Above the Clouds – Beneath the Sun
We at Coolibar have great admiration for those who pursue intense outdoor adventures and strive to help them do it safely. Height seeking mountain climbers need to be aware of the dangers of UV at higher altitudes. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “UV intensity increases with altitude because there is less atmosphere to absorb the damaging rays. As a result, the chance of damaging your eyes and skin increases at higher altitude.”
Our friend Paul Ridley of Row for Hope shares his Mountaineering experience.
High altitude mountaineering comes with lots of obvious risks: avalanches, crevasses, falling ice, high winds, and high altitude sickness. As a climber with two parents who’ve battled melanoma, I’m acutely aware of the health risk from sun exposure that is only a second thought to many mountaineers.
In the thin air climbers encounter above 10,000 feet there is often no hope of protection from clouds, and the thin air and reflective snow makes for dangerous sunburns. While climbing I’ve been sunburned on the roof of my mouth, the underside of my nose, and inside my nostrils.
Keep in mind there is enough reflected UV that even in a shaded area, skin can sunburn. Apply sunscreen to exposed areas to avoid a burn, even if you plan on wearing a sun hat or staying in the shade. The Coolibar Face Shield offers both the skin –coverage protection and breathe-ability that sun-conscious climbers need at altitude.
Take it from Paul and remember to protect your skin, especially at high altitude.
- Sun protective clothing, including a hat with a three-inch brim, will protect you at all times of the day.
- Use ample sunscreen on those parts of your skin that will be exposed – face, neck, top of ears, hands.
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes.
Be SunAWARE and Be Safe!