Mountaineering goggle recomendations

2:16 p.m. on February 2, 2008 (EST)

I'm looking for advice on goggle selection. My main concern is fogging/icing. My last pair iced so badly within 10 minutes climbing I had to remove them to see. Most of the use these will receive is in the Whites of New Hampshire where high winds and cold temps are the norm. What lense color is the best all around? I have used ROSE with good results. Your responses/suggestions will be appreciated.

8:53 p.m. on February 3, 2008 (EST)
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Foggy goggles - yup, standard problem. There is no simple answer to fogging and icing of goggles. The basic thing is to have good ventilation. Problem there is that balaclavas and other warm headgear tends to sit against the goggles (and even glacier glasses, which I find better than goggles most of the time), which blocks the ventilation. You could get the ski goggles with the built-in fan (which, of course, eats up batteries).

One thing that really exacerbates the fog/ice problem is wearing glasses or inserts under the goggles. Most of my goggles either have inserts or are built to accomodate glasses (contacts are problematic on long expeditions, especially those at high altitude - how to clean them in subzero temperatures, particularly when it is 40 deg below zero - I have had partners whose cleaning fluid froze somewhere around the middle of week 2, despite heroic efforts to keep it liquid).

I do have a couple pairs of goggles that don't fog as much as others I have tried. One is a Bolle, the other a Smith. Bole had serious problems with lens quality a couple years ago (the double gradient reflective coating would get damaged easily, producing the appearance of irregularities in the snow - not good when skiing unknown terrain). The better ski goggles top end versions tend to be better ventilated. I hear arguments back and forth on double-lens vs single layer lenses. Usually the double-lens type work better for me.

Glacier glasses (with the side shields) give less fogging and less icing than goggles for me. They are not as good in high winds, but in winds strong enough to require goggles over glacier glasses, fogging is not a significant problem.

I suggest contacting Opticus in Boulder, Colorado. They have many years experience outfitting high altitude climbers with goggles and glacier glasses. They have always had a fast turnaround for me (I find phone contact sorts details out faster, but email and their website work well, too). They will provide lots of excellent advice. Surprisingly, for the good service, they are no more expensive than your local optician or chain Lenscrafters, given their specialty in the tiny market of climbers.

March 27, 2017
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