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    The One Move I Couldn’t Do

    Patagonia Climbing ambassador Nico Favresse headed to Baffin last year with fellow ambassador Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll to see what they could see - maybe climb a few things. They returned with killer images and a sack full of first ascents and notable repeats of huge granite lines in a landscape seldom visited and even more rarely climbed (original post here).

    As a follow-up to the trip, Nico dropped this nugget in our inbox - an account of his attempts to free one of the more rugged climbs: The Belgarian (5.13 A1, 850m) on the west face of Mount Asgard’s South Tower. The climb was completed in 11 days, big wall style, with one aid move. Our palms are already sweaty after checking out this trailer for their movie, "Asgard Jamming." Nico's essay gives us a better idea of the wrestling match that went into that one move standing between him and freeing the route. Read on for the report and pick up a copy of the full film online at or

    Here's Nico

    I have been blocked here already for at least one hour, hanging on the very tip of the sharp end at more than 600 meters from the glacier. I am looking for any weakness of the rock. Maybe it will go here, and if not maybe I can lower and join another crack system by traversing on the face. Here where I am it’s hard, that’s for sure! But my instinct tells me there is something; a possibility is hiding behind these microscopic crimps. I analyze the sequence, imagine a solution and here I am going for it again. My fingers crimp with all its strength and I throw myself again at it hoping to have some kind of new sensation… GGGRRRRR!! I dyno, I see the hold, it’s getting closer then… It’s going away again, I fall... the nut holds.

    Continue reading "The One Move I Couldn’t Do" »

    Meet an Unlikely Proponent of Dam Removal

    Salmon habitat Our earlier post about the need to protect wild salmon in the federal salmon plan - signed May 20th - focused on urging the Obama administration to stand up for salmon and the Endangered Species Act. In an unfortunate decision, Obama took his cue from an illegal administration plan carried over from the Bush administration. We're joining Save Our Wild Salmon in urging the Obama Administration to change course and remove the four lower Snake River dams. This has only strengthened collective resolve to protect salmon habitat. As Washington farmer Bryan Jones explains in a recent essay, protecting salmon habitat can be synonymous with protecting family farms and reducing their bottom-line.

    Bryan Jones is a fourth-generation wheat farmer near Colfax, Washington. He farms 640 acres. He and his fellow farmers rely on barges on the Snake River to move their wheat to market. This is primarily why the dams on the Snake were built.

    Jones remembers going down to the Snake before it was dammed.

    "I watched the currents and eddies with my grandparents and was told how treacherous that river was, yet its currents fascinated me. I picked fruit along the banks of the Snake. At times when picking with my grandparents, my brothers and I would eat as many peaches as we could, stuffing our mouths with big warm juicy peaches. (Afterwards, they never weighed us!)__"The dams were built when I was young; Little Goose in 1966, Lower Granite in 1974. After the four dams went in, we lost 140 miles of the river. Today, there are only a few places along its banks where people can recreate and enjoy our local river. As a young man, I remember coming back home from Los Angeles, and I looked at the slow water in its summer heat; there was no current, it was algae filled, and I knew it was not a place I wanted to play in or eat fish out of."

    Jones began working with Save Our Wild Salmon in 2006 after he was contacted by his local conservation district office and asked if he'd like to come to a meeting. Once there, he heard representatives of SOS and American Rivers talk about ways to take down the dams and help farmers.

    [The high cold mountains at the heart of the Columbia/Snake watershed provide a last redoubt for imperiled salmon. The path to reach these strongholds winds through land farmed by folks like Bryan Jones. Photo: © Matt Leidecker]

    Continue reading "Meet an Unlikely Proponent of Dam Removal" »

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