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April 2022

Aconcagua Gear Review: Julbo Sunglasses

ten by: Shannon Head (@restlesscrusade)

Protecting your eyes while on snow or at high altitude is very important. As I scrambled to find something within 6 weeks of our spur of the moment trip to Aconcagua, I was presented with the Julbo Shields. I have a very small face so finding the perfect fitting sunglasses that would not let light in the top, side or bottom proved to be a challenge. These glasses are created for high-protection, have excellent comfort as well as have an air flow venting system. These were the only glasses I brought on the trip and I was happy that the fabric side shields were removable so I could wear them around the city like traditional sunglasses. Once up on the mountain I easily popped the soft-touch side shields back on to provide the sun protection I needed. These Julbo Shields definitely held up.

Our hike started at 2800m above sea level at the park boundary gates and over the next couple weeks we were confronted with everything. Our first acclimatization hike had us staring at the south face of this mammoth mountain of blinding snow and ice over the contrast of the brilliant blue sky. When we started our push to Camp 1 at 5000m above sea level we were faced with blowing snow in overcast sky. On our summit day with 8 hours of gruelling yet rewarding uphill climbing to nearly 7000m over snow, ice and rock with ever changing skies was no match for the glasses.

I really noticed and appreciated the Julbos when I removed my shades. My eyes could hardly handle how bright our situation was with all the reflection and glare off the surrounding landscape. Not to mention that with higher altitudes the UV levels increase dramatically, roughly 10% for every 1000m. It is safe to say that we completed our expedition feeling safe, comfortable and confident in the eye protection department.

Some of the key features I loved about them were:

  • Anti fog - this is key when hiking in cold weather and high altitude, and while wearing a buff to cover your mouth and sometimes nose (from the dry dusty conditions). I found they would fog up on occasion if I had my buff up too high, but it just took some minor adjusting on the buffs part to eliminate this.
  • Removable side pieces - this is a wonderful feature. The soft-touch side panels are super quick and easy to pop on and off which allowed me to only need to bring these glasses on our expedition. I was able to wear them from the top of Aconcagua to the pool in Mendoza.
  • Light and comfortable - amazingly light and comfortable, no pressure points at all, no squeezing.
  • Lens - these adjust to a wide variety of light. Even on the cloudy days they didn’t leave me in the dark.
  • Fashion - They have a lot of style and don’t resemble the type of glasses you would typically see from climbers in the past. Various colors of lenses and frames for all makes and models.

Tyson tried out the Camino sunglasses and really loved them. They fit amazingly, which is a huge bonus as we were wearing them from dawn till dusk daily for 14+ days of hiking. No headache causing pressure points were a bonus as we were wearing them for so long. They had full coverage along with removable, low-profile side shields for overall protection from the UV rays.

We were in an array of weather from vibrant blue morning skies, snow covered days and overcast evenings. The category 2-4 range allows for every condition Mother Nature can throw at you. He originally thought the compact size was going to create some blind spots in his peripherals but the designers did an amazing job shaping them as this was not an issue at all. They have a little bit of style and fashion without being too overbearing. Tyson would for sure buy these again, not just for mountaineering and climbing but everyday life as well.

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