Ladies and gentlemen, I begin with a question:  Have your hands ever felt remotely cold in an outdoor setting?  Or, perhaps, have you felt the slightest trickle of moisture seeping through your gloves onto your vulnerable skin?  In my life this used to be a common occurrence – this was the time before the Mt. Baker Modular Mitts entered my life.

Outdoor Research Mt. Baker Modular Mitts Features:

  • 3L Gore-Tex membrane
  • 170g PrimaLoft Gold insulation
  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Wicking
  • Fully Seam Taped
  • Removable Liner
  • Moonlite Pile Fleece Liner Palms
  • Pre-Curved Box Construction
  • SuperCinch™ Gauntlet Closure
  • Ladder-Lock Wrist Cinch
  • ToughTek™ LT Tabs on liner Prevent Slipping
  • Heat Pack Pocket on Back of Liner
  • Pull Loop
  • Carabiner Loop
  • Price: $139.00

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Mitts for the worst conditions

Outdoor Research has had a long and profitable relationship with Gore and its various products; for the Mt. Baker modulars, a three layer Gore-Tex membrane was paired with PrimaLoft’s Gold insulation for all-around performance.  The theme of this review, then, is going to be a warm and waterproof mitt that could take your hands through a frozen hell and come out smiling on the other side.  I’ve tested these in single digit temperatures in the high desert, as well as through a damp and warm January of climbing in the Cascades.

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Since this is the Mt. Baker Modular, I’m really testing two separate products here – the mitt includes a warm insulated glove liner, and the waterproof Gore-Tex mitt itself.  Modular mitts are wonderfully flexible pieces of gear to buy and I’ve enjoyed using both pieces separately, in other systems and together.  For example, I spent some time in January climbing in the southern extreme of the Glacier Peak wilderness area and the temperatures were in the high 30’s.  I chose a light liner glove and pulled on the waterproof mitt to fend off the muggy air and occasional showers.  Or, during an extremely cold December in the Nevada high desert, I used the both the insulated liner along with the waterproof mitt and was decidedly grateful for the bombproof protection.

My favorite testing trip was a snowshoe tour in the Ruby Mountains up to around 9,700 feet.  The air temperature was hovering around 5’F with a significant breeze; it was my first time out with the mitts and I was feeling confident enough to give them a potentially dangerous test.  So, I broke open the ice on a stream and plunged my gloved hand down into the stream.  I do this pretty often with the gloves that I test, and I’ve never had a glove or mitt do as well as the Mt. Baker did – my hands not only stayed warm, but there was not even a hint of moisture leaking into the glove.  As soon as I pulled my hands out the water froze almost instantly, and my fingers felt virtually nothing of the crazy cold temperatures outside.  These are a very warm combination.

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As befits a mitt named for a wonderful Cascade volcano, the Mt. Baker Modulars are loaded with all of the necessary features for ease of use on a big mountain.  First and foremost, there’s a carabiner loop for the many, many times that you will be too warm to wear the gloves and you’ll want to send them dangling off of a pack or harness.  Moreover, if you have ever watched a piece of gear roll or blow downslope into a crevasse, you’ll appreciate the wrist lanyards on the outer mitts.  The mitts also have a handy wrist cinch to add a little more security.  Finally, as one would expect, the hem of the mitts are elasticized and feature a large fabric tab to release the hems.  It’s a bit trivial to recount the features of the gloves in this instance – the overwhelming message of this review is that these are warm, waterproof gloves that are well built and reliable in alpine environments.

The Good 

  • A long, helpful slate of features
  • Waterproofing is absolutely bombproof
  • Removable liners open up lots of different uses
  • Palm is very grippy and durable

The Bad

  • This mitt has no substantial weakness for its intended use

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The Bottom Line: Mt. Baker Mitts

I first fell in love with the Mt. Baker Modulars when my hands were six inches below the ice of an alpine stream on a single digit day.  Since that first artificial test, these mitts have been with me for a number of alpine adventures and the impressions of that first day have been reinforced by the excellent performance these mitts have delivered. No, you couldn’t climb Mt. Everest with them, but they are a wonderful glove for climbing in the Cascades or similar environments.

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About Author

Kevin Glover is an outdoorsman living, climbing and biking in Spokane, WA. Originally from the Nevada high desert, he moved to the PNW for its mild winters and allergen-free summers. He has guided throughout the Cascades and Enchantments for Peak 7 Adventures.

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