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    "Takashi Sends" - from Kelly Cordes' New Alpine Climbing Blog

    Kc - P1010248 Patagonia friend, product tester, writer, disaster-style alpine climber, sleeping-bag spooner (and, ahem, senior editor of The American Alpine Journal) recently realized he's not keeping himself busy enough. Nowadays, that's as good a reason as any to fire up a blog. What makes Kelly's different and special? Of course you'll have to find out for yourself, but here's a teaser: true tales of under-funded, uninformed, seat-of-your-pants style climbing epics; insightful reflections on the nature climbing's 'beginner's mind'; and some of the most thorough-yet-readable gear talk you could hope to find from true luminaries of the sport. Here's one of Kelly's first posts to his new blog - and here's to hoping it inspires you to get your weekend started a little early:

    Just returned from a great weekend in Joshua Tree – not much personal climbing, but that’s OK. Sometimes it’s not about that.

    The Friends of Joshua Tree puts on this cool little event, and Patagonia sent me to teach clinics and do a slide show, ironic as it may seem since the event is named “Climb Smart.” Midway through my show, it struck me that all of my best stories – the ones you naturally tell when giving a show – have very little to do with being smart. For the clinics, though, I tried my best to help and to teach, and I brought my A-game safety-wise, which I can do. After all, I’m the guy who Josh Wharton accused of “AMGA-ing the anchors” on Shingu Charpa. (“Sorry dude,” I remember saying early on the climb, “I’ll make ‘em sketchier and faster” – he was right…)
    [Scott DeCapio climbing Expert's Choice in the Canadian Rockies. Photo, Kelly Cordes.]

    Continue reading ""Takashi Sends" - from Kelly Cordes' New Alpine Climbing Blog" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: The New Conservationists

    New_conservaationists After attending the Tools for Grassroots Activists conference earlier this month, I'm particularly fired up to hear today's Dirtbag Diaries. Host Fitz Cahall introduces "The New Conservationists."

    Our sports, our passions provide a special opportunity to visit the natural world's wildest places. This tradition began with climber, writer and godfather of conservation John Muir. He was a dirtbag before he was an icon. Now, there are members of our community -- boaters, skiers and photographers -- who are following in Muir's footsteps. They don't necessarily come from traditional activist roots, but have chosen to take a stand for little places and big ideas. Today, we present three stories. A city girl sheds caution to start a farm. A kayaker becomes a journalist. An adventure photographer forgoes a career traveling the globe to run for office back at home. I am John Muir. You are John Muir. We all have a Yosemite.

    Download "The New Conservationists"
    (mp3 - right-click to download - contains some expletives)

    One of my takeaways from Tools was the appreciation each group had for their volunteers. If you're on the lookout for a worthy organization to support with your time or donation, visit our Environmental Grants Program page. There you can search our current list of grantees by city and state, each is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and in need of your help. You are John Muir. Thank you.

    For more information on the music in today's episode, visit The Dirtbag Diaries.

    [Radical DBD artwork by Walker Cahall.]

    Botany of Desire Looks at Human/Nature Relationship from Unexpected Angle

    Botanydesire_cover2 Humans frequently assume that we are the architects of biological change, rather than mere participants. Genetic mapping and engineering do paint a compelling picture of us in the genetic driver’s seat. But what if we’re manipulated by the very agents we believe we’re manipulating? What if, for example, in our attempts to create a more cold-tolerant tomato, we’re unconsciously fulfilling the tomato’s desire to expand the environment in which it thrives? It’s discomforting – some would say, ridiculous - to think of ourselves as haplessly duped marionettes in an elaborate drama manipulated by the omniscient tomato – especially when things like consciousness and desire are not frequently listed among the tomato’s better-known traits.

    And yet it cannot be denied that the tomato has achieved a depth of genetic diversity and breadth of distribution that it may never had known, had it not appealed to a specific set of human desires. In making itself so delicious (entire cuisines are built upon it), nutritious (rich in lycopene and Vitamins A & C), and easy to preserve (thanks to high acid content) it earned a free boat ride from the New World back to the European mainland, where it proceeded to re-write culinary history. Thus did a lowly, spindly member of the sometimes-poisonous nightshade family manage to effectively put human legs and boats and farmers to work for it, moving it from its original western Andean home to farms and backyard gardens around the world.

    We have grown accustomed to the idea of measuring the environmental impacts of our consciously chosen actions. We’ve come to see that many of our choices have unintended environmental consequences, many of them harmful. But what about those unconscious choices that have sprung from pure desire, whether it be a desire for control, for taste, for intoxication, or even the simple desire . . .

    Continue reading "Botany of Desire Looks at Human/Nature Relationship from Unexpected Angle" »

    Action Alert: Help Prevent Pollution at Malibu's Surfrider Beach

    IMG_09062 Up the road from Patagonia HQ, the fight to ban septic tanks at Rincon is making good progress. A similar shift is now being proposed for Rincon's southerly sister, Surfrider Beach in Malibu. The Malibu Surfing Association is one of many groups working on this issue and they're asking for your help. Take action: Help prevent pollution at Malibu's famous Surfrider Beach. Sign the online petition, and if you live in Los Angeles County, attend the public hearing on November 5th in downtown LA. Read on for more from Michael Blum, President of the Malibu Surfing Association...

    As you know, Surfrider Beach is one of the state's most polluted beaches and certainly its most polluted surfing beach. A double shame given the iconic, even transcendent status Malibu holds in the history of our sport as well as popular culture.

    For the past couple of years, our surfing club (MSA) has been working with a coalition of groups (Surfrider Foundation West LA/Malibu Chapter, Heal the Bay, and Santa Monica Baykeeper) to urge the Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) to take action on poor water quality at Surfrider. The RWQCB is important here as they are the 'buck stops here' agency mandated to protect resources like Surfrider Beach with respect to water quality.

    Continue reading "Action Alert: Help Prevent Pollution at Malibu's Surfrider Beach " »

    Patagonia Dillon Gives Local Pronghorn a Little More Freedom to Roam

    Pic_1Today's post is from the staff of our Outlet Store in Dillon, Montana, who were among the first to take part in a developing program called Witness for Wildlife, a new initiative from Patagonia and the Freedom to Roam Coalition designed to bring together the experiences of everyday Americans who are documenting wildlife activity and threats in their own backyards and speaking out on behalf of the migration corridors those animals depend on for survival. Read on for a first-hand account from our Dillon friends, as authored by Patagonia employee and Dillon-area environmental activist, Kenda Herman.


    Living in Dillon, Montana we take for granted seeing American Pronghorn speckle the landscape and have the luxury of witnessing these animals zoom across open ranges. We are charmed with the high desert backdrops of our home that allow a view of not just big sky, but large-scale mountain ranges and valleys. With an understanding of the local wildlifes’ perspective on usable countryside in mind, we brake on I-15 for whatever animal from the foothills that might cross the highway to visit the river.

    Dillon’s Patagonia Outlet staff gained some “Freedom to Roam” this summer when we were funded for an environmental internship. We kicked off crisp work clothes in exchange for . . .

    [A view of lower Centennial Valley. Pam Neumeyer]

    Continue reading "Patagonia Dillon Gives Local Pronghorn a Little More Freedom to Roam" »

    2010 Mugs Stump Award

    Mugs 3 Established in 1993 to honor the late alpinist Mugs Stump, the Mugs Stump Award annually awards grants to a select number of individuals and teams whose proposed climbs present an outstanding challenge – a first ascent, significant repeat, or first alpine-style ascent – with special emphasis placed on climbers leaving no trace of their passage. Sponsored by Alpinist Magazine, Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd., Mountain Gear, Patagonia, Inc., and W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., the Mugs Stump Award once again encourages men, women and teams from North America to submit their applications for a part of this year’s $25,000 in grant funding.

    Mugs Stump was one of North America's most prolific and imaginative climbers until his death in a crevasse fall in Alaska in May 1992. Best-known for his first ascent of the Emperor Face on Mount Robson in the Canadian Rockies and his triptych of brilliant Alaskan climbs - the East Face of the Moose's Tooth and the Moonflower Buttress on Mount Hunter, and a one-day solo of Denali's Cassin Ridge - Mugs was the complete climber, adept at all forms of the game. The Mugs Stump Award has helped committed climbers fulfill their dreams of fast, lightweight ascents in the world's high places. If you share Mugs' vision of climbing as a celebration of boldness, purity, and simplicity, and have the determination to bring your dream to life, you are encouraged to apply.

    Past recipients reflect both well-known and relatively unheard of alpinists, with objectives that include major ascents in Alaska, Patagonia, the Himalaya, the Rocky Mountains, Greenland and more, details of which can be found here.

    [The only way is up. Mugs Stump a below the West Face of Gasherbrum IV, Karakoram, Pakistan, in July 1983. Photo: Michael Kennedy]

    Continue reading "2010 Mugs Stump Award" »

    Padang Menangis - "Padang is crying" (West Sumatra Earthquake 2009)

    PadangGemapa--33977_2 Today we're following-up on Friday's post "Great Waves, Bad Earthquakes, an Island in Need" with a firsthand account of the recent earthquake in Sumatra. Patagonia surf ambassador Belinda Peterson-Baggs was on a boat trip with our friends at Sumatran Surfariis when the 7.6 quake hit. Here's Belinda:

    In the last hours of sunlight, the sea conducted a violent tremor in the depths, 20 meters below. From the decks of Mikumba our hearts missed a beat; 45 seconds felt like an eternity, until the rumble eventually settled and each particle of water once again found its flow with the swells. Throughout the night distress calls over channel 16 broke the horrifying news of a 7.6 magnitude earthquake, epicenter just 33 miles from Padang. Shock and panic came across the boat in a wave. The entire crew have wives, children, mothers, brothers; their entire families living amongst the 800,000-strong, third-world city. Instantly pulling anchor we headed for port praying for the lives of our friends and loved ones.

    [All photos: Adam Kobayashi.]

    Continue reading "Padang Menangis - "Padang is crying" (West Sumatra Earthquake 2009)" »

    Great Waves, Bad Earthquakes, an Island in Need

    2keith malloy Indonesia is a favorite destination of surfers from all over the world, including Patagonia employees, who have visited the islands many times over the years to surf and explore. A group from our company was on Sumatra just last month. They flew into Padang, the island’s largest city (pop. 900,000), where they hopped a charter boat out to the southern Mentawai Islands. Their enviable mission: test some boards, shoot photos and video and have some fun. Onboard were Patagonia Surf Ambassadors Keith, Dan and Chris Malloy, Wayne Lynch, Gerry Lopez, and Liz Clark, along with Fletcher Chouinard, Jason McCaffrey, Jeff Johnson, Devon Howard, and Tim Davis.

    1padang On September 30, a few weeks after they returned, a 7.6 earthquake hit Sumatra, toppling buildings, unleashing landslides, killing at least a thousand people and leaving an estimated 500,000 more displaced. To say it created huge additional hardship for a people already hard hit by poverty and privation would be putting it mildly.

    To the point of this post: Many wonderful nonprofit humanitarian groups are now at work helping Sumatrans in the aftermath of the quake. Among them is SurfAid International, which has been working in the Mentawais since 2000.

    6OldIbuTraumaLostHou#257082 The group was founded by Kiwi physician and surfer Dr. Dave Jenkins, who like Patagonia’s surfers, took a surf charter to the Mentawai Islands in search of perfect waves. The surf proved to be everything he had hoped for. What he also found, however, were the Mentawai people – mostly women and children – suffering and dying from the ravages of malaria and other preventable diseases.

    [Top - Patagonia surf ambassador Keith Malloy enjoying the surf in the Mentawais a few weeks before the earthquake. Photo: Tim Davis. Above - The docks at Padang, Sumatra, prior to the Sept. 30 quake that hobbled the city.Photo: Tim Davis Life amid the wreckage after the recent earthquake. Photo: Andy Campbell]

    Continue reading "Great Waves, Bad Earthquakes, an Island in Need" »

    Twenty Four - and so much more . . . [Updated with video]

    Mug Today's post comes from Patagonia's Athlete Liaison and Grassroots Event Coordinator, Kristo Torgerson. Kristo's the brains and sweat behind Patagonia's involvement in what has become one of the rock climbing community's coolest events, the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell. We announced this year's event back in July. For a complete recount of last year's event from the eyes of competitor and Patagonia Rock Climbing Ambassador Sonnie Trotter, click here.

    This year, Kristo joined story-telling forces with Patagonia Climbing Ambassadors Kate Rutherford, Brittany Griffith, Mikey Shafer, and Colin Haley in a mad-lib-style trip report tour-de-force. Enjoy . . .

    "24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell." To mention it by name elicits one of two responses, depending on your familiarity with this one-of-a-kind climbing event – head scratching and furrowed brows or big grins and stuttering excitement. If you didn’t make it to the event a couple weeks ago, then you’re likely still scratching your head, so let me ask you this: You’re a climber, yea? You’ve done some hard pitches in your time and spent some long days out, right? Good for you. Seriously though, how many hard pitches ...

    [Drink up and rack up, it's go time at 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell. All photos: Lucas Marshall Photography, captions courtesy Kristo Torgersen.] 

    Continue reading "Twenty Four - and so much more . . . [Updated with video]" »

    Oceans as Wilderness: Ocean Acidification – Global Warming’s Evil Twin

    EliasSvenaquarium_2Once again it's time to revisit a past environmental campaign, Oceans as Wilderness, and I wish it was under more positive circumstances. Patagonia grantee the Environmental Defense Center is starting to spread word about another problem the world's oceans are facing due to humanity's carbon-producing ways: ocean acidification. Read on to learn more about this emerging issue and a new film that hopes to bring it into the public spotlight.

    [Steve Hudson & grandson Elias on location during the filming of A Sea Change. Photo:]

    While the realities of climate change on the land are becoming better understood, there is an urgent but little known global crisis occurring in our oceans. Often referred to as the “other carbon dioxide problem,” ocean acidification is a process that is making the oceans more acidic. Calcifying marine creatures including corals, coralline algae, urchins, lobsters, abalone, and small ecologically important groups of planktonic swimming snails have difficulty developing their shells in more acidic water. Since many of these marine creatures provide habitat and food for other marine life we can only imagine the ripple effect that losing these creatures would have on the food web.

    Continue reading "Oceans as Wilderness: Ocean Acidification – Global Warming’s Evil Twin" »

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