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    K6 & 7: Scouting and Starting K7

    K6_after_the_storm In this report from the Charakusa Valley, Steve House gives us an excellent description of K7's features and explains how the team must find a way through the granite buttresses surrounding the base in order to get up on the mountain. Steve also talks about a special lunch they shared with the Colorado and Quebec teams, their stateside source for weather forecasts, and the final preparations for attempting the unclimbed west summit of K7.

    Listen to Steve House Update 4 (mp3)

    Breaking news: Looks like the weather has delayed their start by a day. I received a short update from Steve this morning.

    Listen to Steve House Update 5 (mp3)

    Previous posts from the series:

    Airfare and Intervals
    K6: Travel, Weather and Acclimatizing
    K6 & 7: Acclimatizing on Two New Routes
    K6 & 7: The Weather Strikes Back

    [K6, Masherbrum Mountains, Pakistan. Photo: Steve House]

    Here Comes the Rain Again

    Rainagain2You might have heard stories about the residents of mountain towns doing funny things from time to time. That was us today, here at Patagonia's Northern Nevada digs. Staring slack-jawed out the windows, running around yelling at each other, spinning in wild circles outside . . . Why? Well, it rained, that's why.

    What's the big deal about a little rain?  While parts of the country are getting drenched, others are experiencing record dry conditions. Here, we haven't seen a single drop since June 5th, when we got drenched with a full 0.05 inches of the stuff.
    According to the National Weather Service, it's been the 7th longest dry spell in the town's history. Want to learn more about your area's climate history, or just bookmark a cool weather site? Check this site out.

    [Top: What's that stuff in the sky? After three months without it, our Reno employees are pretty happy to see a little rain.
    Bottom: We'll need a bit more before those hills turn green. Photos, localcrew]

    Continue reading "Here Comes the Rain Again" »

    K6 & 7: The Weather Strikes Back

    K6_after_the_storm Steve House called again last night from the Charakusa Valley in Pakistan. As you know, he, Vince Anderson and Marko Prezelj have been acclimatizing for first ascents of the west faces of both K6 and K7. It was mostly high-fives and happy times until this report came in. Mother Nature brought some intense weather to the Karakoram and put a damper on the team's attempt at another first ascent during acclimatization.

    Listen to Steve House Update 3 (mp3)

    They did however get some visitors while the weather was bad. The separate teams of Kelly Cordes and Scott DeCapio from Colorado, and Maxime Turgeon and LP Menard from Quebec, stopped by basecamp to say hello. In an interesting twist, we find out that all three teams share objectives to one degree or another. So now the race is on to see who will snag the first ascents.

    Stay tuned for another update from Steve tomorrow. For more details, check out the recent post on Alpinist's newswire.

    Previous posts from the series:
    Airfare and Intervals
    K6: Travel, Weather and Acclimatizing
    K6 & 7: Acclimatizing on Two New Routes

    [K6, Masherbrum Mountains, Pakistan. Photo: Steve House]

    Girls Gone Back to Italy

    by Lynn Hill

    Lynnclimbingavalon The last few days with my Italian friends have been fun! Yesterday I drove them to the airport and they are probably about to land on their home turf as I write these words. One lives in Rome where I lived for a year and a half, and the other lives in Arco, the historic place where I first came to Italy and competed in the Sport Roccia competition (now called the Rock Master). With Owen in daycare, we took advantage of our last chance to climb together before their return to Italy. Since it is still scorching hot in the sun, we chose to climb in Boulder Canyon at a shady area called Avalon. Though the weather looked dodgy, some young guys climbing next to us said that the weather forecast predicted only a 30% chance of rain.

    [Lynn climbs Avalon. All photos courtesy of Lynn Hill]

    After climbing the second pitch, the rain began to fall. My friend Antonella said, "Should I go up and get the gear?" I said, "Si, vai!" But by the time she came around the overhanging bulge onto the upper face above, the sky cut loose and drenched everything. I was laughing so hard I could barely stop -- especially when she came down and ripped off her top in front of two young guys. The look on their faces was hilarious! In her mind, the comfort of changing into a dry top was a much higher priority than any sense of modesty. I love that aspect of the European temperament.

    Continue reading "Girls Gone Back to Italy" »

    Ultrainterview: Krissy Moehl Talks Hardrock 100

    Krissy_moehl_2 Patagonia wordsmith and former ultrarunner, Craig Holloway recently interviewed Patagonia ambassador, Krissy Moehl about her win at this year’s Hardrock 100 in Silverton, Colorado. Krissy is considered one of the top female ultramarathon runners in the country.

    Craig: Congratulations on setting the women’s course record (29:24) at the 2007 Hardrock 100. You were the first woman and placed third overall. How is your recovery going?

    Krissy: Recovery is such an important and overlooked part of endurance events. In the first week following Hardrock I felt great, probably soaring high from the endorphins and excitement of a surprise success. I was definitely sore in the joints (knees and ankles) and could tell I’d done something. My muscles fared surprisingly well through all of the elevation changes. I ate a ton during the event and think that helped me avoid muscle cramping and tearing/breakdown. In the second post recovery week I started to feel depleted and exhausted. Traveling home to Seattle and then to the East Coast for work I didn’t get much sleep and was away from any kind of normal routine. Slowly, I’m coming around.

    [Krissy Moehl on the trail. Photo: Luis Escobar]

    Continue reading "Ultrainterview: Krissy Moehl Talks Hardrock 100" »

    K6 & 7: Acclimatizing on Two New Routes

    K6_after_the_storm I've changed the title of this series because in this week's sat phone update Steve House clarifies that he, Vince Anderson and Marko Prezelj are actually gunning for new routes on both K6 & K7. Steve also talks about finishing up the acclimatization process, the two new routes they've climbed already, and surprisingly he brings the perspective of a surfer to the mountains of Pakistan.

    Listen to Steve House Update 2 (mp3)

    Previous posts from the series:
    Airfare and Intervals
    K6: Travel, Weather and Acclimatizing

    [K6, Masherbrum Mountains, Pakistan. Photo: Steve House]

    Edit: Updated post to reflect that acclimatization is not quite finished.

    Food Closer to Home

    WorkberriesA couple of weeks ago, we had nice conversation about organic garlic, grown in China and purchased here in the USA. Although the garlic was indeed flavorful, the distance it traveled to reach my plate left a bad taste in my mouth.

    Fortunately, the wild blackberries around Reno are ripe.  It seems fitting not only to go pick them, but to spend a bit of time thinking about the miracle of local wild food.  If biking or walking to the farmers market is a way to steer our economy back down to Earth, gathering wild foods is a way to bring the Earth back into our homes.

    [Notice those solar panels on the building in the background. Yep, that's Patagonia's Reno hub. There's people looking out of those windows right now, wishing there were over here eating more blackberries. Photo: localcrew]

    Continue reading "Food Closer to Home" »

    Is Global Warming Affecting the Surf?

    2daysbeforefreedom Global warming may be a mainstream issue now, but it's far from being cut and dry. Some people think it's a myth (read the comments), some think it's the end of the world and the rest see it as something in between. The scope and complexity of the problem naturally raises more questions than answers.

    Y.C. was quoted in an article for Fortune magazine as saying, "We're getting into the surf market, because it's never going to snow again, and the waves are going to get bigger and bigger. I see an opportunity." I'll let you decide how much of that quote is serious and how much is tongue-in-cheek, but the question remains: Is global warming affecting the surf?

    Patagonia surf ambassador Belinda Baggs asks this very question in today's post after witnessing a particularly large storm in her native Australia:

    Aggressive, violent, unpredictable, peaceful tranquil, pure. The ocean is an ever-changing façade that has the ability to provide the basis of life and enjoyment for many inhabitants of this earth. The morning surf check has become a daily ritual to most keen enthusiasts. The waves that provide the focus of this ritual have been generated thousands of miles away and sometimes weeks prior. Due to the numerous varying factors that create ocean swells, the erratic change in daily conditions is understandable. But sometimes you wonder...

    Continue reading "Is Global Warming Affecting the Surf?" »

    And You Thought Your Home Break Was Crowded

    [Video by; via]

    Heads up for Bears

    Smokeythepoo2It's not often that a person feels a small thrill at the sight of a pile of poo.  But when ol' Smokey thrice leaves his calling card in the form of ursine spoor deposited within a short radius of the office, it's time to take notice. 

    Rumors of bears coming down from the high country due to lack of water appear to be true. Our late-night security guard here at the Reno Nevada Distribution Center reports recent sitings, and fresh bear scat was spotted Thursday, Friday, and Monday. The locations might surprise our Reno crew.

    The scat in this picture (top, right) is just over by the mini-storage facility. Another pile is just over on the running trail behind the houses across the river (picture below). Just yesterday, a fresh deposit was made on Aspen Glen Drive, just on the other side of the bike-path bridge. Since that last drop happened right in the middle of one of our bike commuters' most popular routes, it seemed a heads-up was in order.

    Office_view_2 Reno folks, be sure to keep eyes open and ears tuned if you're hitting the trail early in the morning or once it starts cooling off in the evening. Remember that our black bears are generally skittish, but they're also getting desperate for food. 

    As a general rule, just making noise (ie. humming or whistling a tune)  while you hike or bike can be enough to prevent any surprise run-ins. More bear safety tips can be found here.  And if you think of it, thank the bears for giving us a clear reminder that--yes indeedy--we live in the mountains.

    [Photos localcrew]

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