The Cleanest Line

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    Vanquished: Kelly Cordes Chases a Fleeting Ice Route in His Own Backyard

    Kcssnearbase058_2_2 Sometimes you don’t have to travel to Pakistan for a meaningful alpine experience. Our good friend and product tester, Kelly Cordes, who's also the senior editor of The American Alpine Journal, has been on “The Chase” in his own backyard looking for ephemeral melt/freeze lines. Says Kelly, “It's staggering to think about how many hours of time I, and others, spend on recon missions, carrying the gear around pursuing some rumor, studying maps and weather forecasts and scheming, etc. [The Chase] certainly applies to surfers as well, from what I gather,  probably skiers too, finding the right stash and right conditions.” Today, Kelly shares with us the ups and downs of The Chase and how, with some local knowledge and little luck, it can pay off.

    Since moving to Estes Park eight years ago, I, like every ice and alpine climber around, have fantasized about a route called Vanquished. Every fall and every spring, Rocky Mountain National Park climbers whisper about fleeting smears of ice and patterns of precipitation, temps, wind and sun. Ice will form and disappear within 24 hours. Rumors and notions circulate like conspiracy theories. The Chase begins.

    [Photo: Steve Su hiking to the base after we killed an hour gearing up and hanging out in the rocks below, waiting for sunrise. It’d been cold at night (and T-shirt rock climbing weather down low in the days), but the forecast called for a warm afternoon, thus forcing us to eschew the preferred “crack-of-noon” style in favor of a proper alpine start, to try to finish the route early. I’d been chasing the route for so long that I didn’t want to risk missing it. All photos © Kelly Cordes.]

    Continue reading "Vanquished: Kelly Cordes Chases a Fleeting Ice Route in His Own Backyard " »

    Surfers for Cetaceans Chile Tour - Part 2

    _mg_5263_2 Patagonia surf ambassador Crystal Thornburg has sent another update from the road in Chile. Check out part one first if you missed it.

    [Showing off the Visual Petition in Valparaiso, Chile. Please consider adding your own photo to the petition if you haven't already. Photo courtesy of Surfers for Cetaceans]

    We are continuing our journey south with the EL MAR, ME ALMA tour in Chile for SURFERS FOR CETACEANS.

    Heading to Valparaiso we drove through the countryside watching the sun beams shine in between the grape vineyards extended to the horizon. Valparaiso is one of the largest port towns in Chile, and is known for its colorful murals and mosaics on every street corner. The town itself looks like a mosaic from afar with all the different colored houses lining the hillside. Artist and surfer Chris Del Moro joined the crew to contribute to the creative quiver. We made our way to the city center to unravel our Visual Petition banners to display in front of the “Armada De Chile” which drew a curious crowd.

    Continue reading "Surfers for Cetaceans Chile Tour - Part 2" »

    Product Testing - On Sol Patrol in Africa

    Bear_rock 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: Sol Patrol Shirt, Sol Patrol Pants, and Down Sweater
    Activity: African safari
    Tested by: Skye Weaver, Customer Service

    Solpatrol At first glance the Sol Patrol Shirt in Beach Wood--which is exactly the color of Silly Putty™-- reminds you of something a zookeeper might wear. It isn't the flashiest of pieces, but what it lacks in flash it makes up for in incredible sun protection. I packed the Sol Patrol Shirt as my lone, long-sleeved top for a month-long adventure to Namibia, Africa.

    [A bear-shaped rock serves as a reminder of one of the only types of wildlife not seen in Namibia. Photo: Skye Weaver]

    Continue reading "Product Testing - On Sol Patrol in Africa" »

    Vote the Environment on Tour

    029_29_3 Vote the Environment is on the road with Jack Johnson and his All at Once Tour. Two Patagonia employees have been chosen to man the booth and talk to concert goers about the importance of registering to vote, getting informed and voting the environment on November 4th.

    [Folks can share which environmental issues are important to them when they drop by the VTE booth. Photo: Hillary Saxon]

    Hillary Saxon, the assistant manager at Patagonia Chicago, is taking the first leg of the tour. Here's her first report from the road:

    Show #1: Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Noblesville, IN—Friday the 13th, 2008

    Two days after arriving in Indiana and adjusting to life as a rock star, it was finally time for our first Jack Johnson concert and official Vote the Environment booth in the Village Green.

    Continue reading "Vote the Environment on Tour" »

    The Crusade

    The_crusade_title1_logo After a scorching weekend in Southern California, we start off the work week with an epic episode of The Dirtbag Diaries. Series creator Fitz Cahall introduces Episode 20

    True or False? Standard pushing is for the pros. If you want to shape skiing or climbing, you have to ditch the job, move into the car and find a deep-pocketed sponsor. The tiny window afforded to weekend warriors couldn’t possibly be enough time with which to make an impact. Right?

    Today, we bring you the Crusade, the story of two stockbrokers, an engineer and a nuclear physicist who, with a little help from the Internet, helped shaped American ski mountaineering without ever leaving their backyard. There will be no helicopters. No corporate expeditions. No photo shoots. Just a decade-long odyssey from the ambitious imagination of youth across the Cascades' steepest faces all the way to the unsettled wisdom of adulthood. It turns out weekend warriors are just as capable.

    Listen to The Dirtbag Diaries:
    Episode 20 – The Crusade (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Background info:
    Cascade Classics
    Cascade Crusades
    Ski Sickness

    Much of the music in this episode was created by Friend of Mine, who we featured in a previous post.

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

    Vote the Environment Video - Spread it Far and Wide

    We made a short video to illustrate the importance of voting for the environment. Please help spread the word by embedding it into your blog or Web site.

    [Video: Emilie Lee. Music: September Sessions Band, "What Would You Rather Do" © 2008 Vote the Environment]

    Don't forget to celebrate International Surfing Day today -- get some waves then get some trash off the beach. And tomorrow, Saturday the 21st, is Go Skateboarding Day. Lots of human-powered good times out there just waiting for you. Have a great weekend everybody.

    Product Testing - Run Phatty Patty, Run!

    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: Serenity Shorts, R1 Flash PO, Capilene 1 Tee, Houdini, Mystery Pants
    Activity: Reno/Tahoe Odyssey - 178-mile run
    Tested by: Hannah White, Patagonia Mail Order Customer Service

    Rtologo In an effort to branch out and force myself to do something I'd never normally do, I volunteered to fill a vacancy on Patagonia's team 'Phatty Patty,' for the Reno Tahoe Odyssey race, a 178 mile relay race divided up into thirty-six separate legs, or sections. Each leg is three to as much as eight miles in length. The course heads west out of Reno, through Truckee, around Lake Tahoe via Highway 89, down Kingsbury grade through Carson City, finally making its way up through Virginia City and back down Comstock Highway into Reno. The race ends along the beautiful Truckee river at Idlewild Park. We split our team of twelve into two vans of six. Although I was not prepared physically to run such an intense race, I felt confident that my selection of Patagonia attire would magically enhance my performance.

    HandoffI arrived with the team at Wingfield Park, clad in a Capilene 1Cap1tee (aka. "Silkweight") top, and since I couldn't find the shorts I initially wanted to wear, I decided to wear the Women's Serenity shorts. Because of the cotton content, and the fact that I counted on a hot midday run, I was nervous about how the shorts would perform. They did surprisingly well! At the start line I felt light on my toes, and I knew I'd be able to run for miles in what I was wearing. I was ready and confident.

    [Team Phatty Patty member GazELLE takes the baton from Dr. Wik. Photo, Chia Snyder]

    Continue reading "Product Testing - Run Phatty Patty, Run!" »

    Celebrate International Surfing Day Friday at a Beach Near You

    Isdflyerventura_2 Established four years ago by the Surfrider Foundation and Surfing Magazine, International Surfing Day (ISD) is the one day a year where surfers from around the globe come together to celebrate the sport of surfing and pitch in to give back to our world’s oceans, waves and beaches. Says Surfing Magazine editor in chief Evan Slater, "The goal is simple: take the day, or at least a part of the day, to go out, catch a wave or three and -- while you're at it -- help clean up your favorite beach."

    Patagonia Ventura will celebrate ISD on Friday, June 20th with the Ventura Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation. They're hosting a beach cleanup and benefit party beginning at 5:00 PM at the Surfer’s Point parking lot. Immediately following the cleanup, the Ventura Chapter will host a Surfer’s Point awareness and fundraising event in the Great Pacific Iron Works parking lot. The event is free to participants of the beach cleanup and $10 for all others. There will be live music by Todd Hannigan and Rey Fresco (with FCD employee Andrew Jenkins on drums), food from Olas Mexican Grill and beverages courtesy of SoBe, Twin Fin Wines and New Belgium Brewing. The event will discuss ways to raise awareness of the Surfer’s Point Restoration Project and facilitate involvement by concerned citizens.

    If you don't live in Ventura but want to participate, check the list of participating Surfrider Chapters, or just head down to your local beach and have your own beach cleanup. Landlocked Patagoniacs can help by becoming a member of the Surfrider Foundation.

    [Update: Fixed header to reflect the correct day for the event. Sorry for the time warp.

    Winner - Five Words for the Webby Awards

    Img_4359_2 After considering all of the great suggestions you folks submitted, Bill gave the following acceptance speech at this year's Webby Awards in New York City:

    "November 4th, Vote the Environment"

    That means the winner of The Cleanest Line T-shirt is ... rob! We asked rob to share a little bit about himself:

    I am just a regular guy who is working hard to ensure that my boys' best memories of youth will include a healthy dose of the outdoors, and hopefully a passion for activities that involve a board and water/snow. Thanks to the crew at Patagonia for creating gear that won't feel like hand me down after it's been handed down!

    Congratulations rob, and thanks for the timely suggestion. We've said it before and you'll hear it again, voting is one of the simplest forms of direct action one can take on behalf of the environment. The election this November will have a dramatic impact on the future health of our planet. It's time to make the environment a high-profile issue in the debates between the candidates at all levels of government. We hope you'll join us in spreading this simple but important message.

    Check out the full list of Webby Award speeches if you're curious what the other winners had to say. Our thanks go out to everyone who participated in the contest. We hope to do more of these in the future so stay tuned.

    [They don't call it "the Oscars of the Internet" for nothing. Red carpet interviews in front of the Cipriani Wall St. New York, New York. Photo: Bill Boland]

    Yvon Chouinard: Return to the Outdoors

    I love this video of YC. It shows him in his element -- fly fishing and rock climbing at a secret spot in Argentina -- and contains words of wisdom like, "[Fly fishing] is not about catching fish, it's all about adapting yourself to where you're worthy of catching a fish ... it's about the fish catching you."

    The video is part of a collaboration between The Conservation Alliance and Timex, a Conservation Alliance member company. Together, they launched Return to the Outdoors, a program to inspire people to get out and enjoy wild places. The Web site features videos about people who identify with special places, and how those places inspire them to be involved in conservation -- YC is the third in a string of subjects that includes Conrad Anker and Steph Davis. The site also gives folks like you the opportunity to upload your own words, photos or video for a chance to win some nice prizes.

    For the full story, and high-quality versions of all the videos, visit Return to the Outdoors. And if you're not already, get involved with a local conservation organization in your area. It's a great way to give back to the places that move you.

    [With thanks to John S.]

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2014 Patagonia, Inc.