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    « December 2010 | Main | February 2011 »

    53 and Growing - Announcing the Opening of Our Latest Patagonia Stores

    1grand opening honolulu “Opening a store is like a marriage: you want it to be forever and you want everyone to be happy,” says Robert Cohen, Patagonia’s VP of global retail.

    With the August opening of Patagonia Honolulu, and the December opening of Toronto and a second store in Santiago, Chile, we’ve tied the knot three times this year and are now up to 53 Patagonia-owned stores worldwide. It’s a veritable Big Love! (There also are a slew of single-brand Patagonia stores owned by Patagonia dealers everywhere from Antwerp to Burleigh Heads.) Three more Patagonia-owned stores are in the works this year in Kichijoji and Chiba, Japan, and San Sebastian, Spain.

    “It’s unreal the way our store count is growing” Cohen said. “We realize there’s a limit to our growth. But 53 stores around the world isn’t that many. The number of places we aren’t is enormous.”

    [The grand opening of our Honolulu store on December 12 was a Who's Who of the surf side of the company. There was food, live music and a silent auction benefiting our environmental partners on the islands. Photo: Morgan Maassen]

    Continue reading "53 and Growing - Announcing the Opening of Our Latest Patagonia Stores" »

    From the Trenches series – The Belay Parka

    Like flocks of swirling swallows or shimmering schools of tropical fish, our customers swoop in with mysteriously synchronized concerns and questions on a regular basis, prompting the need for ready answers. Times like these, nothing would be more handy than magically beaming knowledge out into the ether. Building on his "+1 Core for Winter Climbing" post, Kelly Cordes is back in the Trenches with more layering advice for winter climbing. - Ed
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    Kc - Jonny storm.jpg Another winter climbing tip, this one a key component to the clothing system: Overlayering, a.k.a. the belay parka. Everyone’s heard of layering, but the standard method can be wildly impractical for the stop-and-go activity of climbing, and so too often people err on the side of warmth (understandably enough), and wear too much insulation from the start – too much? Yes, definitely. They dress for standing around, which makes sense except that then you overheat when you’re moving. That makes you sweat. Then your clothes get damp and lose some insulating value – even the fancy synthetics drop-off some when wet. Then you’re cold. And wearing too much is bulky and uncomfortable, restricting your movement so you can’t climb as well, which means less fun. It’s rough, this micromanaging of your environment. Solution? Fairly simple: dress lighter and throw on an overlayer, or belay jacket, or puffy coat, whatever you want to call it.

    How warm the overlayer depends on how cold the climbing. For winter climbing, everyone loves the DAS Parka and the higher-fill down parkas (as opposed to lighter three-season pieces like our Down Sweater). Soon I’ll get into the utility of superlight variations on the overlayering theme, what I sometimes call the “Micro Belay Parka,” like the Nano Puff.

    Anyway, a lot goes into regulating body temperature while climbing in the cold, and we know most of it: don’t wear cotton, start with a wicking baselayer, add the right amount of insulation, put on a shell. Stay hydrated and well fed. Wear a hat. But what’s the “right amount of insulation”?

    [Jonny Copp makes good use of his belay parka in Alaska, while descending from the first ascent of “Going Monk.” Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "From the Trenches series – The Belay Parka" »

    Picture Story: Imagine The Pasayten

    Pacific Northwest climbers know John Scurlock for his stunning mountain images. His aerial photos have contributed to countless adventures, providing inspiration and aid to climbers looking to hone-in on details of remote peaks. John is a paramedic by trade, and a photographer and pilot by obsession (he’s working on a coffee table photo book, to be published by Wolverine Publishing in November). While his images usually lead to climbers daydreaming about future ascents, the other day, when John flew over Slate Peak on the southern edge of Washington’s Pasayten Wilderness, it brought him back 38 years. - Ed

    Scurlock photo - Slate Gold

    Imagine The Pasayten

    Thirty-seven years ago, at the age of 19, I was a backpacker northbound on the Pacific Crest Trail. In late August of 1973, atop Slate Peak, I finally reached the edge of the great and mysterious Pasayten Wilderness. Five weeks of solo travel seemed trivial now that I was about to step into this incredibly lonely, windswept jumble of peaks that lay in front of me. I was in awe, and felt as if I were the first, although of course I wasn't. Looking back on that day, I wonder what it takes to sustain those feelings as the years pass by, as life wears away at us, as we come to realize that there are always distant boundaries, as our romantic views of wild places fade with the responsibilities of adulthood.

    Scurlock photo - Slate lookout Yet, for some reason that I can't explain, I still get that same sensation whenever I journey back up to Slate. I never guessed back then that I would someday have the enormous privilege of photographing some of the greatest peaks and ranges of the western US and Canada from the air. But through all those travels and adventures, that wonderful corner of the North Cascades is a constant pull. To stand at Slate, to climb Mt. Lago, to dip my hand in the sublime Dot Lake, to endure lightning at Horseshoe Basin, to be tent-bound in the Ashnola highland with a late fall storm whistling through the larches, the jingle of hobbled mules nearby in the snowy dark: these are my visions of the Pasayten and the North Cascades, and the sustaining heart of my own wilderness imagination.

    --John Scurlock, originally written for The Wilderness Society


    [Top - Pasayten Sunset: Slate Peak & Gold Ridge. Above, right - The fire lookout tower on Slate Peak. Photos: Scurlock Photo]

    Enriching the Rivers

    Patagonia’s environmental internship program is sending about 20 employees into the field this year to volunteer with nonprofit environmental groups around the world. The company pays employee salaries and benefits for up to a month while they work in D.C., Kenya, Kauai and other locales. Ari Zolonz, an employee in our Portland, Oregon store, spent the month of October working with the Native Fish Society. Here’s his account:

    6Driftcreek_4 Enriching the Rivers

    When trout season is in full swing and the truck is in some kind of working order, forget about finding me anywhere near concrete. I’m gone every day I’m not working in Patagonia’s Portland store.

    As an angler concerned with the declining state of nature, I support various environmental groups with a small amount of cash. So when the opportunity arose through Patagonia’s environmental internship program to volunteer with one of my favorite groups, the Native Fish Society, I jumped on it.

    Based in Oregon City, Oregon, the Native Fish Society is devoted to the conservation, preservation and restoration of wild native fish in the rivers of the Pacific Northwest. They work with federal and state agencies to improve fish-management policies, and encourage the public to get involved with issues affecting their waterways and the fish that inhabit them.

    [Home to native steelhead and salmon, Drift Creek is a coastal run. Ari found this one to be much healthier than other streams he visited that flowed through intensively logged landscapes. Photo: Ari Zolonz]

    Continue reading "Enriching the Rivers" »

    In Alaska, it Socks to Leave Your Booties Behind

    Yak_jan_surf_mod

    Nobody likes to wear booties when they surf, but there are some places where the water is so cold it can't be avoided. What happens then when you forget your booties after hiking in to surf beautiful head-high waves in 30-degree water? You get creative.

    Yak_jan_surf So, I've long been a fan of Patagonia products. However, yesterday I had an experience that I think is worth repeating. It was a perfect January-in-Alaska surfing day: couple inches of fresh snow, low hanging sun on the mountains, air temp in the low thirties, water temp in the high thirties. Ran the skiff out to the island and hiked across to the Gulf side. Perfect, glassy head-high waves. It doesn't get any better, at least that's what I thought 'til I opened up my wetsuit bag and found I had left my booties behind. Fail! Not enough daylight to run back and get them, so I figured I would just give it a try without. At the last minute, I decided to leave the heavy socks I got from you guys on. Turns out it wasn't that bad. Lasted well over an hour and only got out because the sun was setting. Salvaged the day. Not saying it wasn't cold, but the socks preformed well. Thanks for making such a stout product.

    Cheers,
    Nate

    Yak_island_surf Originally from the East Coast, Nate was lured to Alaska by the prospect of seasonal fisheries work and fly-fish guiding -- basically by wild salmon and trout. Ten years later he's still there working full time as a biologist and supplementing his fishing with kayaking, birding and surfing. We're grateful to Nate for allowing us to share his story and photos.

    [Top: A rarely ridden wave with the St. Elias Range in background. Middle: Ultra Heavyweight Mountaineering Socks not being used for mountaineering. Bottom: An island pointbreak in the Gulf of Alaska. All photos by Nate]

    Greenland Vertical Sailing: Watch the Trailer [Updated with Five-Part Video Series]

    Climbing virgin big walls from the deck of a sailboat anchored in frigid ocean waters. You've read the blog posts and seen the pictures, but the best is yet to come. Get ready for a five-part video series featuring Nico Favresse, Olivier Favresse, Seán Villanueva, Ben Ditto and the Reverend Captain Bob Shepton, coming this spring to Patagonia.com.

    Update: The entire five-part series, starting with the trailer, is now embedded above.

    [Vertical Sailing Greenland - Trailer from Patagoniavideo. Video: Seán Villanueva] 

    From the Trenches series - +1 Core for Winter Climbing

    Like flocks of swirling swallows or shimmering schools of tropical fish, our customers swoop in with mysteriously synchronized concerns and questions on a regular basis, prompting the need for ready answers. Times like these, nothing would be more handy than magically beaming knowledge out into the ether. Kelly Cordes is our guest Trencher today, fielding a question that is at once simple - and surprisingly complex: How do you dress properly for ice climbing? - Ed
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    Kc - TC vest Some people don’t like winter climbing because, surprise surprise, it’s cold. But it’s also beautiful – the stillness, the ever-changing medium, the winter light. Fun only in retrospect (Type II fun)? Not necessarily. The trick, or one of them, is to keep your body temperature just right. But you don’t want to inhibit mobility, since trying to climb while bundled-up like Ralphie from A Christmas Story isn’t much fun, either.

    Here’s one simple pointer: wear an extra layer in your core, or torso. I call it my “+1 Core” layer. We’ve long known, courtesy of physiologists and backed by our own experiences, that when push comes to shove our bodies prioritize shunting warm blood away from our extremities and toward our more vital areas. By wearing an extra layer in your torso to keep key areas toasty, you get serious bang for your buck warmth-wise, while maintaining arm mobility. It’s a similar concept to that old saying from granny: if your toes are cold, put a hat on (surely the reason all shirtless bouldering bros wear a beanie). I, and many other climbers, believe that this whole “core warmth” thing helps me get away with wearing thinner, more dexterous gloves while winter climbing – nothing is worse than fumbling with gear in big gloves. Well, frozen fingers are worse, but that’s kind of my point, too. Like granny says.

    [Tommy Caldwell misunderstands the vest concept. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "From the Trenches series - +1 Core for Winter Climbing" »

    R.I.P., Shoe Tree

    Shoe tree Back in 1986, Life magazine christened the 250 miles of US Highway 50 between Fallon and Ely, Nevada with the moniker “The Loneliest Road in America.” In a classic example of turning lemons into lemonade the Nevada Department of Tourism seized on the title and began a marketing campaign complete with loneliest road signs, survival guides and passports that could be stamped at various destinations along the route. Whether because of that marketing push, or simply the increased popularity of the American Southwest, Highway 50 isn’t nearly so lonely anymore. I count myself among its more frequent travelers.

    To be sure, Highway 50 in central Nevada is still wonderfully desolate and real landmarks are few and far between. One of these was the Shoe Tree. As trees go it wasn’t all that spectacular; a lone cottonwood standing next to a perennially dry creek bed 110 miles east of Reno. What made the Shoe Tree special is that it was festooned with thousands of old shoes either hanging off the branches or just as likely, lying in a massive pile below the tree. As is often the case for such things, the origins of the Shoe Tree are apocryphal. All the stories are similar, starting with a couple, either recently or about to be married, and either traveling to - or maybe from - Reno, and an argument that ended or began with shoes being thrown into the tree, ostensibly so the bride wouldn't be able to run away.

    [The Shoe Tree frames central Nevada's Desatoya Range on a chill winter day. Photo: Kirsten Mashinter.]

    Continue reading "R.I.P., Shoe Tree" »

    30% Off Sale - Select Fall & Winter 2010 Styles, now through Jan. 26

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    From now to January 26th, scoot over to Patagonia.com or your nearest Patagonia store (Outlets not participating) and get 30% off select Fall and Winter 2010 styles.* Find jackets, pullovers and insulation for all your outside pursuits, as well as cozy threads for the down-time between. There's something for everyone, all at a price that's a little lighter on your wallet.

    Save 30% on fall & winter styles

    [Jordan Hieronymous motors home with some free booty, perfect for springtime rock skiing. Zion, Utah. Photo: Eric Draper]

    Dirtbag Diaires: Buckle Down - The Year of Big Ideas 2011

    Year_of_big_ideas_2011What are your goals for 2011? If you're still looking for ideas, today's Dirtbag Diaries has more than a few from listeners like you.

    James Q Martin has an incredible, carefree life. For the last, five years he's traveled the world, often to warm locales to photograph beautiful athletes in stunning places. It would be hard to let go of that kind of job, but two years ago, James stumbled upon a blog post about the impending damning of the Rio Baker in Chile's Asan region. It set off a powerful reaction. A decade earlier, James had traveled through the Asan region, and the great wilderness left a lasting impression. Now, with the massive hydro-electric project impending, James came up with an idea. What if you took a naturalist, a writer, a photographer, a filmmaker and a conservationist on a source to sea descent to document the last days of a wild river? Could that act even help save? In 2010, James launched Rios Libres and made his dream happen. Completing his dream, would mean giving up the perfect lifestyle. With that, we present our 2011 Year of Big Ideas show. Professional athletes, passionate weekend warriors and Dirtbag Diaries contributors come together to present what they are working on in the coming year. Get inspired and then buckle down.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Buckle Down"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Take_action_large If you too believe the Rio Baker should remain a free-flowing river, add your voice to the Keep Patagonia Wild! petition from Rios Libres. For stories and video logs from their trip down the Rio Baker, and a look at the trailer for Power in the Pristine, check out our blog series from Rios Libres. Power in the Pristine will be screening at this weekend's Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, California.

    Also, check out Cleanest Line reader Caleb Simpson's new energy bar company Adventure Naturals on Kickstarter. With a small donation you can help him reach his goal, and help create a new 100% organic, raw, vegan energy bar to fuel your body.

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com to hear the music from "Buckle Down" or download past episodes. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with like-minded listeners on Facebook and Twitter.

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2010 Patagonia, Inc.