The Cleanest Line

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

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    Peace on Earth from Patagonia


    Happy holidays to you and yours from Patagonia Ventura (pictured), Reno, Japan, Europe and all of our Retail Stores. Thank you to all of our customers, partners, friends and families for your honest feedback, passionate activism and continued support. We'll see you 2008.

    [The tribe in Ventura gathered in front of the original Chouinard Equipment Co. building. Photo: Tim Davis]

    Remembering Kenny

    773We are deeply saddened to report that our good friend and longtime Patagonia colleague Kenny Harbaugh passed away last week while backcountry touring in British Columbia. Ken was on an inspiration trip with some of our ski ambassadors and members of the snow sports design/development team. 

    It's impossible to capture all Kenny meant to us. He touched our lives through his knowledge of textiles, music, cycling, surfing and so many other ways. He had a contagious sense of humor and true zest for life. We all miss him.

    As we continue to absorb this loss, and send his family our deepest condolences, we also look to ways we can honor Ken and the contributions he made to our lives. Some of his cycling teammates and friends have started collecting memories on their team blog and we'd like to encourage anyone on The Cleanest Line that knew Kenny to share your remembrances in the comments section.

    Co-workers, vendors, the cycling community and friends both inside and outside the company have also expressed an overwhelming desire to help Kenny's family. Personal contributions can be made payable to "The Ken Harbaugh Memorial Fund" and mailed to:

    Patagonia, Inc.
    Ken Harbaugh Memorial Fund
    Attn: Ray Netzley
    259 W. Santa Clara Street
    Ventura, CA 93001

    Please feel free to spread the word about this Fund. It will benefit Kenny's family directly. Thank you.

    Update: The memorial service is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Friday, December 21 at Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapel in Goleta, CA. Please continue reading for details on the service and some photos from the memorial bike ride Patagonia employees did on Wednesday. 

    [Ken Harbaugh 1960-2007. Photo: Patagonia]

    Continue reading "Remembering Kenny" »

    From the Ashes

    Alpinist22 Our friends at Alpinist Magazine are still recovering from a warehouse fire that destroyed all of their inventory -- back issues, hats, shirts, water bottles, stickers, coffee mugs. Thankfully it didn't affect their offices, and subscriptions are continuing without interruption. More details about the fire can be found here.

    If you love Alpinist as much as we do you can show your support by renewing your subscription, subscribing for the first time, or giving the gift of a subscription to your friends and family.

    Subscribe to Alpinist Magazine


    Climate Talks in Bali

    For those who haven't been paying attention to the ongoing climate talks on the island of Bali, Indonesia, representatives from the US, Japan and a few other countries have been dragging their feet again in negotiations on a sucessor to the Kyoto Protocol when it expires in 2012. Right now they're refusing to sign an agreement calling for industrialized nations to even consider cutting emissions by certain amounts by 2020, saying "specific targets would limit the scope of future talks". ("Gore blames US for blocking progress at UN climate conference in Bali" by Chris Brummit, AP) As a result, the UN warned that the talks were in danger of falling apart, and European nations have threatened to boycott President Bush's climate meeting next month if the US refuses to compromise. If you want to act in time to make a difference, check out the site or go directly to to sign an emergency petition.

    "Patagonia Saves My Hide"

    Bigwave That was the title of the e-mail we received in our Customer Service mailbox. It was from a young man who'd recently put our goods to the test in ways our testers rarely do.

    With his permission, we have reprinted his e-mail here.


    Subject: RE: Patagonia Saves My Hide

    Four months ago I experienced this story (link below) and during that time I was wearing a Patagonia mid-layer fleece along with my other gear. I had two pieces of this gear, the pull over with a zipper and one without. These kept me warm and dry the 35 days leading up to the 19th of Febuary. On that day, they kept me warm enough to survive 10 hours in the North Atantic in 60-knot winds and 40-foot seas. I lost these items (probably in the Coast Guard Jayhawk) but I wanted to thank you for the designing and building of a product that performs as promised.

    Thank You.

    It modestly omits some of the grittier details of his ordeal. For a full account of the incident, click here.

    Thank you, Kevin, for your good words, and big thanks to the Coast Guard for making sure you would be around to tell your story.

    [Photo: An image of the famed "Draupner wave" as seen on the Wikipedia article of the same title - the wave was offered the first photo-documented evidence of giant rogue waves. The wave in this picture is cresting over the deck of this oil rig.]

    Making Snow While the Sun Shines

    Utah1 Thanksgiving weekend was not a holiday my Canadian family would miss me for. So having grown up skiing in the hills of Northern British Columbia, and currently living in Southern California it was time to find snow!

    A friend of mine and I planned on Utah – I was told the snow there was like no other place on earth. And the mountains are the most breathtaking backdrop to ones' decent.

    I watched the snow report religiously and each day closer to take-off I pleaded with the snow gods more and more often. There wasn’t any snow and none on the horizon. But plane tickets were bought and well... it was a weekend away, so off we went.

    [Not a cloud in the sky. Photo: Snow]

    Continue reading "Making Snow While the Sun Shines" »

    Ski Report from Patagonia Europe

    Start_face_2 Yannick Clévy of our IT dept. at Patagonia Europe's offices in Annecy, France just wrote in with this report about the early season conditions they're seeing across the Atlantic. Regular readers might remember Yannick as the French-speaking, cliff-dropping, steeps schralping author of the earlier "dawn patrol" post Climbing Foot with Backbag.

    If you're planning a trip to the Alps this season, a full account of the early-season conditions close to the Patagonia Europe offices in the southern Alps is available here on Yannick's blog, Team Dré Dans le Pentu (rough translation: Team Point ‘Em Straight Down). The site is in French . . . but the pictures aren't.

    It's a good thing we just picked up our first decent snowfall in the Sierra, else the jealousy might have been unbearable. Here's an excerpt of Yannick's update:

    Deep_powder Early snow in the alps ! Or "SNo-vember skiing" !

    November (Sno-vember) was incredible in Austria with meters of snow and an early opening of all ski resorts.

    French's alps (Patagonia office range) was not so bad too, with 2 weeks snowing and cold weather. Just enough to make first turns of the season, and get back on this nice feeling of powder skiing!

    Inthe_face_2 We went to the Mt Sulens witch is a small mountains, 15 minutes drive from Annecy office. This place is the local beginner ski-touring summit with only 1800m height and a "flat" normal route.

    Continue reading "Ski Report from Patagonia Europe" »

    Seeking Applicants for Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council

    Santa_rosa Our friends at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary (CINMS) Advisory Council are seeking new applicants. The advisory council plays a vital function in the operation of CINMS, which has been a leader among the National Marine Sanctuaries in addressing environmental issues.

    NOAA’s Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary is seeking applicants to fill three primary seats and six alternate positions on its advisory council, which ensures public participation in sanctuary management and provides advice to the sanctuary superintendent.

    The sanctuary will select new members and alternates for the following seats: education member and alternate, Chumash community member and alternate, tourism alternate, recreational fishing member and alternate, and two public-at-large alternate positions. Members and alternates serve as volunteers for two-year terms. The advisory council meets bi-monthly in public sessions in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

    [Santa Rosa Island. Photo: Armleg]

    Continue reading "Seeking Applicants for Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council" »

    A Lifeline Home

    Dbd_lifeline_homeAmidst the hell of war, Fitz Cahall has discovered a story that will warm your heart:

    There was nothing exceptional about how Ryan Utz and Micah Helser became friends. After nodding at each other in the office hallways for weeks, they happened to discover that they shared an interest in sustainable building. They got to talking and pretty soon found that they both shared a love for climbing and the great outdoors. While the beginnings of their friendship sound average, the circumstances were anything but.

    Micah and Ryan were members of Charlie Company, a medivac unit serving the Baghdad area. Together, they were responsible for shepherding the wounded and the dead from the Iraq’s battlefields to the hospital in a Blackhawk helicopter. They cared for fellow soldiers, Iraqi police and the civilians who got caught in the midst of the violence. In the process of saving others, they dodged bullets and mortar rounds. In the long empty hours between shifts and missions, they needed to find a way to escape back to the things the loved the most. So in a flat, arid country plagued by violence, they set out to do the one thing that might seem impossible – to go climbing.

    Today, we bring you the tale of two friends – both climbers, both soldiers – and their quest to create a lifeline back from the frontlines to the things that matter the most – friends, family and that freedom found only in open spaces. We are headed to the world’s most improbably climbing wall. This is Camp Taji. Welcome to Iraq.


    Listen to The Dirtbag Diaries:
    Episode 13 - A Lifeline Home (mp3)


    Like what you heard? The RSS feed, subscription link to iTunes, and contact information for future story ideas are all available at

    [With thanks to Micah and Ryan – the soldiers featured in the story – for your heroism and sacrifices. May peace prevail on Earth.]

    Fish-Phone. It's Got A Nice Ring to It.

    Fish_logo_2 You might not be organic, sustainable, fair trade, or free range, but you try to make sure your shopping is. When it comes to fish, you know it's a healthy choice, but are also aware of the impact of industrial fishing practices. Perhaps you're even aware of Blue Ocean Institute's unique Guide to Ocean-Friendly Seafood. Available both online and in handy, wallet-sized form, this helpful guide gives shoppers a quick and convenient way to make sustainable sense of the sea of seafood choices available at the local market.

    Trouble is, those fish cards don't always make it into the correct pocket, and it can be a bit troublesome to hop online in front of the seafood counter. The next time you're having trouble deciding between U.S.-Farmed Tilapia or Atlantic Cod, give the Fish Phone a call.

    Blue Ocean's FishPhone is the country's first sustainable seafood text messaging service. By texting 30644 with the message FISH followed by the species you're interested in, Blue Ocean Inst. will text you back with a seafood ranking:  Green, Yellow, or Red, plus contaminant information if there are health concerns.

    Also available are cellphone/PDA-formatted seafood guides, available at

    More information about FishPhone and Blue Oceans Institute is available at and

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2014 Patagonia, Inc.