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Amber McDaniel | 09.24.2019

Julbo Vermont Classic Glacier Goggles specs

  • Flexible temples with wraparound ear tips
  • Genuine leather side shields available in multiple colors
  • Removable matching leather nose bridge cover
  • Provide complete light coverage at top, bottom, and peripheral vision spots
  • Shock-resistant polycarbonate round-shaped lenses
  • Polarized coating blocks glare and reflective light
  • Lens depth: 51
  • Visibility Light Transmission (VLT): 5-11% (see below for different lens types)
  • Four different lens options:
    • Standard Polarized: VLT 11%, no color tinting
    • Spectron C3F (indigo-colored mirror coating): Cat. 3 sun protection, VLT 12%, light orange vision tinting
    • Spectron C3F (orange-colored mirror coating): Cat. 3 sun protection, VLT 12%, light orange vision tinting
    • Spectron C4: Cat. 4 sun protection, VLT 5%, anti-reflective coating, flash finish filter effect, no color tinting, designed especially for outdoor sports with strong glare

Where to Buy

$149.95 • REI | Backcountry | Amazon

The bottom line: Resurrected from the original glacier goggle design by the same legendary company, the Vermont Classics were originally released in honor of Julbo’s 125th anniversary. After wildly positive reception and popular demand, they’re still on the market several years later as a staple to Julbo’s adventure eyewear collection.

 


The Vermont Classics. Amber McDaniel.

Having spent two years working as a glacier guide on Alaska’s utterly spectacular Matanuska Glacier, I sought the perfect pair of sunglasses for a very long time. In fact, I became a little obsessed with scouring the various gear shops of Anchorage in search of a pair that would actually fit my face. None did. Even Julbo’s general plastic Sherpa goggles didn’t actually align on my face, and the removable blinder clips let in tons of light at the sides.

Then I came across the lesser known (and admittedly pricier) Vermont Classic glacier goggles, and I had to have them. I won’t lie to you: Part of appeal for these babies was the street cred. They made me look like the badass guide I wanted to be. There’s just no denying among guiding professions that a guide wearing glacier goggles instills greater confidence in clients, as superficial as that may be.

The other drive behind my search for glacier goggles was indeed their intended purpose. The Matanuska, in particular, is almost always sunny. Due to the catabatic winds coming down from the glacier that collide with opposing updrafts, the glacier essentially creates its own climate bubble. I can’t count the number of times I drove out to the glacier in a downpour only to find bluebird skies on the ice. Having essential eye protection against the constant sun and magnified glare out there was critical.

As such, I went with the highest sun protective option Julbo offers in the form of their Spectron 4 lenses. Rated to only allow 5% of light to permeate the reflective coated lens barrier, these are perfect for ultra-bright and reflective light conditions, like a glacier!

Not only do these lenses protect my eyes from head-on light, but the leather blinders truly keep it from creeping in around the periphery. Since the leather is flexible, it conforms to any face shape, unlike rigid plate glacier goggles. The suede-like liner on the inner side of the blinders is soft and comfortable against the skin.

For all these reasons (and the fact that they look DOPE), I would recommend these in a heartbeat for any glacier guide, mountaineer, ice climber, alpine climber, and more.

While my glacier guiding days are now behind me for the time being, I wasn’t prepared to say goodbye to regularly using my Vermont Classics. I currently live on the road rock climbing my way around North America, and you know what I’ve found? These “glacier” goggles happen to also be perfect for sunny day sends!

To be honest, I totally felt like a poser at first, rolling up to the crag in my glacier goggles. I wasn’t there to draw attention to myself, honestly. But when I was one of the only climbers not fighting to keep sunglasses on their face or blowing a move because they got a blast of sun in the eyes, I left all those insecurities behind. I also discovered that by taking off the easily snap-off leather nose bridge, they look a little more like regular sunglasses.

The Vermont Classics work well as climbing glasses mostly due to their flexible temples that actually wrap partially around the ears. This keeps them securely on my face even in inverted body positions, without the need for clunky and sweat soaking keeper straps.

These soft flex temples are also heaven for those of us that get headaches from sunglasses that squeeze a bit too much. These are soft enough to cling without applying any undue pressure to my head, so I can wear them all day without hurting.

While these may be marketed as glacier goggles, don’t let it fool you. I 100% recommend them for any sun intensive outdoor activity, whether it be on dirt, rock, snow, ice, or water, which is pretty much the broad scope for which I now use them!

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