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    A Queen and a King: The Story Behind the Most Famous Santa Barbara Surf Shot Ever


    One very fine day in 1973, Gary Ward and I were surfing Rincon and it was just perfect. We both had to leave around 1 p.m. to get back to work, but the look and feel of the Rincon on that day was more alluring than silver or gold. She was alive and dancing before my eyes. From the lineup, I glanced at the cliffs above and knew where I had to go. I had never seen her lines so clean and pure, just stretching to the horizon. What surprises, I wondered, awaited a drive to the top of the hill?

    [Editor's note: Today we're stoked to feature a story written by legendary surf photographer Steve Bissell that originally appeared in the Santa Barbara Independent. The daughter Steve mentions works here at Patagonia HQ and she's really proud of her dad.]

    I knew, even had I not had my Nikon with me, I needed to experience that view. Moving slowly and cautiously, I drove up the small twisty road, occasionally glancing at Gary and thinking too much about the consequences of trespassing. Sign after sign ate away at my desire to capture one of the world’s most classic waves in all her glory as I thought about jail, long and tearful goodbyes to my wife and daughter, and the loss of my precious freedom. But the vision, or the promise of the vision, drove me on.

    [Easily the most iconic picture taken of one of North America’s most iconic surf spots, this nearly 40-year-old image of the Queen truly has stood the test of time. Photo: Steve Bissell]

    Continue reading "A Queen and a King: The Story Behind the Most Famous Santa Barbara Surf Shot Ever" »

    Backyard Corridors: What animals do you no longer see in your area?

    Mtnlion A while back, one of the local news outlets ran a story: “Dad Jumps Between Mountain Lion, Son.” The story was picked up by CNN and went national in just under 24 hours.

    In that story we were introduced to a man who had recently moved his family to northwestern Nevada and purchased a home on the raw edge of a rapidly expanding town near some sizable - but diminishing - pieces of mountain lion habitat. We learned from the story that these folks, like many who move here, were eager to live in a land where unmediated encounters with nature are possible. The reality of such an encounter was not quite what they had imagined.

    Listening to the man in the news report describe that lion was like listening to myself from 15 years ago. I moved here with a similar enthusiasm for the big, wild land around this area. Back then, I was drunk on visions of Wild America and under the spell of an early visit to Reno - when I watched a herd of 60+ mule deer grazing on mountain slopes within the city limits. I would have believed the edge of town marked the naked frontier. To a kid from the East Coast, this was big, majestic nature, and I wanted to be closer to it. Little did I know that in moving here I would be playing a part in the growth that would eventually swallow the prime over-wintering grounds that the majestic herd of mule deer depended upon for survival.

    [Mountain lion photo courtesy of Chino Hills State Park website]

    Continue reading "Backyard Corridors: What animals do you no longer see in your area?" »

    180° South: The Premiere, The Book and the Inspiration Behind them Both


    On Wednesday, February 10, Chris Malloy's long-anticipated film 180° South will premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Hopefully those of you who live nearby will come out and join us for the screening. Details can be found on the Woodshed Films Facebook page or the SBIFF site. For those who can't make the premiere, there are a few ways you can get a taste of the story until we have more info on future screenings and the release of the film on DVD and Netflix.

    Mountain of Storms, the 1968 trip that inspired 180° South, is available now on DVD. I love this movie, and if you're a fan of our company, a climber, a surfer, a skier, a travel fanatic or nostalgic for the vibe of the late sixties, chances are you'll love it too. Also, Patagonia Books has published a beautiful hardcover book entitled 180° South: Conquerors of the Useless. Within its 240 pages are chapters written by Yvon Chouinard, Chris Malloy and Jeff Johnson, along with hundreds of photographs and a revealing set of campfire interviews, conducted by Chris Malloy, with Yvon Chouinard, Doug Tompkins and Jeff Johnson.

    Hit the jump for excerpts from Mountain of Storms and 180° South: Conquerors of the Useless.

    Continue reading "180° South: The Premiere, The Book and the Inspiration Behind them Both" »

    Copp-Dash Inspire Award for Alpinists

    Jonny&MicahJonny Copp and Micah Dash were two of America’s leading alpine climbers, traveling to the farthest corners of the world in search of first ascents in the purest of style. Jonny and Micah believed the summit meant something, but style was everything.

    Sponsored by Black Diamond Equipment, La Sportiva, Mountain Hardware and Patagonia the Copp-Dash Inspire Award has been formed, to support climbers who choose to follow a similar path, both in life and in the mountains.

    The goal is to assist climbers before, during and after expeditions with financial grants and multimedia instruction to help empower them to share their adventures with a wider audience. Storytelling mentorship (before and after the expedition) will be provided by the Adventure Film Festival, Alpinist Magazine, Sender Films and professional photographers John Dickey and Mikey Schaefer.

    Please visit the American Alpine Club for details. Applications are due by March 31, 2010.

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

    Bad Weather in Patagonia - Mikey & Kate Settle for Aguja de la “S”; Colin Solos Aguja Guillaumet


    [Approaching can be so miserable. Photo: Mikey Schaefer]

    By all accounts, the weather down in Patagonia this season has been terrible so climbers are taking what they can get. This has been the case for Patagonia ambassadors Mikey Schaefer and Kate Rutherford. After getting skunked on the larger features they had hoped to climb, Mikey and Kate finally got the chance on Monday to climb one of the smaller mountains in the Fitz Roy range.

    Aguja de la “S”
    Words and illustrations by Kate Rutherford
    Photos and captions by Mikey Schaefer

    A great way to climb in Patagonia is to allow your expectations to change with the prevailing winds, rise and fall with the amount of ice plastered to the cliffs, and be flexible. In the last week of our trip Mikey Schaefer and I got to actually climb something after waiting for the high winds of the last three weeks to pass. I put down my paint brush to check the weather on the Meteorogram, it looked more reasonable than before. There was a 36-hour period of low winds without precipitation. All the climbers in town rallied to head to the mountains.

    Continue reading "Bad Weather in Patagonia - Mikey & Kate Settle for Aguja de la “S”; Colin Solos Aguja Guillaumet" »

    Backyard Corridors: Which animals in your area might need to move through corridors to survive?

    Moose_jer_collins Like a majestic pack of finger-clicking primates roaming the wilds of the Internet, our migration through the Backyard Corridors series is almost complete. Thank you one and all for sharing your thoughts with us and helping to paint a better picture of local-scale corridor issues. This week's question:

    Which animals in your area might need to move through corridors to survive?

    Sue Halpern kicks things off with a story about her area of Vermont and how the Forest Service has put up new “corridor” signs and speed reductions on local highways. [Illustration: Jeremy Collins]

    It was about three in the afternoon when the dog, sleeping soundly on a shaft of sunlight projected onto the living room floor, stood up abruptly, tail aloft, and started barking. Normally she is a quiet animal, not given to verbal outbursts unless she hears the word “ski.” But this was late summer. I followed the dog to the window that frames our meadow. The meadow is long-standing. It appears on maps dating back more than a century, an island of tall grass and wildflowers surrounded on all sides by an expansive ocean of trees. The dog pointed, I looked out, and there, not more than fifty feet from the house, were two moose, one big, the other slightly less big – a mother and child – ambling across the field. If they were rattled by the sound of a barking dog, they didn’t show it. In fact, they stopped, opposite the window, and looked our way, and waited. These were photo-op moose. They weren’t going anywhere. They looked at us, we looked at them until finally the dog got bored and lay back down on her sunny blanket. The moose nosed around in the grass, then started walking slowly to the back of the field where they disappeared into the woods, in the direction of our nearest neighbors. I called them up. “Two moose are coming your way,” I said. But the moose must have taken a detour. They didn’t show up at the neighbors’ for a month.

    Continue reading "Backyard Corridors: Which animals in your area might need to move through corridors to survive? " »

    Remembering the Buffalo Soldiers

    SheltonJohnson This morning, on the way to work, I heard a story on NPR about the power of activism and an important anniversary. Fifty years ago today, four African American college students challenged society by walking into a Greensboro Woolworth's, sitting down at the segregated lunch counter and refusing to leave until they were served – they did this every day for six months. That simple yet brave act spawned a movement that spread across the country and helped African Americans achieve the equality they always deserved.

    In honor of the Greensboro Four, we're pleased to share a story by James Mills, creator and host of The Joy Trip Project, about another group of African Americans who played a crucial role in American history. Known as the Buffalo Soldiers, they were the horsemen of the 9th and 10th divisions of the U.S. Calvary who actively patrolled the newly created Yellowstone, Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks and helped set the standard for today's National Park Service. As James puts it, "The Buffalo Soldiers were in effect among the world’s first park rangers."

    Listen to "The Buffalo Soldiers"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    The Joy Trip Project produces a regularly occurring podcast on topics related to outdoor recreation, environmental conservation, acts of charitable giving and practices of sustainable living. The podcast is distributed via Real Simple Syndication (RSS) and through audio programming websites such as iTunes and We're grateful to James Mills, To The Best of Our Knowledge and REI for bringing us today's story. You can also find James on Facebook and Twitter.

    [Yosemite Interpretive Ranger, Shelton Johnson. Photo via Joy Trip Project]

    Announcing the Patagonia Winterfest Sale: February 11-16, 2010


    This is your chance to chop 30-50% off retail prices on select Patagonia products.* Pick up great gear for the snowy months ahead or take care of next year's holiday shopping while prices are right. Save at and most Patagonia Retail Stores.

    Save 30-50%
    February 11-16, 2010

    While you're there, be among the first to check out our great new spring offerings. They're not on sale, but you're sure to find something you like.

    Thanks to everyone who asked about the sale dates. We appreciate your patience and support.

    [David Hanson preps heat for the hut. Methow Valley, Washington. Photo: Michael Hanson]

    * Sale limited to stock on hand. Sale prices apply only to Patagonia® merchandise on days specified. Patagonia Outlets and Patagonia Cardiff-by-the-Sea are not participating in the sale. New for spring items, surfboards, wetsuits, blankets, gift cards, gifts bags, Carry Y’All Bag and shipping are excluded. Offer valid in USA and Canada only (Canadian orders, call 1-800-638-6464). Not valid with pro, team and group sales or any other special offers. Sale ends February 16, 2010.

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2014 Patagonia, Inc.