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    Rios Libres: In the Shadow of Glen Canyon Dam, plus "Power in the Pristine" Trailer


    6170 miles. This is the distance between Flagstaff, Arizona and Puerto Bertrand, Chile – the town closest to the source of the Rio Baker. This creates a formidable gap (the equivalent of driving from Boston to San Diego and back) between where many of us live and the rivers we are fighting to protect. Why then, are five folks from Flagstaff and two from Colorado so damned concerned about a river and a watershed that are so far from home?

    [Rios Libres, a team of passionate and talented folks from the Southwest who are fighting to “keep Patagonia wild”. Photo: James Q Martin]

    Editor's note: When last we left team Rios Libres, they had finished their paddle down the Rio Baker and talk had begun about a film hilighting the dam issue Patagonia. Today we're happy to share the trailer for that film, Power in the Pristine, and a story by Chris Kassar that brings the issue home.

    The simple answer is this: we believe rivers should flow freely – from source to sea – as nature intended. But, there’s more. We are also motivated by the missteps made in our very own backyard. We live in the shadow of Glen Canyon dam – aka “America’s most regretted environmental mistake” and we constantly grapple with ‘what could have been’ if this place had not been lost. This dam stands as a beacon, reminding us of a past heartbreak and calling us to action in order to prevent others.

    Continue reading "Rios Libres: In the Shadow of Glen Canyon Dam, plus "Power in the Pristine" Trailer" »

    Pull in to the New Paper-Free Patagonia Surf Catalog


    See what's new with Patagonia Surf in our finest paper-free presentation to date. Inside you'll learn about our redesigned Regulator® Wetsuits, a crazy-fun new hybrid shortboard from Fletcher Chouinard Designs called the Fark, and all the clothing and gear you'll need for a winter's worth of waves.

    Launch the Fall 2010 Patagonia Online Surf Catalog

    Be sure and click the link on the lower-right to sign up for emails from FCD Surfboards. Everyone who signs up will have a chance to win a Patagonia Regulator Wetsuit.

    If you like what you see, please tell your friends. We're still breaking new ground with these online catalogs and your word of mouth really helps validate the concept. Friends and family can easily find this one at

    Thanks as always for your continued support. Enjoy.

    Granite China - Part Two


    Details emerge in our second update on Granite China. Did the crew get to climb? Our inside informant (me) uncovered a few details. The reason for the previously spotty details is that, while there, our team had poor phone reception and couldn’t access the World Wide Web. Even if they had web access, China blocks Facebook and Twitter, making one wonder how 1.3 billion people survive. But our friends got to unplug and see a fascinating part of the world. Here's what we know:

    Audio_graphic_20px Listen to "Granite China pt. 2" (MP3)

    ["The Elephant". Two lines ended up going in on this formation. Photo: Jeremy Collins]

    So while it's still unclear how the crew got to climb, I can't help but imagine the scene at the park headquarters:

    Continue reading "Granite China - Part Two" »

    Granite China

    Gen4_caldwell_f10 The other day we got a voice message from the man himself, Tommy Caldwell, calling from China with an update on their rock scramblin’ explorations. It’s a great crew: Tommy and his wife, Becca; young phenom Hayden “Wu Tang!” Kennedy; master artist, climber and person Jer Collins; top writer, all-around go-for-it adventurer and climber Mark Jenkins; and one of the best photographers in the stratosphere, Mr. Corey Rich, and his lovely wife, Marina.

    They scraped together their team, got visas last minute, and went to China’s Xinjiang province, specifically the Keketuohai National Geological Park, near the border with Mongolia, pretty much based on some incredible photos they saw in the AAJ (click here to see) showing a lifetime's worth of fantastic granite. Good enough. The place is rumored to be like an undiscovered Tuolumne Meadows on steroids, but information pointed to bureaucratic problems restricting climbing, and challenging travel – surprise, surprise. Basically, it was a recon mission with hopes for more – Tommy and crew had gotten some reassurance that they’d be allowed to climb in their pre-trip communications, but… well, have a listen. Sounded like an adventure from the start. Here’s the brief audio clip of Tommy’s call, describing their experiences thus far.

    Audio_graphic_20px Listen to "Granite China pt. 1" (MP3)

    Update: Just before posting this, we got word that they did, in fact, get to climb. Here’s the extent of the info, from Tommy in a brief email: “YESSSS! We got to climb!” Hmmm. No idea if it was a boulder problem, a climb onto a bar stool, or a massive route. More coming next week – and, in the meantime, maybe everyone should go out and climb all three of the above this weekend. Bar stool last. [Read part two]

    Tracing the Edge - Episode 7 with Krissy Moehl

    Is it possible to live an entire life in a single day? Ultrarunner Krissy Moehl has while racing. Massive 100-mile courses contain a lifetime of joy, tedium and wonder concentrated into 24 hours. For Krissy, her biggest races are touchstones in her life, a moment to process life's ups and downs.

    The next episode of Tracing the Edge revists Gerry and Alex Lopez and will air on September 15. To catch up on the series, visit

    [With thanks to Bryan Smith and Fitz Cahall.]

    Sketchy Kelly Finds His Yellow Belly

    Kc - safety kelly_2290(LR) [Ed Note: Kelly lets us write the title, so of course we're going to take a chance to tease him. And it goes without saying, but we'll say it anyways for all those bone-heads out there who are too-cool for school: there's nothing yella-bellied about protecting your skull. Wearing a helmet is more than a fine idea, it should be regular practice.Yes, people wearing climbing helmets can still get their pictures into catalogs and magazines. So don't be too cool for your own good, or you might end up looking like this guy.]

    Who says you can’t reinvent yourself? Just because I used to be known as “Sketchy Kelly,” and just because I recently made the safest form of climbing as dangerous as possible, when I flipped upside down on an overhanging sport climb and used my head and face as a battering ram, that doesn’t mean I can’t become “Safety Kelly.” Never mind the black eye with a scar above, the five-inch scab on my scalp, sliced finger, surgical scar in my spine plus four more in my leg, and the tequila-induced banter about Disaster Style. Appearances can be misleading.

    After my faceplant, Tommy had left me a funny phone message, reminding me that I’m definitely bad at falling, and we need to have some “falling classes.” Sounded good to me. Obviously I need it. So soon after, Tommy, my friend Craig and I returned to the crag. On the approach I tried to explain to how it happened, and Tommy did the same as a couple of other friends who sport climb a bunch: He got this confused look, said he didn’t really understand, shook his head, and said there’s no way that could ever happen again. Still, scaredy Safety Kelly now wears his helmet every time, even sport climbing, even on top rope. (At least for now.) A little overboard, sure, but maybe it’ll help balance things out. Hell, the way I’ve been going, maybe I should wear it walking to the mailbox, to the grocery store, to the liquor store (not a bad idea)…. Safety Kelly, baby.

    We unpacked our packs and warmed-up. I led a moderate slab first, then we pulled the rope and Craig re-led. Tommy waited patiently, declining a lap. Fair enough, much in the way I probably wouldn’t bother warming-up on 5.4. He’d probably warm-up on the .12a in the wickedly overhung alcove area.

    “Do you guys wanna do that one?” he asked of the .12a. We shrugged. “’Cause if not, if you don’t mind maybe I’ll warm-up on the .13a.”

    Now this is just ridiculous in my world. Who the hell warms-up on .13a? (Lots of people, I guess, from pre-teens these days to the kid serving your coffee down in Boulder, to Tommy and his ilk – but some of us live in different universes.)

    [The new and improved Safety Kelly, ready for some serious top-roping action. Photo: Craig Scariot]

    Continue reading "Sketchy Kelly Finds His Yellow Belly" »

    Patagonia Store Events for September - 180º South, Wild & Scenic Film Fest, Glen Denny & Grand Opening

    Honolulu_GO_Flyr_r2This month’s Patagonia Store Events are brought to you by our new friends at Patagonia Honolulu who will be celebrating their grand opening next week on O`ahu. We also have 180º South screenings across the country, the Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival in Seattle, and what should be an incredible slide show and Yosemite in the Sixties book signing by Glen Denny at Patagonia SoHo. Bring the kids, bring a date, all of these events are sure to be a good time.

    Full list of Patagonia Store Events for September after the jump.

    Continue reading "Patagonia Store Events for September - 180º South, Wild & Scenic Film Fest, Glen Denny & Grand Opening" »

    The Shackboy Labor Day Marg

    Kc - DG_shack_fire_sm I love the characters in our world. They color things, make everything interesting, and so often dwell on the fringe. Maybe it was a compliment when my friend, The Chief, got lectured by his father: “When are you drifters gonna move out of the gray area and join the human race!”
    Another such character, The Danimal – Dan Gambino, more formally – and I have a connection first forged in beer, climbing, and the Big Lebowski. And, as such, Labor Day weekend seems an appropriate time for this post, given our mutual lack of labor back in the Shack days.
    We’d met at my wedding, when he crashed it. He was friends with my buddy Pete, who invited Dan, who then bivied in mine and my soon-to-be-then wife’s house and puked in one of our gift boxes – though he denies it and blames Pete, who denies and blames Dan. No wonder the marriage didn’t work.
    We became Shack Brothers in 2000, when we both lived in what was once publicly decried – in front of a packed banquet at some fancy-pants climbers’ dinner – as a “foul pit of climbing ambition and dirty dishes.” Yes, the storied local guide’s shack in Estes Park. The Almighty Shack to us. PBR cans and trash littered the floor, daylight shone through the gaps in the wall, and the mice and rats so infested our humble abode that, at times, I’d hear the Danimal going ballistic, chasing them around and hurling food cans at them. Every evening, after work our fellow climbing guides came to hang, swill PBR (for the record: this was long before frat boys and hipsters glommed onto PBR as a cool slummin’ brand), and tell outrageous stories about their day.

    [The Danimal in action, circa 2000. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "The Shackboy Labor Day Marg" »

    Tracing the Edge Episode 6 with Colin Haley, plus New Dirtbag Diaries Short

    Colin Haley used the Cascades as a springboard onto the world's hardest-to-reach summits. The range's fickle weather, arduous approaches and complex glaciers were perfect tests. Summit by summit Haley connected the dots until multi-day outings like Mount Shuksan and Mount Slesse became day trips.

    The next episode, with Krissy Moehl, airs September 8. To catch up on the series, visit

    Tracing the Edge is a project by videographer Bryan Smith and writer Fitz Cahall, host of The Dirtbag Diaries. Hit the jump to hear the newest Dirtbag Diaries Short. Patagoniac parents will definitely appreciate it.

    Continue reading "Tracing the Edge Episode 6 with Colin Haley, plus New Dirtbag Diaries Short" »

    Backcountry Film Festival - Call for Submissions

    Deeppopecrop Time to dust off those great video clips you shot last ski season and polish up your best footage, because the Winter Wildlands Alliance is gearing up for their annual  Backcountry Film Festival and they're seeking your submissions by September 15th. Now in its sixth year, the Festival continues its focus on grassroots filmmakers who tell compelling and entertaining stories of backcountry, nonmotorized recreation and environmental preservation.

    When they say "grassroots," they mean it. From the Festival website: "You don't need a degree from a film school. You don't need footage shot while dangling precariously, camera in hand, from an ice wall in the Rockies. All you need is a compelling story, some quality footage and a keen eye for a fun, educational or juicy topic."

    This year's categories are:  Best Short Short (under 5 minutes), Best Environmental Message and Best of Festival.

    Films entered into the festival should be short - no longer than 30 minutes. In keeping with the Winter Wildlands ethos, these films should share a thought-provoking, interesting story of backcountry, nonmotorized recreation. A strong focus on environmental themes is at the heart of the Festival and the Wildlands mission, so stories focusing on conservation, preservation and stewardship are encouraged. The sponsoring organization being the Winter Wildlands Alliance, aspiring entrants should heed their direction to only enter films that take place during winter, or have a very clear relation to winter. Regarding formats, the Festival warmly welcomes whatever your creativity can conjure - documentaries, fiction, experimental, you name it.

    The Film Festival gets noisy in Boise starting November 4 before taking to the road and hitting over 30 locations throughout the nation.

    Submissions must be in DVD format, received in Winter Wildlands Alliance's Boise office by September 15, 2010 and include three copies and a $20 submission fee. See festival rules for more information and address to which you may mail your submissions. You may also contact Shelley Pursell at  or 208-343-1630 for further details.

    [Photo courtesy Winter Wildlands Alliance/Backcountry Film Festival. Skier, Sam Pope - KGB Productions. Photographer, Tuck Fauntleroy.]

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