How I put Ed Viesturs’ gloves to my own test |

How I put Ed Viesturs’ gloves to my own test

Stewart Oksenhorn
Aspen Times Weekly
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

Ed Viesturs has done a lot of things I haven’t done and almost certainly never will. Most notably, he’s climbed Mount Everest six times and summited all 14 8,000-meter peaks (besting me by six and 14, respectively).

So I wanted to do something while wearing Outdoor Research’s Alti Gloves ” endorsed with an “Ed’s Choice” tag by Viesturs ” that the famous mountaineer probably had not accomplished. Hiking up Highland Bowl seemed like a joke; an altitude of 12,392 feet generally requires a descent for Viesturs at this point. Plus, I wanted to attempt something that would test the Altis in some new way.

So I began using the Altis ” designed specifically for high-altitude adventures ” as my bike-riding gloves. Despite their apparent bulk ” these babies are actually a glove-within-a-glove ” I was easily able (after some break-in time) to shift gears and hit the brakes with no problem.

Onto the real test. One recent morning, I put the iPod earbuds in, threw my backpack on my back and my camera bag over a shoulder, donned the Altis and hopped on my bike for a downhill ride on an icy Aspen street. Would the gloves have maneuverability enough to allow me to stick my hand in my pocket, find the controls on my iPod (iPod Nano, that is), and fast forward over some noxious tune on the Shuffle program?

Yes and no. Fully engaged, the Alti was too cumbersome for the task; I could barely get my hand in the pocket. However, these gloves ” with various cords and straps ” were made for flexible use, and this task called for flexibility. With my teeth, I pulled off the outer shell, and shoved my hand, now merely liner-clad, into the pocket. I found the proper button, pushed ” and successfully clicked back to the start of a promising version of the Grateful Dead’s “Chinacat Sunflower” (6/15/85, from the Greek Theatre in Berkeley). I repeated the feat, to prove it had not been a fluke.

The only near casualties ” near, I stress ” were my camera bag, which slipped off my shoulder at the bottom of the hill and almost got chewed up in the spokes, and a little old lady who was oblivious to how close she had come to being clobbered by my reckless test drive.

I should mention that warmth, dryness and comfort at this low altitude have not been issues at all for a glove that (presumably) has worked for Viesturs at 29,029 feet.