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    Simply Southern Chile

    By Hank Gaskell

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    After my second trip to Southern Chile this past July, I have absolutely fallen in love with its simple way of life. More and more nowadays, it seems there is so much going on that it’s impossible to get ahead. Chile doesn’t know or care about that. Life there is content to just continue rolling at a steady pace, no one is ahead and no one is behind. Everyone is family. Our crew did a good job stepping back from our busy day-to-day lives to emulate the Chilean way. For two weeks, our “family” consisted of Otto Flores, Eala Stewart, Ramon Navarro, photographer Dylan Gordon, videographer Rodrigo Farias and my girlfriend Malia. Huge thank you to all; what a group of top-notch humans!

    Above: This is Eala and I negotiating a sketchy water entrance off the point in Buchupureo. Photo: Dylan Gordon

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    #VidaPatagonia – Hunger Games at Cerro San Lorenzo

    By Colin Haley

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    After years of climbing exclusively in the Chalten Massif, I have finally exposed myself to another location in the Patagonian Andes. I spent most of November underneath Cerro San Lorenzo, Patagonia’s second-highest peak, with my longtime friend Rob Smith. While El Chalten becomes a bit more like Chamonix every year, the rest of the Patagonian Andes maintain a similar climbing experience as twenty years ago, except that now one can get weather information via satellite phone.

    Editor’s note: Patagonia climbers will once again be sharing photos and stories for the duration of the climbing season in Patagonia. See it all on the Vida Patagonia trip page at Patagonia.com or follow #VidaPatagonia on Instagram.

    On November 10th we hired a pickup truck ride from Gobernador Gregores into Perito Moreno National Park and got dropped off at the end of the road. It took three trips over three days to haul all our gear and food into basecamp—an old hut, known as Puesto San Lorenzo. For the entirety of our three-week stay we did not see a single other human, although we did see tons of guanacos, and saw fresh puma tracks nearly every day that we hiked in the lowlands.

    Above: The main summit of Cerro San Lorenzo. The right skyline is roughly the South African route. Photo: Colin Haley

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    Morning People

    By Heather Sterling

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    It’s early morning and our pre-dawn bedroom is see-your-breath freezing. But I’m curled up with my daughter Lily, snug in our cozy nest of blankets. I’m in that happy place between dreaming and waking. A habitual late-riser, I relish long, lazy mornings. I love adventure, I just prefer to initiate it after 9:00 a.m. and a good dose of caffeine.

    Suddenly, I am aware of him; my husband John. I open one eye and see him standing in the doorway, fully dressed for the day that I now remember we have planned to spend backcountry skiing. I suspect that the tea has been brewed and the car already loaded. My brow furrows and dark thoughts cloud my groggy mind.

    Above: Heather, John and Lily Sterling. Photo: Sterling Family Archive

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    Protecting Bristol Bay: Smart Money

    By Dylan Tomine

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    President Obama’s recent protection of Bristol Bay from oil and gas exploration may feel like a victory for fish and the environment, but I think it’s really about time and money. Which in this case, is just as good. Here’s why:

    Oil and gas reserves, as we know, are limited by however much is already in the ground and our ability to extract it. Sure, advancing extraction technologies (fracking, etc) can extend the life of a deposit, but unless we’re waiting for more dinosaurs to die, nobody’s making any new oil or gas.

    Salmon, on the other hand, if properly managed, are perhaps the ultimate renewable resource. By all accounts, the Bristol Bay salmon industry is one of the best managed fisheries in the world, producing a sustainable $2 billion annual fish economy.

    Above: Nushagak River, draining into Bristol Bay, Alaska. Photo: AlaskaTrekker (CC)

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    I Dream of Running

    By Greta Hyland

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    I dream of running, not figuratively but literally. In my dreams it is effortless, exhilarating. When I wake from these dreams I feel pumped and want to jump out of bed and run—there have been times at night when I have.

    For a while, running was a nightmare. I got tired. My legs felt like they were filled with sand. My lungs burned, everything hurt and I was miserable. I hated running.

    Then, one day it happened. I ran and it was exactly like my dreams.

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    Fitz’s Fall Layering System – Suggestions for dressing your child in the cold

    By Rebecca Caldwell

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    Today’s post comes from Rebecca Caldwell, photographer and wife to Patagonia climbing ambassador Tommy Caldwell, and mama to their son, Fitz. She discovered the climbing lifestyle five years ago and now spends more time soaking up the beautiful places around the world than at home. They share their somewhat unconventional lifestyle with Fitz, and hope to encourage others to explore the outdoors with their kids, too.

    Every autumn since I’ve known Tommy we have loaded up our van, left our home in Estes Park, Colorado, and driven to Yosemite National Park for him to work on his mega-project, The Dawn Wall, on the monolithic El Capitan. After we had Fitz we couldn’t wait to share this breathtaking place with him. This time of year the leaves turn golden and fall to the ground, snow dusts the valley rim, the warm California sun plays hide and seek behind the south walls as it moves from east to west, and the cold sinks into our temporary home in Upper Pines campground. Van life with Fitz means dealing with constant weather changes and variations. Making sure he’s warm enough, but not too warm, is an ongoing challenge. As an active adult it’s easy to find information about layering systems for your endeavors, but rarely do people talk about layering systems for kids.

    Above: Fitz racking up for Moby Dick. Photo: Rebecca Caldwell

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    An Excerpt from The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre by Kelly Cordes

    By Kelly Cordes

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    At the wind-scoured southern tip of Argentina, between the vast ice cap and the rolling estepas of Patagonia, rises a 10,262-foot tower of ice and rock named Cerro Torre. Considered by many the most beautiful and compelling mountain in the world, it draws the finest and most devoted technical alpinists from around the globe. Reinhold Messner, the greatest mountaineer in history, called it “a shriek turned to stone.”

    I began work on my book in spring 2012, after the Compressor Route de-bolting controversy. On a broad level, I’d gained a glimpse into Cerro Torre’s complex and layered history during my dozen years as an editor for the American Alpine Journal. On a personal level, I’d grown familiar with the spectacular mountain in January 2007, during my climb with Colin Haley. But once I began my book research, I became intrigued by how the intertwined stories of Cerro Torre—this wholly uncaring, inanimate object—seemed to reflect the best and worst of human ambition, and how often our actions are fueled by the power of belief. My notes and threads related to the main stories could fill several volumes.

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    Shipping Out for the Environment

    By Gavin Back

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    This summer, the Patagonia Shipping Department in Reno, Nevada helped two local environmental non-profits. We were able to work for the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund and the Sugar Pine Foundation. This was made possible by the environmental internship program Patagonia offers to every employee.

    Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund (HVWHPF) is a group based on the southern edge of Reno. Their mission is “to protect and preserve the wild horses that settle in the foothills surrounding Hidden Valley.” Work includes rescuing and protecting horses that have been captured and are for sale at auction, often to slaughterhouses, and helping to feed these iconic wild animals of the West during the winter months. The wild horses that roam the West play an important role, grazing vast expanses of the desert which, in turn, can help control the proliferation of devastating wild fires.

    Above: Chris shows off his fine Sugar Pine planting skills. All photos courtesy of the Patagonia Shipping Department. 

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    Running the Distance, Part 1 – Arrival at the new Patagonia Park

    By Luke Nelson

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    The wind gusts, blowing spray from the water lapping on the banks of Lago General Carrera. Here I stand, eyes closed, feeling the cool mist on my sunburnt cheeks. When I open my eyes it’s still there, it feels like a dream, but it’s not—Patagonia spreads out all around me. I’ve long dreamt of seeing this place and now it’s blowing my mind. After imagining over and over what it would be like, how it would smell, how it would feel, it is far more than I had imagined it would be. The previous 39 hours have been a blur of driving, airports, flying, airports, loading gear, and more driving. But now it’s quiet, except the sound of the wind blowing across the lake.

    A little over four years ago, I finished a very challenging run through the heart of the Frank Church Wilderness area along the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Ty Draney and I teamed up with Save Our Salmon to use a ridiculously long run to draw attention to that organization’s work to restore historic salmon runs. Despite our over-confidence and under-planning the run was a success—many people learned of the work being done through the story of our 154-mile journey.

    Above: Patagonia ambassadors Luke Nelson, Jeff Browning and Krissy Moehl get ready to hit the trails in the park for the first time. Patagonia Park, Aysén Region, Chile. Photo: James Q Martin

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    The Trip

    By Kitty Calhoun

    A partner enjoying El Cap

    I anticipated the change with dread and excitement. My son was leaving the nest for college and I was determined to return to my former goal-driven climbing lifestyle. Fred Becky would be proud of me. After a night of mourning, alone under the desert stars, I promptly returned home, found my address book, and started calling all the girls I knew who might be interested in my next project.

    I had become fixated on Tangerine Trip, VI A2 or C3F, on El Cap for a number of reasons. Nothing compares to the nights spent sitting on a portaledge, hundreds of feet above the valley floor, where only a few have earned the position. There is nothing to do but eat dinner—a bagel with cream cheese and tuna, perhaps—and slip into the sleeping bag. I savor the brief escape from the concerns and busyness of the world, where silence is broken only by the whoops of joy from other souls perched high on the wall and swallows swoop through the air, enjoying themselves just as much as the climbers.

    Even though aid climbing is out of vogue, I’ve found that leading hard aid pitches challenges me and scares me just as much as any other form of climbing. No, I’m not ready to live vicariously just yet.

    Above: "Big wall Kate" on El Cap from my last trip to Yosemite four years ago. Photo: Kitty Calhoun

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