The Cleanest Line

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    Fly 'n Head

    The elusive Corbina are running close to shore this time of the year near Ventura and a few of us are surfcasting countless times trying, hoping, and wishing to land this ghost of the ocean.

    Yesterday, Mark, one of our buyers at Patagonia and good friend, was on a mission to catch a Bean near his home in Carpinteria so I lent him my last sand crab imitation. I asked him to please try hard not to lose my last fly.

    I received this voicemail on my phone late last night.

    And here is the sand crab fly that Mark gave me back today:


    At least he didn't lose it.

    Big Wall Trash a Big Problem in Yosemite

    by Lynn Hill

    After speaking with my friends, Mike Lechlinski and Mari Gingery about their experiences in Yosemite and climbing on El Capitan this summer, I learned that many climbers are not doing their part in keeping the big walls clean. Apparently many people "accidentally" or even intentionally drop their garbage and poop off El Capitan and don't even go back to the base after their ascent to clean up their mess. I believe that, as a way of showing respect for the beauty of this magnificent place, we all need to make the effort to clean up any trash we come across. In fact, I believe that everyone who ascends a big wall route should hike back to the base with a large trash bag and clean everything in sight after his or her ascent. There's not a lot to be done about the smell of urine on the rock since the rain will take care of that problem. But the idea that some people just throw their trash and poop bags off the wall because they don't want to deal with it anymore is completely unacceptable!

    Continue reading "Big Wall Trash a Big Problem in Yosemite" »

    The First Time - Part 5

    The_first_time_title_pt5 It's been a fun week of First Time stories thanks to The Dirtbag Diaries. We've heard from an extreme sledder, a freestyle kayaker, an ice climber, an alpinist and now, a snowboarder:

    Snowboarding can’t change a life. Carving four beautiful turns down an impossibly steep face aren’t going to alter a person’s course through this world. Snow melts, but life doesn’t get any easier. Snowboarding, the mountains, wild places, they may provide a not-so gentle nudge forward, but deep seeded change can only come from within.

    Today, Stephanie McLawrence, a self-described bookworm from Brooklyn’s notorious Bushwick neighborhood, brings us a story about finding a second chance in a first time.

    Listen to the MP3:
    The First Time - Part 5 (right-click to download)

    [Thanks to Tanya and Steve for participating, and thanks to Fitz for this special extended episode.]

    The First Time - Part 4

    The_first_time_title_pt4 Many of you are familiar with Steve House's incredible accomplishments. But have you ever wondered about his very first climb? In part 4 of the The First Time series on The Dirtbag Diaries we get to hear about it:

    If you’ve opened an outdoor magazine in the last three years, you’ve probably read about Steve House.  In the last decade, he’s pulled off some incredible ascents in the Canadian Rockies, Alaska and the Himalaya.  In process, he’s become the spokesman for a very pure, very elegant climbing style. Like any passionate person, Steve has some strong opinions and he’s ruffled some feathers along the way. One thing is certain though – the man cares deeply about the environment and our wild places. 

    Where does conviction like that come from? For that answer, we’re going to have to look back through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy. Today, as Part Four of our First Time Series, Steve House tells us about the day his pursuit of high places began and very nearly ended.

    Listen to the MP3:
    The First Time - Part 4 (right-click to download)

    No doubt Steve works really hard to prepare for his climbs. But sometimes you get the feeling he, and most top-level athletes, were born to do what they do. In a follow-up email, Dirtbag Diaries creator Fitz Cahall said, "The one thing I maybe could have done better was making the point that Steve was 11. The kid goes to school, plays a little league game, stays up all night and climbs Mt. Hood. Incredible."


    Precarious Predicament for Pollinators?

    by Lynn Hill

    Bee_6 I've been reading and hearing a lot of talk recently about the ominous phenomenon of bees dying all over the world. Most of what I've read on the subject points to pesticides as a possible reason why the bees are dying. Apparently, many farmers are spraying pesticides on their crops at the wrong times, despite the fact that spraying at these critical times can have a profoundly negative effect on the bee population and consequently, the production yield of various fruits and vegetables. Obviously our society's current over-use of pesticides reflects a short-sided viewpoint on the natural life cycle since bees and other pollinating animals are responsible for 80% of the world's crop production.

    Pollinators, mostly insects, are indispensable partners for an estimated one-out-of-every-three mouthfuls of all the food, spices, or condiments we consume. This is an estimated twenty-billion dollar industry in the U.S. and pollinators are threatened by a variety of factors besides pesticide misuse. The loss of their natural habitat in dead trees or fence posts on ever-decreasing farmlands across the country has also contributed to the decline of bee populations.

    [Photo: Márcia Grilo]

    Continue reading "Precarious Predicament for Pollinators?" »

    The First Time - Part 3

    The_first_time_title_pt3 Ice Climbing at night on Valentine's Day after a full bottle of wine: Get ready for some good times courtesy of The Dirtbag Diaries:

    Valentine’s Day – For some, it brings to mind romantic candle-lit evenings. For others, mere mention of the holiday conjures up cringe-inducing images of overpriced flowers and public displays of affection. For listener Erin Shea, February 14th will always be linked to cold, darkness and the sound of falling ice. Now that’s our kind of love affair. Today, for the third installment of our First Time series, we bring you the story of a lonely M.I.T. undergrad who has a very special Valentine’s Day.

    Listen to the MP3:
    The First Time - Part 3 (right-click to download)

    Team Dirtbag

    Img002 This submission came to us from Topher Browne, a Patagonia Ambassador and recovering dirtbag.

    I have not really been a dirtbag for several years now. I recently traded in the last in a long line of Toyota trucks for an efficient but less than capacious Honda Civic. If I tried to spend the night in my new ride I would require an on-site osteopath to remove the kinks from my middle-aged body.  I confess that I don’t mind a warm cabin and a hot meal after standing in a forty-five-degree river all day long. If this makes me less of a person, so be it.

    I knew the truck was not long for this world when I noticed that it was beginning to spend more nights in front of motels than in parking lots next to good salmon pools. I still get up pretty early, at least when I fish, but I’m seldom the first one through the pool anymore. It was not always this way. I never bought into that “last shall be first” nonsense (I still don’t) and I could usually count on my boots getting wet before any others. Lately, though, I find myself second, third or even fourth through a pool. It doesn’t happen all the time—I still have my moments in the sun—but when it does, it bothers me less than it once did.

    [Photo: Topher Browne Collection]

    Continue reading "Team Dirtbag" »

    The First Time - Part 2

    The_first_time_title_pt2 Podcast number two of The First Time series on The Dirtbag Diaries features Patagonia ambassador Tanya Shuman. From Fitz:

    Every sport has hallowed ground, a place were legends honed techniques and innovators forged new technology. Climbers have Yosemite Valley. For mountain bikers, it’s Vancouver’s North Shore. If you’re a freestyle kayaker, there’s one wave, far from any damn-controlled river, that you have to ride.

    Today, pro kayaker Tanya Shuman tells us about her search for the perfect wave. It’s a journey that took her around the globe before leading her back to the place where it all began – Skookumchuck Narrows.

    Listen to the MP3:
    The First Time - Part 2 (right-click to download)

    For more information on the fight to save Skookumchuck, please visit:

    "Extinction Stops Here" Road Show Visits Ventura

    Millar_sows_01 Brett Millar from Great Pacific Iron Works, sends us this report about some honored guests who visited recently:

    Great Pacific Iron Works, the original headquarters for the retail division of Patagonia in Ventura, California had an extremely unusual visitor this past week. Save Our Wild Salmon and their “Extinction Stops Here” road show stopped by with a 25-foot-long metal and fiberglass salmon to raise awareness for endangered wild salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest.

    Save Our Wild Salmon is a nationwide coalition of conservation organizations, commercial and sport-fishing associations, businesses, river groups, and taxpayer advocates. This partnership was formed in order to help restore what used to be a thriving species of fish that, in the time of Lewis and Clark, numbered over 16 million within the Columbia and Snake River Basins alone. Today, as few as 10,000 salmon return to the Snake River each year. The main reason for this huge decrease in numbers is the various human-made dams blocking the travel of these magnificent creatures to their original spawning grounds. The group’s present focus, and the reason for the five-state road tour with Fin the giant salmon, is campaigning for the partial removal of four dams on the lower Snake River in Idaho.

    [Joseph Bogaard and Jeremy Nickel pose with some of the Patagonia kids. Photo: Brett Millar]

    Continue reading ""Extinction Stops Here" Road Show Visits Ventura" »

    The First Time - Part 1

    The_first_time_title_pt1 Getting started on Monday morning is always rough. Sometimes it's best to just put on the headphones, drown out the rest of the world, and get lost in a good podcast. From Dirtbag Diaries creator, Fitz Cahall:

    I want you to think back to the first time you touched granite, rolled a kayak or linked ski turns. Whether you’re pushing your sport to new heights or daydream about first tracks during your rush hour commute, those first experiences are something we all have in common. It probably felt a little daring, slightly awkward, but absolutely wonderful, and while the waves may get bigger, the routes bolder, they never get rawer. 

    This week the Dirtbag Diaries brings you The First Time – stories about people’s initial experiences in the outdoors. Instead of one big episode, we’ve gone ahead and split this week’s broadcast into five parts. We’ve got some very special guests. Some you may recognize. Others, we are proud to introduce. Today we’re going to start with the story of a 22-year-old coast guard ensign who finds his inner child in the Alaskan mountains and barely escapes.

    Listen to the MP3:
    The First Time - Part 1 (right-click to download)

    Stay tuned for a week's worth of first-time stories from Fitz and his guests. Hopefully, one of the episodes will inspire you to share a first-time tale of your own in the comments section.

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