When we talk about the concept of trekking in deep snow or winter trips to deep snow covered places, there are many preparations that we pay attention to and one aspect of these is the glasses. As soon an enthusiasts and serious individuals started foraying into the world of mountains, the one thing that they experienced was the blinding light of the upper atmosphere and brutal reflections that bounce back of the snow and glaciers.
The glasses apt for high altitude mountaineering and snow terrains are known as glacier glasses and have two main characteristics; a maximum degree of protection and a frame envelope. In the mountains the sun’s rays are less filtered by the atmosphere and the amount of UV increases by 4 % every 300 metres. The reflective nature of snow and ice greatly magnifies the sun’s power and proper measures need to be taken to protect the eyes from UV rays. Also glacier glasses have generally side shields ( I will explain them in a while ) .
A bit about terminology I think would help the reader, this is what I gathered over the years
Polarized: This reduces glare and reflections.
Photochromatic: Lens darkness changes based on available light
Flash finish: Reflective finish to block sunlight and glare
Protection Index: The darkness of lens based on a scale of 0 to 4 , with 4 being the darkest
Till some years back I was using a model from ORAO, which were nice but I realized that they had their limitations in respect of fogging happening on the lens which for me turned into a major source of irritant and also they were hurting me when I used to wear them for extended periods and also were not Cat3/4 which was highly needed. So, I went into the realm of internet to check out what the world was using, and I came across Julbo.
Julbo. The name is very misleading to those who hear it for the first time and the same happened to me until started reading about them. Briefly stated this is an iconic brand when it comes to mountaineering lenses and is French based founded in 1888 (now that is quite a history ) and in 1950 they revolutionized the world of Mountaineering with their Vermont model of glasses .
Anyways I now understood from whom I wanted to procure my next set of glasses and thereafter I searched for the various models available and finally homed on to the Sherpa Mountain Glasses with Spectron 3 lenses.
The Sherpa series from Julbo are firstly an economical series and offer substantial protection in basic mountain climbing/glacier traversing. However, they are not very proficient when it comes to professional mountaineering for which other models like Julbo Camel or Julbo Vermont, Vuarent Glacier, Dragon Allegiance , Oakley Glacier glasses are better apt. However, for amateur hobbyists like me, these are perfect because these definitely protect the eye when we are hiking because that is what is highly important out there.
There are made from Spectrum Polycarbonate, which have following features
VLT : Visual Light Transmission , basically determines how much amount of light is passed through the lens. Hence VLT 12 % implies only 12 % is passed through which remaining 88 % is blocked.
Julbo Sherpa: These are glacier glasses with CAT 3 version and sport the old world look with leather side shields to ensure that the light does not seep in through from the sides and are a cool blue tint in colour with the above material specifications.
The vented leather shields block the peripheral light and can also be removed if needed.
They are also provided with a durable nylon strap that can be attached to the glasses and now these can be hung around the neck when required.
These are curved wrapping type of glasses therefore are better shaped and hold well onto the face with no sharp pointy points which help when one is removing and putting on the glass frequently.
These are guaranteed for 100 % protection from UV A, B & C rays. These are highly recommended for mountain environment, water medium and bright sunny condition.
These are my sunglasses of choice on hikes above 10000 feet, hikes with snow and ice and lots of sun.
Gripes . The only gripe is that they do not have the anti-fogging coating. So on really strenuous hikes, I do have some fogging happening on the lenses however it not that much compared to my previous Orao and till such time I do not upgrade to my next Julbo , this is the glass that is going to my constant companion.