From its headquarters high in the Jura Mountains of France, where the company was founded in 1888, three generations have directed Julbo’s evolution from manufacturer of corrective lenses to global producer of protective eyewear for all active outdoor pursuits. With the brand’s rich history in alpine-mountaineering, high-altitude and glacier exploration optics, it reaches back into the vault to re-release some of the most famous styles for 2017.
Julbo first introduced the Vermont in the 1950s, and has issued and re-issued the iconic glasses (often called the Julbo “Round”) throughout the last six decades. Now, they’re gearing up to do so again. The Vermont Classic ($150) features the traditional metal mountaineering frame with round lens, a removable leather nose piece, and removable leather side shields. It comes in four different colors, including both a Category 3 and Category 4 lens.
One of my first ever pair of Julbos was back in the late 90s with the now discontinued Nomad (picture above). At the time, it was the category leader for high altitude mountaineering — I think I still have them somewhere. For the past 15 years, however, climbers, mountaineers, and even skiers have turned to the Nomad’s evolution — the Explorer. Now for 2017, Julbo updates this flagship mountaineering model with the Explorer 2.0. It bears the high altitude performance of Category 4 lenses (both photochromic and fixed lenses are available) but is not quite as techy looking as the original.
Over the summer, Julbo sent me a pair of the new Explorer 2.0 to test out. I wore them to climb Mt. Baker and for our high-altitude trekking trip to Peru. The sunglasses offer full coverage — something that is absolutely crucial for high-altitude and especially snow-related pursuits. No one wants snow blindness to ruin their adventure. The side shields are removable so you can wear the glasses for more than just climbing expeditions.
The flexible arms adjust in any direction to give you the perfect fit — nothing worse than leaning over to put on your crampons and your sunglasses fall off. There is also a grip on the nose that helps keep them on your face and adds a bit of comfort.
The Explorer 2.0 comes in three different lens styles — the Category 4 Spectron 4 lens, perfect for high-altitude or super sunny adventures; the Zebra photochromic Category 2-4 lens; and the Camel photochromic/polarized Category 2-4 lens. Prices range from $130-$200 depending on lens type.