Q:

Do goggles perform better than glasses for mountaineering?

I'm attending a Himalayan Mountaineering Course in Nepal next month, and ski goggles are recommended on the gear list. I’ve always relied on my Julbo sunglasses. What are the merits of goggles, and can you recommend a type? Paul Perth, Western Australia

Feb 25, 2008
Outside
Outside Magazine
Zeal Detonator Polarized Goggles

Detonator Polarized Goggles

A:

While mountaineering glasses such as Julbos work well in most cases, I do like the extra protection afforded by goggles. My guess is that you’ll be around helicopters some, and goggles afford much better eye protection when dust and snow start to blow around. Same goes for very high winds.

You’ll be best off with a polarized pair of goggles (to reduce glare) in a rose/brown lens tint to block excessive brightness and increase contrast when it’s cloudy. Zeal’s Detonator ($139; zealoptics.com) fills that bill, with a polarized lens and high-contrast tint. They’re kind of pricey but are very comfortable and effective. Smith’s Phenom goggles ($169; smithoptics.com) also offer polarized lenses, with a tint similar to the Zeals. The Phenoms also have a spherical lense for a wider field of view, and a vent you can open or close.

In the non-polarized arena, Bolle’s X9 OTG goggles ($50; bolle.com) fit over eyeglasses, and have a citrus lens for a good mix of contrast and light transmission. You might also like Oakley’s Crowbar goggles ($125; oakley.com) because they come with three interchangeable lenses: yellow for low light, persimmon for overcast days, and “black iridium" for sunny days. That would be a useful thing for your trip, I would think.

All these goggles work with helmets, too.

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Filed To: Mountaineering, Goggles

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