Mountain Air

Glacier Institute's Blog

Partnership with Zeiss Optics

It’s one of our favorite activities in Glacier National Park; to set up a spotting scope in a crowded area and pick out some Rocky Mountain Goats or Bighorn Sheep on the cliff walls. We’ll then connect a cell phone to the scope so that people can see what we’re looking at without having to look through the lens. There is no chance of seeing these animals with the naked, untrained eye, and these optics open up a new world for our guests. Often when using the 60x zoom on a Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85, people ask us, “where exactly are we looking?” Something they would have completely missed and walked right by, is now easily observed, and usually becomes a defining moment of their visit to GNP and a cherished memory.

These experiences became exponentially more possible starting in the winter of 2022 when the Glacier Institute started a partnership with our friends at Zeiss Optics. We now have world class binoculars in the hands of all Outdoor Education Specialists, and available for all guests to use during our programs as well. 

Want to know exactly what we are using? Here’s the nitty gritty details – 

Outdoor Education Specialists – 

We’ve equipped all of our educators with Zeiss Conquest HD 8×42 binoculars, the perfect pair for wildlife viewing in Glacier National Park. Typically, we’ll use these specs to get “eyes on” a goat or sheep in the mountains before we verify with the spotting scope. Even at thousands of yards away, a trained eye can spot wildlife and identify the species. With 90% light transmission, the Conquest HD binoculars even work well in low light situations. This tool brings our level of professionalism, and educational ability to the next level. 

Guided Day Hikes – 

Each of our vehicles is equipped with several sets of Zeiss Terra ED 8×42 binoculars for guests to take and use during the program. These durable binos can handle the abuse of changing hands, inclement weather, and bumpy hikes. The body is protected with a hydrophobic casing, helping them to shed water quickly and not affect image quality. An excellent value for the money, these come highly recommended. 

Personalized Educational Tours – 

Participants for our Personalized Educational Tours are equipped with a pair of Zeiss Victory Pocket 8×25. This ultralight, highly compact, pair of binoculars are more than perfect for the casual birder or nature observer. The lenses have a patented Zeiss T* (T-Star) six-layer coating that protects them from fingerprints, dirt, and moisture, making it easy to clean them in the field. We particularly like to pack these during winter snowshoeing programs because they are lightweight to have around your neck and small enough to tuck under a jacket layer without causing any disruption to movement.  Victory Pocket style is more of a premium product with a higher price tag, we save these optics for our personalized tours. 

Pop-up Education and Field Courses – 

For many of our in-depth field courses, it is extremely beneficial to be able to zoom in on a specific subject for a closer look. Oftentimes these subjects are at a significant distance, sometimes over half a mile away. For these cases, we’ve equipped our team with the Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85 spotting scopes that we mentioned above. With up to 60x magnification, we can get a great look at that Grizzly Bear without needing to get too close. In fact, we are often using this scope at over 1500 yards from the animals we are watching. When we want to attract a crowd, mounting a cell phone to the scope using a PhoneSkope system allows multiple people to see the subject together. An added benefit is that we can easily record the encounter for future reference. 

If you are not looking for animals, you will not see them. Zeiss optics make looking for wildlife easy and fun. Thanks to our partners at Zeiss for opening up a whole new world for thousands of guests a year that come on Glacier Institute programs!