The Cleanest Line

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    #VidaPatagonia – Blockbuster, a new route on the west face of Mojon Rojo

    By Luka Krajnc

    MojonRojo1r, Foto;Tadej Kritelj

    Coming to Patagonia with big goals can be an unpredictable thing. 

    Tadej Krišelj and I found ourselves at the wrong place below the triangular snowfield on Cerro Torres’ east face surrounded by snowflakes, spindrift and the first signs of avalanches. Backing off was more of a lesson than a failure and a few hours later we were squeezing under a dripping boulder bivy surprised by the snowy outcome of the relatively good forecast. The Patagonian weather had lived up to its reputation. 

    The next morning the sun welcomed us with its warmth which was perfect for drying the soaked equipment and regaining some climbing motivation. It became obvious that the good weather window hadn’t disappeared, it just came later than we expected. Walking back to Chaltén in such weather would have been a crime, so we took a rest day at Niponino and switched to backup plan mode.

    Above photo: Tadej Krišelj

    Continue reading "#VidaPatagonia – Blockbuster, a new route on the west face of Mojon Rojo" »

    Mile for Mile, Part 2 – The Run

    By Jeff Browning

    How do you tell the story of 106 miles in two days in a short and concise manner? It’s nearly impossible—similar to trying to restore an ecosystem and build a national park. So many little steps, so many little stories.

    Our route would take us through the new Patagonia Park. Starting north in the town of Chile Chico on the edge of the nearly 400,000-acre Jeinimeni Reserve, dropping into Valle Chacabuco on day one. Day two would take us through Valle Chacabuco to the Park’s headquarters, up and over Cerro Tamanguito and into the southern beech forests of Tamango National Reserve to end in the small village of Cochrane on the western edge of Lago Cochrane.

    Above: Mile for Mile: A Film About Trail Running and Conservation in Patagonia. Video: Rios Libres and Patagonia 

    Continue reading "Mile for Mile, Part 2 – The Run" »

    The Climbing is the Easy Part These Days – A report on the FA of Slesse's Heart of Darkness, Colin Haley and Dylan Johnson, 8 March 2015

    By Dylan Johnson

    Nelson photo with line

    Things have changed. That old "live simply" ethos Jenna and I lived by, roaming around the desert and mountains in our '83 Dodge Prospector van (with a sci-fi mural on the hood and velvet interior), feels a bit like a past life. Climbing these days is tightly packed between a life of airports, computers, conference calls and meetings—logging huge numbers of hours running my architecture practice. Time at home is spent cradling Olivia (our newborn) in the middle of the night or jogging alongside Emma (our two year old) as she rides her bike to school for the first time—or planning weeks in advance for a few hours out to dinner with Jenna on a cherished "date night." All that, and Jenna works harder than I do. 

    This time of year however, like a high school kid checking their Snapchat feed, I obsessively glance at my NOAA weather app: point forecast saved for the 49th parallel, just east of Mount Baker. NOAA doesn't work in Canada, but this ridgeline at the southern edge of the North Cascade's Chilliwack range is close enough.

    Above: Heart of Darkness on the north face of Mount Slesse, North Cascades, British Columbia. Photo: Jim Nelson 

    Continue reading "The Climbing is the Easy Part These Days – A report on the FA of Slesse's Heart of Darkness, Colin Haley and Dylan Johnson, 8 March 2015" »

    Green: The Old Red

    Words and photos by Michael Kew

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    “EXPECT ANOTHER ROUND OF STORM-FORCE WINDS, WITH HURRICANE-FORCE GUSTS POSSIBLE, ESPECIALLY IN THE VICINITY OF CAPE BLANCO. THIS WILL BE A VERY STRONG STORM. MARITIME AND COASTAL INTERESTS SHOULD TAKE ALL PRECAUTIONS NECESSARY TO PRESERVE LIFE AND PROPERTY.”

    By dawn, the damage was done—downed trees, flooding, thousands without power. The swell was huge and ripped apart by 70 mph gusts.

    A surf day? No.

    None of those for a while.

    Late that afternoon I sat on the couch and read “The Super Trees,” a feature in the October 2009 issue of National Geographic. It detailed Mike Fay’s and Lindsey Holm’s Redwood Transect, a yearlong, 1,800-mile, south-to-north hike through California’s coast redwood forests. Flanking their route, they’d found the world’s southernmost grove at Villa Creek in Big Sur; near the article’s end, one line struck me: “On the last day of their transect, as they hunted for the northernmost redwood near Oregon’s Chetco River….”

    Wait—I lived on the banks of the Chetco. And coast redwood is Oregon’s rarest type of forest.

    Continue reading "Green: The Old Red" »

    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: The Threshold Moment

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    When Kevin Fedarko stepped through the door of the O.A.R.S. boathouse in Flagstaff, Arizona, he didn’t realize he had crossed a figurative threshold as well as a literal one. Kevin had planned on rafting the Grand Canyon for a wilderness medicine course. Then, he planned to go back to his life as a successful freelance writer. But what he saw in that warehouse and in that first week on the Colorado River left him desperate to find a way to keep coming back. Kevin spent the next smelly, humiliating, beautiful and life-altering decade of his life developing a relationship with the Grand Canyon, writing about the Grand Canyon, and, ultimately, fighting to protect it.

    To learn more about the current threats to the Grand Canyon and how you can help, visit Save the Confluence and Grand Canyon Trust.

    Brendan Leonard wrote and narrated this episode. You can find more of his work at Semi-Rad.com.

     


    Listen to "The Threshold Moment" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to past episodes, music credits and to pledge your support. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and DoggCatcher, 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.

    Have a great weekend everybody.

    A Chance Meeting with the Visually Impaired Skiers from Ski for Light

    By Michel Caron

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    Not long ago, I joined Jasmine and my girlfriend, Marie-Pier, for a day of cross-country skiing in Craftsbury, Vermont. Marie-Pier is a certified ski instructor and Jasmine is a strong skier while I, uh, I am able to follow for some time until I find something else worth discovering and photographing. 

    That morning we met skiers with orange bibs and soon realized they were accompanying visually impaired skiers who were also wearing bibs. I was impressed by these people who were willing to go skiing despite their handicap. Even before dressing for skiing, I went outside to talk with them and asked if I could take some pictures.

    Above: A visually impaired skier navigates a downhill section with verbal guidance from her volunteer guide. Craftsbury, Vermont. All photos: Michel Caron

    Continue reading "A Chance Meeting with the Visually Impaired Skiers from Ski for Light" »

    Deep Time in Nevada – A proposal for a Basin and Range National Monument

    By Ron Hunter, Patagonia Environmental Activism Manager

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    In John McPhee’s book, Basin and Range, he talks about time, deep time, in the sense that it is a silent world of austere beauty, of hundreds of discrete high mountain ranges that are green with junipers and often white with snow. The terrain becomes the setting for a lyrical evocation of the science of geology, with important digressions into the plate-tectonics revolution and the history of the geologic time scale. McPhee goes on to say, “If you free yourself from the conventional reaction to a quantity like a million years, you free yourself a bit from the boundaries of human time. And then, in a way you do.”

    I’ve explored the Great Basin for the last 20 years and like nothing better than to poke around the remote places in Nevada, exploring both the natural and historic wonders of the state. When you want to get away from everyone on a holiday weekend, you don’t go into the Sierra Nevada, you wander around in the Great Basin, and more times than not, the only things you share the country with are a few cattle, mule deer, jackrabbits, and howling coyotes. McPhee had it right, there’s a timelessness to the place, somewhere that you can let your hair down and if you’re lucky, soak in a hot springs while counting shooting stars.

    Above: Beholding volcanic chaos in Basin and Range, Nevada. Photo: Tyler Roemer

    Continue reading "Deep Time in Nevada – A proposal for a Basin and Range National Monument" »

    Our DWR Problem

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    Patagonia—as well as other high-quality outdoor outerwear suppliers—for years relied on a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) of a certain chemistry (described below) to bead up, then disperse, surface moisture from rainwear. It is necessary, even in a waterproof jacket, to prevent surface saturation. A soggy surface creates a clammy, wet-feeling next-to-skin climate even where water does not actually penetrate the surface. The DWR we used as a standard for years was a long-chain (C8) fluorocarbon-based treatment that is highly effective and extraordinarily durable. Unfortunately, its by-products are toxic and persist in the environment, a combination that makes it unacceptable despite its excellent performance. Governments around the globe have now required chemical companies to stop making C8 DWR, so every high-quality outerwear supplier has been searching for alternatives of comparable performance.

    For the past decade, we’ve carefully researched and tested every available fluorocarbon-free alternative. Many finishes—including waxes and silicones—will lower the surface tension of a fabric enough to cause water to bead up and disperse rather than saturate. But they are easily contaminated by dirt and oil and rapidly lose their effectiveness, reducing the effective lifetime of a garment.

    Continue reading "Our DWR Problem" »

    Go Simple, Go Solo, Go Now – The Life of Audrey Sutherland

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    On February 23, 2015 a true heroine and friend of the company passed away. Audrey Sutherland grew up in California and moved to Hawai'i in 1952, where she lived to be 93. She raised her four children as a single mother, supporting her family by working as a school counselor. In 1962, she decided to explore the coast of Moloka'i by swimming it while towing a raft with supplies, the first of countless solo adventures by this remarkable woman. 

    Please read some shared stories from folks who were lucky enough to meet her. Photo: Sutherland Collection

    I met Audrey Sutherland, while editing her book Paddling North, at her house overlooking Jockos (named after her son of surfing fame) on the North Shore of O'ahu. She was in her late 80s and getting a little hard of hearing, but there was a spark in her eye and cast of her bearing that radiated her adventurous spirit. In the course of us reviewing the edits on her book I learned about her childhood in the Los Angeles foothills, her marriage to and divorce from a commercial fisherman, her move to Hawai'i, and how she raised her family by herself on the beach on the North Shore. 

    Continue reading "Go Simple, Go Solo, Go Now – The Life of Audrey Sutherland" »

    Save the Chuitna – Watch the trailer and join the fight against coal mining on salmon streams

    By Paul Moinester

    There is something intensely visceral and awe-inspiring about the Chuitna Watershed. Deep pools teeming with wild Pacific salmon pervade the vast landscape. Oversized tracks from grizzlies and moose are omnipresent, creating an eerie feeling as you navigate through fields of fireweed. And the spirit of the native Tyonek people, who have called this land home for millennia, resonates with every flight of an eagle and leap of a salmon.

    For the media team privileged to visit this remote Alaskan paradise, the harsh reality that we were experiencing a wilderness slated for destruction proved incomprehensible. Even still, it seems unfathomable that the river we waded could soon be bulldozed to make way for one of the United States’ largest open-pit coal mines and Alaska’s largest coal export terminal.

    Above: Chuitna - More Than Salmon On The Line (Trailer). Video: Trip Jennings and Save the Chuitna.

    Continue reading "Save the Chuitna – Watch the trailer and join the fight against coal mining on salmon streams" »

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