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    Mt. Hunter!

    I have just returned to Seattle from a three-week trip to the Central Alaska Range with Norwegian climber Bjørn-Eivind Årtun. The weather this May was significantly better than average -- apart from a few days of snow showers and a wind storm that lasted for a few days, the weather was consistently mild. The weather forecast on the other hand was consistently pessimistic, and was dead wrong about 85% of the entire month (we slowly learned to ignore it).

    [Editor's note: Today's post comes from Patagonia ambassador Colin Haley. It first appeared on Colin's blog, Skagit Alpinism, on Wednesday, May 27, 2009. All photos © Colin Haley or Bjørn-Eivind]

    We first warmed up with a climb of the "Mini Moonflower," (a sub-peak off of Mt. Hunter's Northeast Ridge) via its North Couloir. Bjørn-Eivind leading in the couloir:

    Continue reading "Mt. Hunter! " »

    Backyard Adventures: Toiyabe Trails - Part 1

    Cview Mention Nevada to most folks and what comes to mind is Las Vegas glam and desert heat. Truth be told, many Nevadans are more than willing to let you think that but for the record, with 313 named mountain ranges, Nevada has more mountains than any state except Alaska. Since moving here five years ago, I have been trying to wean myself away from the Sierra Nevada by exploring some of Nevada’s more remote ranges. The Toiyabe Range, which is nearly in the middle of the state, more than fits that definition. So when my friend Chris called me up asking for ideas for a good late spring backpacking trip I not only suggested the Toiyabe Crest Trail, I invited myself along as well.

    [At 10,000' for a stretch of nearly 50 miles, the crest of Central Nevada's Toiyabe Range is well-situated to catch snows that would otherwise miss the arid valleys of the Basin and Range territory. Photo: OldSchool]

    Continue reading "Backyard Adventures: Toiyabe Trails - Part 1" »

    Product Testing - Whale Watching with a Wee One

    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.

    SamPmorning Product Report: Synchilla Marsupial, “O” Web Belt, Women's Sender Capris, Kids’ Sky Serpent T-shirt, Baby Synchilla Cardigan, Baby Puffer Vest and Kids’ Trucker Hat
    Activity: Camping and Whale Watching, Northern California
    Tested by: Michelle L., Patagonia Web Team

    As I’ve gotten older my lack of sanity manifests itself in different ways. Fifteen years ago my friends referred to me as the wild one since I was always up for partying, loud music and any adventure life would throw at me. Long gone are the days for too much partying, but nevertheless I will never let go of the adventure. This time, I decided to take my very newly potty-trained 3.5 year old son on a camping trip and to go catch the gray-whale migration out at Point Reyes in Marin County, California, all on my own. My husband was going to stay home and peacefully recover from oral surgery.

    I know the area well, as I grew up in Mill Valley, California. Samuel P. Taylor Park, outside of San Rafael, is a beautiful campground with lots of amenities set in a gorgeous Redwood Grove with Lagunitas Creek running right through it. The forecast was exceptionally good. Even at Point Reyes Station they called for 77 degrees and clear skies. I was so excited to enjoy some warm spring weather, the scent of the ocean, to bond with my son, and give him lessons about the wonders of nature and how we need to protect it.

    Continue reading "Product Testing - Whale Watching with a Wee One" »

    "Signatures" from Sweetgrass Productions Coming this Fall


    It was a snowy February night as I sat up in my bed staring at pictures of Mary-Kate and Ashley, dreaming of sunnier days. Ben stormed into the room, one hand gripping a microwave pizza, the other running through his golden locks. "Ok man, I've got it. We call the movie Signatures. The seasons, the individual, the snowsurf style, the turn – they're all connected." He handed me a napkin with a treasure map to the hidden temple of McDonald's and a couple notes he'd scratched on our film-to-be.

    [Editor's note: Today's post comes from Nick Waggoner of Sweetgrass Productions, director of the beautiful ski film Hand Cut and the soon-to-be-released Signatures. Visit the Sweetgrass blog for more tales from Nick and the crew.]

    Hit with divine inspiration, Ben penned the plan at the helm of our late automobile on a six-hour drive back from Tokachidake – central Hokkaido. After buffing out the idea for some four more months, here you have it folks, the title of the new Sweetgrass Productions film: Signatures. At the heart of this lovely tale of deep powder mystery: the seasons.

    [Above: Kenichi Miyashita and his cutback art. Photo: Sweetgrass Productions]

    Continue reading ""Signatures" from Sweetgrass Productions Coming this Fall" »

    Remembering Our Friends Jonny Copp, Micah Dash and Wade Johnson

    Kashmir07-FTRS-Climb1047-2 It's with great heartache that I deliver to you the tragic news that the Chinese search team has discovered the body of our friend, ambassador and hero, Jonny Copp. A second body has been found on Mount Edgar and is believed to be Wade Johnson. The search continues for Micah Dash, but the setting and circumstances make the prospect of finding him alive doubtful. It's been very difficult to digest this reality. Jonny and Micah were two of my best friends, and it brings tears to my eyes to imagine this world and our lives without them. It's hard to imagine how men of such solid character and stature, who possessed an overflowing energy for life, friends and the mountains, could be struck down by anything.

    [Jonny Copp and Micah Dash, Kashmir, India. Photo: Jonny Copp]

    Like so many others, I knew of Jonny Copp before I ever knew Jonny Copp. With a name that sounds like an alpine action figure and his characteristic goatee, smile-lined eyes and brawny physique, Jonny more than lived up to his reputation. Jonny’s optimistic approach to everything and everyone in his life was undefeatable. He always greeted me with a bear hug and an ear to ear smile. He dedicated his life to his friends and family, his pursuits in the mountains, and sharing his contagious passion for adventure and the outdoors with as many people as he could inspire. From Dirt Days, to Adventure Film, to the images, words and videos that Jonny built from the ground up and touched all our lives with, he was an unrelenting force of positive energy and good times. He could cut a rug like nobody’s business and was the motivator behind many a raucous evening. Jonny was a one-of-a-kind guy and the first addition I made to the Patagonia ambassador program when I arrived here. I often referred to him as the "renaissance man of the alpine world" – a man of many hats who possessed a diversity of talents. He lead a lifestyle that we eagerly lived vicariously through, in the images and stories he dispatched from all corners of the globe. Jonny was an exemplary human being, a hero to myself and so many others, as much in his character as his talent. His generosity, honesty, compassion and optimistic attitude made him everything we seek in friendship. He was the center of an amazing community who will miss him dearly. Jonny’s compassion, laughter, and larger than life smile will be with me forever.

    Continue reading "Remembering Our Friends Jonny Copp, Micah Dash and Wade Johnson" »

    Update: Latest Developments in the Search for Climbers Missing in China

    Copp_j_0225 (2) Friends and followers of the climbing community were surprised to hear the recent news that Boulder-area climbers Micah Dash and Jonny Copp - along with photographer Wade Johnson - had failed to return to their base camp in a mountainous region of China. Copp is a Patagonia climbing ambassador, so we've been keeping track of the expedition's progress. Here's an update from Patagonia's Athlete Liaison, Kristo Torgersen, on the latest:

    Patagonia Ambassador Jonny Copp and partner Micah Dash have been on expedition for the month of May attempting a new route on Mt. Edgar in the Minya Konka massif, in Western Sichuan Province, China. Jonny and Micah, along with cameraman, Wade Johnson, are now officially “late” returning home to base-camp from up higher on the mountain. This is not unusual for expeditions like this and especially for Jonny. Friends and family, however, began organizing a search and rescue effort out of Boulder, CO several days ago when the team did not return to base-camp. There are currently two teams of Chinese climbers mobilized (with SAT phones) on the mountain with a couple teams of American climbers ready to deploy. Patagonia Ambassador and close friend of Jonny and Micah, Eric Decaria, phoned today at 12:30pm PST to inform me that he and partner Nick Martino had just secured their visas in San Francisco and will be flying out as soon as possible. Steve Su and Pete Takeda comprise the second American team, leaving as soon as they can secure visas. In addition, the Chinese army is scheduled to be deployed soon with helicopters to the area. Here is a press release that went out earlier today with some additional information. Although we are very concerned for our friends’ whereabouts, we remain optimistic with the hope that they are out there doing what they do best – sending hard in the mountains.

    Hit the jump for the press release and for more information about how to help with the search effort.

    [Photo - Jonny Copp/Patagonia collection]

    Continue reading "Update: Latest Developments in the Search for Climbers Missing in China" »

    Waxman – Markey Climate Change Bill Includes Support for Wildlife Corridors

    Pika-WilliamCGladish On May 21, in a 33-25 vote, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved the American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2454). The bill is designed to create millions of new clean-energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance America’s energy independence and cut global-warming pollution. Here at Patagonia, we’re pretty sure you’ve read about this bill or heard mention of it.

    Included in this massive bill are provisions to strengthen and rebuild coastal marshes, coral, and oyster reefs, headwater forests and wetlands, restore natural floodplains, maintain forest health, and connect grasslands and mountain corridors to serve as migratory routes for wildlife. The parts of the bill that involve support for wildlife corridors and protection of migratory routes for wildlife may not have been apparent to you. These include the Natural Resources Climate Change Adaptation Fund, which will provide additional money for numerous state and federal conservation programs to assist fish and wildlife adapt to the effects of climate change.

    Money from this legislation is also designated for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which protects properties around the country that are important to fish and wildlife. Also in the bill is the National Wildlife Habitat and Corridors Information Program, which establishes a new program in the Department of the Interior to support states and tribes efforts to understand and map fish and wildlife habitat migration corridors, and to expand the use of computer database tools for wildlife management. The bill has a way to go before coming to a full vote in the House of Representatives and eventually in the United States Senate, but we urge you to keep track of it, especially the parts of the bill having to do with wildlife and corridors. We will keep you posted. For more information on the bill, go to the Energy and Commerce Committee's website:

    The National Wildlife Federation has great information on corridors. And for more detail and video, visit the Wilderness Society's website.

    [Photo: From The Wilderness Society website, A pika, which is a species threatened by global warming, in the wild. Photo by William C. Gladish]

    "The Present" Final U.S. Screening and DVD Release Party this Sat. in Cardiff

    Stop by Patagonia Cardiff this Saturday, June 13, at 8pm for a screening of The Present, a colorful and artistic exploration of the beautiful environment surfers play in every day. We’ll have live music, the company of filmmaker Thomas Campbell, and some of the film’s stars. To celebrate this final screening on the film’s U.S. tour, the DVD will be available from Woodshed Films and VAS for sale four days prior to its national release. It will be available before and after the show, but stick around to get a signed copy by Campbell and some of the surfers.

    Come by the store before the event to pre-register for a chance to win our Summer Slide Kit: Wegener Surfboard’s Alaia board blank, Patagonia Wavefarer Board Shorts, and a Patagonia R1® long-sleeve wetsuit top.*

    Admission is free, but on a first-come-first-served basis. This is an outdoor event so please dress accordingly.

    * Winner will be selected during the show. You must be present to win. No purchase necessary. Pre-registration cards available at Patagonia Cardiff, 2185 San Elijo Ave, Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA. 760-634-9886

    Green Corn Project Receives Pat. Austin's First Enviromental Grant

    School-garden1 A plot of dirt can be a great place to start a revolution. While the mission of the Green Corn Project (GCP) might not be revolutionary, their work is. You see, GCP--a 501(c)(3) nonprofit based in Austin, Texas--believes freedom is possible when you empower people with knowledge and skill to create an immediate benefit in their lives. GCP's work focuses on installing organic food gardens for families and individuals in need, as well as for schools and community centers. From their website:

    GCP serves people with limited access to nutritious, affordable food by partnering with them to build their own gardens at homes, schools, and community centers. GCP also educates garden recipients, volunteers, and community members about the techniques and benefits of organic gardening through skills workshops, presentations, and community events.

    GCP is a volunteer-driven 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Since 1998, GCP has built more than 130 gardens in Austin's underserved neighborhoods. We teach effective techniques for growing food at home naturally, while making maximum use of land, water, and energy. The whole community benefits when gardeners share their new skills and excess harvest with others.

    Green corn In recognition of their efforts to empower communities, GCP became the recent recipient of the first environmental grant awarded by Patagonia’s Austin store. Jim Hansel, store manager, handed GCP president Mitch Mills the $3,000 check on Saturday, May 30, while Green Corn Project tabled at the store.

    GCP will be using their grant money to increase capacity, build more gardens, and buy a shed to store their growing quiver of tools. Austin residents can connect with GCP this summer when they table alongside Patagonia at Blues on the Green. The first show, featuring Ruthie Foster, is this Wednesday, June 3rd, starting at 7:30 pm. Blues on the Green is being held at Waterloo Park this year. Click here for more information and the complete schedule.

    Be sure to stop by the Patagonia booth for a chance to win GCP t-shirts, books, and plants. And more importantly, to get involved with GCP's great work throughout the community.

    [Photos courtesy Green Corn Project]

    Makalu 2009: Makalu 2, Steve 0


    Just as he predicted, Steve House and Cory Richards were not able to summit Makalu via the normal route. The same snow storm that collapsed the kitchen in base camp has halted their progress at approximately 20,000 feet.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to Steve House – Makalu, May 29, 2009
    (mp3 – 2:30 – right-click to download)

    This is the second time Steve's been thwarted by weather on Makalu. If you're wondering whether or not he'll be back, consider what he wrote at the beginning of this trip: "Visiting the same peak twice makes it a project. Three times is an obsession." Hopefully Steve will call again before heading home with his final thoughts on Makalu.

    Previous posts from the trip:
    Makalu Again
    Getting Acclimated
    High Altitude Pulmonary Edema
    Back to Normal
    Greetings from 24,300 Feet
    Collapsed Kitchen

    ["The west face of Makalu awaits a direct route up the face and it awaits an alpine style ascent." Photo: Steve House]

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