Trip #1 - Already hurting
On the day of our climb, my eyes just were not doing well. I had a pounding headache and my eyes wouldn't stop watering. It hurt just to keep them open. I had thought that it was just irritation from my contacts because I wear them so infrequently. Because of that, my partner and I decided that it would be best just to head back (while I could still see) so I could take my contacts out and just call the climb a bust. We got down and packed up camp with plans of heading into town and drowning our sorrows from the failed climb in a few drinks before leaving CO. I had assumed that once my contacts were out, the pain would go away. Despite taking my contacts out and repeatedly rinsing my eyes with saline, the pain got worse. We ended up driving to Montrose to grab a bite to eat and get a drink and by the time we arrived I was so sensitive to the sunlight that I couldn't open my eyes without experiencing extremely sharp pain. And when we walked out of the dark restaurant I was instantly blinded the sun and knew something was seriously wrong. So off to the Emergency Room we went.
After some torturous tests followed by some much needed pain meds and numbing eye drops, the doc came back and diagnosed me with UV Keratitis. Basically the sun had burned my corneas. After getting back I had talked to my friend Melissa at Adventure Tykes, who informed me that cheap sunglasses can be worse than not even wearing sunglasses at all. And my main climbing partner Scott, aka The Alpine Hack, has been wearing Julbo's forever and constantly tells me how amazing they are. So in my weakened state, I reached out to Julbo asking for help. I wanted to see if their sunglasses were all that they were cracked up to be. Fortunately for me (and you too! Keep reading!), they were kind enough to send me a pair of a MonteRosa's to try out.
I was stoked to get back on Sneffels again, this time with appropriate eye wear. And after making it up to the summit with my sight in tact and without pain, I was sold! The MonteRosa's are a female specific frame and come with removable side shields. My sunglasses came equipped with Spectron 4 lenses, which are appropriate for mountain environment, use on the water or in bright sunlight. They are so dark that Julbo actually advises against driving with them on though. Julbo has many, many, many lens options available in varying prices; with even the cheapest options blocking out 100% of UVA, B and C rays. They carry frames suitable for everything from infants and children to performance sunglasses for running and cycling to mountain glasses for high altitude sun protection.
A few more things I absolutely loved about my Julbo MonteRosa's.... The frames fit comfortably around the ears with my climbing helmet on. When wearing my climbing helmet for 12ish hours this was extremely important. The removable side shields were very useful. On the approach hike in when my glasses kept fogging up, removing the side shields provided instant ventilation. On the climb, putting the side shields back on provided extra protection from harsh sunlight reflecting off the snow.
At the end of the day I'm now a huge believer in quality eye protection from the sun. If I would've listened to The Alpine Hack earlier and invested $100 in a pair of sunglasses, I could have spared myself an expensive ER visit and a lot of pain. Don't learn your lesson the hard way like I did. To save one fortunate reader from a similar peril, Julbo has offered up a rad looking pair of Tensing sunglasses to give away. So do yourself a favor and protect those precious eyes. Enter today using the rafflecopter app below, 1 lucky winner will be notified by email next week after contest ends so make sure your contact info is correct. Good luck!