The Cleanest Line

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    Percebeiros: The Hunter-Gatherers of Europe’s Rugged Coastlines

    By Tony Butt

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    Until recently in our evolutionary history as a species, humans couldn't extract resources faster than those resources were renewed. Even if we wanted to we couldn’t because Nature put a limit on the amount we could physically take.

    Then, sometime within the last few thousand years, we crossed a tipping point and now we are quickly and unashamedly depleting our own resource base. Our addiction to technology and unsustainable living has spread to almost every corner of the globe. For example, where I live in northwest Iberia, there are no large cities but there are steelworks, paper mills, aluminium factories and a coal-fired power station right next to the coast. Much of the landscape is scarred by open-cast mines and quarries, and the mountains are planted with eucalyptus—an invasive species that can harm the ecosystem. These industries are a source of employment for a local population who could not imagine an alternative.

    However, there are a few groups of people in this area who make a living in a much more sustainable way. One such group are the percebeiros, or collectors of goose barnacles. A surprising number of my surfing friends along this coast are percebeiros, so I thought I would talk to them about their work, and find out how being a surfer and being a percebeiro go hand in hand.

    Above: Elias Vazquez uses his biztonta to collect goose barbacles. Photo: Tony Butt

    Continue reading "Percebeiros: The Hunter-Gatherers of Europe’s Rugged Coastlines" »

    Paddle to DC: A Quest for Clean Water

    By Dave Freeman, video by Nate Ptacek


    The plastic sign posted to a tree in our campsite reads: “ALL FISH MUST BE RETURNED TO THE WATER IMMEDIATELY. FISH CONTAMINATED WITH PCBs DO NOT EAT.” Paddling through a superfund site is not typically part of a canoe trip, but on day 73 and 74 of our journey from Ely, Minnesota to Washington D.C., that’s where we find ourselves.

    My wife Amy and I are about 1,500 miles into a 100-day, 2,000-mile expedition to protect the million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness from the threat of sulfide ore mining. We departed from the Voyageur Outward Bound School on the Kawishiwi River on August 24, 2014 where a flotilla of 20 canoes joined us on the water for the first mile. We paddled right past the proposed mine site of Twin Metals and followed the flow into the pristine Boundary Waters to begin our journey.

    Video: Paddle to DC: A Quest for Clean Water from Save The BWCA on Vimeo.

    Continue reading "Paddle to DC: A Quest for Clean Water" »

    Dirtbag Diaires: What You're Handed

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    Regardless of how you choose to play outside, if someone gets hurt in the mountains, the first step on the checklist remains the same: “scene safety”—you make sure the thing that hurt your buddy isn't going to hurt you too. But there's no checklist for emotional safety when things go wrong. Today we bring you the story of a family, an accident and the repercussions they navigated for years afterwards.

     


    Listen to "What You're Handed" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to past episodes, featured music and to pledge your support. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, RSS, SoundCloud and Stitcher, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter. The Dirtbag Diaries is a Duct Tape Then Beer production. Graphic by Walker Cahall.

    Family Man, 5.14 – A short story (and video) of a first ascent

    By Sonnie Trotter

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    It all began five years ago, as many things do these days, with a simple email to a few of us Squamish cracks hounds from a friend in Okanagan Falls, British Columbia.

    Hey Boys,
    Check out these roof cracks. I think they’ll go free. Peace out.
    - Doug

    Doug and his wife Janet are longtime local climbers, hikers and explorers in the Skaha region, and probably know the lay of the land as good, or better, than any other living beings. But even more than that, they are simply two of the greatest people ever. Of course, this letter from Doug wouldn’t be complete without an eye-catching photograph or two, which he gracefully attached to his email for our viewing pleasure. I’ll admit, I was attracted to the climb right from the get-go but time, money and other commitments delayed a proper visit to the crag for nearly two years.

    Above: Sonnie about to enter the upper crux of the route. Photo: Taran Ortlieb

    Continue reading "Family Man, 5.14 – A short story (and video) of a first ascent" »

    River Surfing on the Saint Lawrence

    By Juilen Fillion, photos by Vincent Bergeron

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    Montreal might be known for its welcoming French Canadian community, the beautiful women and the famous Poutine—French fries topped with a light brown gravy-like sauce and cheese curds—but it’s also known for a standing river wave called Habitat 67. This endless wave located on the center shore of Montreal Island was informally named for the adjacent Habitat 67 housing complex. It has become a popular destination for whitewater kayakers and river surfers.

    The wave is created by fast-moving water hitting underwater boulders and can reach a height of two meters. One of my best friends and river mentors, Corran Addison—an Olympic kayaker and three-time world freestyle kayak champion—was the first to surf the Habitat wave in 2002. It quickly became crowded due to its accessibility so a search began for other more remote river waves. This search led to the discovery of the Holy Grail of river surfing about 10 kilometers upstream on the Saint Lawrence River. But don’t get me wrong, this is not a typical place or a typical wave in a typical environment.

    Continue reading "River Surfing on the Saint Lawrence" »

    National Geographic Announces 2015 Adventurers of the Year

    Yesterday, National Geographic pulled the curtain back on the winners of their 10th annual Adventurers of the Year, “each selected for his or her remarkable achievement in exploration, adventure sports, conservation, and humanitarianism.” Four of the winners are from the Patagonia family and we couldn't be happier for them.

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    Tommy Caldwell for completing the Fitz Roy Travese with partner Alex Honnold--seven summits that define the Fitz Roy massif (and the Patagonia logo). Read the interview. Photo: Mikey Schaefer

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    Ben Knight, Travis Rummel and Matt Stoecker for the creation of their film, DamNation. Read the interview. Photo: DamNation Film

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    Liz Clark for 10 years of solo sailing in search of surf, simplicity and self-reliance. Read the inteview. Photo: Jeff Johnson

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    Gavin McClurg and Will Gadd for traversing 500 miles of remote Rockies terrain via paragliders. Read the interview. Photo: Jody MacDonald

    Along with the individual awards, voting has begun for the People's Choice. We encourage you to cast your vote (deadline is January 31, 2015), but with so many amazing people in the running we're not sure how you're going to choose.

    Congratulations to all of the winners, especially the folks we're honored to work alongside.

    Dirtbag Diaries: Tales of Terror Vol. 5

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    Ghost stories. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, ghost stories have a way of seeping into your mind. And, if they're really good, suddenly, that soft rapping on the window or the flickering lights become more ominous--like we've primed out minds to seek another explanation. In part, that's the fun of ghost stories. But how do we explain those things we had no intention of seeing? Our Tales of Terror winners, Justin Gero and Melina Coogan, present tales of seeing something they really, really didn't want to.

     


    Listen to "Tales of Terror Vol. 5" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

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    Happy Halloween from your hosts, the Cahall family! Photo: Becca Cahall

     

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to past episodes, featured music and to pledge your support. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, RSS, SoundCloud and Stitcher, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter. The Dirtbag Diaries is a Duct Tape Then Beer production. Graphics by Walker Cahall.

    Lowdown on Down: Patagonia introduces 100% Traceable Down

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    From this season (fall 2014) forward, all Patagonia down products contain only 100% Traceable Down. This means all of the down in all of our down products can be traced back to birds that were never force-fed and never live-plucked—we never blend with down we can't trace. The Traceable Down Standard provides the highest assurance of animal welfare in the apparel industry. We began working in 2007 to achieve this, and are the only brand to have done so.

    Artwork: Geoff McFetridge

    Continue reading "Lowdown on Down: Patagonia introduces 100% Traceable Down" »

    Benefit Corporation update: Patagonia Passes B Impact Assessment, Improves Score to 116

    By Elissa Loughman

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    Patagonia has a passion for the outdoors. We aspire to make the best products for the most committed athletes, all the while trying to minimize our impact on the earth and the communities that inhabit it. It can be challenging at times for us to clearly convey how this passion for the outdoors is so closely linked to our business, the products we make and the environmental initiatives we pursue. Ultimately, it is important to us that Patagonia plays a role in preserving our natural resources and the connections that humans have to the earth. We strive to accomplish this to the best of our ability and maintain a level of transparency about the impacts caused by our operations.

    Above: Yvon Chouinard gives a short speech after Patagonia became the first California company to sign up for Benefit Corporation status. Sacramento, California. Photo: Patagonia Archives

    Continue reading "Benefit Corporation update: Patagonia Passes B Impact Assessment, Improves Score to 116" »

    An excerpt from The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains by Barry Blanchard

    By Barry Blanchard

    Patagonia is proud to announce our latest publication: Barry Blanchard’s memoir, The Calling.

    With heart-pounding descriptions of avalanches and treacherous ascents, Blanchard chronicles his transformation from a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks to one of the most respected alpinists in the world. This is the story of the culture of climbing in the days of punk rock, spurred on by the rhythm of adrenaline and the arrogance of youth. It is also a portrait of the power of the mountains to lift us—physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually—and the depths of relationships based on total trust in the person at the other end of a rope. Includes climbs with renowned alpinists such as Kevin Doyle, Mark Twight, David Cheesmond and Ward Robinson.

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    Chapter 1

    I SAW THE AVALANCHE COMING. It charged over the step of dirty brown ice above like a breaking wave of black water. It hammered back down into the gulley, driving into us like the fist of god, and I screamed.

    The avalanche slapped my crampons out from under me, and I was folded in half. I was going to die. The animal in me fought to force my hand into the torrent, to grab something solid. My crampons raked over the ice as I stumbled, thrusting my knees into the pressure of the onslaught, trying to get my feet under me. I shouted and I thrashed and the surging snow pushed my arms down at the same time that it swept my feet out to flap like rope-anchored logs in a strong current. My anchor leash was as tight as cable; it hummed with a high-frequency vibration that was transmitted into my bowels along the waist-belt of my harness. My senses where overcome; I didn’t know which way was up. I was terrified.

    Continue reading "An excerpt from The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains by Barry Blanchard" »

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