Tag: rock climber



It’s a common problem says Fred Seitzman, President of Opticus Inc.  You’re all psyched to get fitted with those cool looking Oakley’s or Julbos or Smith.  You’ve heard all the hype about how digital wrap compensation takes all the distortion out of the curve, etc, etc, etc…and then you catch the small print…only available up to a -4.oo diopter total.  That’s really not a lot considering your prescription is a -6.00 in the right and -5.50 -1.25 in the left.  So you try a few more brands and up pops the same story.  The problem is that even with digital wrap compensation there’s a limit to how much the effect of curvature can be compensated for with every technical trick in the book and as that prescription increases, the limit is quickly reached.  Unfortunately there has been little improvement in this area over the last ten years.

So what can you do?  You can start by dropping the idea that all sport glasses have to be wrapped.  If you approach the issue from a relax the curve standpoint, you will start to find options that do work for those with higher eyeglass prescriptions.  Julbo still offers their Micropore, one of the most durable, longest lasting glacier frames on the market and their virtually wrap free, though the throwback leather side shields still do an excellent job of protecting from the elements.  An additional advantage to this approach, is that the leather can be removed in warmer or damper conditions, allowing more ventilation than a complete wrap.  Altice, a relative newcomer to the sport glass market, offers the Venture, a more updated style that kind of pretends to wrap the lenses, but actually there’s little curvature and virtually all prescriptions are welcome.  Another option is the Altice Eclipse, a plastic throwback to the original round look.  It also accommodates virtually all powers.  Another manufacturer that offers a couple of somewhat prescription forgiving sport glass options is Liberty Sport.  Consider their Rider especially if your face tends to be a bit on the wider side.  Pictured below are Rider,Eclipse,Venture and Micropore in that order.

Above all, ask before simply sticking your higher prescription into a pair of wrapped sport glasses.  I’d like to say that all opticians know what their doing, but unfortunately that’s not the case.  Should somebody promise it’s going to work, get a “what if it doesn’t?”  I guarantee you…sometimes it won’t.

LG Liberty Rider - Bronze2 LG Eclipse - Black+Black2 MED Venture Large - Pewter+Orange Micropore nickel

Opticus Athlete: American Mountain Guide Chris Wright

Opticus Athlete: American Mountain Guide Chris Wright

Chris Write and fellow American Mountain Guide Mark Allen after putting up a new route in Ouray, Colo.
Chris Write and fellow American Mountain Guide Mark Allen after putting up a new route in Ouray, Colo.

Chris Wright claims he’s “not exactly amazing at any one discipline,” despite the fact that he puts up first ascents of alpine and ice climbing routes around North America and is one of only a few hundred American Mountain Guides (IFMGA guides in the United States). “Mountains are made of snow ice and rocks, and I’m pretty happy on most any combination of those things you can come up with,” he says. “…but the climbs that really turn me on are the ones that combine everything.”

Opticus: What are some of your more memorable experiences in the mountains?
Chris Wright: I remember a pitch on the route we put up on the Mooses Tooth (that is the official and correct spelling, despite the poor punctuation) a couple years ago that was a bit of snow to a tension traverse, to some rock climbing, to an ice chimney, to this wild overhanging rimey thing that ended in some drytooling; it’s one of the best pitches I’ve ever done. I remember another one maybe 4000 feet up the wall that was a delicate iced corner to a splitter handcrack, which is still fun even in big boots, gloves, and crampons… Those are the memories that are special for me. Plus I think I’ve got the skewed sense of fun and short memory that are key to hard alpine climbing. I can convince myself a lot of bad ideas are good ones, and I think that’s important in an alpinist. That, and being creative. I like to think that’s where I can shine a little.

Opticus: What do you do for a living?
CW: I’m a fully-certified IFMGA Mountain Guide, and I work year-round in a variety of different venues. Every year is something new, but the last few have included work in the French, Swiss and Italian Alps, the Lofoten Islands in northern Norway, the Canadian Rockies, and of course the Pacific Northwest. I’ve been based out of Bend, Ore., for the last ten years, and even if I’m not around much it’s always nice to come home.

Opticus: What are your goals and dreams?
CW: To be happy and satisfied? I think that’s really the answer, but in terms of climbing the list just goes on and on. I’m always trying to scheme the next expedition, but really it’s not that important what the peak is so much as what we bring to it. In a material sense I want to keep coming back to the high mountains to do new routes on new peaks, but ultimately I just want to know that I’m growing as a climber and as a person and the big climbs are really just a reflection of that. However, I’d love to get back to Nepal a few more times, I’m dying to get to Pakistan and Patagonia, and I’m hoping conditions are good for some new routing in the fjords this year. Oh, and if the Eiger Nordwand comes in this spring I’d be pretty happy with that, too.

Opticus: How would you describe yourself?
CW: I think I’m a pretty quiet, kinda introverted guy in general, and I’ve always been way more inspired by the quiet heroes and adventurers than the big shiny stars. I think my influences are pretty bookish, and I can’t help intellectualizing and over analyzing everything. Luckily climbing is a place where all of that can be fine and even useful. For me it’s all about working through things and trying to grow and experience life in the most genuine way possible. Climbing just happens to be an outlet where that sort of thing makes sense to me. People have come up with all sorts of high-minded ideas of why they climb (myself included), but I think for me it’s just one way that I can feel like I’m really being the best version of myself while sharing meaningful experiences with people I care about. In a really really simple sense, what else is there that’s more important than that?

Opticus: Is there anything I’m not asking that you want to share?
CW: If I had to rank my obsessions, climbing is number one but is followed closely by food and coffee. I have a lot of embarrassing pictures on my phone and none of them involve nudity.