The Cleanest Line

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    « September 2007 | Main | November 2007 »

    Winter's Coming. Are You Getting COALed?

    CoalpowerRecent developments along the Alternative Energy arena here in Nevada have got some national implications. On the home front, Nevadans are getting heated up about the push for increased coal production in the eastern part of the state. It's another version of the increasingly familiar refrain: take the new jobs now, or take the risk of believing in new, different and more sustainable jobs in a developing industry.

    Why should you be concerned? On the national level, efforts to ramp up coal production through the construction of newer "clean coal" power plants have blossomed in response to Americans' increasing interest in solutions to lessen dependence on foreign oil. But Nevada Senator Harry Reid (D) is championing new legislation (Senate Bill 1531) which requires a mandated shift to renewables by power providers, as well as a greater investment in renewable development on the part of the government. SB1531 will have a direct impact on how homes and businesses are powered in your state.

    Continue reading "Winter's Coming. Are You Getting COALed?" »

    Bluefin Tuna Sushi

    49133733_1416ecf483 In the last six months, I've been to two sushi bars on the east and west coasts, one in Brooklyn, New York, on Smith Street, and one in Santa Barbara, on State Street (you know who you are) that have bluefin tuna on the menu. Here is what Blue Ocean Institute, a highly respected organization, has to say about Atlantic bluefin tuna: "Exploited heavily for decades, the West Atlantic Bluefin Tuna population is Critically Endangered, and the East Atlantic population is Endangered."

    Even sport fishermen and sushi-bar owners are calling for a time-out, on fishing for bluefin. Check out the article on bigmarinefish.com called "Atlantic Bluefin Tuna - Severity of Decline and its Causes." Then, watch a YouTube video with Caroline Bennett, founder of Moshi Moshi, the first conveyor belt sushi restaurant to open in the UK. Bennett stopped serving bluefin tuna in her restaurants seven years ago. The video was created for World Wildlife Fund's excellent Witness Series on bluefin tuna.

    In every restaurant, it's important to know what to order and what not to order, and how to talk to the chefs and owners about endangered fish. As many of our readers and customers already know, fish stocks are crashing. If you doubt this, go to our Oceans as Wilderness archives to check out what the experts have to say. Blue Ocean Institute has a handy, downloadable scorecard. On it are many fish you can eat safely and happily, but please, don't eat any bluefin tuna, and speak to your chefs about it.

    Nora Gallagher
    Patagonia enviro editor

    [Tuna sushi (bluefin is typically a darker red). Photo: adactio (cc)]

    Recycle Your Old Climbing Ropes

    Climbing_rope1 In the spirit of our Common Threads Garment Recycling program, Sterling Rope Company is launching a climbing rope recycling program in partnership with Rock/Creek Outfitters, ClimbingGear.com, and the Triple Crown Bouldering Series. Old ropes will be sent to a recycling facility where they'll be melted into nylon pellets and remade into common household items.

    Read "Sterling Rope Recycling Program" on Climbing.com for all the details.

    Thumbs-up to everyone involved with this new program.

    [With thanks to Steve House, RB and George. Photo: Free]

    A Father’s Lament

    This was submitted by Todd Tanner, the author of the field report "Balance" that appears in our Fall 2007 Catalog.

    Here’s our problem. We walk around the edges. We bar the gates. We bulldog those inconvenient - yeah, that is the word, isn’t it; inconvenient - truths to the ground and brand them Trouble With A Capitol “T” before we banish them to the farthest reaches and darkest corners of our minds. Where, not surprisingly, they fester and then decompose into low-level depression, heartburn and barely remembered nightmares.

    It’s a closed system where nothing new gets in and nothing old gets out, and the long and short of it is that we’re stuck in a pattern that can’t be maintained, a world that’s no longer sustainable. Of course, most of us don’t perceive options past the “Same ol’, same ol’...,” so we get up in the morning and head for work, doing the exact same thing we did yesterday, and the day before, and the day before that, hoping subconsciously that something, anything, will be different.

    Continue reading "A Father’s Lament" »

    Formal Attire for a Wedding up North

    Samaras_wedding_2

    This summer my sister got hitched! We grew up in the wilds of Northern British Columbia and you couldn’t find a more spectacular backdrop for your big day. So friends and family made the trek to Smithers, BC for a weekend of festivities to celebrate my sister and my brother in law.  Sure it was a summer wedding, but anyone from the North can tell you, weather has a mind of its own. The gentle hike for the out-of-towners to enjoy the scenery ended in a hail storm on top of a glacier.  Not what was expected when we started out in our t-shirts and shorts.

    Dressing for a formal event is a battle, the trade off between fancy and freezing starts with good intentions to looking nice, but survival instincts luckily sink in. The wedding rehearsal was held in the front lawn of our father’s ranch. As the sun set, the temperature dropped and beers consumed were not keeping the blood flowing and soon desperate eyes were darting around looking for warmth. Someone ran inside and started grabbing jackets, those who had them started throwing them on. Soon bodies started moving and the party was back up in action. It soon became comical how the hardcore clothing of Patagonia, designed for taking people up the tallest mountains in the world, was outfitting the wedding party. Talk about versatile.

    [Ed: Congrats to the happy couple.]

    Vermont Skiers Urge World to Protect Patagonia

    1_Ember_Photo_Patagonia Not too long ago we told you about this year's Dirtbag Grant winners, the second recipients of the award. But who were the first? Today we're happy to share the story of the first Dirtbag Grantees, Vermont residents Brian Mohr and Emily Johnson, and their trip to "Endangered Patagonia." Here's a recap from Brian and Emily, including a video after the jump:

    We are not just a bunch of gringos who would prefer that Chile stop developing its wonderful country. Nor are we opposed to hydropower. We are residents of this planet who support the cause of countless Chileans endeavoring to stop the profit-driven damming – the "electrocution" - of the global treasure that is Patagonia.

    If the European-owned energy giant, ENDESA, gets it way, Chilean Patagonia’s largest and wildest river, the Rio Baker, will be dammed. To connect the resulting glut of power to the Chilean national grid and the growing network of inefficient copper and gold mines in Chile’s far north, ENDESA is scheming to build a 2000km transmission line through the biodiverse heart and soul of Chilean Patagonia – degrading sweeping vistas and plowing roads through nature reserves. Once the transmission line is built, it will only be a matter of time before the remainder of Patagonia's wild rivers fall, and the rich mosaic of ecosystems that define Patagonia is torn to pieces.

    Continue reading "Vermont Skiers Urge World to Protect Patagonia" »

    Help Wanted

    Dirtbag_diaries_ep10 Besides working on today's episode, Dirtbag Diaries host Fitz Cahall just launched a redesigned version of his Web site, www.dirtbagdiaries.com. Stop by when you have a chance and don't forget to tell your friends about this one-of-a-kind podcast. Now, without further adieu, Fitz Cahall: 

    There’s no such thing as a perfect job. There’s always a catch – nagging bosses, gossiping co-workers, crummy benefits. That’s why we get paid to work.

    But what if there was a magical place where you could get paid to climb. At the center of this magical kingdom, is a mountain and all you have to do is climb it. The job pays well and during your four hours of paid break you have the run of the place because your boss is too busy moonlighting as a talking duck to discipline you. It also comes with some sweet perks. The employee lounge is actually a secret lair atop the peak, and you’re allowed to cut the line to ride the rollercoaster.

    What happens when a bunch of climbers are left unsupervised with the keys to the Magic Kingdom? Find out. Some jobs are perfect, even if Tinkerbell is out to get you.

    Listen to the MP3:
    Episode 10 - Help Wanted (right-click to download)

    Information on the music from today's episode can be found at dirtbagdiaries.com, along with links to an RSS feed of the show, subscription via iTunes and contact information should you have a story you'd like to share with Fitz for a future episode.

    [In case you're curious, like I was, the great carabiner artwork was done by Fitz's brother Walker Cahall.]

    Apply Now for the 2008 Mugs Stump Award

    Mugs_stump Are you a climber with a dream route in your heart but no cash in your pocket? If so, you're in luck. Applications are now being accepted for the 2008 Mugs Stump Alpine Climbing Award. In the spirit of Mugs himself, the award helps support small teams tackling difficult climbs in the great mountains of the world whose plans best exemplify the philosophy of "fast, light, and clean," with special emphasis placed on climbers leaving no trace of their passage.

    Thanks to the addition of PrimaLoft and greater commitments from the rest of the sponsors (Patagonia, Inc., Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., Mountain Gear, Inc., W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc.) the total monies to be divvied this year has increased from $12,000 to $30,000. Teams and individuals from North America attempting climbs between March 1, 2008, and February 28, 2009 are eligible.

    Visit the Mugs Stump Award page at Patagonia.com for the entry form and all the details. Applications are due by November 30, 2007; email applications are encouraged to save resources. Past winners and reports from their trips can be found at the official site hosted by the good folks at Black Diamond.

    The New Freightliner - Product Testing Fun

    Our infamous Freightliner is currently in the works for a revision.  Over years of long term use, we unfortunately do see some Freightliner products returned for hardware failure such as retractable handle and wheel failure. These occasional failures are good for us in hindsight because it pushes us to make our products better. 

    The luggage team is in the process of testing and creating a more bomber Freightliner with focus on hardware integrity and long term durability.  Our current Freightliner offering does last a long time but we believe our hardware can last even longer.

    Test_fixturing

    (Location: Philippine Islands. The New Freightliner gets prepped for the ride behind a side car. Photo: Chad Peterson)

    Continue reading "The New Freightliner - Product Testing Fun" »

    Innard Mongolia

    Innard_3

    We received a note the other day in our e-mail box. Our kind correspondent had a simple request: more Field Reports, more stories of dirtbags doing their thing. So here's a little story from the archives. This one's for you, Kelly:

    Perhaps it was the ten-hour trip off-roading over the rutted steppe in a Russian Jeep. Or maybe weeks of eating mostly fried bread and the rich dairy products squeezed from cows and yaks. It could have just been the biological karma that extracts a pound of flesh from every privileged traveler to the developing world. Whatever the reason, I now find myself on my hands and knees at midnight in the packed-dirt yard outside a Mongolian ger, puking my guts out in the ash pile.

    Continue reading "Innard Mongolia" »

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