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    Deck the Halls with Girls and Dirtbags

    Holiday Party 2010 Mike and Dr. M

    Fred Beckey and Yvon Chouinard share a photo op with some of the amazing women who make this company tick, Patagonia Christmas Party 2010. Many thanks to Patagonia's own Mike Simpson and his band, Dr. M, for rocking (and I mean rocking) the dance floor. Big hugs to all the Patagonia employees who couldn't be in Ventura for the party and everyone who organized. Stay tuned for more on the secret project we've been cooking up with Fred – you're going to love it. Photos: Peter Briggs/Venture Photography

    Fighting Forty (pt.2) - Knives, luck, and scars

    Today we've got Part 2 in Kelly Cordes' series about the bout of injuries he's experienced this past year (part 1 is here). His most recent setback, a severely torn shoulder, happened shortly before his scheduled departure for Patagonia. Kelly was helping Tommy and Becca Caldwell pack for departure last week - instead of joining them, as was his original plan. Kelly is likely still in surgery at the time of this posting.  May your surgeon's hand be steady, your pain pills heady, and your recovery complete and speedy, friend. -Ed

    Slide image The way the wind blows in Estes Park this time of year reminds me of El Chalten, Patagonia, especially on sunny days when I can see the mountains, or at least see the clouds enshrouding the mountains, as I walk the dirt road outside my house, and the way the wind feels and sounds and smells takes me there and it stings just a little.

    The MRI results floored me. I’d been feeling good and climbing near my normal level, albeit in the gym and with half an arm. “Really?” Dr. Hackett said over the phone, “You must have a pretty high toughness factor, because…” and he proceeded to describe the structural trainwreck of my shoulder, stuff that will not fix itself. The supraspinatus (of the rotator cuff) is hanging on by threads, its tendon torn through 80–90% on the humerus side, while the labrum (the gasket-like thing that primarily stabilizes the joint) is hanging off the shoulder, torn nearly 270 degrees of its circumference.

    I’ve never thought of myself as injury prone.

    [Photo: Cordes collection]

    Continue reading "Fighting Forty (pt.2) - Knives, luck, and scars " »

    Product Testing - Backpacking with the New Capilene® 3

    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: Backpacking into the Ionian Basin. Klake11837

    Conditions: Rain, then Sierra sun.

    Product Tested: Capilene 3 Midweight Crew

    This season we’ve revised our Capilene® Midweight Baselayer, long our most popular cold weather Capilene. It’s now made from Polartec® Power Dry® 5.4-oz polyester, a double-knit fabric with 65% recycled content. The bi-component fabric matches an absorbent inner layer with an outer layer designed to spread moisture quickly, and the new fabric also has improved stretch and durability. But the first thing users of the new Capilene® 3 might notice is the feel; it is much softer against the skin than the old stuff. And it doesn’t just feel better, the new fabric dries 130% faster and wicks 38% better as well. Along with the new fabric, it gets new seaming and fit, making what we think has always been the best baselayer on the market even better.

    So, you might be saying, “It all sounds good, but what does this mean for the person in the field? Are these changes really noticeable?” Good question, questions we have asked ourselves. Our products have always been tested by our Ambassadors and product testers. These folks no doubt give outstanding insights but most are elite athletes, a far cry from the rest of us. So some of us Reno folks are giving our only slightly biased field reports on some of the new fall gear. We may not have a fabric lab but we have lots of mountains. Like most of you, we’re not pros, but still love to get out there…

    [Finally, Old School takes in the Ionian Basin. Photo:Sally Loomis]

    Continue reading "Product Testing - Backpacking with the New Capilene® 3" »

    Viva La Vegetal - Fly Fishing through Mexico under Power of Vegetable Oil

    Photo-9 It started out as an idea and later became a vision while on a trip across Argentina seven years ago. Former members of AEG Media, creators of The Trout Bum Diaries and Fish Bum Diaries DVDs, have collaborated once again to document a new expedition throughout Mexico. The crew is operating under MOTIV Fishing these days but their mission to get off the grid as far as possible with a fly rod and camera in hand is still the same. [Photo: MOTIV Fishing]

    The vehicle of choice for the expedition across Mexico is a mid-'90s F250 converted to run on recycled vegetable oil. In the crew's own words, they’re going to travel across Mexico "wrestling waste oil out of grimy barrels in the back of taquerias and begging tortilla chip factories for a liquid substance that most wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole – free fuel and they say it's good for the environment."

    It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. Here's a report from the MOTIV Fishing crew.

    ¡Vamonos a la Baja! After countless hours of major surgery to the rig the veg conversion is done and we are headed south to our first fishing destinations in Baja Sur, prepared to take on the rough terrain though Mexico. Joel Woolf at Veg Powered Systems made sure that everything was dialed on the rig before he would let us drive our truck down into Mexico. This was no minor task as our truck needed a new thermostat, glow plugs, fuel pump, and some serious welding work on the rack and frame. We set up our camp in Joel's backyard and spent 10 days helping him with the conversion and truck overhaul. We decided that due to the short supplies of veg oil along the drive down baja our plan was to bring a trailer that would double as our fuel tanker.

    Continue reading "Viva La Vegetal - Fly Fishing through Mexico under Power of Vegetable Oil " »

    Fighting Forty - Part One

    It's tough to say who's been getting more exercise lately, Kelly Cordes or his insurance policy. TCL regulars might remember his recent injury, a dislocation he wrote about back in October. As the surgery date approaches, Kelly's found himself in a pensive mood. Today we offer the first in a multi-part series where our hero takes a look at the myths, the excuses, and the stark realities that come with fighting the big four-oh. -Ed
    Halvorson - kc bugs Lights flashed and sounds clicked, buzzed and snapped in an eerie mash inside the claustrophobic rave party simulator otherwise known as an MRI machine. I thought of avalanches, and panic struck. Breathe, relax, hold still, if you were buried in snow and tragically not killed by the trauma, could you be at peace in those suffocating moments, grateful for everything you had?

    Freak accident. Again. Some bad luck, too, but people mutter this “getting old” bullshit and it drives me nuts. It drives me nuts because I think it’s usually an excuse people use to justify having spent the last 20 years neglecting their bodies, and they want some reason to continue doing so. I fight against that very thing because I love what I do. But I will admit that I’ve been searching for some explanation as to what the hell is going on with me – since February I’ve destroyed my leg, smashed my face, and now wrecked my shoulder. I don’t think it’s as simple as some stupid number, though, no matter who says it.

    And damn, I don’t like tight spaces. But the MRI had to be done for my shoulder. “Had” even whirls my mental cuisinart because it’s far from life-and-death, and people in far worse situations get far less. Despite my lower-than-average income, I’m extremely privileged simply to have health insurance.

    How did I get so lucky?

    [Another climb, a little more luck: Sunrise over the Bugaboos, en route to the South Howser Tower, August 2009. Moments before, just below the Howser Col, I grabbed a car-sized boulder that shifted and fell toward me, but in a split-second of lucky angles and reactions, I leapt and danced out of the way and we laughed it off down toward the route. Photo: Steve Halvorson.]

    Continue reading "Fighting Forty - Part One" »

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