The Cleanest Line

Weblog for the employees, friends and customers of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Visit to see what we do.

RSS Feed




    « September 2007 | Main | November 2007 »


    By Lynn Hill

    I was recently asked a series of questions on the topic of motivation. There are many ways to interpret the word, but by any definition, I don't think I lack it. What I lack most of all is time. I often have obligations that get in the way of being able to get out to play as much as I'd like, but when I do, I'm simply happy to be out there.

    Climbing is a kind of play with gravity and my curiosity to experiment with what's possible is what keeps me engaged and motivated. I believe that climbing helps me maintain my child-like spirit, which is something I hope to never tire of. But as I've matured, I've learned to appreciate a greater dimension of the climbing experience. Climbing is not only about playing on the rocks, but a pretext for learning about interesting places all over the world, different cultures, languages, people, and landscapes.

    Continue reading "Motivation" »

    Setting Realistic Goals

    By Lynn Hill

    I've found that the process of setting goals and the accompanying list of tasks "to do" in order to accomplish the goal, is essential in reinforcing my intents and purposes. Virtually every motivation guidebook includes at least one chapter about the proper organization of one's tasks and goals.

    It is usually suggested that it is critical to maintain a list of tasks, with a distinction between those which are completed and those which are not, thereby moving some of the required motivation for their completion from the tasks themselves into a "meta-task" task list. The viewing of the list of completed tasks can also be motivating, as it can create a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

    Continue reading "Setting Realistic Goals" »

    Muscular Balance

    By Lynn Hill

    Overuse injuries in climbing are prevalent these days, especially for ambitious newcomers and people who simply have a hard time listening to their bodies. I know that most athletes are aware of the basic principles of preventative medicine but sometimes we tend to disregard them at the most crucial times. The following post is mostly just a reminder to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY and always try to use perfect form in every activity.

    Knowing what perfect form is comes from paying attention to that intuitive sense we all have within us. But one thing we can do that is within our conscious choice is to work on developing muscular balance, since this is one of the keys to being able to maintain perfect form in movement.

    Continue reading "Muscular Balance" »

    Breathing and Energy Flow

    By Lynn Hill

    Over the last several years, many forms of yoga and eastern practices have been adopted into our culture. There is much more awareness about the benefits of meditation, maintaining good posture, and conscious breathing in our practice. Breathing is one of the few bodily functions that can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously. Conscious attention to breathing is common in many forms of meditation, specifically, Anapana, which focuses on the "mindfulness of breathing." The purpose of this practice is to concentrate on bodily phenomena as both a mental discipline, and as a prerequisite to developing liberating insight. Practicing this form of meditation is part of the Eight-Fold Path that leads to the removal of all defilements and finally toward the attainment of nirvana or enlightenment.

    Continue reading "Breathing and Energy Flow" »

    Petzl Roctrip

    by Lynn Hill

    Roctripscene The Petzl RocTrip event in the Red River Gorge this past weekend was certainly "eventful". This year Petzl joined forces with the RRGCC (Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition) annual fundraiser called, Roctober Fest to help raise money to buy a large section of cliffs in the Red River Gorge area. With contributions from Petzl, generous private donations, as well as many smaller contributions from the climbing community, the RRGCC raised a significant chunk of money toward this land purchase.

    As per the usual Petzl RocTrip format, many top climbers from Europe and the U.S. came together to climb some of the most challenging routes in the Red. In order to raise additional funds, several climbers, including myself, offered clinics on Friday to the first fifteen people that signed up. One-hundred-percent of the proceeds went toward the RRGCC land trust fund.

    Continue reading "Petzl Roctrip" »

    Outside Magazine Cover Shot

    by Lynn Hill

    Cover_oct2007_toc The other day while having coffee at Vics, the neighborhood café, a few people came up to me and said they liked the cover shot of Outside Magazine this month. This month's gate-cover photo shows Lance Armstrong, Ben Harper, Amanda Beard, and Kelly Slater on the front page, and on the foldout page you see Ed Viesturs, Laird Hamilton, Jake Burton, Scott Lindgren, and myself.

    It was certainly an interesting experience to meet this cast of characters. I was curious to read what was written about each of us. The article starts out with Lance of course and the title is: "Heavyweights: Nine all-stars tell it like it is." As it turned out, the journalists captured whatever we felt like talking about in our brief telephone conversation.

    [Photo: Christian Witkin]

    Continue reading "Outside Magazine Cover Shot" »

    How I Train Pt. 2 – Physical Elements of Endurance

    By Lynn Hill


    My last post addressed the mental aspect of endurance training. The following post will address the basics elements of the physical side of endurance training.

    Free climbing involves a combination of both power and endurance. Some people are better suited to one type of climbing or the other. I like all types of climbing but I do best on routes that require more endurance than power. This may be because I have a higher percentage of slow-to-fast twitch muscle fibers. Each person is born with a certain proportion of slow and fast twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch muscle fibers provide short bursts of power and are fueled by an energy system called glycolysis. A person can develop more endurance through training but, apparently, the ration of fast-to-slow-twitch fibers cannot be increased.

    Continue reading "How I Train Pt. 2 – Physical Elements of Endurance" »

    How I Train Pt. 1 – Mental Endurance

    by Lynn Hill

    Ambass_hill [Editor's note: Welcome to The Cleanest Lynn. Besides being one of the most accomplished climbers on the planet Lynn Hill is also one heck of a blogger. So we've handed over the keys to Lynn for a week's worth of her insight. Enjoy.]

    Many people ask me how I train for climbing. My first answer is, by climbing of course! When I'm interested in preparing for a particular climb, I choose the appropriate kind of climbing as training for my objective. On rare occasions I will do supplemental forms of training when climbing alone is not sufficient. For example, when I free climbed the Nose on El Capitan, I needed to train for a high level of endurance because the Nose route is nearly 3,000 feet long and the most difficult sections of the climb are located over 2,000 feet off the ground.

    In order to train for this ascent, I not only climbed as many pitches per day as I could, but I ran at a relatively high level of intensity for at least an hour or an hour-and-a-half daily. I needed to have a lot of stamina, as well as a reasonably high degree of power to be able to free climb the most difficult sections of the climb. Consequently, I needed to combine endurance training with strength training, which can sometimes be a bit tricky since research shows that endurance training can get in the way of strength training. But above all, the most important element of endurance training for any sport or activity has to do with the mental aspect. For today's post, I will address the mental aspect of endurance training that I have learned throughout my years as an athlete. Tomorrow, I will address the physical elements.

    Continue reading "How I Train Pt. 1 – Mental Endurance" »

    This Music is For the Birds

    _d2x6285_3_2 The outdoor bowl in beautiful Ojai, CA was the perfect setting on October 7 for Jackson Browne, The Household Gods, and many other friends to pledge their musical support for the Ojai Raptor Center.

    The sun shone, volunteers worked the crowd with a raptor on their arm, and the music flowed over the packed house. I’ve worked at Patagonia long enough to remember when my colleague, Kim Stroud, now the organization’s Executive Director and still an integral member of Team Patagonia, started pursuing this “prey passion:” first a perch attached to her desk, then boxes of chirping baby birds appearing in our bathrooms, and soon our receptionist was fielding calls and drop-offs from concerned community members who had come across injured feathered friends. What started as what some might describe as an “obsession,” soon blossomed into a legitimate 501(c)(3), all fueled by Kim’s drive and commitment.

    Isn’t that what grassroots success is, after all? It needs a leader, who lights a fire under others, and soon the momentum carries forward into the mainstream, inspiring the masses to celebrate an afternoon such as what I just experienced. I sat in my seat, so filled with pride for what Kim had accomplished, and so thrilled at the success of it all. It gave me hope for all the environmental activists we fund and support day after day, year after year. Their dedication truly makes a difference – it’s not just “for the birds,” except in this case.

    [One of the rehabilitating raptors at the Ojai Raptor Center. Photo: Eric Rosen]

    Gerry Lopez on the SEA Paddle Around Manhattan

    By Gerry Lopez


    Inspired by his good friend Don King – who is making a documentary about his son who has autism – Patagonia ambassador Gerry Lopez recently participated in the Surfers’ Environmental Alliance (SEA) Paddle NYC White Water fundraiser to raise money and awareness for autism. The event consisted of the first-ever 28-mile surf paddle around the island of Manhattan and a benefit auction for which Gerry shaped and donated some surfboards. All proceeds from the event benefited Surfers Healing, Autism Speaks, NJCOSAC and SEA. Here's how the paddle went down in Gerry's own words:

    Autism is a dreadful brain development disorder that is diagnosed in many children today. So many that it is believed to be more common than pediatric cancer, AIDS and diabetes combined. Autism is neurobiological, very complex and little understood. It lasts an entire lifetime. There are no boundaries ethnically, racially or socially and boys are affected four times more readily than girls. Children with autism have difficulty communicating, interacting socially and are prone to repetitive behavior and rigid routines.

    [Above: Gerry Lopez paddles by the Empire State Building. Photo: John Decker]

    Continue reading "Gerry Lopez on the SEA Paddle Around Manhattan" »

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2014 Patagonia, Inc.