Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
For lovers of lofty heights—like us climber and alpinists—it’s worth noting that with every 1,000-meter increase in altitude, UV levels increase by 10 to 12 percent. It took only one day of not wearing proper sunglasses during a Sierra Nevada excursion in my 20s to soundly school me in the importance of that little fact; I had to wear patches over my stinging, sunburnt eyes for days. But the challenge when climbing or mountaineering is finding shades that block the sun while still allowing you to see details in the rock, ice, and mountainscape. Native Eyewear’s Raghorns, with mirrored lenses, solve this problem by maximizing contrast and reducing glare for a wonderfully crisp view of the world. Even with them on, I could still spot tiny holds, descry routes, and distinguish terrain features in Colorado’s high country.
Although not as big as the Griz sunglasses—Native’s largest frame—the Raghorn frame still has ample, wide coverage on all sides. I was also super impressed by the durability. At my house, an entire box is devoted to sunglasses whose hinges have broken but that I haven’t had the time to fix or the heart to throw away. But the Raghorns have taken many tumbles, been chewed on by a puppy (don’t ask), and even fallen from the hood of a driving car, all without breaking. I did discover, however, that the lenses will scratch if scraped hard along rock (my user error), but that they’re resistant to grazings.
The Raghorns, though sturdy and substantial, are still lightweight, thanks to the plant-based resin frame material, derived from castor beans, which has a high strength-to-weight ratio. Side vents, the cushy, anti-slip nose piece, and cam-action hinges have made these the first sunglasses I grab when heading out the door, whether I’m heading to the rock or otherwise.