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    « December 2007 | Main | February 2008 »

    Christmas Cracks and Kisses

    by Zoe Hart

    On_belay_2 I think that Christmas changes lots over time. From the days as a little kid, opening each door of an advent calendar, and leaving chocolate chip cookies (which my mom definitely ate!!) and carrots for Santa and his reindeer to keep him going to each good little boy's and girl's house delivering treats, writing Christmas wish lists, hanging lights, and spending time with family and friends (this year I sadly didn't get to ring in Christmas with my family, but I carried them in spirit on Christmas day, and thank them for their support, encouragement and understanding of all of my adventures) to what we dream of as young adults.

    [Belaying Kirsten Kremer on Christmas Eve. St. Exupery, Patagonia, Argentina. Photo: Maxime Turgeon.]

    Santa did show up this year though. I guess I was a good enough girl not to get coal, or, in Patagonia, it would be storms. My letter to Santa wished for sunshine, clear skies, beautiful hand cracks, granite spires, and a summit with some of my favorite people. It all came true. A week of rain and grey skies parted just before Christmas. We packed our bags and headed the seven hours back up the trail to high camp, Maxime, Kirsten Kremer and myself. The day was sunny and clear, a bit windy, but nice by Patagonian standards. We made it to camp around 3pm, set up tents, packed our bags and hoped the forecast was right.

    Continue reading "Christmas Cracks and Kisses" »

    It's Still Winter...Right?

    Chia_snow_crop Ah, spring is in the air . . . images of butterflies, sunshine-soaked afternoons, lambs, and flip-flops dance in the head; perhaps lambs in flip-flops for some. What better time to check out the new swimsuits, boardies, and summer gear at

    But's still cold in a lot of places, including right here at Patagonia Customer Service Central in Reno, NV. And we do mean COLD! The last thing most of us want to do this time of year is put on a swimsuit, not only because of the fish-belly-white, post-holiday bod staring back at us, but the thermometer is shouting "NO!" as well.

    So, that being said, Patagonia does still have winter gear, we just don't have it all online. Whether it's a new ski shell, toasty under-layers, or a nice, sumptuous puffy jacket, you can still order your winter gear by calling Patagonia Customer Service. We have an arsenal of highly trained folks waiting to help you order the gear you need, regardless of whether you're getting ready to hit the surf or bundle up for winter conditions.

    Feel free to contact us at 800.638.6464 M-F 6-6 PST and 8-4 Sat/Sun, or by e-mail at

    We'll be back to brave the swimsuits when the mercury rises a little higher.

    the fine folks at Patagonia Customer Service

    [Jumping the gun in some of the latest Spring 08 offerings. Try as we might, we couldn't get this guy to take that Fall 2007 Rubicon Rider Jacket off. Photo: Skye Weaver]

    Continue reading "It's Still Winter...Right?" »

    Product Testing - Wool, Capilene, Soft Shell & 25 years of skiing Tahoe

    Ken_whWe test our gear on a variety of levels. Our athletes and ambassadors are responsible for putting the latest designs and fabrics through the paces before we'll add a new product to our lineup. But just because something reaches our shelves doesn't mean testing is over. Once a new item shows up in our catalogs, our Customer Service staff gets busy ground-truthing the latest offerings. They know the questions our customers will be asking, and turn that attention to our gear.

    Product Report  - The outfit: Wool 2 zip neck, Capilene 4, Light Smoke Jacket, Dimension Pants.      
    Activity: Backcountry skiing, Tahoe California
    Tested by: Ken LaRussa, Patagonia Mail Order Customer Service

    January, 1983

    A puke green 1974 Chevy LUV pickup pulls over in a wide spot in the road next to Grass Lake on Luther Pass, just southeast of Lake Tahoe in the mountains of eastern California. A moustachioed guy with shaggy brown hair hops out and checks out the slope above him. He's been driving past this dead-on north-facing slope for the past 2 years and curiosity has finally got the better of him. He laces up a pair of the original black (with yellow laces!) leather Asolo Extremes; slaps skins on his 210 cm long, 58 mm wide Karhu Comps; snaps down the bail on his 3-pin bindings; and heads uphill. He is clad in scratchy polypropylene, a Patagonia Bunting Jacket, stretch ski pants (this is 1983, remember) and knee-high gaiters.  It's been almost 2 weeks since the last snow but he has to break trail the whole way up. About an hour and a half later he pops up over the final shoulder, takes in the view, eats a granola bar (what else?), removes his skins and heads on down.  To his amazement the snow skied liked it fell the day before, and the slope--which from the bottom looked like it was heavily treed--was actually chock full of steep glades and wide-spaced trees. The skiing was so good that he immediately tells all his ski buddies about it…

    [Ken looking better than ever on those fat boards. Photo: Mark Edwards]

    Continue reading "Product Testing - Wool, Capilene, Soft Shell & 25 years of skiing Tahoe" »

    The Year of Big Ideas

    Big_idea_med2 With the New Year comes a new episode of The Dirtbag Diaries and Fitz Cahall is throwing down the gauntlet. How big will you go this year?

    Sir Edmund Hillary often insisted that while his feats and goals were of historic proportions, he was just a simple man, more comfortable in cover-alls than the high-attire of a British Knight. Aside from an Oscar-Wilde-like talent for producing witty quotes, Hillary was the embodiment of the everyman – a sort of elder, dirtbag statesman. Defined less by titles and awards and more by his dreams and goals, it was Hillary’s ability to act upon them that secured his place in history books and on Kiwi currency. After his passing earlier this month, I stumbled across this quote, and it got me thinking.

    "You don't have to be a fantastic hero to do certain things – to compete. You can be just an ordinary chap, sufficiently motivated to reach challenging goals."
    – Sir Edmund Hillary

    There is nothing more fulfilling than grabbing an idea out of the air, giving it shape and realizing it. Our dreams, hopes and goals give shape to the year’s course and ultimately our lives. Today we bring you the "The Year of Big Ideas" – a show all about goals, some big, some small. We’ve interviewed friends, professional athletes, random people on chairlifts, anyone we could rope into contributing. Climb harder. Ski faster. Push deeper into the mountains than ever before. Here’s to dreaming big and going bigger in the New Year.

    Listen to The Dirtbag Diaries:
    Episode 14 – The Year of Big Ideas (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 Sir Edmund Hillary for inspiring us all.]

    Help Save Trestles, Fight the Toll Road

    Every time I exit the 101 south onto the Pacific Coast Highway north of Ventura, I think about the surf spot Stanley's and how it was destroyed in order to build the freeway offramp. I never got the chance to surf Stanley's. It was paved over before my time.

    Thankfully, groups like the Surfrider Foundation have given surf spots, and the surfers who ride them, a voice against never ending construction projects along the coast. The latest threat? A proposed toll road that would wipe out Trestles, a world-famous surf break, and destroy 60% of the acreage at San Onofre State Park, the fifth most visited state park in California.

    There are a number of ways you can help stop the proposed toll road. If you live in Southern California, consider attending the Coastal Commission hearing on February 6th at the Del Mar Fairgrounds (note the new location). If you don't live in the area or can't attend the meeting, you can email the Coastal Commission or make a YouTube video telling the Coastal Commission you oppose the toll road and upload it to the Save San Onofre channel (instructions for uploading). I love the YouTube idea -- grassroots activism with a touch of tech.

    Hit the jump for complete details on the February 6th Coastal Commission hearing, a sampling of the activist-created YouTube videos and more information on this issue.

    Continue reading "Help Save Trestles, Fight the Toll Road" »

    A Farewell to Fritz

    Brian02 Update:  A memorial paddle-out will take place on February 3 at 8am in front of Zuma Beach Lifeguard Tower 9. All are welcome. Please continue reading for details.

    It is with a heavy heart that we inform you of another passing in the Patagonia family. Brian Fritz, a long-time Patagonia employee and manager of our San Francisco Store passed away on Tuesday, December 24th.

    During his five years with Patagonia, Brian worked in both the Retail Stores as well as the Ventura office, and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him could not help but be captivated by how much he loved this company and working with the people here.

    Sean Carter, Patagonia Pasadena's Assistant Manager, wrote the following tribute to his friend:

    Brian Fritz was one of my best friends, my mentor, and my surfing partner for the past five years. He was one of those special people that you perhaps meet a few times in life. He had a personality and charisma that was infectious and touched many people. His impact both within Patagonia and without is beyond measure. For those that maybe only knew Brian as a colleague, I wanted to share a little bit about his life.

    Continue reading "A Farewell to Fritz" »

    Got Your Difference Right Here

    Chris We ran a post a little while back featuring a video clip of one of our U.S. representatives ripping apart the then-pending energy bill (Keeping Alternative Transp. on the Radar). His comments took aim at the line of the bill that sought to set aside $1 million annually to support bicycle transportation through construction of bike lanes, etc.

    The representative's comments--along with those of some post-ers--attacked the idea of bike commuting on the grounds that it was essentially foolish, childish and impractical. "What difference," these people seemed to demand, "could riding a bike possibly make?"

    Chris Carroll works here in our Distribution Center. He saw the post and the ensuing conversation. He's got a pretty compelling answer to that question.

    [Chris enjoying one of the benefits of riding his bike to work--the best "parking" spot is right next to his desk in the warehouse. Photo: Lloyd Stradley]

    Continue reading "Got Your Difference Right Here" »

    Product Testing - R1, Wool 2, Capilene, and Guide Pants

    P1010708 We test our gear on a variety of levels. Our athletes and ambassadors are responsible for putting the latest designs and fabrics through the paces before we'll add a new product to our lineup. But just because something reaches our shelves doesn't mean testing is over. Once a new item shows up in our catalogs, our Customer Service staff gets busy ground-truthing the latest offerings. They know the questions our customers will be asking, and turn that attention to our gear.

    Product Report  - The outfit: R1 Flash P/O, Wool 2 zip neck, Synchilla Duckbill Cap, Simple Guide PantsCapilene Silkweight (now Cap 1) Bottoms, Ultra Light Weight Hiking Crew Liner Socks.      
    Activity: Snowshoeing in Mammoth Lakes, California
    Tested by: Adam, Patagonia Mail Order Customer Service

    R1 Christmas Eve brought bluebird skies and warmer temps (mid 30s) to the Mammoth area. 9 AM saw John, Yosh, Jack (the dog), Shelly and myself heading out from Tamarack X Country Ski Area toward Duck Pass. It was breezy right from the get go. Shelly and I were on snow shoes and John and Yosh where on touring skis.

    I wore a R1 Flash P/O over for my mid layer over a Wool 2 zip neck. On my dome was perched a Synchilla Duckbill Cap. For bottoms I was wearing the Simple Guide Pants over a pair of old Capilene Silkweight Bottoms (now Cap 1). I was also wearing a pair of our Ultra Light Weight Hiking Crew Liners.

    Continue reading "Product Testing - R1, Wool 2, Capilene, and Guide Pants" »

    MPA Process Moves to Southern California

    Channel_islands_national_marine_s_2This in from Greg Helms at Ocean Conservancy:

    "On Dec 6th, California officials announces that the mainland coast of southern California – from Pt. Conception offshore Lompoc to the Mexican boarder – is next in the statewide process of establishing coastal marine protected areas (MPAs) under the California Marine Life Protection Act. Much like the historic and successful effort to bring MPAs to the Channel Islands a few years back (and extended into federal waters last year), this effort will be a public process to determine how much and where to establish critically-needed protected areas throughout our coast so that marine life may thrive and recover. And like the Channel Islands effort, involvement and activism by Ocean Fans will be a key factor in a successful outcome!

    "I and groups such at the Santa Barbara ChannelKeeper look forward to working with you in '08 to successfully bring MPA protections to our coast! Please let me know if you want more information or have questions. My contact information is at the bottom of this post."

    [Channel Islands MPA. Photo: Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary]

    Continue reading "MPA Process Moves to Southern California" »

    Dan Malloy on Sliding Liberia

    When Dan Malloy came back from Liberia surfers around the office were asking him how the trip was, anxiously hoping to hear about perfect waves. Dan, humble as ever, spoke well of the trip and the waves but you could hear in his voice and see in his eyes that it wasn't a typical surf trip. This one was heavy.

    Dan, along with fellow Patagonia ambassador Crystal Thornburg and artist Chris Del Moro, visited Liberia last summer. And this year, we all have the opportunity to share in their experience when the film Sliding Liberia is released. Conceived of by Stanford filmmaker Britton Caillouette and Stanford PhD student Nicholai Lidow, with cinematography by Dave Homcy (Shelter, Brokedown Melody), the film now has an official Web site (be patient with the load time, it's a beautiful site that's worth the wait) and the trip itself has already received quite a bit of attention. Surfing Magazine ran a Lightbox slide show with Dan, Crystal shared some of her thoughts and photos on Mixed Plate Special, even Lonely Planet ran an article on surfing in Liberia.

    The following words come from Dan Malloy. He talks about the trip, the country and a photo that was found on the blog Kevin in Liberia showing a board Dan left behind getting some use by the locals.

    Last summer I had a very rare travel opportunity. My cousin Britton has been attending Stanford studying film. There he became good friends with a guy named Nicholia Lidow, a political science major who has focused his studies on the development of nations that are currently experiencing civil war or just very recently experienced a civil war. What that means, in short, is that Nicholia has been spending all of his free time in Liberia. Although Nicholia is very serious about his major and is actively working and studying at all times, he also happens to be a good surfer, and Liberia also happens to have amazing surf.

    Continue reading "Dan Malloy on Sliding Liberia" »

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