I rarely wear sunglasses when I climb—seeing the rock with an orange or yellow or purple tint feels strange. More importantly, most of the time they rattle around or get knocked askew as I grovel up a crack, just adding to my discombobulation.
So naturally I was skeptical as I started up a pitch with Ombraz Sunglasses strapped to my face. But by the end of two further pitches, landing me at the summit of Sister Superior, in Castle Valley, Utah (I figured trying out sunglasses would be less strange on rock that was already bright orange), I was sold.
Ombraz’s main innovation is the elimination of traditional sunglass side-arms that teeter atop your ears in favor of a single, adjustable piece of cord sewn directly into the lens frames—essentially built-in Croakies. This keeper cord allows the sunglasses to dangle conveniently around your neck, making on-off transitions easy, particularly while multi-pitching. But the real advantage is that, with two beads and two slip knots tied onto the waxy cord that make the whole system adjustable, you can snug the sunglasses up on your face while the cord sits flush on the back of your head. Just like that, the sunglasses remain perfectly still on your face.
Before setting off on each pitch, I’d drape the cord over my ears and tighten it so that, even if I shook my head wildly from side to side, the Ombraz sunglasses didn’t wobble around at all. It was akin to wearing ski goggles, albeit without the bulkiness or claustrophobia.
The frames themselves provide good peripheral coverage and sit comfortably on your nose, too. Ombraz claims that their polarized polyamide Zeiss lenses are scratch and impact resistant, but they could probably stand to be a bit more so: even without bouncing around or falling off my face, the lenses inevitably scraped against the rock once in a while and suffered some surface scuffs.The glasses weigh in at a super light .8 ounces so for the light-and-fast obsessives among you, these aren’t a burden.
I still prefer looking at the rock with an unfiltered view, but hey, sometimes it’s just too damn bright and Ombraz has got you covered when that’s the case.
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