The Cleanest Line

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    Ride for the Wild

    Photo 19 Today's post is from Ryan Applegate, assistant manager of our Dillon, Montana, store. Last summer Ryan took two months off work to pedal his bike 2,300 miles from Yukon’s Watson Lake to Yellowstone National Park. But Ryan’s trip was more than a summer bike tour. Working with the Freedom to Roam Coalition, he and six others rode on behalf of wildlife, which is losing more and more habitat to development and finding itself increasingly challenged by climate change. Funded with an environmental internship grant from Patagonia, Ryan received both salary and benefits during his hiatus.

    I became familiar with the concept of a Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) wildlife corridor while studying conservation biology in the ‘90s, and my attention was refocused with the recent launch of Patagonia's new long-term environmental initiative, Freedom to Roam. Freedom to Roam emanates from the understanding that climate change is significantly altering the earth, and that the key to maintaining healthy, wild populations of creatures of all sizes, depends on their freedom to move, when necessary, to new habitat. It realizes that the best hope these animals and plants have for survival lies in people working, lobbying, donating, volunteering, buying, knowing and/or doing whatever it takes to ensure we protect and manage physical connections among larger protected areas. It is also about raising public awareness to this need, and that is where my Ride for the Wild came in.

    Continue reading "Ride for the Wild" »

    Into the Dark

    Light_socket2 Dirtbag Diaries host Fitz Cahall sets the stage for today's poignant podcast:

    "Climbing -- this one act saves me," says Portland rock climber Bob Grunau. Throughout his life, Grunau has struggled with the lingering clouds of depression. Until he discovered climbing, the only way to weather the darker cycles was to retreat inward into his mind. That approach worked until he became a part of a family. Grunau had to be present. In those hard moments, he turned to climbing.

    High, lonesome places can provide respite and joy. We can love them deeply, but ice and rock will not love us back. Ultimately, our tenuous connections with the vertical life are not nearly as delicate as our relationships with those we love.

    Audio_graphic_20px Listen to Into the Dark
    (mp3 - 10:15 - right-click to download)

    For more audio expressions of the outdoor life, or to submit a Shortz story of your own, head over to

    Spring Cleaning for The Tin Shed

    Tinshed-main Howdy friends and neighbors! It's time to step back into the Tin Shed for a whole new round of goodness.

    Spring greening means time for cleaning, and our crew has gone to town on the Tin Shed. We've dusted off, tuned up, and styled out the Shed with all new videos, audio tracks, slide shows, and the latest tasty teasers from a stellar lineup of new films. Some of the gems to look for in your next visit:

    180° South (video) - Inpired by Yvon Chouinard’s1968 road trip to Patagonia, Woodshed Films shares the trailer for their new film about friends, heroes and finding one's way in a complicated world.

    Snow Many Possibilities (video) - Big-mountain skier Trevor Hiatt returns to the backcountry after an accident that sidelined him from skiing for over a year.

    Luxury Liner: The First Ascent of Supercrack (video) - Travel back to 1976 when Earl Wiggins and friends made the first ascent of Supercrack, one of Indian Creek’s most perfect splitter hand cracks.

    SCORE! - Poke around the shed for your chance to save big the next time you buy Patagonia gear. Get in quick, this little find will only be around for a short time.

    Hit the jump for more new additions, along with a complete list of what's waiting for you in the Shed.

    Continue reading "Spring Cleaning for The Tin Shed" »

    Green Grunt

    GettingGreen With everyone from Oprah to Vanity Fair advocating that we "go green," it looks like green has become the new black. And often, the Green Gurus say that sustainability is quick, easy, and profitable. If that were true, wouldn't it have happened already?

    Recently, we got a note from an old friend, Auden Schendler, who runs the sustainability programs at Aspen Skiing Company. He's written a new book in which he points out that even though environmentalism and "green" issues have hit the mainstream, actually implementing the practices that will save the planet is brutal work, more akin to trench warfare than surgery. Below is an excerpt from the book, which is available now (Patagonia retail stores will be carrying it soon).

    From Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines off the Sustainability Revolution

    I used to insulate low-income housing through a government program called Low-Income Energy Assistance. I was a "weatherization technician." It sounds fancy, but it means that I crawled under mobilehomes through mud and animal carcasses into spaces so small I couldn't turn my head.

    Continue reading "Green Grunt" »

    Alpine Light?

    DSC_0132-Edit_2 Fresh off her and Mikey Schaefer's new route on Guillaumet, Kate Rutherford writes again from Patagonia about her attempt on the Chouinard classic, the California Route.

    [Kate Rutherford starts up the California Route, Fitz Roy, Patagonia, Argentina. Photo: © Mikey Schaefer] 

    A few years ago, my infamous and extraordinary friend, Cedar Wright, told the world that Patagonia was "light" – as in weightless, fluffy, insubstantial, carefree. So I sit, rolling that word, like a little rock, around my mouth. He was referring to the Internet weather forecasting, the coffee, the beer, the pizza, the access to town, in contrast to the remoteness of the Karakorum or the era when Jim Donnini and Yvon Chouinard first came here. Yes, this place is light; it has paved roads and fancy hotels. But who is he to say that this makes the climbing in Patagonia light? And who am I, as a rock climber, to be writing about alpine climbing when I hardly know the difference between neve and alpine ice?

    When Mikey Schaefer, Dana Drumond and I climbed the California Route on Fitz Roy, and we turned our backs on the fog-obscured, wind-blasted summit, I did not feel light.

    So here is the question: When do you decide to go down? Is it after shivering for three days? Or because the cracks are full of ice? Because you don't really have any food? Is it when you don't know where to go, up or down, and you can't see the summit 80 meters away, and the wind is blowing really hard? Or is it when you get turned back? But who, or what, is it that turns you back? And what would a real alpinist have done? And is it "light"?

    Regardless of the answers to all those "light" questions, this adventure was right up there on the crazy scale, alongside my experience riding motorcycles the length of Vietnam just to climb in HaLong Bay...

    Continue reading "Alpine Light?" »

    Mule Deer and Underpasses

    Deer_3 As part of our Freedom to Roam campaign, we’re interested in Corridors that Work, wildways that help animals migrate or travel between protected areas. Recently, we heard about a series of underpasses built on Highway 30 in western Wyoming. This part of Wyoming is home to about 100,000 mule deer. Of these, 95% are considered migratory and travel 30-100 miles between their high-elevation summer ranges and low-elevation winter ranges. These migrations are difficult under natural conditions, as deer must negotiate severe weather and deep snowpacks, subsist on variable and unpredictable forage, and all the while avoid predators. Human-caused obstacles such as roads, fences, and development add another layer of difficulty to their journey.

    We asked Hall Sawyer, a wildlife biologist specializing in migration corridors for pronghorn and mule deer in Wyoming, to tell us more:

    Prior to underpass construction, US 30 presented migratory mule deer with a significant obstacle. This section of US 30, called Nugget Canyon, had chronic problems with mule deer and vehicle collisions.

    [Photos courtesy Wyoming Department of Transportation.]

    Continue reading "Mule Deer and Underpasses" »

    Resoling Now Available for Patagonia Footwear

    Mtnsoles-patagonia-soles-oct-2010-006[Updated July 2012] I can't tell you how long I've had the same pair of Birkenstocks. They've been resoled so many times now the purchase date eludes me. My point? Resoling works. And that's why I'm stoked to share the news that Patagonia Footwear, through a partnership with Mountain Soles, now offers the same service for many of our shoe styles.

    My good friend Whitney Conner, brand manager at Patagonia Footwear, says of the program, "There is no need to go out and purchase a new pair of shoes if you’ve spent the time outdoors, molding them for the perfect fit. There are alternatives to material purchases and we’re working to increase the lifespan of our products by partnering with solid organizations that share a similar philosophy to Patagonia."

    In this case, the organization is Portland-based repair maestros Mountain Soles, a company of rock climbers, kayakers, cyclists and skiers who've been in the resoling business since 1979 and enjoy keeping their customers' gear functioning, and out of landfills. Mountain Soles is also the go-to for all repairs of well worn clothing and gear from Patagonia Portland.

    Continue reading "Resoling Now Available for Patagonia Footwear" »

    Turtle Patrol

    Viagra's save the turtles poster

    Today’s post is from Dealer Service Representative Lindsey Jensen, who is on a two-month hiatus from her desk at our Reno Distribution Center for an environmental internship in Los Pargos, Costa Rica, with Sea Turtles Forever.

    The group works on behalf of five endangered marine turtle species, including the Eastern Pacific Green and Black, Hawksbill, Leatherback, and the threatened Olive Ridley. They try to protect turtle nests, eliminate plastics from nesting areas and educate and work with the Los Pargos community on all aspects of conservation.

    Lindsey goes on night patrols, walking long stretches of beach to find signs of nesting activity. If she finds any, she tries to camouflage nests to protect them from poachers. She also visits schools to talk about sea turtles and their importance to the ecosystem, and is collecting information on the amounts and types of marine plastics recovered from the outlying ocean and beaches.

    Nest hatching

    Here’s Lindsey:

    So almost four weeks now that I have been here on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, just south of Tamarindo, and life is good. I am living in Los Pargos, about a 20-minute walk to Playa Negra, the local beach and surf break. The weather here is super hot and walking anywhere is extremely dusty because all the roads are dirt, but my blood is thinning and the weather is getting to be more bearable. I walked down to use the internet today at 1 pm and only broke a minor sweat.

    [Top - Lindsey stands in front of a poster explaining that it is against the law to take turtle eggs. Lower - Critically endangered green turtle (Chelonia mydas) hatchlings. All photos courtesy, Lindsey Jensen]

    Continue reading "Turtle Patrol" »

    Bhutan: The Coronation of a New King


    This post came to us courtesy of Patagonia Pro, Matt Holmes. Matt is the president of adventure travel company Boundless Journeys, which specializes in active and unique small group adventures to hidden corners of our world. While the majority of Americans were marinating in their own historic moment this past November, Matt was bearing witness to a much-less-publicized but--for this culture--far more techtonic shift of power.

    "I will never rule you as a King…I shall always serve you, day and night, in the spirit of kindness, justice and equality."

             King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.

    I was recently honored to be invited to a very special occasion in the Kingdom of Bhutan. While many Americans were celebrating a change of government in the U.S., people in Bhutan were observing the change of an era. The tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan crowned its new King on November 6, after a two-year wait for the precise moment deemed most auspicious for a successful reign.

    [The Raven Crown on the Dragon King. All photos: Steve Holmes]

    Continue reading "Bhutan: The Coronation of a New King" »

    Nico, Seán & Ben Free the East Face of the Central Tower of the Torres del Paine via the South African Route

    "Patagonia." It’s a very commonplace word in my life these days, but I get particular satisfaction hearing and speaking of it in the context of our company’s namesake, and with so many great stories drifting our way from that wind-battered microcosm of the alpine climbing world this winter, I can’t help but feel how inspirational a place it truly is.

    Many of our ambassadors make the journey south every winter, to El Chalten and Bariloche, then into Fitz Roy, the Torres del Paine and many other hidden gems in the Patagonia region. This season, Colin Haley managed an impressive solo ascent, Kate Rutherford and Mikey Schaefer discovered a new route, and, today, we're stoked to share the news that Nicolas Favresse and Seán Villanueva, along with Salt Lake local Ben Ditto, pulled off a first free ascent of the East Face of the Central Tower of the Torres del Paine via the South African Route. To quote the proclamation of the team, “Free South Africa!” Here's Nico with a recap of the climb:

    We (Nicolas Favresse, Seán Villanueva and Ben Ditto) just came back from Torres Del Paine National Park where on the 2nd of February we summitted the central tower via the South African Route. Our ascent is possibly the third ascent of the route and the first free ascent of the east face of the central tower (1200m). We spent 13 days on the wall accompanied by our trusty mandolin, tin whistle and harmonica.

    Continue reading "Nico, Seán & Ben Free the East Face of the Central Tower of the Torres del Paine via the South African Route" »

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