The Cleanest Line

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    « January 2009 | Main | March 2009 »

    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" »

    Testing the Waters

    Photo #1 Several years ago, Patagonia email marketing coordinator Steve Wages saw this photograph of two anglers with a big catch of steelhead trout from the Ventura River. The shot was taken in the 1920s.

    Those were the glory days, when each year upwards of 5,000 steelies would leave the Pacific Ocean to swim up the rain-swollen river to spawn, and Ventura’s public schools would close down for opening day of the steelhead run.

    It was the days before a dam was built 16 miles upriver on Matilija Creek and engineers had diverted much of the Ventura River into a reservoir behind another new dam at Lake Casitas. It was the days before the groundwater basins around the river were drawn down in earnest – all to provide for a growing population.

    [The Peirano Brothers with their catch of steelhead from the Ventura River, 1920s.]

    Continue reading "Testing the Waters" »

    Six Months Here ... Six Months Gone

    By Craig Holloway

    Uncle_dave

    Last month Uncle Dave returned to the Patagonia campus. Like a bird he migrates back to Ventura for a spell then flies off to New England or Greece for self-rejuvenation. In the six months that he spends on campus he tends the grounds with meticulous precision. The windblown leaves are swept clean from the parking lot. The flowerbeds near the front entrance are tidy. The stone walkways beneath the solar panels are weed-free, even the nooks and crannies are spick and span. His gardening tools are simple in design, effective in their use and not electric or gasoline powered. They are neatly situated in a large gray receptacle, its bottom fitted with wheels for easier maneuverability. The receptacle’s wheels squeak loudly, announcing Uncle Dave’s presence. Each workday starts and ends with his trusted canvas bag in tow, its handles frayed but still functional; the bag might be filled with café leftovers, last Sunday’s New York Times or a paperback copy of The Gates of Fire: 300 Spartan warriors who fought the invading Persian Empire in the legendary Battle of Thermopylae.

    Many Patagonia employees have known Uncle Dave for years and have already welcomed him back. And he will let his friends know how good it is to see them, and let them know how good he feels to be back.

    Uncle Dave’s stay in Ventura is now longer than it used to be. Even in his mid-eighties he continues to travel back home for New England’s crisp fall and unforgiving winter. For now it’s February and everyone is glad to have him back.

    [Uncle Dave met Yvon Chouinard in the '60s when Dave was getting the famous Grand Teton Climbers' Ranch up and running. He's been working seasonally at Patagonia HQ since the early '70s. Photo: Free]

    Push the 'Bus! - The Omnibus Public Lands Mgmt. Act Needs Your Help

    Dr liz Friends, the time is now to make your voice heard in support of Wilderness. Our previous post focused on the new administration's efforts to pass a landmark piece of legislation. While the Act easily cleared the Senate, a final hurdle remains in the form of tomorrow's House of Representatives vote. Ron Hunter, chief enviro word-spreader for the Patagonia tribe, shares this update:

    Love wilderness? Want to see more of it protected? Well, it's time to take action. 

    The Omnibus Public Lands Management Act represents years (in some cases, decades) of work on various wilderness areas and a number of wild & scenic rivers - and it all comes to a vote this Wednesday, Feb. 11th. This is a big deal.

    Please read below for more info and for recommendations on how to make a critical (not to mention quick and easy) call to your representative in support of the Act.

    [Dr. Liz showing some enthusiasm for a piece of the wild Sierra Nevada. Passage of the OPLMA includes the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Wilderness Act, which will permanently protect ~ 85,000 acres in the Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, including the park's largest stand of Giant Sequoia and California’s largest cave. Photo: localcrew]

    Continue reading "Push the 'Bus! - The Omnibus Public Lands Mgmt. Act Needs Your Help " »

    Patagonia Winterfest Sale is On!

    Top1_winterfest_09

    Patagonia Winterfest Sale
    February 10-19, 2009
    40-60% off retail prices on select merchandise, online and in participating Patagonia Stores (Outlets and Cardiff store excluded, details after the jump).*

    Patagonia Outlets President's Day Sale
    February 12-16, 2009
    40% off current outlet prices storewide (details after the jump).**

    Continue reading "Patagonia Winterfest Sale is On! " »

    Save the Planet, Drink Beer

    FCD R2 and R3 beer cozies made from reclaimed Patagonia wetsuits

    These beer cozies are made from reclaimed Patagonia wetsuits. They fit bottles and cans, and are perfect for post-session rehydration situations. Get yours today and start saving the planet immediately.

    Plastic shopping bag ban considered by the City Of Santa Barbara

    New Jersey, Maryland, Connecticut, and New York. San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Oakland, California. And now the City of Santa Barbara. These cities and states share a desire to ban single-use plastic bags. Famous for its beauty, the stunning seaside city is considering a ban on plastic bags for what is now a well-known list of reasons, specifically, to prevent the bags from ending up in the gutters, and ultimately on the beaches and in coastal waters.

    Sack Readers of this blog know how we feel about the use of these single-use plastics (1, 2, 3). Debate over the issue is growing and gaining national attention, with discussion in such venues as National Geographic. We encourage the public to get informed on the issue and get involved at the local level to make your voice heard.

    For residents of Santa Barbara and surrounding communities, a stake-holders meeting is being held on Monday, February 9th, from 3 to 5 pm, at the Environmental Services Building (1221 Anacapa St) in Santa Barbara. The meeting room is on the 2nd Floor. The public is encouraged to attend to voice their concern about plastic shopping bag trash. Contact info@sbck.org for more information.

    Stakeholders expected to attend include representatives from the grocery stores who are very resistant to this idea. If you don't like to see plastic bags in the gutters, blowing across beaches or in the water, come to this meeting and make sure the city hears from those in support of a ban on single-use plastic bags.

    Makin' Copies - Blazing a Paperless Trail Through the Land of Grants Management

    Today's post comes to us courtesy of Patagonia penman and seasoned wildlife crusader, Jim Little. Take it away, Jim . . .

    Lisa Myers used to stand at the photocopy machine for hours, making copies--lots and lots of copies. A colleague would watch her shuffling papers, methodically pushing the button over and over, and ask her how many trees she’d killed that day. In the course of a year, Lisa figures she’d print some 4,250 pages double sided. That’s about this much.

    Copies

    [Lisa at copy machine with 9 reams of paper. Photo: Jim Little]

    “It’s a lot of paper,” she said. “It was counterintuitive to the work we were doing.”

    Continue reading "Makin' Copies - Blazing a Paperless Trail Through the Land of Grants Management" »

    The Dream - A Journey of the Spirit with Mugs Stump

    Mugs B_2_Kennedy Editor's note: Exactly two years ago The Cleanest Line was born, and today we have a post that embodies two of the reasons why we started blogging: to share inspiring stories and pertinent news. The recipients of the 2009 Mugs Stump Award were announced at the Ouray Ice Festival in mid-January. Hit the jump to see the list of recipients and their proposed objectives. Equally important though is remembering the man for whom the award was named, Mugs Stump. We're extremely grateful to Michael Kennedy, the editor and publisher of Climbing Magazine, for sharing some background on the award, the photos in this post and an article he wrote for his magazine shortly after Mugs passed away. Here's Michael:

    As long as it was at least a little bit out there, Mugs Stump was always psyched for something, be it a big wall, long free route, frozen waterfall, or high alpine face. A true “climber’s climber,” he wanted to stay on the edge, pushing the envelope of possibility, getting to that rare place where you climb intuitively, fluidly, unburdened by doubt and fear.

    Mugs readily shared his experiences with friends in conversation and letters, but he seldom wrote or lectured about his climbs. The act of climbing – the doing itself – was the important thing. Mugs pursued climbing as a quest for enlightenment, or, as alpinist Bill Belcourt puts it, “…a means of stripping away the bullshit so only what matters remains.”

    [Mugs Stump in his element. All photos by Michael Kennedy]

    Continue reading "The Dream - A Journey of the Spirit with Mugs Stump" »

    Sweet Hokkaido Pow from Sweetgrass Productions

    [YouTube version - HD available]

    Reading the Sweetgrass Productions blog, I feel nauseous with envy. “It was beginning to dump in an absolutely ridiculous manner as we left to go to an awesome Japanese-style dinner, where much raw seafood was consumed, priming our bellies for today, which was perhaps the most disgustingly deep powder day of all our lives.” If the words don’t do it for you, the shots of skiers buried up to their necks will.

    The text and images flowing from director Nick Waggoner’s 2009 film project in Hokkaido, Japan have left me squirming in my chair daily. I feel like the guy in the pit crew that desperately wants to be in the driver's seat – running logistics from a sponsorship and support level at my desk when I’d much rather be running laps in buttery Hokkaido powder and tossing back sushi on the regular with Nick and his crew. If you’ve already had a chance to view Sweetgrass Productions’ 2008 feature film, Hand Cut, you’ve already been exposed to the artistic perspective and creative storytelling from director Nick Waggoner. Well, this morning’s “teaser trailer” from Nick was just that; a sneak peak at what we have on deck for his upcoming feature film, premiere and tour, kicking-off September 2009.

    Since the day Nick landed, he’s been working with Patagonia Japan Ambassadors, Taro Tamai and Yutaka Takanashi, who have been giving him and the rest of the crew an authentic experience and sharing the local ski knowledge. Taro’s fresh perspective on “snowsurfing” has led him to build his own boards, GemTem Stick, enabling him to share his experience with those willing to take the ride.

    Continue reading "Sweet Hokkaido Pow from Sweetgrass Productions" »

    One Percent for the Planet
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