When travelling on, over, and around glaciers, eye protection is a must, including at minimum 100% protection against UVA, B and C radiation. But beyond that, our customers often ask: when going mountaineering, should I get polarized lenses or not?
The truth is, there really is no one right answer, but the following information may help you make your own decision.
Nick Yardley, President of Julbo USA (internationally for their glacier and mountaineering glasses) says that guides all around the world use both Julbo's Spectron 4 lenses (non-polarized) and their Camel photochromatic transition lenses (polarized).
Many traditional climbers using glasses solely for glacier travel stay away from polarized lenses because getting rid of the glare blurs the distinction between snow and ice. This can be a critical - or sometimes just very convenient - distinction, and with something like a Spectron 4 lens, squinting is not really going to be an issue. Julbo's spectron 4 lens transmits 4% of visible light. Amazingly, though, our team has noted on many occasions that these lenses are comfortable and allow pretty clear vision even on a cloudy Vermont day. So don't let the "dark" scare you away from a Spectron 4 lens.
Other glacier travellers, though, like the polarized and transitional (photochromatic) lenses, especially if they are going to use the glasses for other activities. Julbo's Camel lenses evolve from a category 3 to 4, transmitting 5% to 16% of visible light respectively. They are every bit as protective, and are a bit more versatile. They are polarized, but depending on your plans the slight disadvantage seeing ice vs snow may not be a critical issue.
At CCOutdoorStore.com, we carry all of the Julbo glacier glasses , especially the Explorer, Bivouak, and Monterosa models for those going mountaineering. All of these models come with a Spectron 4, Alti Arc 4, or Camel polarized/photochromatic lens option. The Bivouak has a Zebra photochromatic lens option which is not polarized and has variable protection from category 2 to 4. (incidentally, our team really likes the Zebra lens for biking, hiking, and trail running, where sunglasses have to provide protection but also evolve as quickly and seamlessly as the terrain and weather.)
We hope you find some interesting food for thought in this blog and we encourage you to check out Julbo's web pages on lenses for more detailed information.
We also found an interesting and informative article HERE.
So in the end the lenses and glasses you chose for your mountaineering trip is really a matter of personal preference. But it's definitely smart to arm yourself with information so your choice is not accidental.
We hope that when it's time to buy, you consider CCOutdoorStore.com, where our goal is to find the best gear for your outdoor adventure and bring it to you hassle free - and with a virtual smile!
The CCOutdoorStore.com Team