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    « October 2007 | Main | December 2007 »

    Early Season Ice

    by Zoe Hart

    Zoe_saphire_bullets_107 The fall begins to bring grey weather, and we endorphin junkies and fresh-air addicts begin to get itchy. Trapped indoors as the rock gets desperately cold on the finger tips, the sun begins to hibernate, and there is not enough snow to strap toys to our feet. So we start pulling on plastic or hanging upside down from dry tooling crags with huge aspirations of climbing HARD this winter.

    Whispers float through the valley. It does not matter if that valley is Canmore's Bow Valley, or the Ouray's San Juans, or the Alps' Chamonix Valley. It is like the childhood game of telephone. The keeners rise early, scraping frost from the dashboards, sipping coffee en route to the crag, juggling butterflies of excitement and nervousness at the first day of swinging tools. Keenness and ambition often outweigh reason, and long approaches are made for thin slivers of ice, half-formed routes, and unprotectable climbs. More often than not, the day is spent making a long drive and approach to scare the crap out of yourself on one pitch, and then to boldly back off and walk away blaming it on the conditions.

    [Zoe Hart, January 2007, back on the ice the day after getting her cast off. Photo: Maxime Turgeon]

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    Getting There: A Journey Toward Greener Driving

    Cruiser1custom [Ed note:  This is the first of a three-part post from former Patagonia employee Matt Hunt. Matt was kind enough to share the details of his conversion of a Toyota Land Cruiser using Patagonia's alternative transportation incentive plan. Read on for an inside look at one man's eco-fueled automotive quest.]

    The Parking-Lot Culture

    Working for Patagonia in Reno has a lot of great benefits: powder days, casual dress codes, great coworkers and a feeling of community to name a few. When you roll into the parking lot at the Patagonia Service Center in Reno, you notice a lot of things. There is the permeable paving system, the employee garden, bales of recycled cardboard, the Truckee River gurgling along nearby, and the Mount Rose Wilderness rising up in to the giant Nevada sky.

    There are also cars. It is, after all, a parking lot. It probably comes as no surprise that the vehicular demographic here leans heavily toward a couple of favorite species. Toyota Tacomas and Subaru Wagons seem to be the rigs of choice, for their surefooted ability to cruise past the flashing yellow words “chains or 4wd with snow tires required” on the way to a powder day. When visions of first tracks are dancing in your head, you sure as hell don’t want to wrestle with chains.

    But when the flakes stop and I have a moment to consider the bigger picture, I have to wonder what the footprint is. They say the most dangerous part of climbing is the drive to the crag, and I have to assume it is the most polluting part of it too.

    [Photo: The Greasy Bruiser, courtesy of Matt Hunt]

    Continue reading "Getting There: A Journey Toward Greener Driving" »

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