Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Glacier and Mountaineering Glasses - Polarized or No?

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!

Happy Travels,
The CCOutdoorStore.com Team


  1. This is a little outdated. Spectron 4 have been replaced with the new Zebra lenses which are non-polarized.

    See http://www.julbousa.com/lenses/

  2. Very interesting and informative article about polarized or non-polarized for Mountaineering. But my personal preference is Polarized Sunglasses because polarized lenses improve your vision clarity and color contrast making them visible more clearly than non-polarized lenses. Check out @ https://www.lenspick.com/

  3. This is good website. Thank you for publish my post. Best polarized sunglasses have a tendency to have lenses that are a few times bigger than your eye attachment and are intelligent. They have a tendency to have outlines that snare behind the ears. Most contemporary aviator sunglasses are captivated however pilots won't wear aviator sunglasses as they can make seeing other air ship difficult.

  4. This is good website thank you for this post. When purchasing sunglasses, one needs to understand the concept of best polarized sunglasses and best non-polarized sunglasses lenses.

  5. For best eye protection and fashion statement go for blue sunglasses Which is 100% UV protected with no slip no bounce and get a soothing experience.