Another piece of gear I was given for testing on my ice climbing trip to Canada was the Echidna gloves from Mountain Hardwear. Designed specifically to fit a woman's hand proportions, these waterproof gloves are great for any type of cold weather backcountry adventure.
The Echidna gloves are constructed from an OutDry membrane that is bonded directly to the outer four-way stretch softshell glove fabric. This waterproof breathable membrane blocks water, wind and cold from getting through any part of the outer shell, leaving your hands drier and warmer.
Since the OutDry membrane is bonded directly to the shell, internal moisture has nowhere to build up and easily pushes out of the glove, helping to keep your hands dry from the inside. OutDry makes a huge difference when you are hitting the backcountry or climbing in wetter conditions, where the leather gloves I might normally wear would get soaked pretty quickly.
The Echidna gloves include a removable wool-blend liner that adds extra warmth for those really cold days. You can even wear the liner on its own for fiddly tasks or a during dry approach. The outer shell is lined with brush tricot fabric making it comfortable to wear just on its own as well.
The Echidna gloves feature Mountain Hardwear's Extreme Pre-Curve articulated fit that follows your hand's natural shape for better comfort right out of the box. The glove pattern eliminates sidewall construction in order to reduce bulk and stiffness in each finger for better dexterity. The fingertip darts give you increased sensitivity for those fiddly tasks.
I found wearing the wool liners with the outer shell cut down on my dexterity quite a bit, to the point where I was having to over grip my tools. However, the outer shell worn without a liner or even a thinner silk liner gave me so much more dexterity and worked perfectly for ice climbing.
The full Echidna glove works well for skiing or other snowsports where you don't require such a precision grip. The water-resistant goatskin leather lined palm and fingers add extra durability and friction for dealing with slippery ropes.
Bottom Line: The Mountain Hardwear Echidna is a nice, versatile waterproof glove that can be used for a variety of winter or even spring backcountry adventures. The Echidna are more dexterous than most winter gloves but if you need a precision grip, I would recommend using a thinner or no liner with the outer shell.
The Mountain Hardwear Echidna waterproof gloves retail for $130 but you will find some good end of season sales on them now.