I’ll admit it: I’ve got a small head. As a result, I’ve spent the past few years bouncing between glasses that slide down the bridge of my nose, frames that feel like a loose, dead handshake, and cheapos bought shamefully from the children’s aisle. So, when Julbo asked me to pick one pair of mountaineering glasses to test, I chose the Neve, a pair of glasses designed with Alti-Spectron X6 lenses for small heads, and, yes, women.
Compared to Julbo’s Legend, Nomad and Advance, the Neve pair fit like a glove. No sliding on the bridge, no unnecessary space on the slide of my head and the small slide shields blocked enough light to keep me satisfied. Additionally, with 95% light reduction, 100% UV blocking lenses and a 70% tint, the Neve glasses met my requirements for harsh ray protection.
Yet, despite the Neve’s super fit and bomber UV protection, in less than three weeks, I found they lacked the durability necessary to be a true pair of light mountaineering glasses. Julbo’s Polycarbonate lenses, equipped with flash coating and anti-glare protection, function extremely well for blocking out the sun, but they are much more susceptible to scratches, dings and the regular wear and tear of the climbing life.
On an easy day of climbing at Cube Point in the Tetons my partner sent down some loose scree from a chossy pitch. Subsequently, my left lens gained a sizeable chip, directly in my line of sight. With scree slides pretty much a given in the Tetons, any plastic lens, regardless of its solid UV credentials, is destined to gain some love marks; if these show up in the wrong places, like mine, the irritation they can cause your eyes offsets any advantages gained by light reduction, tint and UV blockage.
The Neve frames are a dream for small-cranium’d men everywhere. For easy hikes, as well as snow and glacier travel, where loose rock and scree are not an issue, the Neve would be a near-perfect choice, and deserving of a much higher rating; however, as an all-around pair of mountaineering glasses, my experience proved the scratch-prone Neve less than ideal.
[Photo] Chris Zajchowski
Pros: Exquisite for small heads; great tint, light reduction and UV blockage
Cons: Alti-Spectron X6 lenses scratch easily with the regular wear and tear of the climbing life