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    Your Rad Dad Stories - Just Like Your Father

    Editor's note: For Fathers' Day 2010, we asked readers to Tell Us About Your Rad Dad. We received lots of great photos and short stories about dads who have done all kinds of cool things with their kids. George Gess's story caught us by surprise. The third in our series of submissions (the first two posts are available here: 1 and 2), George's story invited us to have another think on what makes a dad truly rad. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do. Here's George:

    Gess I have always thought of my dad as "rad." Not really because of what he did, but just because he was my dad. The Man. The guy that made what I wanted to do while I was growing up possible. Be it little league baseball, soccer, basketball camp or backpacking trips, he was the one that made it happen. He was always there for me; always on the sidelines, always in the crowd, always a postcard away. I had a lot of great times growing up, and I have him to thank.

    My dad was an attorney in northwest Ohio. His name is Tom Gess. A few years after making partner in the law firm that he was with, he began doing pro-bono legal work for a land trust called the Black Swamp Conservancy. The goal of the conservancy was to protect the land in the Black Swamp from deterioration and development, thus preserving the natural habitat for local wildlife. Shortly after providing legal counsel for the BSC, he became board-member and President of the entire outfit. When he was home at night, he was spending time with the family. When he wasn't  at home, he was giving his time to the environment. Not for profit, but because he loved it. That's pretty Rad.

    [George and Tom Gess. Photo courtesy George Gess]

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    The Princess Cruise - Kate Rutherford and Madaleine Sorkin Free El Cap's Freerider

    20100625 FreeRider 2512

    I have approximately 30 bruises, I tried to count them but some blend together, and five gobbles (cuts or abrasions from the rock): one on the ankle, one on each shoulder, a small one on my hand, and a tiny one on my wrist. I feel like I fared pretty well on that huge physical endeavor called Free Rider.

    Editor's note: Patagonia ambassador Kate Rutherford and Madaleine Sorkin recently spent five days climbing The Freerider (VI 5.12+), a 3,000ft. route on the Southwest face of El Capitan. Kate shares her take on the climb here with photographs by haul bag maestro, Mikey Schaefer.

    Five years ago, I thought freeing El Cap was an impossible goal. The huge scale, logistics, and physicality of freeing a big wall seemed beyond me. Over the years climbing started feeling easier, I spent more time on big routes, and Madaleine and I built up our endurance together on long routes like Moonlight and the Northwest Face of Half Dome. Alpine climbing in Patagonia helped me understand huge objectives, and I learned to break down my intimidation by just focusing on one pitch at a time, just doing the task at hand.

    Continue reading "The Princess Cruise - Kate Rutherford and Madaleine Sorkin Free El Cap's Freerider" »

    Product Testing - Hiking Matanuska Peak

    We test our gear on a variety of levels. Our Athletes & Ambassadors are responsible for putting the latest designs and fabrics through the paces before we'll add a new product to our lineup. But just because something reaches our shelves doesn't mean testing is over. Once a new item shows up in our catalogs, our Customer Service staff gets busy ground-truthing the latest offerings. They know the questions our customers will be asking, and turn that attention to our gear.

    Field Report: Hiking Matanuska Peak in Alaska June 2010  Matanuska peak 2

    Conditions: about 45 degrees at the bottom of the mountain and 35-40 toward the top. Light breeze and some drizzle for a bit.

    Products Tested: Women’s Release, Rock Guide Pants, Merino 3 Zip-Neck, Down Sweater, Houdini.

    Tested By: Maggie Robinson, Patagonia Customer Service

    My boyfriend Josh who grew up in Palmer, AK has wanted to climb Matanuska Peak (6119') since he was a kid. So on a pleasant but somewhat chilly Alaska day, Josh and I decided to give it a go. With a trailhead elevation of only 750 feet, we climbed and descended about 5,400 feet. Unlike most trails here in Reno, the trail up Matanuska Peak had no switchbacks and instead opted to go straight up. The last 1500 feet involved making our way through slippery shale and over unstable boulders. I have to admit that by that point I was both fairly scared and exhausted but I made it!

    W's rock guide Even though it was 45 degrees the steep trail meant I was fine in just my Merino 3 Zip-Neck and Rock Guide Pants. The Merino 3 Zip-Neck felt comfortable against my skin, didn’t get too hot while hiking, and  breathed really well. I liked the option of zipping it down for more breathability or zipping it up for warmth. The cuffs were also not too tight so could easily pull them up to cool off if needed. I hiked most of the climb in just my Merino 3 and my Rock Guide Pants and was very comfortable. The only time I put anything else on was when we stopped to eat lunch and towards the breezy and chilly summit, when I pulled out the fabulous Down Sweater and Houdini.

    [Above: Maggie on the way to Mantunuska. Photo: Josh Hejl]

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    Your Rad Dad Stories - Hip Mountain Biker

    Dan & dad Editor's Note: Today's post comes from Dan Moore, down in southern Utah. Dan sent us this story in response to our request to "Tell Us About Your Rad Dad." Last week's featured submission was from a young lady whose discovery of herself and the outdoors is still unfolding. This week's feature offers a look back from the perspective of a man now raising his own son.

    It's not uncommon for dads to push us to do better, to try harder. But it's the uncommon dad who figures out how to make that fun. Dan Moore is lucky to have one of those dads:


    I was thirteen years old when I first started beating my dad on the mountain bike. The first time I out rode him was on a trip to Moab, and Poison Spider Mesa was the ride. After that, Moab trips became a fairly frequent event, and my father, an orthopedic surgeon, was always inviting more of the guys from the hospital to come along. It was always a bit of a competition. My dad would try to find young guys in good shape to pit against me throughout my teenage years in order to push me to ride better and faster.

    On one particular trip, when I was about sixteen, my father had run out of guys at the hospital who could push me. As we drove in our van to Moab, all of the doctors, nurses and scrub technicians joked about needing to do something to slow me down. I basked in the macho adulation of the men I'd grown up idolizing and the feeling that I was viewed, not only as one of them, but when it came to riding, as the top of the food chain.

    [Dan Moore and his dad, David, on the White Rim Trail, 1993. Photo courtesy Dan Moore]

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    Vikings of the Vertical Set Sail for Greenland's Big Walls

    DSC_0023Patagonia Rock Climbing Ambassadors Nico Favresse and Sean Villanueva O'Driscoll, together with Nico's brother Olivier, photographer Ben Ditto, and Bob Shepton (their esteemed sailboat captain) set off on their big summer expedition just over a week ago. You can find regular updates on their partner site For those not yet familiar with their unique trip logistics - or their penchant for bringing musical instruments along on their climbs - here's Nico's first post from the voyage (below). Stay tuned for more updates, including special musical jams beamed to us from the big walls:


    That’s it! We are super psyched to be going to Greenland in a few days. No long walk-in approaches this time (last expedition in Baffin Island we walked almost 600km in total) We’re going to be approaching some remote virgin big walls located on the west coast of Greenland by sailboat (basically straight across from Baffin Island).

    According to our sources there should be a huge amount of unclimbed walls in this area. The sailboat will be our base camp/music studio and means of travel and exploration. Our adventure will not only include the climbing but also the sailing since we will have to sail trough the icebergs and all the way back across the Atlantic to Europe afterwards.

    The spirit of adventure and our motivation to embark on an expedition with a smaller ecological impact and more by fair means, lead us to the idea to combine a climbing expedition with a sail boat for transportation. With a bit of research, Greenland seemed the perfect destination for this adventure.

    [The impossible wall - a virgin big wall. Photo: Bob Shepton]

    Continue reading "Vikings of the Vertical Set Sail for Greenland's Big Walls" »

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