KINCOS Gloves Review

KINCOS are an amazingly affordable alternative to the high end gloves at your local specialty shop.

Photo from

Photo from

Every few years I would wince at having to purchase another pair of high end technical climbing gloves to replace the beloved pair I had blown out after countless days of mountaineering, skiing, and ice climbing. Nothing destroys quality gloves faster than rappelling, and I wasn’t sure if there was a solution. Then I discovered Kincos.

After seeing these are priced between $18-$25 on Amazon, and available at your local Lucy Hardwear store, I decided to try both popular models. What could I lose at that price?

Kinco Gloves

Kinco Gloves

First off the “Lined Grain Pigskin Leather Palm with Knit Wrist”, which is pictured on the left, have a patented “HeatKeep” lining that was warm enough to keep my partner Bob’s hands toasty for a recent 8-hour day on Mount Washington climbing Pinnacle Gully.

Bob finishing up Pitch 1 with Kincos gloves

Bob finishing up Pitch 1 with Kincos gloves, 11-20-14

Bob wore these gloves exclusively from the time we left the parking lot to picking our way across the Alpine Gardens with -20 wind chills. His hands were toasty through-out.

I like very dexterous gloves when leading ice, so I opted to wear my new Outdoor Research Alibi 2 Gloves (review forthcoming) for the technical climb, but once we topped out I donned the Kinco Ski Gloves. These kept my hands incredibly warm as we crossed the Alpine Gardens and descended down the Lion’s Head Route. Yesterday I took them skiing at Bretton Woods and confirmed they are the bees knees.

Yes, those are new skis, and yes, those will be reviewed soon too.

Yes, those are new skis, and yes, those will be reviewed soon too.

While the Ski Gloves are pre-treated with “REVIVEX waterproofing solution” I opted to bust out the Nixwak Waterproof Wax that I use on my boots & hiking shoes. Rubbing this stuff into the leather with bare hands adds an extra layer of protection, protects the leather, and brings back fond child-hood memories of trying to break in a stiff baseball glove. If you really want to waterproof the model with fabric on the back you could also use this.

Advantages: Affordable, Durable, Warm

Disadvantages: Not a “Precision Fit” but just fine for mountaineering, skiing, and seconding hard technical climbs, needs some maintenance to treat & break in.

In summary, KINCOS are an amazingly affordable alternative to high end climbing/skiing gloves. They are not however an absolute replacement. High end gloves definitely have their place, as an upcoming review for the Outdoor Research Alibi II Gloves will allude too, say stay tuned for that and thanks for reading!

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New Name, New Address, New Features! NEAlpineStart is LIVE!

For years I’ve wanted to give this blog a make-over. A more creative name than… firstnamelastname at WordPress… a better Product Review Page (check out the new Guide Tested page), a connection to other great climbing websites out there (page under construction), and today I finally had the time & motivation to get it to a point where I felt I could push “publish”.

In the past this blog has mostly been a place where I could summarize days guiding and upload photos for clients to access the fun we had in the mountains. It will still be that, but will also be more focused on something every climber & skier is passionate about. Gear.

Also a “how-to-guides-tips-and-tricks” section is in the making. While tying a one-handed clove-hitch might not help you break into 5.11 it definitely looks cool.

NEAlpineStart is also now on Facebook so please give us a Like there. If you are into gear then definitely subscribe, here’s a quick list of what I’ll be reviewing over the next couple of months;

Dynafit Denali Skis

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Pants

Black Diamond Convergent Shell Jacket

KINCOS Gloves <- so in love with these thanks to NEClimbs Review

Ortovox Avalanche Beacons, S1, S1+, Zoom

And a LOT more… so please Subscribe, Like, Share, Comment, etc… I am stoked to get this blog out there to more people who tear it up in the North East, whether on rock, ice, or snow, we’re all enjoying the ride!

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Ice Season Has Started! Pinnacle Gully 11-20-14

Reports of climbable ice in the ravines has motivated Bob & I to head up the mountain and see what’s what. It has been a few years since I have climbed ice this early and we left our options open, not knowing if we would head into Tuckerman Ravine for a more mellow alpine cragging type day or commit to something more in Huntington Ravine.

(7:30AM) We left Pinkham Notch Visitor Center and made our way up to the Huntington Ravine Trail. The weather appeared better than the forecast so we opted to head over to Huntington. While I have climbed in Huntington Ravine dozens of times I have rarely taken the trail that breaks off from the Tuckerman Ravine Trail at 1.3 miles. It is usually faster to stay on the Tuckerman Trail until the “fire road”, then cut over towards Huntington, but today Bob and I relished the chance to enjoy a section of trail that we are not so familiar with it. We soon reached one of the river crossings that makes this option less preferable to the fire road choice.

Crossing the Cutler River

Crossing the Cutler River

It took a minute to pick a line through the rocks and keep our feet dry. Someone got wet recently based on that hole in the above photo… careful on those early season crossings! We continued until we reached the fire road and followed that to the base of “The Fan”. It must have took 40 minutes to work our way up to Pinnacle. With almost no snow in the ravine and a half inch of verglas ice on every bus sized boulder the going was quite slow. Under and over and through we picked a line up through the Fan while a party of three followed suit.

Reaching the top of the Fan, just below Pinnacle, with a party of three just behind us

Reaching the top of the Fan, just below Pinnacle, with a party of three just behind us

Pinnacle Gully looking good for November 20th!

Pinnacle Gully looking good for November 20th!

(10:10AM) I took the first lead and must say it felt great to swing the tools again. I could tell I wasn’t in the shape I usually am for climbing ice but felt quite solid… like riding a bike, you don’t forget. I placed 4-5 screws in 230 feet before reaching the 3 pin anchor above the steeper start of the route and put Bob on belay. He had to simul-solo about 30 feet for me to reach the anchor.

Looking down pitch 1, Bob is all smiles

Looking down pitch 1, Bob is all smiles

I was amp’d to go again on the more mellow 2nd pitch and we fired that 220 foot pitch off before I stopped to bring Bob up. Bob took the last 100 feet and we were at the top of the gully by 12:30. After coiling the rope and “de-gearing” we starting picking our way up 300 feet to the rim of the ravine. Again, conditions are slow going this early in the season.

(1:05PM), Alpine Garden Trail. I realize what a huge mistake not bringing micro-spikes was as Bob cruises along and I am stuck between bare-booting or technical crampons. Bare-booting works till the Lions Head where I put my technical crampons back on. The trail is nothing but rock and half an inch of glaze… really hard to move quick this time of year.

We make it back to Pinkham by 3:30PM, 8 hours car to car, not too bad given the conditions. All I can say is I am amp’d up for this ice/ski season. I think it is going to be a stellar year, despite the warmth & rain that will hit us right before Thanksgiving the long range forecast is favorable for Thanksgiving Weekend and will hopefully set us up for a great December.

Editor’s Note: This blog is getting a make-over! New URL, new theme, LOTS of product reviews, check out the new “Guide Tested” page, links to awesome climbing & back-country skiing websites, and more… so… if any of this type of stuff interests you maybe you subscribe at the top tight of the website? Maybe?

See you in the mountains,


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Already August!

This guiding season has been the busiest I can remember, and I’ve been fortunate to guide 4-5 days a week. It hasn’t left much time for blogging since I spend my free time adventuring with Alex. Check out my recent post on to see what we’ve been up to.

I’ve uploaded the last few weeks of photos to the EMS Schools Facebook page, here’s a link to the album:

See you in the mountains!

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AMC Rock Climbing 7/14/14

Yesterday I enjoyed another day on the rocks with an AMC Camp Group. This group in particular loved the teamwork involved with belaying and back-up belays. From carrying ropes to the cliff to helping each other with belays and support this was a really great group to work with. And the weather! We are really having a great climbing season this year, knock on wood!

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Private Rock Climbing 7/12/14

This past Saturday I met an incredibly enthusiastic aspiring climber, James, and headed off to Whitehorse Ledge. After some “ground school” we cruised 600 feet up to Lunch Ledge. After taking in the view we made our way back down in 3 double rope rappels, then headed over to Cathedral. Unfortunately our day was cut short unexpectedly, but I’m happy to know I’ll be climbing with James again in the very near future.

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Camp Robindel Rock Climbing 7/11/14

Last Friday I had a blast with the amazing girls from Camp Robindel. This is the 2nd year this camp has sent a group of campers to us for some rock climbing instruction and I’ve been lucky to guide them both times. These 11 year old girls spend 7 weeks at this camp, and despite having only been there for about a week I could tell how quickly camp builds friendships and bonds. They were super supportive of each other while climbing, belaying, and rappelling. I look forward to seeing the next group they send us!


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