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    « March 2009 | Main | May 2009 »

    My Footprint series - Shaping a New Relationship to Skiing

    Series intro: The “My Footprint” series shares the stories of Patagonia friends and employees who have been inspired by The Footprint Chronicles, and whose inspiring lives help fuel the vision of what we can do as a company.

    Their stories are offered here, glimpses of individual footprints spotted along the path toward positive change. We invite you to enjoy these personal accounts, and share your own in the Comments section included with these posts.
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    Ski test There's a side to skiing in the United States that many American skiers would just as soon not talk about. For all of its inspiring outdoor elements, the industry as we know it is uniquely dependent upon increasingly limited resources. All too often, those resources tie this mountain-inspired population back to petroleum dependence.

    With the vast majority of the U.S.'s destination resorts located in remote areas under-served by mass transit, very few of us are fortunate enough to be able to reach a ski resort without use of a combustion engine. Those who choose to ski in the backcountry may be able to claim independence from the energy needed to keep the lifts turning, but just like resort skiers, the earn-your-turns crowd relies (for the most part) on vehicles to reach their chosen destinations.

    [All photos: Miyazaki/Greenhall collection]

    Continue reading "My Footprint series - Shaping a New Relationship to Skiing" »

    Makalu 2009: Makalu Again

    Kathmandu from the air 2 Editor's note: After an unsuccessful attempt last year due to foul weather, Steve House is heading back to Makalu for some more reconnaissance and possibly another alpine-style attempt at the west face. Steve sent the following email yesterday from the halfway point on the nine-day trek to Makalu base camp.

    Rock climbers and boulderers attempt their routes dozens, hundreds, sometimes thousands of times over weeks, months, or years. Alpine climbing is a bit different. Visiting the same peak twice makes it a project. Three times is an obsession. Only a very few climbers have ever mounted expeditions to the same peak four times.

    I traveled to K7 three times, Nanga Parbat three times and now I'm heading to Makalu for the second time. Some people call me obsessive, I just think of this as how you get things done. The west face of Makalu awaits a direct route up the face and it awaits an alpine style ascent.

    [Logistics for a trip to Makalu are handled in Kathmandu. Famous city, bad air. Photo: © Steve House.]

    Continue reading "Makalu 2009: Makalu Again" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: The Cowboy and the Maiden

    CowboY_maidenSaddle up for another episode of The Dirtbag Diaries. Host Fitz Cahall sets the stage for today's podcast:

    In September 2008, Chad Kellogg and climbing partner Dylan Johnson stood atop 6250-meter Siguniang in Western China after completing the 10,000-foot-long SW Ridge. It was a mind-bending ascent through a massive big wall, a razor edge ridge and high altitude ice climbing. The two friends endured days without water and several sleepless nights. Dylan lost 30 pounds over the course of their ascent. If that sounds epic, it pales in comparison to what Kellogg went through to even return to the mountain that had filled his thoughts for years. During a prior trip, Chad was called home after his wife Lara died in Alaska’s Ruth Gorge. Four months later, he was diagnosed with cancer. Summits fade, routes disappear into alpinists’ memory, but occasionally mountains extend back into life on level ground. Sometimes we don’t just want to climb a mountain. We need to.

    Audio_graphic_20px Listen to The Cowboy and the Maiden
    (mp3 - 32:17 - right-click to download)

    For more on the music from this episode or to share a story of your own, head over to www.dirtbagdiaries.com. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with Fitz via Facebook and Twitter.

    [With thanks to the Dirtbag Nation for supporting and spreading word about the Diaries.]

    Inventory Time

    Shipping_team It's that time of year again. A quick shipping note from our brothers and sisters in Reno:

    We will be performing our Annual Inventory from April 27 – May 3. No orders will be shipped during this time. Any orders placed this week will ship after our Distribution Center reopens on May 4th. Patagonia stores will be open and customer service is always available to help answer your questions. Find a store near you or call us at 1-800-638-6464.

    Thanks to all the Patagoniacs for your patience while we take inventory.

    [The Patagonia shipping team in Reno, Nevada. Photo: localcrew]

    My Footprint series - Charting a Course of Questions

    Series intro: Today's citizen is engaged, concerned, and most of all, confident; confident in his or her choice as a consumer, confident in his or her power as an employee, confident that change is possible.

    The Footprint Chronicles were developed to document the changes we’re making as a company to lighten our environmental impact and do less harm. These chronicles are as much an inspiration to Patagonia employees as they are an outgrowth of our personal values. The “My Footprint” series shares the stories of Patagonia friends and employees who have been inspired by the Chronicles, and whose inspiring lives help fuel the vision of what we can do as a company.

    Their stories are offered here, glimpses of individual footprints spotted along the path toward positive change. We invite you to enjoy these personal accounts, and share your own in the Comments section included with these posts.

    __________________________________________________________

    My footprint is etched cleanly in the soft earth near a thundering creek. It's the latest addition to a chaotic, muddy mash of lug-soled prints pointing in all directions. Looking up from this confused circle, I can trace the tracks, see that they lead tentatively toward each point of the compass. The prints tell a story of a group that struggled to find its way, and I can't blame them. The people who made those tracks are my students, and I confiscated their maps before they left camp this morning. But there is one main track leading off from the center, the path it traces sure and deep. The feet that made it moved with purpose in a common direction.

    Continue reading "My Footprint series - Charting a Course of Questions" »

    Earth Day and the New Footprint Chronicles

    Homepage 1

    Happy Earth Day to the Cleanest Line masses. Today we launched a new version of the Footprint Chronicles, the place where we share information on how and where our products are manufactured, what the environmental costs are and how we think the process can be improved.

    There are a number of new features in today's Footprint update but the highlight is a documentary short our video team produced on social responsibility and offshore manufacturing. Entitled What's Done in Our Name?, the 15-minute video is the first in a three-part series investigating the issues of social and environmental responsibility and product quality.

    Watch What's Done in Our Name?

    Make the jump for a full list of features we added to the new Footprint Chronicles and a few words about some special guests who visited Patagonia today.

    Continue reading "Earth Day and the New Footprint Chronicles" »

    Where Wild Buffalo Battle to Roam

    Buffalo1 A recent cluster of automobile accidents along Montana's Hwy 191 has rekindled concerns about state and federal management policies for our country's wild buffalo. In just one weekend in early April, 15 bison were struck and killed by vehicles traveling along a short 10-mile stretch of Montana's Hwy 191. Concerned citizens, including members of the Buffalo Field Campaign, are calling upon Montana's decision makers to use this as a reminder of the very real stakes involved in developing a thoughtful management plan built around sound policies to ensure buffalo and human safety.

    Today's post comes to us from Meghan Sural, Manager of Patagonia's Reno Outlet Store. An active contributor to a variety of environmental causes, Meghan has written before about her time spent performing restoration work on some of our wild lands. Today, Meghan talks to us about the other critical element of America's wild heritage, America's wild life.

    In today’s nonstop news cycle, we’ve learned to filter out the blitz of problems plaguing us. I had read about the Buffalo Field Campaign (BFC) in literature where I work, in a Patagonia retail outlet.
    The BFC is the only group working in the field, everyday, to stop the slaughter and harassment of Yellowstone’s wild buffalo and to protect the natural habitat of wild free-roaming buffalo. I looked at the brochures, wished there was more to be done, and turned my attention back to my daily grind.

    [Buffalo make their way along their ancient migratory route - across which has been placed Montana's Hwy 191. Photo: Rob Flesher)

    Continue reading "Where Wild Buffalo Battle to Roam" »

    Is 2009 the Year for Industrial Hemp?

    P1020266_2 Back when we were just budding bloggers I wrote a post about the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2007. Unfortunately, the bill never made it to vote, but that was two years ago when things were a lot different. Now it's time to try again.

    Earlier this month, Congressmen Ron Paul (R-TX) and Barney Frank (D-MA), along with eight co-sponsors, introduced H.R. 1866, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009. With a struggling world economy and the desire to create new jobs and new industries at home, will this be the year we finally free industrial hemp from the chains of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937?

    [Fear not, your feet won't get high from walking in the Men's Olulu shoes. Photo: Free]

    Continue reading "Is 2009 the Year for Industrial Hemp?" »

    Running a Country on Something Other Than Oil

    Oil rig Patagonia employee Sherry Chow joined Global Exchange last year for an eye-opening trip to Ecuador. Her trip report follows and begs this question: if the president of a struggling South American country has the courage to seek out alternatives to the lucrative promises of the oil industry, what's stopping stronger nations from assisting or following suit. It's a powerful reminder that one doesn't have to be a world power to set a powerful example.

    What: Yasuni Biosphere Reserve - covering Yasuni Nat'l Park - 982,000 hectares (9,820 sq. km) Huaorani Ethnic Reserve - 612,560 hectares.

    Both are within a zona de amortiguamiento (ZA), or buffer zone, which form a boundary between protected areas and the surrounding environment.

    Where:  Western Amazon, Ecuador

    [Aerial of oil drilling rig in the Amazon rain forest. James P. Blair / National Geographic Creative / Getty Images - as appearing on www.time.com, Aug. 2008]


    Continue reading "Running a Country on Something Other Than Oil" »

    Sliding Liberia Update

    Hopefully you've all seen the surf movie Sliding Liberia by now. We covered it a while back with the help of featured surfers Dan Malloy and Crystal Thornburg. The film's director, Britton Caillouette, wrote us with an update on the situation in Liberia since the film was released.

    Nicholai returned to Liberia last year to head up a project on community-driven reconstruction. Thanks to generous donations from Patagonia, Fletcher Chouinard Designs and Stamps Surfboards, he was able to bring bags and bags of clothes, as well as four surfboards, to the kids in Robertsport. Nicholai arranged free screenings of Sliding Liberia for local audiences and foreign aid workers. One of the screenings in Monrovia, the capital city, was in a video club recently opened by Maurice Davis, one of the people featured in the film.

    Continue reading "Sliding Liberia Update" »

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