The Cleanest Line

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    Let Patagonia's Rivers Run

    Rio_baker The fight to dam Patagonia is escalating.

    As the namesake of our company, the South American region of Patagonia continues to be a powerful inspiration for our business and for us personally. It truly is one of the world’s last unspoiled natural treasures—wild, vast and rich in its unique attributes and biodiversity.

    In honor of this landscape’s significance to us, we’ve partnered with Conservacion Patagonica, a non-profit organization dedicated to protection of wildland ecosystems and biodiversity in the Patagonia region of Chile and Argentina. Together, we have been working toward the goal of creating Patagonia National Park, a world-class park almost the size of Yosemite National Park in California.

    In early 2007, we brought you news of a massive hydroelectric project that would dam two of Patagonia’s wild and pristine rivers, the Baker and the Pascua. The Baker River is the largest remaining wild river in Chile and runs right along the edge of the proposed 650,000-acre Patagonia National Park that we are helping to create. The project also calls for a 1,500-mile chain of huge power-line towers to transmit electricity to the north. The power-line corridor would permanently scar an enormous swath of Chile, and open rivers north of Patagonia up to dam building.

    Continue reading "Let Patagonia's Rivers Run" »

    Tin Shed: Filled to the Rafters with Stories and Videos


    I hinted at a treat for you last week and now it's live. Today Patagonia launched the Tin Shed, a multimedia mini-site (à la the Footprint Chronicles) that's loaded with dispatches from our friends and ambassadors traveling the wilder world -- in high-quality video, audio and the written word.

    Head over to the Tin Shed at, or hit the jump for a glimpse at what's inside.

    [With thanks to everyone involved, especially Betsy, Bill, Stuart, Alyssa, Mr. Tim, Kristo and the Royal Order]

    Continue reading "Tin Shed: Filled to the Rafters with Stories and Videos" »

    Patagonia Customer Service: Out of Office

    Just received an e-mail notice from our Call Center Manager regarding Wednesday, August 27th. If you have a question that only our Patagonia staff can answer, please try to give us a call before noon that day. Any calls received after noon will be fielded by an outside call center. All orders, returns, exchanges will be the same; just take note of the abbreviated hours if you're in need of some direct attention from our Customer Service staff.

    While many of us won’t be able to go [or aren’t invited :(  ] it brings a big smile to think of these guys and gals getting out there. They worked like crazy to take care of our customers during the Summer Sale and it’s their turn for a little fun . . . _________________________________________________________________________

    From: ROB 
    To: #ALL.CS
    Subject: BBQ- Float trip

    It's that time of year for the annual Mail Order BBQ. We are going to do something a little different this year.

    We are shutting down the phones at 12:00 Wednesday August 27th. The plan is to float the Truckee [River] from Verdi back down to Patagonia and have a BBQ down at Mayberry Park (just down river from the service center). Hopefully the float will take a few hours, then we'll eat and be merry.

    If you have tubes, water wings , kayaks, rafts, flippers what ever you want to get down the river, bring it. We'll provide the rest.

    There will be a work group competition for the best decorated flotation device- whatever that is.

    Everyone’s paid for 8 hours, and all shifts are as normal for the start of the day. If you do not want to float the river it would be greatly appreciated if you can help with BBQ set up. We would like everyone to attend. Please let us know if you are unable to make it, and get ready to party down at the river!

    Big Vote in Alaska Tomorrow - Encourage Your Friends to Vote the Environment

    Hopefully you've already seen the attached trailer for Red Gold, a new documentary by Felt Soul Media -- we're currently hosting it in the Fly Fishing section of Felt Soul Media spent the summer of 2007 in Alaska’s Bristol Bay following the world’s largest run of sockeye salmon. They made a film that seeks to answer which is the more valuable resource: the self-sustaining runs of salmon that have enriched the local environment and fisherman for thousands of years or the $300 billion worth of gold, copper and molybdenum buried at the headwaters of the watershed?

    The New York Times published a good overview of the issue last Saturday and digital magazine This is Fly has an article in their sixth issue highlighting Felt Soul Media, Red Gold and the so-called Pebble Mine's impacts on wild salmon. Heck, even Tiffany has taken a strong stance against the mine.

    Alaskans will vote tomorrow on Measure 4, an initiative intended to increase protections for streams where salmon live. We encourage all Cleanest Line readers with friends and relatives in Alaska to contact them ASAP, encourage them to do their homework and vote the environment.

    Red Gold premiered earlier this month at Mountain Film in Telluride and took home the Audience Choice Award and Festival Directors Award. On Felt Soul's blog The Wire, Ben Knight called the film, "the most important thing I’ve ever done." For the Alaskans living near Bristol Bay and the wild salmon who swim in its waters, the fate of the Pebble Mine – potentially the most important decision in their lives – has yet to be determined.

    Sliding Liberia DVD Now Available; Release Party Tomorrow in Santa Monica

    Sliding_liberia_release_party If you're a regular reader of The Cleanest Line you're no doubt familiar with this unique surf movie featuring Patagonia ambassadors Crystal Thornburg and Dan Malloy. We've shared stories from the trip, told you about various screenings and shared a picture of one of Dan's FCD boards that he left behind being used by a local.

    Today we're happy to report that the Sliding Liberia DVD is now available for purchase online, and will be hitting surf shops and Patagonia stores in the coming days. To celebrate the release of the DVD, there will be a special screening of the movie, and a slide show from the trip, tomorrow, August 23, at Bolívar Cafe and Gallery in Santa Monica, California. Local psychedelic-surf-folk-rock band Mt. Egypt will perform and the wind-powered brew masters from New Belgium Brewing will provide the suds; Toms Shoes are generously sponsoring the event. Make it if you can, otherwise, grab that DVD and some Fat Tires, invite your friends over and have a screening at home.

    That's it for this week everybody. Have a great weekend and thanks, as always, for stopping by The Cleanest Line. If all goes well, we should have a special treat for you late next week.

    [With thanks to Crystal, Coley and Britton]

    A Day at the Desk

    Makalupostcard_2 Editor's note: Today we have the first entry in another series of posts chronicling a major climb by Steve House. Steve, along with fellow Patagonia ambassadors Vince Anderson and Marko Prezelj, will be attempting the unclimbed West Face of Makalu come September. They received grant funding from the Mugs Stump Award, American Alpine Club and Slovene Alpine Club. Previously, a Russian team climbed the right edge of the wall using fixed ropes. Their line veered off the face at half-height to join the west ridge. Sadly two of the nine climbers died on the final ascent and descent.

    [Located 14 miles east of Mt. Everest, on the border between Nepal and China, Makalu is the fifth highest peak in the world (27,762 ft). Photo: Marko Prezelj]

    Similar to his first post from the K6 & K7 West trip, Steve talks here about training for Makalu:

    “How’s your workout going?” asks the smiling balding guy whose cut-sleeve T-shirt reveals thick, hunched shoulders and arms sprouting grapefruit-sized biceps. I’m in the Redmond Athletic Club, a converted warehouse that is central Oregon’s heartland for metal heads. I’m not talking about Metallica fans. I mean weight lifters. At 4 pm I’m the smallest person in the gym. Even the women look like they are capable of palming my tiny hiney and pressing me above their heads with one arm.

    Continue reading "A Day at the Desk" »

    In My Backyard

    by Zoe Hart

    As the days counted down to departure, I couldn't help but laugh. Max's normal organized nature, the mechanical engineer in him, had been affected by the chaotic nature in me, the eccentric literature major, turned mountain guide.

    There are two types of travelers/packers. The ones who make lists, pack a week in advance, weigh their bags to the exact weight limit, choose one shirt over the other (not both), have their itineraries printed, and show up to the airport two hours in advance. The other is me! I'm one of the types who pack the night before and is up until 2am doing laundry, packing, repacking, battling with zippers to squeeze in that cute extra shirt, town shoes, and skirt -- just in case. I am chronically over-limit, desperately smiling at the check-in agent hoping not to pay a fortune. It's my bag exploding on the scale; underpants, sports bras flying, until the airline agent is sufficiently embarrassed, or annoyed, and says, "don't worry about it, that's good enough." That's me up at the wrong ticket desk because I didn't bring the flight info, or arrived just in time before the check-in closes.

    Continue reading "In My Backyard" »

    From the Trenches - "How do I take care of my waterproof shell?"

    TrenchesOur Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) are our front line of communication with Patagonia fanatics far and wide. The crew here at our Call Center in Reno, NV are at it seven days a week, taking orders, helping with returns, and most importantly, answering the astonishing range of questions our customers fire at us. Like flocks of swirling swallows or shimmering schools of tropical fish, our customers swoop in with mysteriously synchronized concerns and questions on a regular basis, prompting the need for ready answers. Times like these, nothing would be more handy than magically beaming knowledge out into the ether. Our very own Old School is here to do just that. He's stepped back from the front lines to answer some of these popular questions, straight from the trenches.

    One of the most common questions we get here is “How do I take care of my shell?” Normally, we get this question after a customer has worn their jacket in the rain and they find that it is getting soaked on the outside (in outdoor-speak, "wetting-out"). 

    Water_beads Modern waterproof/breathable shells most often used layered construction, consisting of an outer face fabric (what you see), a waterproof barrier stuck to (aka "laminated") inside of it, and a coating or fabric lining on the inside. On the surface of all this is a chemical treatment called "Durable Water Repellent" or more commonly, DWR. This is the stuff that makes water bead up and roll right off your shell. Keeping the water beading off your shell is not just cosmetic, it also keeps your shell breathing at its optimum level. We receive a number of returns from folks who claim their jackets are leaking. Most often, the outer fabric of the jacket is wetting-out and perspiration is condensing on the interior of their shell instead of passing through the membrane like it would if the DWR was working properly.

    Unfortunately DWR doesn't last forever so it does need care and maintenance to keep it working properly. 

    Continue reading "From the Trenches - "How do I take care of my waterproof shell?"" »

    E-Waste Collection Day

    Ewaste_2 Anthony Garcia from Patagonia Ventura's I.T. department, shares this story about an e-waste collection day he coordinated back in July:

    Think back to the day you walked into the office and those nice folks from the I.T. department had visited your desk during the night. What do you see in front of you but a new computer and the latest and greatest flat-screen monitor. You are in heaven as you mouse around and are amazed at the speed of the computer and the vibrant colors of the new screen. Fast forward three maybe four years: oh, how that feeling has changed. You wonder how you are expected to get anything done on this dinosaur of a computer they have you working on. And how are you supposed to see any detail on this tiny 17” screen? Don’t they know that you are going to need at least a 22” flat screen to keep from straining your eyes?

    Such is the life expectancy of new computer equipment. It’s a scenario that happens day-in and day-out at tens of thousands of offices around the world, and the same one that I am faced with working in the I.T. department at Patagonia. Granted, we do our best to extend that lifespan as long as we possibly can, and we probably get more years out of our computer equipment than most companies do. [Ed’s note: I can attest to that.] Eventually though, that computer system does have to be discarded.

    Continue reading "E-Waste Collection Day" »

    Product Testing - Summer Surf in Costa Rica

    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.


    Planeview_2 Product Report  -  Short-sleeved rash guard (white), Long-sleeved Rash Guard (white), Minimalist II Board Short, Bathing Suits - Obi Paries Bottoms, Obi Makeba Top, Obi Bayonne Bottoms
    Activity - Surfing in Costa Rica
    Tested by - Tammy Funk, Patagonia Pro Sales Program
    Stoke Factor - Full on

    Ok, so, I have never surfed in my entire life being born and raised in the mountains of Colorado. Some friends of ours started talking about a surf trip two years ago and we finally booked the tickets and flew away from Reno bound for Costa Rica. To prepare, we talked with friends and workmates, watched surfing “how to” videos and other classics, rode the long board, “ripstick” and indo board a lot, did many push-ups, and then winged it from there.

    I packed everything I needed into a Lightweight Travel Pack and carried it on. No need for massive gear - everything I needed was on my back except for the surf boards I was renting when I got there. The Patagonia gear I opted to bring was:

    Rashguard* S/S Rash Guard (white)

    * L/S Rash Guard (white)

    Obi_bayonne * Minimalist II Board Short (mineral springs)

    * Bathing Suits - Obi Paries Bottoms, Obi Makeba Top (x2), Obi Bayonne Bottoms (x2).

    Playanosara We arrived in San Jose, Costa Rica then took a puddle jumper plane out to Playa Nosara, on the Nicoya Pennisula, or the “Pacific Ocean” side of Costa Rica. The flight only took an hour and then we found ourselves in the middle of a rain forest--very lush, green, and humid. You could hear tropical birds singing and echoing in the distance. Quite possibly one of the best sounds I have ever heard besides the ocean waves crashing on the beach.

    Continue reading "Product Testing - Summer Surf in Costa Rica" »

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