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    Twenty-four Hours of Horseshoe Hell Comes Again

    The Cleanest Line is pleased to share this announcement from our friend Andy Chasteen, organizer of a now-famous (and soon-to-be infamous) crusher of a climbing comp held down in a little corner of Arkansas:

    Expman26 September 25-27, 2009 marks the 4th-annual 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell endurance climbing event held on the steep sandstone of northwest Arkansas. Horseshoe Canyon Ranch marks the spot where teams of two partner up and take to the steep, gritty sandstone to endure what can only be explained as severe fatigue, dehydration, bloody fingertips and an unforgettable climbing experience. These teams will have 24 continuous hours to put in as many clean climbs as humanly possible on the hundreds of sport and traditional routes on the Ranch. There is a point system for the various grades and all climbs must be put up on lead in clean style. Night climbing is key, and strategy is as important as fitness.

    Expman12 Hell began as a new concept to the world of climbing comps where the preference is typically power, strength and technique. 24HHH tests endurance, pain tolerance and mental stamina as you log continuous routes in a 24 Hour timeframe.

    The growth that 24HHH has experienced over the first three years has been exponential. It was born as an idea amongst some rag tag buddies from Oklahoma, started as a pipe dream and grew into 130 climbers, some cool swag and a write up in Rock and Ice. In 2007, registration numbers were forced to close at 194 for fear of overcrowding and in 2008 Patagonia signed on as title sponsor, bringing energy and hundreds of climbers and spectators from all over the country. Even a guy named Trotter from Canada came to test his game in this remote Arkansas canyon, and left having to meat hook his duffle bags to get home. Eh? 

    2009 is on the table. New routes at the ranch. New ideas. New faces and competitors. New year. New energy. 

    Luke Laeser at said “it’s the best comp in the US for sure, the word is getting out.”

    Visit the 24HHH website to register for this year's event, and don't forget to check out Sonnie Trotter's write up of last year's experience before you go. Hit the jump for more great photos of Horseshoe Hell courtesy of climbing photographer Lucas Marshall.

    And lastly, a NOTE OF CAUTION from our Grassroots Events Organizer, Kristo Torgersen, to all those thinking of competing in this year's event: If you're thinking of competing in this year's event, make sure to plan on a designated driver to get you to the airport or have accommodations set up for the night after the event. The long drive to the airport is not something to be taken lightly after 24 hours of non-stop climbing with no sleep.

    [Top, a sign of the times. Lower right, if you wanna go the distance you gotta prepare your mitts for battle. Photos: Lucas Marshall photography, captions courtesy Kristo Torgersen.]

    Continue reading "Twenty-four Hours of Horseshoe Hell Comes Again" »

    On Yoga


    By Lydia Zamorano

    I don’t know when it started for me, but somehow, over the last ten years, yoga as a practice has melted into everything I do, as a continuous flow. My favorite translation of the Sanskrit word Yoga implies that everything is already united. The practice part is learning how to pay attention to this wholeness in every waking moment.

    [Editor's note: Today's post comes from Lydia Zamorano. Lydia is the co-owner and director of The Yoga Studio in Squamish, British Columbia. She has traveled to India twice to study and practice Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga, meditation and yoga philosophy. She loves rock climbing, hanging out with her boyfriend Sonnie, and is inspired by people who have a strong pull toward community building and sustainability.]

    Yoga usually starts with the most perceptible and tangible aspects of life: breathing and the body. The way people experience yoga in our culture today is usually in a studio setting where one is led through a sequence of postures to promote health and wellbeing. However, the practice of yoga does not have to be confined to a formal room or an hour-and-a-half time slot. It can be as simple as the act of listening. When playing outside, it’s amazing to me how this mindset can unmask a dull experience and expose a brilliant one. It has been a way for me to realize that boredom doesn’t exist.

    [Meditating. Lydia in Baddha Padmasana on a granite boulder by the Stawamus River. Photo: Sonnie Trotter]

    Continue reading "On Yoga" »

    Backyard Adventures: The Sawtooth Traverse

    Morning after Central Idaho's Sawtooth Mountain Range offer a stellar backyard for Steve Graepel's adventures. A Boise resident, he wedges his endurance training around family and a full-time job. His Backyard Adventure gives us a glimpse at a beautiful section of country to be included in one of his bigger projects: connecting 1,200 miles across Idaho’s backcountry by foot, raft and mountain bike. We can't wait to read that Backyard Adventure. Until then, here's Steve in the Sawtooths.

    “Steve, I’ve got an idea ...”

    This is how it always starts. One of us drops the bait. Only this time it wasn’t me.

    Alice lake2 Scott and I have both been caught up with middle management - middle life. He runs a lab in the Bay area, and I've been tasked with leading a creative department at my place of work. Our schedules have been forged out of early mornings and late nights. Workouts squeezed between bottles and diapers.  We've both grown soft under our heavy shells of work, kids and family, barnacled with noon-meetings and mortgages...second mortgages. Our early trips together, traveling to climb in far-flung ranges have become cob-webbed memories and we now feel fortunate when we can carve out a weekend together every other year or so. As incentive to extract us from the grind of our day jobs, Scott makes the pitch.

    “Let’s do the two days.”

    Like carp to corn, I’m hooked.

    [Top, Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains in early morning light, as seen from the author's bike after running over 40 miles of trail to traverse the length of the range. Above, the route as it runs past an un-named lake below Alice Lake. Photo: Steve Graepel.]

    Continue reading "Backyard Adventures: The Sawtooth Traverse" »

    Dirtbag Diaries Shorts: Knees and Weather Permitting

    The_Shorts_NBB Host Fitz Cahall introduces today's Dirtbag Diaries Short before hitting the road for a well-deserved summer break:

    Some of us were lucky enough to hoist a bulging pack onto our shoulders, stumble into the mountains and return changed at a young age. Some of us heard the mountains’ calling later in life. That doesn’t mean the passion burns any less bright.  When writer Sarah Wroot took her first hike through Scotland’s craggy hills, she was overwhelmed with a surprising notion. “If I had a pack and a tent, I could keep going. I could be free to go wherever I want,” she thought. The idea took hold. Today, Sarah takes us all the way the Scottish Highlands and a journey that changed her life.

    Enjoy the rest of the summer. We’ll be back this fall with a whole new season of stories.

    Download "Knees and Weather Permitting"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    In between full-length episodes of The Dirtbag Diaries, listeners like you have the chance to narrate your own story on the show -- these are the Shorts. To submit your story for consideration, visit The Dirtbag Diaries and look for the Story Suggestions? link in the sidebar. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with Fitz via Facebook and Twitter.

    Fishing Waders Trigger Deep Thoughts About Gear Manufacturing

    Copy (2) of logo_RW_creelhawaiicls Our friends over at Recycled Waders have been hard at work finding new uses for some of Patagonia's most hard-to-recycle items. Fishing waders are complex pieces of gear - neoprene feet, water-proof fabrics treated with water-repellent finishes, stretchy shoulder straps, metal snaps and zippers, each of these items adds a layer of complexity to a process we developed originally to recycle simple base-layer garments. Patagonia's front man for all things pertaining the the environmental impact of our raw materials is Todd Copeland. He's been steering our Common Threads program for a while, and was stoked to share this story with us. It comes via Patrick Jenkins, founder of Recycled Waders, a small family operation that's busy building a successful business on three important pillars: Recycled Materials, Repurposed Products, and Responsible Consumers.  


    Original Action Who would have guessed an errant back cast lodging a 1-0 lead-eye bunny leech in a scraggly black spruce tree on the high bankside of a river mouth full of Alaskan king salmon would have been responsible for the development of a small business? But as luck would have it I scampered  up the bank to retrieve my fly from the black spruce, stepped up on a downed tree to reach my fly, lost my footing and a branch on the tree gauged an enormous hole in my first pair of breathable waders. Hmmmm…..

    [Recycled Waders provides a flat-out better alternative for retired waders: up-cycling them to new hand-sewn gear full of life and character. Photos: Patrick Jenkins, Recycled Waders]

    Continue reading "Fishing Waders Trigger Deep Thoughts About Gear Manufacturing" »

    The Blessed Inconvenience of Abundance

    Mater on vine Have you ever tried to grow zucchini? I haven’t. I’m a youngest child, and a fortunate side effect of that is a tendency to learn from others’ mistakes. I would watch my siblings get in trouble for something and make a mental note of what not to do. That’s why I’ve shied away from zucchini. I’ve seen too often the near-mad glaze that comes over the face of well-meaning friends who’ve grown an average crop of it. I’ve stood back in silent awe as they thrust friendship offerings in the form of grocery sacks full of the stuff at sworn enemies. I’ve shared meals with these crazed folks, where la courgette shows up in multiple forms—each version seasoned liberally with bitter resignation—a clue that this dinner wasn’t a social occasion but a collaborative effort to dispatch massive quantities of the unreasonably prolific vegetable.

    Having not attempted to grow zucchini, I haven’t learned one of the many valuable lessons it has to teach, chief among them is the blessed inconvenience of abundance. That's why I said yes when a friend asked me if I wanted some tomatoes for sauce-making. She was wearing sunglasses. It was a tactical maneuver, I now realize. Those glasses were designed to hide her mad-zucchini eyes, the ones screaming “Please! Take my tomatoes! They’ve taken over my house but won’t pay my mortgage! I can’t find my countertops and the dog is missing!”

    I walked away from that encounter 40lbs heavier. And with no idea what I’d gotten myself into.

    Continue reading "The Blessed Inconvenience of Abundance" »

    The Retail Life

    By Craig Holloway

    Jas0115craig Before I came to work at Patagonia, I was employed for many years with an outdoor retailer in Evanston, Illinois. It’s the customers I remember best.

    There were Gary and Sally, who would drop by to talk about their yearly rafting trip to Montana. Alan liked to hand me pictures of his beloved red ’72 Corvette to look over while he tried on clothes; I remember a red Guide Parka in particular that his girlfriend said looked good on him. The McMahon family always stopped by to shop; Michael and Patrick were two years apart in age, and I’d ask them how school was going and what colleges they planned to attend. Another customer, James, grew up on Chicago’s South Side and was a foreman for a large printing press company in the city. We’d chat about the recent vacation he took with his family to New Mexico, and his desire to return there.

    [Craig Holloway checks the day’s sales, while the great Gina Shelton takes a customer’s call. All photos: Craig Holloway Collection]

    Continue reading "The Retail Life" »

    Fastpacking the Pacific Crest Trail

    Krudmeister Patagonia Customer Service Rep, Adam Bradley, aka “krudmeister,” aka “El Monstro” has been taking some time off this summer to do a little hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail. Before he left, we’d asked him if he wouldn’t mind sending updates. His reply: “Well, I guess, but I don’t know how much of a story there is to tell you. The trail’s the story. When it comes down to it, I’m just a guy out walking in the woods.”

    This is all well and true, and many a person has hiked the PCT. But he left out a small detail: how FAST he’s walking through those woods. He’s been on the trail now for a little over a month and recently sent word about his progress. 45 days, 18 hours, 27 minutes, and 45 seconds to be exact. Most folks take somewhere between 150 – 180 days to cover the PCT's 2650 miles, so by day 45 they might find themselves somewhere around, say, Agua Dulce, CA – still quite a hump from the southern tip of the 400+ mile-long Sierra Nevada. So we had to double-check to make sure we heard The Mighty Krud correctly. He’d just told us the Sierra Nevada were a memory at this point, and he was entering Oregon with 1720 miles already behind him.

    Here’s some excerpts from the trail journal he’s been keeping of this year’s hike:

    Sunset This year is different than last year for me . . . I have actually trained for this. . . .[but] training aside, I don't think there is really anything that can prep oneself for being on your feet 14hrs a day for 65 days. Of course I am referring to the mental aspect of the walk, which is about 90% of it. The up side is that I have done it before, so unlike last year there isn't the unknown factor. I also understand the pace of the first 35 days. But the first 700 miles of the PCT in my opinion are grim. I couldn't ever walk that section again if I didn't have a goal like this to spur me on.


    Hit the jump for more excerpts, or click here to check out them out in their entirety:

    [Top, Adam Bradley (aka krudmeister) on his way through the dry lands of Southern California. Bottom,  food for the soul at the end of a long day on the trail. Photos: Adam Bradley]

    Continue reading "Fastpacking the Pacific Crest Trail" »

    Backyard Adventures: On Lone Cone

    IMG_1328 A few weeks ago some of the folks from the California office cruised up to our part of the coast. Glen Morden, one of Patagonia’s product designers, is a transplanted Canadian, so he was piloting the minivan as they rolled across the Island and into town. They showed up on a typical Tofino day—thick cloud, sheets of rain and fun little wind-groomed waves at Cox Bay. Glen and I used to be cursed every time we surfed together, but after a few hours of waves on that first day it seemed that our luck had finally been lifted.

    Editor's note: Today's post comes from Malcolm Johnson, editor of SBC Surf Magazine and author of the Patagonia field report "Not a Soul in Sight." For more musings and music recommendations from Malcolm, head over to his blog.

    From then on, the rest of the week in Tofino turned out to be pretty grand. The sun came out, the weather warmed up and the Californians caught some lovely slabs of fish with the guys from Jay’s Clayoquot Ventures. There were a few swims in the clear water of the Sound, and we managed to work a trip up Lone Cone into the schedule—one of the two main peaks on Meares Island, it’s a great upward grind that leads through some of the lushest old growth on the coast. It’s a bit of a burn for the legs, but the view you get from the top is always worth the work.

    [The folks in the forest on Meares Island. Photo: Jeremy Koreski]

    Continue reading "Backyard Adventures: On Lone Cone" »

    A Lime with That, Sir? - Transitioning to Waterless Urinals in the Workplace

    Use Water2-1 We got a waterless urinal a couple of months ago here on the second floor of the Crystal Palace at Patagonia HQ. It’s saving a lot of water, but smells a bit unsavory. One guy likened the odor to that of restrooms in bus terminals. Another said it was a Third-World experience without the cultural cross-references.

    I recently sprained my ankle mountain biking and have been icing it at work to reduce the swelling. After my first icing, I dumped the bag of melting ice into the bathroom sink. I know, it was wasteful. But thankfully, a colleague more thoughtful than me took it upon himself to shovel the ice into the waterless urinal.

    It seemed to help with the odor in a way the deodorizing wick and aerosol spray sanitizer that arrived with the waterless did not, so I’ve been dumping subsequent bags (a couple a day) directly into our new pissoir. Someone suggested adding limes to the ice like they do to margaritas – and some urinals – in Mexico. But I think our facilities department would frown on that.

    [All graphics by Cleanest Line reader Michael Buckley. Says Michael, "When I brush my teeth, I try to remind myself to brush like I do when I’m camping (to conserve water). These cards are meant to be printed out and placed where you could use the same reminder." Hit the jump for more.]

    Continue reading "A Lime with That, Sir? - Transitioning to Waterless Urinals in the Workplace" »

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