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    Breakin' the Law - Practicing Illegal Recycling

    Recycle_2 It's with a heavy heart that we discovered something about ourselves this morning. The realization was a simple one: we're a bunch of lawbreaking crooks.

    Activist supporters? Sure. Guilty as charged. But criminals? We have no doubt supported a number of activists whose direct-action approach has landed them in jail (think Buffalo Field Campaign ). And it's true; we'll post bail for employees arrested during non-violent peaceful  protests, provided they've completed activist training with the Ruckus Society.

    But criminals? Us? Bailed_boxes

    Apparently so. You see, we recycle a LOT of boxes. And as we learned this morning, that innocent little gesture toward a healthy, happy earth is . . . well, it's against federal regulations.

    That last sentence sounds so silly, I'm tempted to go back and delete it. But as they say in the Stand-Up (comedy) business: you can't make this stuff up.

    Here's a quick excerpt from today's story on Denver, Colorado's Channel 7 news site:

    A Colorado man says he was accused of violating postal regulations for reusing a United States Postal Service priority mail cardboard box to send something.

    Gary Adler said he was just recycling a box that was going to be thrown in the trash, but according to the Postal Service that kind of repurposing is not allowed.

    “We recycle old boxes that we get at the grocery store or other merchants and dumpster dive sometimes,” said Adler.

    Adler uses the boxes to mail sports memorabilia for his non-profit organization called Pro-Players Association. . . . But the Postal Service said what Adler did is against postal regulations.

    Mailroom Read the full story here. While you're there, take the Denver News Channel 7 survey and check out the latest results to see what others think. And what the hey . . . drop by the website of our friends at the USPS, check out their policy page and maybe drop them a line and let 'em know what you think. But whatever you do, please don't tell them you saw this photographic evidence on our blog of us actively preparing to re-use all these boxes *gasp*!

    [Top to bottom: Dirty proof of illicit activity - boxes finding new life and uses at our Reno Distribution center. Photos: localcrew]

    Kalmiopsis - Fly Fisherman Mikey Wier Searches for Steelhead in the Oregon Wilderness

    Tree_glow_2 Even if you're not an angler, I highly recommend taking the time to read this story. It comes from Mikey Wier, a professional snowboarder and fly fishing guide who founded Burl Productions. Mikey's words are thick with the aura of appreciation that comes from having just returned from a Wilderness area. As you read this tale, there's a good chance you'll think back on your last trip into untamed nature and begin to relive the feeling while sitting in front of your computer -- a wonderful thing indeed. From Mikey:

    It’s 6 am and I’m going over a mental checklist of things I “need” to survive in the wilderness for a few days. I’m always afraid I might forget one of the things that will make me think "oh, crap" later. Headlamp, camera battery, bivy sack, enough food. We’re on the road at 6:30 and by then it’s too late to worry any more. The cold morning air fills my lungs and colors my breath into cloudy vapors. Speeding along in a car, the outside world passes fast. Even while looking out the window, it’s easy to miss the small details, like a bug crawling on a branch, or a salamander swimming in a creek pool. I can’t wait to reach the trail head. I’ve been indoors too much this month and my body longs for the sun and crisp air. It’s the call of the wild.

    [All photos by Justin Baillie]

    Time in the car passes with catch up conversations between my brother, Eugene and I. Justin Baillie, who made the drive from Tahoe to Southern Oregon with me the day before, was just getting to know Eugene. We shared the research each one of us had done in preparation for the trip. Eugene produced some great photos he had printed off of Goggle Earth. We looked over the topography and bends in the river. It looked passable on paper. Conditions and circumstances had already thwarted us from reaching the headwaters on two different attempts.

    Continue reading "Kalmiopsis - Fly Fisherman Mikey Wier Searches for Steelhead in the Oregon Wilderness" »

    Footprint Chronicles Features 5 New Products

    Footprint We've been examining our life and habits as a company for years. The launch of The Footprint Chronicles is a way for us to share that examination with you and get your feedback on the process. The conversation has been a good one. You can participate either on our blog, or by writing us directly from any of the "Give Us Your Honest PuckerwareFeedback" links available within The Footprint Chronicles.

    If you've yet to see it, The Footprint Chronicles is one example of our commitment to Leading an Examined Life. It's an interactive mini-site that allows you to track the impact of several Patagonia products from design through delivery.*

    We launched The Footprint Chronicles with five products from last
    season and many of you offered great feedback. Recently, we updated the site with five new products from the current spring 2008 line. Continue reading for a preview of this season's new Footprint products.

    Gen9_webby_awardIt's also our pleasure to inform you that The Footprint Chronicles has been nominated for the 12th annual Webby Awards - the "Oscars of the Internet" - in the Corporate Communications category. If you appreciate The Footprint Chronicles and the message it conveys, please consider voting by the May 1st deadline. Thanks for your continued support.

    Cast your vote for the Webby People's Voice Award

    Continue reading "Footprint Chronicles Features 5 New Products" »

    The Earth Throne

    Earth_throne Fitz Cahall taps SNEWS Live podcaster James Mills on the shoulder for today's episode of The Dirtbag Diaries, which features Patagonia ambassador Timmy O'Neill and his brother Sean. From Fitz:

    What defines you? Is it your past? How you look? I doubt it. It’s the course we chart from dawn to dusk that makes us who we are. Seventeen years ago, Sean O’Neill – artist athlete and big brother to pro climber Timmy O’Neill – lost the use of his legs after jumping from a bridge into the Mississippi River. After the accident, Timmy dreamed about helping his older brother climb El Capitan. In 2005, the brothers decided it was time to act.

    Reporter and podcaster James Mills brings us a story about two brothers, one very big cliff face and a 17-year-old dream. Sometimes climbs don’t end with summits. They can extend on into our lives.

    Listen to The Dirtbag Diaries:
    Episode 18 – The Earth Throne (mp3)

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

    Paradox Sports provides inspiration, opportunities and adaptive equipment to the disabled community, empowering their pursuit of a life of excellence through human-powered outdoor sports. To learn more, visit

    For more from James Mills, visit SNEWS Live. James recently spoke with Patagonia ambassador Kitty Calhoun about great ice climbs being lost to climate change. Listen to that interview

    Photos from the North Face of Mount Alberta

    In March I went up to the Canadian Rockies, one of my favorite mountain ranges, and spent a few weeks doing some winter climbing. What was most exciting about this season was that there was so much climbing activity. Lots of locals doing lots of cool new routes and new variations. But what was missing from the season was a big ascent of one of the big alpine prizes.

    Vince Anderson and I managed to pull off one such prize by making the first ascent of the North Face of Mount Alberta in full winter conditions. (We were outside of calendar winter by less than 10 days.) And we did it by a new route, following features that made sense from the perspective of a winter climb, such as daggers of ice and crack systems that are too small to climb as finger-cracks in summer, but work perfectly as dry-tooling cracks. The route went entirely free and had lots of difficult climbing in the M7 range and one run-out and difficult pitch in the M8 range.

    Here are some photos of that adventure. As it warms up, remember the cold and icy parts of the world!


    Vince skiing in to Mt. Alberta from the Banff-Jasper Highway. On the first day we had to cache our packs in a snow hole, return to the highway, and sleep at my truck due to difficult trail-breaking. The second day we made it from the highway to the hut in six hours. Photo: Steve House

    Continue reading "Photos from the North Face of Mount Alberta" »

    Up with Down

    Down_parka We receive a number of questions about our down. Tech-savvy users want to know about the performance elements of our insulation materials. Values-driven customers often want to know the circumstances under which our down is harvested. Here to offer his always detailed eye to the discussion is our own Customer Service Gear Guru, Ken Larussa, with the skinny on down:

    Despite the best efforts of chemists around the world, down continues to be the insulation of choice for those who require the best combination of warmth, weight and compressibility. TheFeather_2 beauty of down—and what has proven so elusive for chemists to duplicate—is that down is a three-dimensional cluster which has the ability to trap a large volume of air within a very light structure. Down comes from the underbody of waterfowl, most often geese, ducks or swans. Since there aren’t many swans being raised commercially, and ducks provide an inferior grade of down (except perhaps for that elusive creature the Eider Duck). Patagonia—along with virtually every other manufacturer of quality down clothing—uses goose down exclusively. It is important t to note that these geese are raised for food, not down, and that all down is a byproduct of this food production. Almost all geese raised for commercial production come from either China or Eastern Europe.Cluster_3 Because the best down comes from mature geese and because the Eastern Europeans prefer older and larger geese, the best down tends to come from Eastern Europe. The down is harvested and then separated into different grades depending on the quality of down.

    Hit the jump for more details . . .

    Continue reading "Up with Down" »

    Givin' the Love with Missouri River Relief

    Happy Earth Day everyone! For us there's no better way to blog on this day than by highlighting a group of passionate activists making a difference in their neck of the woods, or in this case, their stretch of the river.

    A while back, Patagonia employee Charlotte Overby spent her enviro internship with Missouri River Relief, a group of industrious river rats on a quest to clean up the lower Missouri River – 735 miles of it from Sioux City, Iowa to St. Louis, Missouri. It’s a big job, but they’re determined to rescue this stretch of North America’s longest river from a scourge of garbage.

    At the time this video was made, 336 miles of the river had been cleaned. But before the large-scale cleaning events can happen, a small group has to scout the river and catalog all the trash they encounter. Charlotte participated in what the group called the "Mega-Scout," a cataloging of the entire 735-mile lower Missouri River.

    Now that the Mega-Scout is complete, clean-up events continue to take place. Missouri River Relief is always in need of volunteers and/or donations so please consider helping if you can.

    Hit the jump for a mind-blowing list of all the trash collected at a recent River Relief clean-up event.

    Continue reading "Givin' the Love with Missouri River Relief" »

    Disc Golf at Lake Casitas

    P1010222At the tail end of winter, a trio of friends -- Chipper Bro, DK and Free -- spent a pleasant morning playing disc golf at Lake Casitas, near Ojai, California. The dirtbag equivalent to ball golf, disc golf (also called Frisbee® golf) is typically free of charge and played in less manicured environments like parks, forests, barrancas and wild spaces. The course at Lake Casitas was built in 2005 by the Ventura Disc Golf Club on land donated by the lake. The VDGC maintains the course to this day and is responsible for all of the challenging holes and wicked basket placements you'll encounter.

    [DK putts uphill towards the scenic basket placement on hole 15. Photo: Free]

    Golf discs are smaller and flatter than typical freestyle discs, so it's easy to keep them handy in the car. A set of three -- driver, midrange and putter -- is all you need to play any course in the world. And playing new courses is a great way to break up a long road trip.

    So whether you play disc golf or not, join us for a few photos from a really fun day at the lake.

    Continue reading "Disc Golf at Lake Casitas" »

    Earth Day is Coming - Wild Earth Festival Tomorrow in Boulder

    Wildearthposter Patagonia field report and photo contributor, and recent Mugs Stump Award winner, Jonny Copp -- who also organizes the Boulder Adventure Film Festival -- just sent a reminder for those in the Boulder, Colorado area that the Wild Earth festival is happening tomorrow, April 19, from 9:00am – 2:00pm at NCAR's Mesa Lab (up on the hill), located at 1850 Table Mesa Drive. Ride your bike to the event and you can get a free tune-up.

    Originally called Dirt Days, Wild Earth is now Boulder’s biggest Earth Day event. Patagonia Boulder will be there of course, partnering with Leave No Trace to run the PACK TROT! event. Participants will be fitted with a backpack with 15% of their body weight inside. The course travels a half mile around the scenic dirt trail between NCAR and the Mesa Trail. Along the way there will be educational activities for the whole family.

    Free’s planning on groovin’ at this sweet little festy for Earth Day weekend. How will you celebrate the day we set aside for our favorite living planet?

    Hit the jump for more details on the Wild Earth event. Have a great green weekend everybody!

    Continue reading "Earth Day is Coming - Wild Earth Festival Tomorrow in Boulder" »

    Lakey Peterson Reports From Australia

    Lakey_cutback It's never too soon to learn the tradition of story telling. Today we bring you the words of Santa Barbara super-grom, and FCD Surfboards team rider, 13-year-old Lakey Peterson. 

    Right now I’m traveling through Australia, surfing with my mom and dad. We started in Noosa, where there was a worldwide surf festival going on. It was exciting because ten of the past world champions were there, including Tommy Curren, and my longtime idol Layne Beachley. I got to meet them all and surf with them a bunch. It was really fun. My favorite surf spot in Noosa was a spot called Granite which was about a mile walk through this amazing forest where we would see koala bears climbing in the eucalyptus tress above our heads. The surf was about shoulder high and I got to surf with Layne Beachley as well as Tom Carroll, an ex-world champion.

    Continue reading "Lakey Peterson Reports From Australia" »

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