The Cleanest Line

Weblog for the employees, friends and customers of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Visit to see what we do.

RSS Feed




    « February 2010 | Main | April 2010 »

    The Tin Shed Gets Tuned Up for Spring

    Tin Shed S10 We’re sliding open the doors to the Shed and sweeping it clean this spring. Tune into the season with a fresh batch of stories from our friends and ambassadors out in the wild – in videos, audio and written word. And don’t worry, just like our favorite winter sweaters, we’ve found a place to stash all the cool-weather stories – you’ll find all of them in the Tin Shed archives by clicking "View All Stories" in the top right corner of the Shed.

    Here's a taste of what you'll find this spring:

    Border Country
    Jeremy Collins and Mikey Schaefer had been planning a new route on Yosemite Valley’s Middle Cathedral when they learned of the deaths of their good friends and fellow climbers, Jonny Copp and Micah Dash. Collins said, “They showed us to never give up, to go light, to go bold, and always live with passion.” He and Schaefer sent the route in their honor.

    Mongo Metal Pirates

    In Mongo Fly ’08, Mikey Wier takes us to remote Mongolian rivers in search of the massive taimen. Check out the trailer for Metalheadz, a new video from AEG Media on steelhead fishing in the Pacific Northwest. And see an excerpt from the ESPN series Pirates of the Flats featuring Yvon Chouinard and Bill Klyn pursuing bonefish in the Bahamas.

    Freedom to Roam and Awakening the Skeena

    Freedom to Roam portrays a long-term initiative dedicated to establishing migration wildways in the Americas and elsewhere for animals now threatened by global warming. In Awakening the Skeena, a young woman swims the length of a cold northern river to inspire communities in its watershed to come to its defense.

    Jeff Denholm: Ocean Calling

    A twist of fate changed Jeff Denholm’s life in the mid-90s, but his competitive drive hasn’t diminished. Watch as he trains for, and competes in, his first Moloka’I Challenge – the 32-mile race that’s considered paddleboarding’s unofficial world championship.

    The Simplest Solution

    After seeing a wiry Nepali porter carry a 100 lb load with the aid of a tumpline, Yvon Chouinard followed suit and strapped one over his head to relieve the strain of his heavy pack on his injured neck. Following that discovery, Yvon said, “I learned to try to find a simple solution first, rather than a techno-fix.”

    Patagonia Surfers in Indonesia

    Gerry Lopez, Wayne Lynch, Liz Clark, and Dan, Keith and Chris Malloy set out with Fletcher Chouinard on the Makimba to test his new boards in Indonesia’s Mentawai Islands off the coast of Sumatra.

    Northern Alps Traverse

    In August 2009, Maxime Turgeon set off on his bike and pedaled up the high mountain passes of the northern Alps in search of classic climbs to solo. After three weeks, six peaks, 770 miles of cycling, and over 42,000 feet of elevation gain, he dove into the Mediterranean Sea at the end of this human-powered journey.

    24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell

    Team of two take on the steep, gritty sandstone near Jasper, Arkansas, during a 24-hour climbing competition. Patagonia ambassadors Brittany Griffith and Kate Rutherford team up to show the boys some sass. The self-proclaimed alpinistos gordos, Colin Haley and Mikey Schaefer, used the marathon competition to jump-start their training.

    Drop by the Shed to feed your roots with classic tales, check out fresh footage from the cutting edge, and maybe find yourself a sweet deal on your next Patagonia purchase. Thanks for tuning in!

    Surfer's Benefit for Chile at Brushfire Records in Los Angeles


    Last Friday, March 26 was a surfer's benefit for Chile at Brushfire Records: the evening featured an impromptu and intimate gathering of friends, surfers, artists and musicians coming together to raise funds and solidarity for victims of the recent massive earthquake and tsunami in Chile. Local surfers and fishermen in Chile who've always lived the simplest of lives are among the hardest hit and in need of help. Many surfers and artists hold a deep appreciation for the awe-inspiring Chilean coast that was hit hardest by the tsunami, and they came together on Friday night at Brushfire Records.

    Editor's note: Today's update comes from Josh Berry, Save The Waves' Environmental Director. Josh recently returned from Chile where he and other Save The Waves activists and partners, including Waves 4 Water, helped distribute water filtration systems to the hardest hit coastal areas of the earthquake/tsunami-ravaged country. Josh and the guys from Waves 4 Water stopped by Patagonia HQ last week and then headed further south to attend this benefit event organized by Patagonia ambassador Chris Malloy.

    Continue reading "Surfer's Benefit for Chile at Brushfire Records in Los Angeles" »

    Blank on the Map – in the USA

    Cody LR-2.jpg-1

    Editor's note: Our thanks go out to Patagonia ambassador Kitty Calhoun for sharing today's story and photos. This is the first time we've featured one of Kitty's stories on The Cleanest Line, hopefully it won't be the last.

    Cars, phones, money are the necessary bane of my existence. On this trip I would need none of these; all I would need was my ice climbing gear, sleeping bag, and coffee mug, and the rest would be provided, including a wall tent and wood stove. Mules were going to carry our gear six miles to base camp in a valley outside Cody, Wyoming, which was, according to rumor, stacked with virgin ice.

    [Mules carrying the loads (for once) to the ice climbs. All photos: Kitty Calhoun]

    Continue reading "Blank on the Map – in the USA" »

    Hiking Down Memory Lane

    John ken tony It's been said that if you remember the 60s then you weren’t there. But if, like me, you grew up in the 60s and 70s and were into backpacking or climbing, there is actually a whole lot to remember. Like many of us, I got my start backpacking in the Boy Scouts. I remember our troop had a bunch of army surplus tents called "shelter halfs" which were heavy canvas tents that came in two pieces. They slept two people so each person would carry one half the tent and then you’d button them together in camp. Even though you only carried half the tent and it didn’t even have a floor, it still weighed in at 5lbs per half. My first ever backpacking trip combined this tent with a cotton sleeping bag and a old scout pack called (I think) the Trapper Pack, an L-shaped torture device/pack frame that lacked both padded shoulder straps and a hip belt. I think we went three miles, and to this day it remains the longest trip of my life.

    Although some of the younger folks I work with seem to think trips like that epitomize backpacking in the 60s & 70s, it was actually an era of huge advances in lightweight equipment. With the “back to nature” and “anti-establishment” sentiments of the 60s, backpacking became the ‘in’ sport, and suddenly trailheads were overwhelmed with hikers seeking out their very own wilderness experience. This popularity spawned a rush to create lighter and more durable backpacking gear. The people who started these companies were true pioneers and all of us who enjoy the great gear of today owe them a huge debt.

    Indeed, so much of what we take for granted today came about during this period of innovation.Old gear As writer and industry historian, Warren McClaren notes “The 70s seem to be when everything happened. MSR stoves, Therm-a-rest, Gore-tex, Geodesic domes, Friends, Fastex hardware, Pit zips, internal frame packs, etc.”  All these things came about within a few short . . .

    [Top - Jon, Tony & Ken, about halfway through the PCT, 1974. Photo: Ken La Russa. Above, right - A collection of some of Bruce Johnson's vintage gear. Photo: Bruce Johnson]

    Continue reading "Hiking Down Memory Lane" »

    Fly Fishing: Our Newest Online-only Catalog


    A little tired of the traditional catalog format and a lot inspired by the November 2009 online-only Surf catalog, our fishing team decided that our approach to a catalog could be . . . well, less like a catalog and more like a good fishing trip. So just like any trip we've tossed in our best gear, but we didn't stop there. We also made sure to throw in a heaping helping of pictures, stories, and inspiration as well. Our latest Fly Fishing catalog is filled with stunning photography, videos and interactive pages that help you see what works together and why. We're sending it your way just in time to get fired up for the season. Check out Patagonia Fly Fishing Spring_10 catalog and let us know what you think.

    Online catalogs aren't completely new to us. About six years ago we offered online replicas of our print catalogs. Like any over-enthusiastic fisherman, we were so fired up to get line on the water that we never stopped to think about the importance of presentation. Times have changed and we've learned a thing or two about how to put these things out there. We hope you find the results to be irresistible.

    The amount of resources it takes to produce paper catalogs has always made us squirm. And while folks have long been aware of the impact catalog production has on trees, it's only recently that attention's been turned to additional impacts in the form of energy consumption, greenhouse gases, solid wastes produced, and water consumed. Together, our only-online Surf and Fly Fishing catalogs have prevented close to 3 million gallons of waste water from entering our waterways. It's no accident that our first online-only catalogs are made for the folks whose passions are deeply connected to the water. We hope you'll help us in our efforts to set a new example by passing this catalog along to your friends, either via e-mail or your social media platform of choice.

    Share with friends:

    As it stands, the vast majority of our customers still love the print catalog, but we've been encouraged to keep diversifying our approach. Stay tuned. As we make progress we'll share it here.

    Thanks as always for your support and for telling us what works best for you. We hope you enjoy the catalog.

    ED NOTE: We mistakenly reported above that our two catalogs together have helped to avoid producing nearly three million gallons of wastewater. We've since learned that the paper that would have been used for this catalog production is 50% post-consumer content, which alters the final impact tally. Taking this updated information into account, our online Surf and Fly Fishing catalogs have prevented the production of nearly 1.8 million gallons of wastewater from entering our waterways. Our environmental impact estimates are made possible by the Environmental Defense Fund's online Paper Calculator. To find out more, visit

    Dirtbag Diaries: The Shorts - Upward Mobility

    NB_manOne world, one love, one blog. Yesterday we heard from an East German employee, today, India native Harini Ayer shares her Short on The Dirtbag Diaries. Host Fitz Cahall sets the stage:

    Throughout the course of the Diaries, I'd hazard to guess that hundreds of you have written in about the struggle many of us -- me included -- experience between work and our passions. Even if work is one of your passions, the mountains, rivers, all the tiny places in this great wide world can seem impossibly far away. We are put in positions where we have to decide between pragmatism and passion. Harini Ayer's story epitomized this struggle. She came to the States from Southern India almost a decade ago and fell in love with this country, her research and climbing. Her ability to stay here has always been tied to her visa. Her work was a form of upward mobility. But there was a catch. If Harini switched jobs, or took a break from her research, she lost her ability to stay here. Climbing took a back seat, until eventually Harini made a stand for herself, her style of life and took an incredible risk.

    Audio_graphic_4  Listen to "Upward Mobility"
    (mp3 - right-click to download - music credits)

    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.

    One Man's Road to Patagonia

    Legend78 Most of our employees have interesting stories to tell, but few have spent 15 months in an East German jail after abandoning a plan to somersault the Berlin Wall from a trampoline before trying to escape the country on foot.

    Holger Bismann, managing director of Patagonia Europe, was generous enough to share some of his experiences of what it was like to live under totalitarian rule in East Germany, keep alive a relationship with his future wife while in jail, then cross the border into freedom after the Wall came down.

    1) What is your most vivid memory of living in East Germany before the Wall came down? The thing that reminds you of that time the most?

    My most vivid memories were of saying "good bye" to the good things about the life I had there for 27 years, right before my friend Klaus and I escaped. We couldn't actually say good bye to anyone because it was too dangerous to tell anybody about our plans. We couldn't even say anything to our closest friends or parents, simply to protect them and ourselves from danger.

     . . . hit the jump to continue reading "One Man's Road to Patagonia"

    [A photo from earlier, and easier, times - before the personal ordeal that would eventually lead to freedom from East Germany. Photo: Holger Bisman collection]

    Continue reading "One Man's Road to Patagonia" »

    Phase One of Save The Waves' Chile Earthquake/Tsunami Relief Efforts Complete; Donations Still Needed

    STW_Muller_c19 When Save The Waves Coalition reacted to the recent earthquakes and tsunami in Chile, their first priority was bringing clean drinking water to the more remote areas of the country. That phase is now complete but the larger work is far from over. Read on for an update and a new batch of photos from the devastated VII Región del Biobío. [Chilean family in Licanten, VII Region, in front of what was their house. Their tap water comes out yellow with small bits and dust floating. Now they have filters that provide clean drinking water. Photo: Philip Muller]

    March 17, 2010, Pichilemu/Curanipe, Chile – Save The Waves Coalition, operating though a passionate volunteer ground team led by professional surfers Ramon Navarro, Greg Long and Kohl Christensen, completed the first phase of its Chile relief efforts by distributing nearly 1,000 water filters along with other essential supplies to coastal Chile. The water filters, provided by partner nonprofit Waves for Water, are now providing clean drinking water for up to 10,000 Chileans, many of who live in remote coastal areas and were cut off from clean water in the wake of the 8.8-magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami on February 27, 2010.

    Through national press recognition of the “surfers without surfboards who distribute water filters,” all of Chile is aware of the organization’s relief efforts, and the heartfelt appreciation has been overwhelming. The recognition led to an invitation this week to the home of the US Ambassador to Chile, Paul Simons, to discuss Save The Waves’ relief operations in Chile in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

    Continue reading "Phase One of Save The Waves' Chile Earthquake/Tsunami Relief Efforts Complete; Donations Still Needed" »

    Rios Libres: The Voice of the Ice

    Timm Neff walk Team Rios Libres is back with an update from the Neff Glacier, at the headwaters of the Río Baker. The team's first two reports can be found here (1, 2). With the Neff at their backs, the team followed the river to the sea, doing their best to document the diversity, beauty, and wildness of the region. Before completing their journey, the team will be checking in on a region of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field last believed to be last visited and documented by explorer Eric Shipton during 1960-61 expedition.

    Reports from the Rios Libres team are that their travels are proceeding smoothly, but the impacts of the quakes continue to be felt and much support is still needed (information about how to help is here).


    Childs-Neff1 The Voice of Ice (a report from Craig Childs)

    At night I lay in my tent listening to the thunder of collapsing seracs, multi-ton columns of ice breaking free and falling a thousand feet. Smack, crack, rumble, groan. In these deeply-cut canyons, echoes build and fade. The ice-bound head of the Rio Baker is not a stable or quiet place.

    [Top, Timmy O'Neill walks the line on the Neff Glacier. Above, left - Craig Childs watches as a huge chunk of ice falls 20 stories down the Neff Glacier. Photos: James Q Martin]

    Continue reading "Rios Libres: The Voice of the Ice" »

    Paddle Georgia Celebrates the South's Rivers

    Boats Georgia River Network is a long-time recipient of Patagonia's Environmental Grant support that has been working for years to ensure the health of their watersheds. Over the years, they've increased the number of people involved in the protection and management of Georgia's waters by improving awareness of the issues that threaten the state's waters, setting up a network of resource and information exchange, and most importantly, having fun. Paddle Georgia is the group's annual week-long, on-water festival. Here's more about the event from GRN's Watershed Support Coordinator, Jesslyn Shields:


    “We catched fish and talked, and we took a swim now and then to keep off sleepiness. It was kind of solemn, drifting down the big, still river, laying on our backs looking up at the stars, and we didn't ever feel like talking loud, and it warn't often that we laughed—only a little kind of a low chuckle.”
                                                                               --Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain
    The boats have spent all night under a Georgia State Highway bridge, resting cheek-to-jowl in the midsummer dew, supervised by an off-duty police officer. There are hundreds of them—kayaks and some canoes—patterning the banks of the Coosawattee River like a psychedelic parquet floor. At about 6:30 AM, a black Volkswagen pulls up and a bluff, sunburned redhead named April gets out, dismisses the cop and starts rummaging around in the trunk of her station wagon.

    Shortly, a school bus arrives, and people file out: surgeons, refrigerator salesmen, a shy German couple, inner city kids, cattle farmers, retired people with high-tech binoculars hanging from their necks, suburban families. They stumble and pick through the aggregate of candy-colored boats, and, finding their own craft, drag it down to the water. They lose their towel-camera-lunch-sunglasses, they shout questions over the heads of others that have to be repeated, they laugh giddily with a friend over a cup of coffee spilled down the front of a bathing suit, they find their towel-camera-lunch-sunglasses, they threaten their kids with the count of three to put on their PFDs and get in the canoe.

    In the meantime, another school bus arrives, and eventually another, and another. During all of thise, April is checking peoples’ names before they get into their boats, and one by one they slide into the water and disappear behind a bend in the river. Today, there will be 15 . . .
    [Canoes and kayaks await their riders at a Paddle Georgia launch site on the Etowah River in 2006. Photo: Joe Cook.]

    Continue reading "Paddle Georgia Celebrates the South's Rivers" »

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2014 Patagonia, Inc.