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    « April 2010 | Main | June 2010 »

    Up North

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    Today's post comes from Patagonia surf ambassador Keith Malloy. Hopefully it'll inspire you to seek out some waves and wildlife over the long weekend. [Photo: www.burkardphoto.com]

    "We had a great trip up to the northwest this spring," said Keith. "Good weather and consistent swell gave us fun waves everyday. We were blown away at how many good spots we seemed to find. Once you get passed the 5mm hooded suite, booties and gloves, there is lots of fun to be had up there. My girlfriend Lauren wrote a little piece about the resurgence of the bald eagle in the area."

    As we drove along the windy, coast-hugging road, the guys were searching for surf and I was searching for Bald Eagles. I have been fascinated by animals since I was a kid and later went on to study animals in college. I didn’t know about my passion for birds, and especially birds of prey, until I worked with them up close at a rehabilitation center. Recently, at the Ojai Raptor Center I was fortunate enough to work closely with a Golden Eagle and a Bald Eagle. I was so moved and knew then I had to see these powerful creatures in the wild. I had heard the Bald Eagle populations have been growing in the Pacific Northwest and when Keith asked if I wanted to go on a surf trip in the area, it was the perfect opportunity.

    Continue reading "Up North" »

    Sunrise Lefts

    Cyrus Sutton just posted this video of one of his dawn patrols in Chile. He and his girl sharing lefts with nobody else out for a full 45 minutes.

    Guest appearance by Patagonia R3 wetsuit.

    SWIP Trip: Following the Path of Wise Resistance

    RoemerSWIP-storm A bolt of lightning seeking a path from cloud to ground will trace a path of least resistance. Sometimes that path will lead a jagged bolt through a lone tree, at others, through the limbs of an unfortunate individual caught out in the storm. In our attempts to harness the power of electricity we have done our best to obey this preference, but we're ill-suited to reproduce the logic or efficiency of the lightning bolt's path. The energy-transfer infrastructure we've built reflects our best attempts to move electricity efficiently - long, low-resistance wires strung out with the assumption that the shortest distance between two points is also the most efficient. Look at any lightning bolt and you'll see it - the path of least resistance is rarely a straight line. 

    Yesterday's blog post from the Nevada Wilderness Project (NWP) wraps up their SWIP Trip - a project they put together to follow the path of a proposed power-transmission line that will shoot straight through the heart of a big piece of wild country, over 500 miles of Basin-and-Range wildlands between southern Idaho and southern Nevada. The path suggest a "shortest distance between two points" approach to moving energy across a stretch of country roughly the same reach as Boston to Washington, D.C. Once completed, it is hoped that the power line will form a critical link in a new energy infrastructure and the backbone for a host of renewable energy projects in the Intermountain West.  The project - and NWP's response to it - paints an image of what could be conservation's future: conservation groups working in collaboration with energy developers to make sure that much-needed renewable and alternative energy projects are Smart From the Start.

    RoemerSWIP-AB hike The timing of the SWIP trip coincides with storms that are currently wreaking havoc within the conservation community. Since the 60s, the relationship of conservation groups to power-development interests has been one of resistance: if, like electricity, power development proceeds along the path of least resistance, conservation's answer was maximum resistance. The strategy is not unlike two trains traveling in opposite directions on the same track. "Build up enough opposing momentum," the conservationists argued, "and we can stop these projects dead in their tracks."

    This strategy was responsible for many victories. But decades of maximum resistance has resulted in something unexpected: success. As Outside's Tim Dickinson points out in the May 2010 issue, when energy developers turn away from dams in favor of wind, solar, and geothermal, it's the responsibility of those who've demanded alternatives to join them in finding solutions. Today's conservation climate is stormy, Dickinson argues. Those conservation groups who stand the best chances are the ones whose strategies are well grounded. Put another way, it's no longer about least resistance vs. maximum resistance, it's about following a path wise resistance.

    Hit the jump below the photo credit for some of NWP's thoughts on their efforts to balance conservation and solar development:

    [Top: A spring storm sweeps across Eastern Nevada. Above, right: PCT record-holding thru-hiker, Adam Bradley, follows the route of the proposed Southwest Intertie Project. Photos: Tyler Roemer - more photos of the SWIP trip can be found on Tyler's blog.]

    Continue reading "SWIP Trip: Following the Path of Wise Resistance" »

    Beyond and Back: 180° South Tour

    by Jeff Johnson

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    Around the turn of the century Chris Malloy and I stumbled across a forgotten film called Mountain of Storms and it had a great impact on our lives.  After six years of dreaming and scheming up our own adventure, then four years of non-stop hard work, now a decade has passed and our dream has finally come to fruition: the film and coffee table book 180° South, an ode to our heroes and their old film, and the place that inspired it all: Patagonia.

    We had the grand premiere this winter at the Santa Barbara Film Festival to a sold-out crowd at the Arlington Theatre.  Since then there have been a few scattered screenings around the U.S.  I had the pleasure of presenting the film a few weeks ago at the 5 Points Film Festival in Carbondale, Colorado.  What an awesome event that was!  I can’t say enough good things about the founder Julie Kennedy and organizer Beda Calhoun.  They treated us like one big family and put on a stellar event.  I could sit for hours and watch those films, which I did, each one inspiring me in different ways.  If I were to give you an in-depth report on the eclectic people I met, and the awe-inspiring films I saw, I know I’d leave someone out.  So, I’ll just mention one person: Patrick Rizzo.  We totally hit it off.  Maybe its because I grew up skateboarding, or because I was raised near Berkeley (where he’s from) and I know that all skaters from Berkeley are beautifully out of their minds.  Hanging with Patrick was like returning home, then forgetting where I am.  He’s one of the main guys in a film called Second Nature.  On their longboards he and his buddies bomb hills in the Sierra’s, reaching speeds of 60 MPH, often filming each other and passing the camera around casually.  There’s trippy meditation scenes, underwater footage (for some reason) and animation that has no apparent meaning.  Love it.  Dig it.  But you probably won’t want to do it.

    [SB Film Festival.  On stage Q&A.  Rick Ridgeway, Yvon Chouinard and Danny Moder.  Photo: Jeff Johnson]

    Continue reading "Beyond and Back: 180° South Tour" »

    From Seed to Shot

    Shimahara1 I never used to like coffee; it was too bitter. I could only drink it diluted (with milk) and sweetened (with sugar). But two years ago a couple of colleagues at Patagonia turned me into an aficionado. Betsy introduced me to the simple pleasures of the beverage. “Coffee should never be consumed with sugar,” she told me, insisting that it had a wonderful taste, alone.  Steve introduced me to the vast array of “specialty coffees”— premium coffees—which, like fine wines, naturally have hints of chocolate, fruit, nuts, and other botanical flavors.  One of his favorites was a blend from Intelligentsia, roasted in Los Angeles.  My interest in coffee was quickly percolating.  Before long, I enrolled in a home barista class at Intelligentsia and made space next to my rice cooker for an espresso machine.  I loved the challenge of pulling the perfect shot. I was an espresso devotee.  The more I practiced making it, the closer I got to perfecting the extraction of it, which, I learned is a kind of art.  Good espresso has a delicate sweetness and flavor worth savoring unadulterated.

    Editor's note: Patagonia's online advertising maestro, and Clif Bar cycling team member, Mark Shimahara shares some background on a beverage many of us rely on to kick-start dawn patrols and alpine starts. Our thanks go out to Intelligentsia for offering a discount code to Cleanest Line readers. Read on to get the code and get brewing yourself. 

    My interest in coffee and photography lead to shooting opportunities with Intelligentsia’s California locations. The assignments gave me an insider’s perspective of what it takes—from seed to shot—to serve up a cup of coffee worth writing home about.

    [Unroasted “green beans” arrive from origin and are roasted to match an exacting flavor profile. Some batches of beans are roasted longer than others. Generally speaking the darker they are roasted, the bitterer and less acidic the espresso. Photo: Mark Shimahara]

    Continue reading "From Seed to Shot" »

    The Year of the Great Magnet

    Climbin 27 miles outside of Haines, Alaska. I am sitting in a lawn chair perched outside our rental house. I am wearing surf trunks and sunning my pasty white chest after a long winter season. There are smooth river rocks beneath my bare feet. The white strips of snow on the South facing mountains littering my vista are turning earthy brown before my eyes. While all the signs of seasonal change are afoot, you still can't smell the thawing earth, and as far as I am concerned, that's the benchmark of spring.

    Editor's note: As ski season winds down (I know some of you are still making turns out there) we present a story from Patagonia skiing ambassador Stephan Drake. For more from Stephan, check out his film Before Cloudmachine in the Tin Shed.

    It's all said and done now – we are just waiting on yet another truck part before starting our yearly migration south to the lower forty-eight. Swedish photographer Oskar Enander and I are the last men standing, and we have been marooned for a week waiting for said truck part du jour which is rumored to be flown in tomorrow morning. Somewhere down the road, another existence awaits us. Somewhere past the Yukon's tightly spaced pines, somewhere past the bison, caribou, and big-horned sheep, and somewhere past the vast, long open spaces awaits a messy traffic jam, and the hunt for parking spaces. Somewhere down the road are reunions with friends, families, and lovers, and a laundry list of stuff to do.

    [Stephan Drake and Oskar Enander hitting the summit ridge in a zone called Alexandra's. Photo: Jon Larsson]

    Continue reading "The Year of the Great Magnet" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: The Pugilist

    The_pugilist Patagonia ambassador Kelly Cordes steps into the ring this week for another round with Fitz Cahall and the Dirtbag Diaries:

    "Fantasies happen from a safe distance. It's one thing to say you want something, even convince yourself of it. It's another thing all together to stand under a 3,500-foot nightmare you've feared for 15 years and try to actually climb it," writes climber and writer Kelly Cordes. At a quick consideration boxing and alpinism have little in common. Ponder it for a second and you might see the similarities. After years in the ring and even longer in the vertical life, Kelly certainly does. Each challenges its practitioner to accept fear. A boxer's opponent can deal out pain and defeat, and when you put it in that light, a mountain isn't all that different. Today Kelly presents a story about the biggest fight of his life and embracing the mythic choss pile that has haunted him since his early days of climbing.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "The Pugilist"
    (mp3 - right-click to download - contains some expletives)

    For more from Fitz, visit the Dirtbag Diaries or slide open the door to the recently updated Tin Shed. For more from Kelly, pull up your silky shorts as high as they'll go and jab your way over to his fantastic blog.

    Will Obama Dam Salmon to Extinction?

    SalmonIn the midst of rightful concern over the plight of the Gulf, consuming conversations about the latest Supreme Court nominee, and the daily soap opera that has become our economy it's easy to become overwhelmed. Information fatigue is real; each of us can only care so much, and only has so much attention to spare after the job, the family and daily chores are taken care of. It's precisely why we feel the need to bring you this news from our friends at Save Our Wild Salmon. They're in the midst of a campaign that could determine the fate of the Endangered Species Act. At a time when so much attention is immediate and aimed at putting out fires today, lending a hand to a group that's looking out - and fighting for - a precious piece of our future can provide a much-needed tonic of hope.

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    “What is at stake here goes far beyond the issue of salmon recovery. To me, it raises the question of whether we have the courage and the will to reconcile the growing contradiction between the world we say we want to leave our children and the one we are actually creating through the decisions we make today. And it calls into question our capacity to take explicit and intentional action to shape our own future rather than to simply react to circumstances, allowing by default our future to become a matter of chance. It’s time to fight for salmon. It’s time to fight for us. It’s time to fight for our future.”
    — John Kitzhaber, former governor of Oregon, currently running for a third term

    On the heels of the catastrophic oil spill that is crushing wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration is poised to make a decision this week that could change the fate of endangered species in this country.  On Thursday, May 20, the Administration will release a federal salmon plan that will do one of two things for endangered wildlife: protect the Endangered Species Act, or weaken it. A decision to weaken the ESA for the West’s iconic Columbia and Snake River salmon could send an ecological ripple across the country — affecting every endangered species in the nation.And the situation doesn’t look good.  Instead of charting its own path, the administration is working off an illegal Bush administration plan for endangered salmon.

    [Salmon moving upstream. Photo: © University of Washington, Thomas Quinn]

    Continue reading "Will Obama Dam Salmon to Extinction?" »

    Stanley's: A Lost Treasure for California Surfers

    Stanley's was a surf break in Ventura County that was destroyed in the 1970s to make way for a highway. Listen to Yvon Chouinard describe what Stanley's used to be like and check out some great archival footage of this spot, courtesy of The Living Curl.

    This video and other stories like it can be found in our latest surf eCatalog, so be sure to check it out.

    The Hoot's Back, Boys N' Berries! Listen This Saturday

    Long-time TCL readers were more than bummed to hear about the end of The Risky Biscuit Hayseed Hoot back in November of 2009. Few radio shows out there serve up the good vibes and fun-loving themes quite like the show's free-heeling, brew sipping, mountain loving host, Don Darue. A perennial favorite has been his annual Ed Abbey Tribute - a show sadly missed this year.

    So it's with no small amount of good cheer that we've got this fresh update from Don to share today. Check it out, and feast your 'pods upon a fresh serving of good music. Links are available below:

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    Bigbiscuit Howdy Boys ‘n’ Berries,

     
    After 19 years on commercial radio, I’m happy to announce that Northern Nevada’s favorite radio show, The Risky Biscuit Hayseed Hoot is moving to public radio!  
     
    Beginning Saturday, May 15...Listen to the Risky Biscuit Hayseed Hoot, Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on 88.7 FM KUNR, Reno Public Radio.  
     
    KUNR’s collection of transmitters and translators means that the front porch of your radio will be bigger than ever!  We’re talkin’ 160,000 square miles of Northern Nevada and Northeast California!  Tune in from Bishop, Mammoth Lakes, Susanville and Truckee-Tahoe in California to all of Northern Nevada...all the way to darn near the Utah border!  Whoa Nellie! Live outside the area? Snakes ate your Walkman? Hate the music in that cheesy WiFi hotspot? You can listen to KUNR via their live stream at www.kunr.org  Tell your out-of-the-area friends!

    I hope you’ll tune in to KUNR for the show! New home. New time. Still a Hoot.
    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2010 Patagonia, Inc.