These mittens are for pretty significant endeavors, Gasherbrum IV, K12, Aconcaugua, New Hampshire. They are not for shoveling snow in downtown Boston (though they aren't that much overkill). Your hands are critical to success and survival in remote and scary places, so treat them well. I bought these not only to climb ugly, cold places like Aconcagua, but also to survive belay stations in the White Mountains. I'm currently recovering from frostbite on seven fingers. I have a fresh layer of healthy pink skin emerging from a peeling epidermis. That is not going to happen ever again. The fault was in my ice climbing gloves, for sure. But the overreaction shopping led me to these.
They're warm and very spacious. I got them in a large, which will allow me to wear a thin glove (e.g., OR Alibi II) underneath. An XL would probably let me wear a thicker glove underneath.
The thumb provides enough room to get in/out without a lot of tugging and pulling. this is important as getting the mitten on/off quickly is key to an effiicient transition at a rest stop or belay station.
I have just enough dexterity to still work two ropes (from one climber) resonably well from a guide belay setup. It's not super fun, but manageable. I consider that a tradeoff to the two weeks of akward typing and difficulties I've suffered lately. I can't say it'll be easy to belay two separate followers in guide mode, but we'll see.
I cannot set up the belay, nor would i expect to. Certain things still need to be done in gloves. But these mittens are now a part of my 3-piece system. light gloves, medium gloves, heavy gloves/mittens. It's a small weight penalty to have adaptability and survivability. Plus, these compress so well, they can be shoved into jacket pockets while i climb.
I got them in blue because they match my eyes.
My only comlaint is that the down is not hydrophobic (as far as i can tell). the shell is, which was a great first step. But Rab has been investing in hydrophobic down for some time. Seems a shame they didn't go the extra step for these mittens.