Clothes for ice climbing should offer a combination of comfort and function. In choosing a jacket or anorak, check to see that you can reach high and not have the anorak or jacket bottom rise above your waist. You don't want your waist exposed to the elements as you're reaching up to make a high ice placement. Reinforce the knees and ankles of rain pants or bibs.
Some climbers wear bibs or a body suit as an alternative to the conventional outfit of jacket (or anorak) and pants. A one-piece body suit of synthetic material retains warmth and rebuffs debris. For ventilation, it needs zippers that open from elbow to ankle, and another that opens the suit from stomach to back via the crotch. The body suit should not be confused with the expedition suit, essentially an insulated body suit.
For the hands, mittens with rubberized palms can help in gripping the bare-metal shaft of an ice tool—a tough job with a snow-coated nylon mitten. One option for covering your hands is high-density wool mittens (such as Dachsteins), which are not only warm but offer an unusual secondary feature. If you hit a difficult section of climbing and have only one ice tool, you can temporarily freeze a mittened hand to the ice for help through a move. For safekeeping, always attach wrist loops to your mittens and gloves.
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