The Cleanest Line

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    « September 2010 | Main | November 2010 »

    Mullestachetino

    Kc - stache crop 0440(LR)_2 “You’re such a redneck navigator,” Lizzy tells me. I’m in charge of getting us to a place in the South Platte where neither of us had been, and it’s dark, and I’m sitting in the passenger seat with a crooked map in one hand and a yuppie-Nalgene in the other – one of those steel water bottles, because it’s healthier – filled with margarita. Oops. I missed our turnoff. By 50 miles.

    “But it’s not my fault,” I swear, as she flips the car around. Since we’re close friends and haven’t seen each other in awhile I think she cuts me some slack. Of course it was my fault. We’re going a hundred miles out of the way.

    Lizzy glances toward me and turns away, shaking her head and half-laughing, the other half disgust. “I can’t take you seriously with that hideous mustache.”

    The next morning, just as we’re ready to wander off, sans direcciones, to try to find our other friends somewhere among a sea of rocks, we luck-out and another friend, Lisa, pulls in to the trailhead. Turns out she knows where to go and now I’m the lucky guy hiking with two chicks. Gotta be the ‘stache.

    [He doesn’t just have a mustache, he wears this mustache. Photo: Cordes collection]

    Continue reading "Mullestachetino" »

    Flip Through the New Ridebook 2010 and Get Psyched for Ski Season

    Today, I'm stoked to share our latest effort towards digitally evolving the Patagonia catalog -- hopefully you've already seen our Online Surf Catalog and Environmental Initiatives E-Book for 2010. This new little flipbook was designed for the Patagonia Facebook page -- see the Ridebook 2010 tab -- so it's not as functionally robust as the Online Surf Catalog but the content is no less inspiring. Inside you'll find a bunch of great ski and snowboard photos, a powder-filled video by Sweetgrass Productions and clothing recommendations for the upcoming ski season. Something else the Ridebook has over the Surf Catalog is the ability to embed with full functionality on websites and blogs.

    We invite you to visit the Patagonia Facebook page and give us a quick Like. We share good stories and links without overloading your news feed, and answer your questions on our wall. Feel free to share the Ridebook with your Facebook network or by embedding it on your blog. And, as always, we appreciate your feedback on these new ventures.

    Here's to a snow-filled season. Hope all of you get your fill this year.

    Patagonia Ambassadors Create Running Tradition with Japan's Shinetsu 5 Mountains Race

    Shinetsu Patagonia Running Ambassador Krissy Moehl took top honors at the recently held Shinetsu Five Mountains Trail 110K in Japan's Shinetsu Highlands. This year marks the second running of the race, a labor of love born from the vision of another Patagonia Running Ambassador, Hiroki Ishikawa. Takayuki Kakihara, of Patagonia Japan, offers this introduction to the Shinetsu race. Krissy's own introduction and race reports follow after the jump: 

    The "Shinetsu Gogaku Trail Running Race 2010 ~ Art Sports x Patagonia Cup," produced by Patagonia Ambassador Hiroki Ishikawa was held in the Shinetsu highlands that spread across the Niigata and Nagano prefectural borders from September 18th (Saturday) to 20th (Monday). The "Shinetsu Gogaku," used in the title of the event, points to the 5 mountains that exist in the Shinetsu highlands. These mountains have long been deeply intertwined with the lives of the people residing at the base of these mountains and have attracted worshipers as a sacred place.

    Krissy aid The race which welcomed its 2nd year had a course of 110km, the longest course amongst
    domestic trail running races in Japan. This race also included many features that Hiroki Ishikawa had experienced in the various trail running races that he had participated in (mainly in North America), such as Japan's first-ever trail running event with aid stations. These allowed the family members and friends to provide support for the runners and set-up areas where pacers were allowed in to provide safety for the runners during the night hours. The race this year had a total of 542 runners (460 men and 82 women) who entered and 384 runners (225 men and 59 women) completed the race. Shinetsu Gogaku:http://www.sfmt100.com/

    [Top - photo courtesy Shinetsu Five Mountains Trail 110K. Bottom - Krissy Moehl takes off from an aid station, with a gentle push and a mountain of encouragement from race organizer Hiroki Ishikawa. Photo: Sho Fujimaki]

    Continue reading "Patagonia Ambassadors Create Running Tradition with Japan's Shinetsu 5 Mountains Race" »

    Product Testing - Paddling Around Old Fanny

    It was just a couple weeks ago that our friends down in Patagonia's Ventura offices were wishing summer a fond farewell. Maybe it's this week's return to splitter blue skies and warm breezes, maybe it's the certainty of winter's descent when the snows finally come, but our Reno-based tribe has been a bit more reluctant to let the summer go. A few weeks ago, some of our Customer Service folks headed up the hill to Lake Tahoe to try out a new sport and explore an oft-overlooked corner of the lake. Sample Coordinator Andrew Marshall files his report:
    _________________________________________

    Chip Twice a year, usually once in the winter and once in the summer, our work group gets to spend a day together doing something fun. It's a great way to bond with co-workers, maybe get introduced to a new sport and have a relaxing day away from the office. So far we've skied, snowboarded, kayaked and rock climbed, but our most recent trip was probably the best and most memorable one yet. This time, with the encouragement from some fellow employee-enthusiasts, we decided a Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) trip on Lake Tahoe would make for an excellent group field day.

    Perhaps because of the coastal California influence, stand-up paddling has become particularly popular in Lake Tahoe. It is certainly an exhilarating way to take in the beautiful views and enjoy the water. There are several businesses around the lake renting boards this summer and the SUP market has even taken to the demand by developing flat-water-specific boards.

    Fannette Emerald Bay is one of the most beautiful parts of Lake Tahoe. Pristine blue waters fill a perfectly shaped bay that is home to a small island located almost directly in its center: Fannette Island. Even more intriguing is medieval-looking fieldstone tea house situated at the very top of the island - picturesquely perfect in its own right. Despite the fact that nearly all of our group members are natives to the area (or quite nearly so), and despite having driven past it dozens of times, none of us had ever been to this island or even knew the name of it off the top of our head. We concluded it must be "more of a tourist spot" and "not a really a locals' destination." None of us really knew why - likely because it is usually a busy place almost any time of the year. We bashfully concluded that tourists were likely the reason none of us had been here before.

    [Above, left - Chip takes a breather during the circumnavigation of Fannette Island, Emerald Bay, California. Above, right - a water-level view of the Old Fanny Island tea house. Photos: Andrew Marshall]

    Continue reading "Product Testing - Paddling Around Old Fanny " »

    Airy Ariana and the Cankle

    Kc - diamondIMG_2575

    Summer left for fall the week before, and my super long shot goal slipped away. So it goes, I told myself, I had an awesome summer and am still months-to-a-year ahead of rehab schedule.

    Besides, climbing means nothing. OK, OK, let me get this straight: so there’s this hunk of rock – what, is there a pot of gold at the top? – and you hike to it, then hold on with your fingers and toes and climb up? Boy, what in the HELL is wrong wit you? But we start to think about it, and most of what we do in life is ridiculous. Mean something to you personally, though? Hell yeah.

    At five a.m. on Thursday, September 30, a week after the official start of fall, young gun Blake Herrington, owning a name that sounds like he belongs on the TV-show Dallas, and my gimpy old ass hiked from the Longs Peak trailhead and stashed beers in the stream for our return.

    Dawn’s first rays soon crested the east, spreading light golden as autumn leaves over alpine tundra. Lights flickered in the distance and people began a new day.

    [Blake Herrington approaches the Diamond in early morning light. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "Airy Ariana and the Cankle" »

    Stories From the Gulf - Where Oil and Seafood Mix

    This summer, Patagonia teamed up with non-profit environmental and social justice group, Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB), to assist with a project massive in scale and ambition: to track the full impact of the greatest ecological disaster in American history, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of Spring 2010. The impacts of this disaster extend well beyond unspeakable environmental degradation to the collapse of sustainable industries like fishing and tourism, and the human communities those industries support. Today we offer the final post to close out our week of stories from Patagonia employees who travelled to the Gulf to assist the LABB in their ongoing community surveys and Crisis Map project.

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    Where Oil and Seafood Mix
    - Dulac, Louisiana

    IMG_6 It was the height of hurricane season in southern Louisiana when we landed in mid-August, the five-year anniversary of Katrina a couple weeks away. Headed for Dulac – a low-lying bayou town about an hour and a half southwest of New Orleans – we were told we’d be evacuated if the weather acted up.

    Our job was to go door-to-door surveying Dulac’s 2,500 or so residents about the health, financial and cultural impacts of the BP oil spill. The nearest oil had reportedly made its way into a marsh a dozen or so miles away.

    [The author's survey partner. Photo: Jim Little]

    Continue reading "Stories From the Gulf - Where Oil and Seafood Mix" »

    Stories From the Gulf - Birds Falling Out of the Sky

    This summer, Patagonia teamed up with non-profit environmental and social justice group, Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB), to assist with a project massive in scale and ambition: to track the full impact of the greatest ecological disaster in American history, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of Spring 2010. The impacts of this disaster extend well beyond unspeakable environmental degradation to the collapse of sustainable industries like fishing and tourism, and the human communities those industries support. Today we offer the fifth in a week-long series of stories from Patagonia employees who travelled to the Gulf to assist the LABB in their ongoing community surveys and Crisis Map project.

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    Birds Falling Out of the Sky

    C oil with straw Christina Allen and I were surveying members of the community at the Trade Winds Marina and met a group of fisherman and the marina owners. The business lost 90% of the fishing-excursion revenue and the only money to be made was off of BP workers shopping at the Marina Mart and staying at the Marina Hotel. We were shown a jar of oil that had been collected in a “safe” fishing area and told stories of birds falling dead out of the sky. None of this was normal to the men that grew up and lived their entire lives on this finger of land jutting into the Gulf of Mexico. Jonathan, one of the Trade-Winds Marina owners, extended an invitation to take us by boat to the Barrier Islands. This is where the birds feed that he saw falling dead out of the sky.  Little did I know this would be the most eye-opening boat ride I've ever experienced.

    [Oil collected by a local fisherman along the shore of a local barrier island. Photo: Christina Speed.]

    Continue reading "Stories From the Gulf - Birds Falling Out of the Sky" »

    Stories from the Gulf - The Town Meeting

    This summer, Patagonia teamed up with non-profit environmental and social justice group, Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB), to assist with a project massive in scale and ambition: to track the full impact of the greatest ecological disaster in American history, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of Spring 2010. The impacts of this disaster extend well beyond unspeakable environmental degradation to the collapse of sustainable industries like fishing and tourism, and the human communities those industries support. Today we offer the fourth in a week-long series of stories from Patagonia employees who travelled to the Gulf to assist the LABB in their ongoing community surveys and Crisis Map project.

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    The Town Meeting

    D trash Throughout the week, it was at times easy to become discouraged with feelings of insignificance in the face of such a large problem with an incredibly widespread and negative impact of the spill. The names are already escaping me, but the faces, voices, stories, tears and laughter of those Louisianans battling against overwhelming odds of economic and environmental violence are etched into my long-term memory. We witnessed a range of emotions while interacting with the people of southeastern Louisiana; I, too, am left with many of those same emotions. Anger, fear, and hope are probably the three biggest.

    On the evening of Thursday, August 5th near the end of our week helping document the physical, social, and economic impact of the oil disaster on the lives of residents, a town meeting was scheduled in Buras, ostensibly to address some of those same issues and concerns.

    [Trash and chemicals are an unfortunately common sight in Gulf waters of late. Photo: Christina Speed.]

    Continue reading "Stories from the Gulf - The Town Meeting" »

    Stories from the Gulf - Oil in the Bathtub

    This summer, Patagonia teamed up with non-profit environmental and social justice group, Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB), to assist with a project massive in scale and ambition: to track the full impact of the greatest ecological disaster in American history, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of Spring 2010. The impacts of this disaster extend well beyond unspeakable environmental degradation to the collapse of sustainable industries like fishing and tourism, and the human communities those industries support. Today we offer the third in a week-long series of stories from Patagonia employees who travelled to the Gulf to assist the LABB in their ongoing community surveys and Crisis Map project.

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    Oil in the Bathtub

    Though I'm from the south and am familiar with southern hospitality, I am still amazed by the polite and welcoming experiences I had surveying local residents of Plaquemines Parish, LA about the impact the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill has had on their lives, health and community. It can be intimidating walking into a foreign community and know that you are going to approach houses, knock on their doors and ask them personal questions regarding their health, jobs, income, and community. Most people I know would not even begin to be comfortable answering these questions from a stranger, much less inviting them inside their home, out of the sweltering Louisiana summer sauna heat to do so.

    B velma While in Plaquemines Parish we walked through the neighborhoods, knocked on doors, and were welcomed into homes to learn about the impact the spill has had on their lives. We spoke to people and heard first-hand how they were being affected. What we thought would be a 5-15 minute survey often turned into a 30-minute, or hour-long, discussion of their lives and how they've changed.

    We heard that many people were experiencing an increase in symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, asthma, itching and burning eyes, headaches, skin rashes and nausea.  We learned from a recently laid-off oil response worker that on the day the dispersant was sprayed, workers on a platform a few miles away became . . .

    [A Patagonia volunteer surveying a resident of Chauvin, LA.]

    Continue reading "Stories from the Gulf - Oil in the Bathtub" »

    Stories from the Gulf - Living on the Lottery

    Labb-blog-header

    This summer, Patagonia teamed up with non-profit environmental and social justice group, Louisiana Bucket Brigade (LABB), to assist with a project massive in scale and ambition: to track the full impact of the greatest ecological disaster in American history, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of Spring 2010. The impacts of this disaster extend well beyond unspeakable environmental degradation to the collapse of sustainable industries like fishing and tourism, and the human communities those industries support. Today we offer the second in a week-long series of stories from Patagonia employees who travelled to the Gulf to assist the LABB in their ongoing community surveys and Crisis Map project.


    B tracy When I got on the plane for New Orleans, the only thing I was sure of was that we would be working as outreach crews, administering surveys around Plaquemines Parish. I’d never done anything like this before and the feeling was indescribable as I walked down a long, exposed driveway to the door of a complete stranger, to ask, "Good morning, how has your family’s health & livelihood been impacted by the world’s largest oil spill?"

    What I discovered is that the future is a big black abyss for these residents. Over and over people expressed the same sentiment. After Katrina, they knew what to do: they had to clean up, rebuild, and keep fishing. After the oil spill, there are no answers.

    [Volunteers Tracy Scott in Dulac, LA. Photo: Christina Speed]


    Continue reading "Stories from the Gulf - Living on the Lottery" »

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