Black Diamond Pursuit Glove Review
Reviewed by Will Sim
A pair of gloves can last anywhere between a day and a decade. Therefore people are always eyeing up their next pair of gloves before the rips on their current gloves render them useless. Obviously this is heavily influenced by the regularity of which the glove is used. I’ve climbed and skied in the Pursuit glove just about every other day for the last 5 months and with a little TLC and duct tape they are still serving in full working order.
“As breathable and functional as your softshell jacket. Dextrous and warm, the Pursuit excels during multiple days of backcountry touring or mountaineering.” –Black Diamond
The Pursuit glove is a mid weight ski/climbing glove with a thin, tight inner, and a robust leather palmed Schoeller soft shell outer with a large gauntlet. As the glove is mid-weight and has limited insulation compared to other BD gloves such as the “Enforcer” or the “Prodigy” its definitely more irking towards an alpine day climb glove or ski glove rather than a full on winter climbing glove. Although I’ve found that when combined with a warmer glove for belays it makes an excellent choice for more technical winter climbing.
In the ENSA couloir, © Jonathan Griffith
The Pursuit glove is categorised as water “resistant”, which I’ve come to realise usually means the brand knows the product isn’t waterproof but needs another bullet point on their specification. However, in this case the Schoeller fabric does a good job of keeping the hands dry when tip toeing up rapidly melting sludge-ice and continually face planting in knee deep powder. However, I’m not sure that the Schoeller would be equally effective against horizontal Scottish rain on those days when the isotherm is always 100 metres above you. The Schoeller soft shell fabric while not being hugely warm certainly doesn’t overheat the hand and make you sweat. I usually suffer quite badly from sweaty hands after the slightest bit of exertion, which even in winter means I can get through two or three gloves a day as they get so wet and consequently frozen. I haven’t found this at all with the Pursuit glove which regulates the temperature of my hands perfectly.
With all gloves warmth is always sacrificed in the name of dexterity and vice versa. Silvo Karo decided to sacrifice perhaps a little too much warmth when he wore marigolds on Fitz Roy, but if he’d waited another 20 years the Pursuit may have been just what he was looking for. Due to the slim fit and build of the fingers manipulation of karabiners, cams and wires isn’t a problem, but more significantly the ease of removing the outer shell results in a level of dexterity which will have you rolling cigarettes at belays. The inner and outer system also means that relatively tricky summer rock can be climbed in comfort.
A new variation on Non-Stop, © Gavin Pike
As the Pursuit is a relatively light glove it has done away with padded palms and knuckles. Although a disadvantage if you were to climb heavily chandeliered ice or have a mid-route brawl it certainly contributes to the overall skin-tight feel and dexterity of the glove.
As with so many gloves the Pursuit starts to show signs of ware and tear fairly quickly with intense use. This is mainly down to there being no leather on the sides and bottoms of the fingers (the bits where you really need it!). This results in tears and holes on the under sides of the fingers, particularly at the joints. Once these points are ripped the glove’s wind and water stopping properties go out the window and require some DIY to make them completely functional again. I think this is a fundamental problem with gloves rather than this model specifically, I’ve yet to have had a pair of gloves which don’t begin to rip around the finger joints after sustained hard use.
The Pursuit glove is part of a large range of BD gloves. The range is so diverse it includes gloves suitable for dentistry all the way to handling Plutonium. The Pursuit is meant to bridge the gap between the heavyweights such as the “Enforcer” and “Specialist” and the featherweight’s at the other end of the BD range. The Pursuit is a highly dexterous glove which is an excellent choice for technical climbing and for those days when you venture away from the pistes to “shred up the Gnarl”. Its durability means its not a glove for life, but hey, unless BD decide to make a chainmail glove that’ll always be the case.
For the full range of BD gloves click here