands from the usual lacerations that now accompanies any testing route on grit.
To tape or not to tape?
The main problem with ‘taping-up’ is that it is tricky to get right and essentially temporary. Although it might not feel like it when you try to pull them from the hairy backs of your hands. Therefore Jamming gloves (fingerless and palmless over-gloves firmly tethered at the wrist by Velcro fasteners and backed with ‘sticky’ rubber) makes the arcane and highly individual art of taping-up redundant.
They will survive multiple routes as a result it allows the climber to quickly put them on, rather than a frustrating 20 minutes trying to get it right with sticky tape. With ease of use, you can slip them on for the occasional pitch of hard jamming or take them off before you start face climbing.
What is available?
Outside stock two different models of jamming glove (and plenty of tape!). Both of these designed to do the same job, but both different enough to give you a real choice. I've reviewed them both separately - click on the links below.
I’ve used tailor-made gloves off and on for years. They can make the difference between success or failure on gnarly cracks. Tape gloves are probably more secure if you'll be wearing them all day for pitch after pitch after pitch, but for shorter routes these crack gloves offer a much simpler, faster solution.