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    No Car No Problem

    Transit2 It's hard not to get depressed and angry listening to the news lately. My suggestion: Take a break from NPR and tune into The Dirtbag Diaries. Host Fitz Cahall describes today's episode:

    A 1,200-foot rock wall in a wilderness area – that's standard summer fare. In a day, and back before dinner? Sounds easy. Without a car? That's when my climbing partners stopped returning my phone calls.

    Even with growing environmental pressures and climbing gas prices, we'll drive hundreds of miles to exist in landscapes devoid of gridlock and angry horns. The irony can be hard to ignore. Recreating without a car might seem impossible, but this summer I set out to test the preconceived notion. What happens when you find yourself trapped in the Urban Jungle? You blaze your way out.

    Listen to The Dirtbag Diaries:

    No Car No Problem (MP3 - right-click to download)

    Like what you heard? The RSS feed, subscription link to iTunes, and contact information, should you want to submit a story idea of your own, are all available at

    A Different Fish Story

    Truckee_3 Regular readers of The Cleanest Line have learned to rely on regular product posts from our committed Customer Service representatives. They're "Field Reports" of a sort . . . notes from the field about their adventures in our back-yard and beyond.

    This story's a little different. It comes to us from Michelle L., one of the young ladies responsible for making our website look good. Inspired by her cohorts here in Reno, she picked a beautiful fall day to head out in pursuit of some of the lovely trout begging to be plucked from our challenging (and surprisingly rewarding) home waters here in the Truckee River.

    Field Break – Attempting to Fish

    It was a beautiful Fall Day here in the Truckee Meadows. It was time to take advantage of 80 degree weather, the river a-flowin’ and the recent Fish and Game trout stock event. I had heard from some friends that the action right outside our building was crazy. I figured I couldn’t go wrong.

    I have to admit it had been quite some time since I’ve been able to give into one of my favorite past times. Life changing events like marriage, home purchasing, home cleaning, and grown-up things like “financial planning” don’t leave a lot of time for actually having fun with your finances. Child rearing takes up a lot of time and energy too, and let’s face it, fish hooks and chubby baby faces are not all that compatible. And besides, toddlers just want to do everything for you. There's no way I could take my little boy fishing and actually get to fish.

    RiverwalkerSo that morning I dusted off the gear in my garage, renewed my license and packed up the ‘ol Patagonia Hip Sack, laced up some Riverwalkers, and headed downstream from the Patagonia DC.

    I threw out some line in an area where I’ve had some success before. I chuckled at my lame casting technique and made some adjustments to my reel. It hit me like a brick wall that I’ve had a few birthdays since I had thrown a cast.

    [Photo: Ignacio Muldonado with a 32" Brown, courtesy Brian Bennett's (aka Patagonia fishing guru) website, Moldy Chum.]

    Continue reading "A Different Fish Story" »

    A Life in the Wild: A Conversation with George Schaller

    Patagonia Ventura employees welcomed a very special guest yesterday afternoon. Dr. George Schaller, one of the world's preeminent field biologists, was recently awarded the Indianapolis Prize for his relentless pursuit to save endangered species across the globe since 1952. His visit to Patagonia was the first stop on a multi-city speaking tour in conjunction with the award.

    Dr. Schaller shared photographs and stories from two regions where his efforts helped establish wildlife preserves: the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and Tibet's Chang Tang Plateau.

    On Monday, September 29, at 7:30 p.m. EDT, you too can see Dr. Schaller live via Webcast. The Indianapolis Prize is sponsoring a PBS Simulcast/Webcast called "A Life in the Wild: A Conversation with George Schaller." It will be an hour-long conversation with questions at the end, a format similar to Inside the Actor's Studio. If you can't make the Webcast, at least give these videos a look.

    I have to say, it was an honor meeting Dr. Schaller in person. Thank you for coming sir. Patagonia would also like to thank Heather Grisham, from the Indianapolis Zoo, who accompanied Dr. Schaller and assisted with the presentation.

    [Video by Jon Waterman from The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge section of]

    Product Testing - Bike Touring PA style

    Bike_trip_004 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  -  Spraymaster Jacket, Wool 2, Lightweight Endurance Ankle Socks, and MLC Wheelie
    Activity -  Bike Touring, Bound for Cheesesteaks in Happy Valley
    Tested by -  Chia (yes, like the pet) S., Patagonia Customer Service

    It all started with a bluebird morning on Wednesday the 3rd. I had an early flight to catch and still had a few last-minute things to stuff into my luggage. But the first order of business was to flip open the laptop and double-check the weather. I was especially interested in the weather back east, as there was some hurricane activity brewing and I wanted to know if I was gonna be stuck testing gear in an airport somewhere between Reno and Philadelphia. Hurricane Hanna(H) was creeping along the Atlantic but she seemed far enough off the coast that I was confident I would not have any weather delays.   

    Spraymaster The plan was to get to Pennsylvania and meet up with my good friend Gym (yes, I spelled it right), drive to Gettysburg for a 3-day bike tour back to his house in Happy Valley, eat the best cheesesteak on the planet, and then catch an afternoon flight back to the BLC, all while trying to avoid hurricanes Hanna and Ike. 

    Continue reading "Product Testing - Bike Touring PA style" »

    New Read for Your Little Mountaineers

    Mtneer1 As the warm, lasting light of summer slips into the folds of fond memory, the evening's activities shift from late-day rides, runs, and climbs to cozier choices. If you've got little ones, this is the time of year you start thinking about snowy days, warm fires, and lots of hot chocolate. And what better way to spend that time with your wee ones than cozied up with a good story.

    News of this charming and delightful one came our way courtesy of our local friends Jeff Brown and Faerthen Felix of UC Berkeley's Sagehen Creek Field Station. As caretakers of this remote mountain research outpost--accessible only by ski or snowmobile for about 5 months out of the year--they know a thing or two about how to keep things cozy through the long winter.

    Faerthen generously offers her review to The Cleanest Line readers here (Ed note: this review first appeared in The Avalanche Review, 27/1, a publication of the American Avalance Association.):

    I recently read a pair of studies demonstrating a dramatic and continuing downturn in American interest in spending time in the great outdoors. This is profoundly disturbing to those who would protect and sustain natural areas since, as the authors point out:

    “…it has been found that environmentally responsible behavior results from direct contact with the environment and that people must be exposed to natural areas as children if they are to care about them as adults. Extended periods spent in natural areas, as well as creating a role model, seem to create the most environmentally responsible behavior and increased involvement in biodiversity conservation.”

    Continue reading "New Read for Your Little Mountaineers" »

    One Track Mind Premieres at Patagonia Cardiff This Saturday

    Patagonia Cardiff store manager Devon Howard invites you to attend the premiere of One Track Mind:

    Saturday, September 27, 7:30 & 8:45 PM

    Patagonia Cardiff
    2185 San Elijo Ave., Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA

    Admission is free. Seating will be available on a first come first served basis and there will also be areas for standing room only. However, once we reach capacity, you'll have to wait for the second showing at 8:45 pm. The event is outdoors so please dress appropriately.

    One Track Mind, directed by Chris Malloy, is the latest surf movie from Woodshed Films, a.k.a. The Moonshine Conspiracy. Malloy's previous projects include A Broke Down Melody, Shelter, Thicker than Water and September Sessions.

    Shot on location in Mexico, Indonesia, Micronesia, Australia and Southern California, One Track Mind explores the mindset behind what it takes to be one of the best surfers in the world. The cast includes today's best up-and-comers, including Jordy Smith, Kalohe Andino and Julian Wilson, and state-of-the-art talents like Mick Fanning, Dane Reynolds, Joel Parkinson, Jamie O'Brien, Fred Pataccia and CJ Hobgood, as well as veterans Kelly Slater, Sunny Garcia, Mark Occhilupo, Wayne Bartholomew and Tom Curren.

    For more information, phone Patagonia Cardiff at 760-634-9886. For more on the movie, check out an audio slide show and interview with Chris Malloy on Surfing Magazine's Web site. The DVD of One Track Mind should be available October 7th at a surf shop near you.

    Makalu: Trekking, Snakes & Snow Monkeys

    Gen4_ambass_house Steve House called last night to give us another update from Nepal. The team has been trekking at altitude for a few days now to help with the acclimatization process.

    Listen to Makalu Update 2 (mp3 - 6:43 - right-click to download) 

    As Steve mentioned in his first call, two friends from Oregon, Ian and Mark, are also on board. They will be climbing the regular route on Makalu while Steve, Vince and Marko will attempt the West face. Next up, the group will head back to Kathmandu for some logistics and then fly to base camp.

    Previous posts from the series:

    A Day at the Desk
    Update One

    [Steve House. Photo: Tim Davis]

    Makalu: Update One from Steve House

    Makalupostcard_2 To Steve's credit, this call came in Thursday morning. Due to some technical difficulties we're bringing it to you a little late. Our thanks go out to Steve for taking the time to make these calls. Here's the first installment:

    Listen to Makalu Update 1 (mp3 - 2:36 - right-click to download)

    For those who missed "A Day at the Desk," Steve House and fellow Patagonia ambassadors Vince Anderson and Marko Prezelj, are currently in Nepal where they will be attempting to climb the West Face of Makalu. Whenever possible, Steve will be calling in with his sat phone to share stories from the climb.

    Steve reported last year from base camp in Pakistan where the same trio successfully made the first ascent of K7 West. You can catch up on the podcasts and then watch a video of the climb in the Tin Shed.

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

    Action Alert: Genetically Modified Animals Step Closer to Your Dinner Plate

    Salmon Patagonia has long taken an interest in the genetic integrity of our food supply. A 2002 essay by company founder/owner, Yvon Chouinard focuses on the question asked by many of our customers: What Does a Clothing Company Know About Genetic Engineering?

    Six years have passed, and genetically-modified foods are, if anything, a bit closer to our dinner tables. Fresh off the newswire is this story about the use of genetically modified animals as a food source. The story comes from the National Public Radio news briefs for Sept. 18th.

    FDA To Consider Allowing Sale Of GM Farm Animals

    The Food and Drug Administration took a step Thursday toward considering proposals to sell genetically modified animals as food.

    The agency issued a proposed legal framework for resolving questions about the environmental risks and the safety of using genetically altered animals as food. The move could lead to faster growing fish, cattle that can resist mad cow disease, or perhaps heart-healthier eggs laid by a new breed of chicken.

    The FDA has said it considers DNA inserted into an animal during genetic engineering to be a drug, so first the agency will ask if it is safe for the animal. If it is deemed safe, the FDA will then look at animals intended for human consumption and see if they meet current food safety standards.

    Continue reading "Action Alert: Genetically Modified Animals Step Closer to Your Dinner Plate" »

    Save Trestles, Fight the Toll Road ... One More Time

    Freeway_poster We've talked before about the Surfrider Foundation's efforts to stop a proposed toll road that would wipe out Trestles, a world-famous surf break, and destroy 60% of the acreage at San Onofre State Beach, the fifth most visited state park in California. In February, the California Coastal Commission voted to deny the 241 Foothill South Toll Road. Unfortunately, the agency planning this Toll Road has appealed the Coastal Commission’s decision to the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and that hearing is next Monday, September 22.

    If you live in Southern California, please try and make the hearing. If you can't make it, or don't live in the area, visit Surfrider's Action Network to voice your opinion.

    WHO: Surfrider Foundation activists, surfers, hikers and everyone who opposes the extension of the 241 Toll Road.

    WHAT: The U.S. Secretary of Commerce rescheduled public hearing regarding the controversial 241 Toll road extension.

    WHEN: Monday, September 22, 2008 10:30 AM – 8:30 PM

    WHERE: O’Brien Hall at the Del Mar Fairgrounds 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd. Del Mar, CA 92014

    Visit the Save Trestles blog for more info.

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