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    Dirtbag Diaries: The Way of the Underdog

    The_Way_of_the_dog_small_300 After a well-deserved summer break, Fitz is back with another episode of The Dirtbag Diaries.

    The Underdog is the most potent myth in America. It pervades film, pop culture, music and sports. Politicians use it to frame their campaigns. Professional sports teams use it to psyche themselves up before big games. In theory, we've always liked the long shot. Is this special type of hero just a myth or is the underdog real? Contributor Brendan Leonard thinks it's real because he's seen it in person. Jayson Sime was a small town Iowa kid from the tough part of town. He was told he wouldn't amount to much by his teachers and hazed by his peers. The greatest successes require the most difficult obstacles. From north of nowhere to a career in politics to Mount Shasta's summit, Jayson has overcome. Maybe heroes are real. To be in their presence is a powerful thing. Can you learn how to emulate the underdog by watching one?

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "The Way of the Underdog"
    (30:38 - right-click to download MP3)

    Actually, Fitz wasn't totally relaxing over the summer. He posted his annual Dirtbag's Playlist Volume 6, a special episode that highlights the music from all of last year's podcasts. He and his partner Bryan Smith also released The Season 2 video series.

    Visit for links to download the music from "The Way of the Underdog" or to hear past episodes of the podcast. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter.

    The Writing on the Wall

    Amy Irvine McHarg is a beautiful writer. We asked her to write a post about what she cares about and to remind the readers of the Patagonia catalog to look for her essay “Seeing Red” in your mail soon. "Seeing Red" is one of a series of essays written by fine writers as part of Patagonia's current environmental campaign, Our Common Waters.

    From Le Midi-Pyrenees region of France, September 2011

    [Painting from the Chauvet cave. Photo: HTO, via Wikipedia, used under Creative Commons license.]

    I am standing in a cave that one enters from a steep and riotously lush hillside in the southwest of France. I have been to this region before, then as a nomad climber, to scale (or flail on) its steep and sublime walls of limestone. This time I am here to explore beyond the surface - a kind of descent in place of ascent - into subterranean concavities opened up over millenia by the persistent passage of water. Come to think of it, the process is not unlike how the finest one-finger pockets, or mono doigts, were created on the exterior walls - that is, if you don't count the ones drilled out by climbers who fancied themselves, debatably, as great sculptors of stone. 

    Here in Grotte de Niaux, there are paintings of animals that undulate on walls, shimmer in shadows. Horses, bison, and ibex move as if they are emerging from some other, even more interior, kind of realm. About the master craftsmanship of such ancient paintings, dated back to the Upper Paleolithic, Picasso said something to this effect:

    Since then, we have learned nothing. 

    Continue reading "The Writing on the Wall " »

    WideBoyz Take on America's Gnarliest Offwidths

    Patagonia climbing ambassador Pete Whittaker, climbing partner Tom Randall, and photographer friend Alex Ekins recently arrived in the U.S. with a singular - if not enviable - objective: tick off America's nastiest off-widths.

    If you follow the global climbing scene, you might recognize the duo for their impressive gritstone resumés. In addition to floating many of the UK's hardest and highest-consequence lines, the pair earned big smiles and hearty recognition for setting a world record for the most number of routes climbed in a day (550 .. . each). Add to that the pair's thirst for unique challenges, and their desire for the ultimate thrash-and-dangle road trip starts to make sense. Case in point: Pete's also traversed the full length of Stanage [read: 4-mile-long boulder problem]. If that sounds like a good time to you, make sure your dad's name isn't Warren Harding.

    The pair is about two weeks into their U.S. tour and just finished climbing at Vedauwoo. Read on for an excerpt from their "arrival" post, and stay tuned to their blog for the latest from the land of hungry cracks.

    [Pete Whittaker on-sighting Lucille at Vedauwoo. Photo: Alex Ekins via Alex's blog.

    We’ve finally made it over to America – the plane didn’t get turned around and customs didn’t find my huge stash of offwidth porn. Pete, Alex and I touched down in Salt Lake City to perfect blue skies and 20 degrees temperatures. The start to the trip was pretty much perfect and it went steadily downhill from there...

    Getting to Vedauwoo, wasn’t too difficult; although we did have a few issues with the gaps between petrol stations and what a “pickle chip” was. After driving through the night we arrived at a brilliant little campground surrounded by complex domes of rock. Pete and I couldn’t really contain our excitement and ended up running off into the woods with head torches looking for any route we knew.

    Continue reading "WideBoyz Take on America's Gnarliest Offwidths" »

    A Hootfest for the Torpedo People at the La Paloma Theatre

    ComeHellPremiere-8 After the world premier in New York, Keith Malloy and crew brought their new body surfing film Come Hell or High Water out to the west coast for a screening at the historic La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas, California. We received two reports from the show. First up is Patagonia Cardiff store manager, Devon Howard.

    Keith's film premiere last night of Come Hell or High Water at La Paloma in Encinitas was epic. Nixon did a great job of promoting and putting on the event and after party. We also celebrated Jeff Johnson's birthday. All the Malloys and their family were there, as were the entire Cardiff staff, and surf ambassador Trevor Gordon. Some other great surfers were on hand like Marc Cunningham, Danny Hess, Rob Machado, Taylor Knox, and Kelly Slater. The hoot meter was off the scale. So much fun.
    There is going to be a big buzz about this film. Keith and the crew made a unique waveriding movie that will be celebrated for many, many years, joining the ranks of hit films that guys like Chris Malloy and Thomas Campbell have done over the years. Congrats Keith. Well done!

    –Devon Howard

    Next we have writer and traveler Mark Ayling, who offeres his perspective on the evening in combination with a bunch of photos from Drew McGill and Devon Howard. [Above: Director Keith Malloy fields questions on-stage at the La Paloma Theatre. Photo: Drew McGill]

    A hushed whisper sweeps across the hundred surfers assembled before the La Paloma theater in Encinitas, California. We all peek to catch a glimpse of Mark Cunningham, the silver headed star of tonight's movie, Come Hell or High Water. Our reverence for this legendary waterman would be nothing unusual, except that Mark rarely touches a surfboard – he's a bodysurfer.

    Continue reading "A Hootfest for the Torpedo People at the La Paloma Theatre" »

    I Hate Surfing and Surfers are Lame

    by Brittany Griffith

    JT and I are headed to Baja tomorrow to celebrate his 40th birthday. I totally suck at surfing and I’ve had a few close calls so I’m always anxious when we go on a “surf trip.” It seems we never go someplace mellow – Peru, El Salvador, Nexpa. Isn’t that like taking a 5.4 climber up to the base of El Cap, giving her a rack of cams and saying, “off you go, see you on Heart Ledges”?

    Below is a memory I have from a past trip to Nexpa.

    I hate surfing and surfers are lame. I had just gotten mauled. Again. This time three feet from the shore. The water cruelly sucked me back out and then slammed me into the rocky, thinly foam-covered beach. Shielding my face from the fins of the board with one hand and frantically trying to stand back up with the other, disabled me from repositioning my bikini top. I gained the safety of the sand and panted. Breathing was difficult. A mane of hair webbed across my face and salt water poured from my nose. I pushed away the mess of hair and could see three cool-guy surfers on the porch of their bungalow, staring and snickering. Assholes, I thought. Then I remembered. I yanked my top back into place and stomped off. I tripped over my leash, still attached, and noticed that the right triangle of my bikini was inside out.

    “Oh yeah, well, I climb 5.13!” I wanted to shout. I fought back tears instead.

    [JT tries to console me, “It’s okay baby, I still think you’re cool. No, no, I don’t think you should take the rental car back to Zihuatanejo.” Photo: Ben Moon]

    Continue reading "I Hate Surfing and Surfers are Lame" »

    Picture Story - Exhaustion

    by Kelly Cordes

    Welcome to the first day of Fall, and a fresh installment in our occasional series of posts for the more visually oriented. For a lot of folks, autumn is the time of the last great hurrah. No bugs, perfect weather, decent daylight. Whether it's a alpine route or long days on the water, this time of year offers a tantalizing invitation to push it - sometimes 'til you can't push no more. - Ed

    Kc - SD Hunter 02 exhaustion(LR)
    [Scott DeCapio at the base of Mt. Hunter after a failed attempt at the French Route on the North Buttress. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    We cleared the ‘schrund, pulled our ropes and collapsed in a heap at the base. Spent. Done. Scott DeCapio and I had found success in 2000 and 2001 racing up ~ 3,500-foot Alaskan routes in lightweight style – and by racing, I mean motoring, fast as we could, full-on sprint. Tons of simulclimbing, and with moderate snowfields on which to relax between the harder climbing. Great. And a fine style for some routes. Others are too big, too sustained, too physical. At least for us.

    In 2002, we learned a lesson about pacing. We started sprinting up the then-unrepeated French Route on the North Buttress of Mt. Hunter – 4,000 feet to the top of the buttress, then another 2,000 to the summit for a proper ascent. We’d simulclimbed 3,000 feet of rock-hard ice to the third ice band in a mere 12 hours, thinking How ya like us now! And then, ka-boom! How ya like hitting the wall? Hitting it hard, getting sloppy, making mistakes. Scotty fell asleep at one belay. We chopped butt-seat ledges, brewed, ate, tried to sleep and recover. Too little, too late. We couldn’t even think straight. Exhausted. So we bailed, slowly, chopping a rope on the way and trying to keep ourselves from unraveling.

    Thirty-some hours from our start, we collapsed at the base, having learned a hard lesson about the importance of a steady, marathon pace in the mountains. It’s a lesson I’m still trying to master.

    New Digital Surf Catalog for Fall/Winter 2011


    Our new digital surf catalog is up and riding. Lots to click through and enjoy here -- perfect for some weekend inspiration (is that a fresh NW swell on the first day of fall?) or to cushion your Monday morning re-entry at work. Thanks to all the photographers, videographers, ambassadors and Patagonia/FCD employees who made this one possible. And thanks to Raincoast Conservation for all of their efforts in the Great Bear Rainforest.

    Launch Patagonia Surf Fall/Winter 2011

    Keith pipe - 16 Keith pipe - 05 Keith pipe - 01

    Note: With all due respect to the iDevice users out there, this catalog is best viewed on your desktop computer or an Android tablet. Stay tuned for our first foray into iPad catalog design coming soon.

    [Photo credits: Jeremy Koreski (top), Andrew Chisholm (bottom left), Jeremy Koreski (bottom center), Gina Sinotte (bottom right)]

    Riding Frozen Oceans

    The Patagonia ambassador team is pleased to share today's interview with one of their newest members, snowboarder Forrest Shearer. Forrest joins fellow riders Ryland Bell, Josh Dirksen and Taro Tamai in the lineup. Raised as a surfer at the famed Dana Point, Forrest made the transition to snowboarding with his move to the foot of the Wasatch Range in Utah. We caught up with Forrest recently to ask him a few questions about what has been an eventful year of riding, and his plans for the upcoming season.

    [Patagonia snowboarding ambassador Forrest Shearer surfs one of his new favorite winter breaks. Photo: Yoshiro Higai]

    TCL: You recently traveled to Japan to film for the new TGR film Further. What was the terrain like and how was it unique?

    Forrest: There was tons of good powder riding and big alpine terrain. A lot of people don't know that Japan gets so much snow – it's insane. I couldn't think of a cooler place to snowboard and experience a different culture.

    Continue reading "Riding Frozen Oceans" »

    To the Elwha and its Salmon - Welcome Home

    While the Patagonia environmental team was busy hosting its Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference last week, one of our activist community's greatest victories in recent decades was unfolding, the removal of the Elwha Dam. If you haven't had a chance to get the full story behind the Elwha's removal, check out yesterday's post from the New York Times, or the Seattle Times' comprehensive special coverage. Today's post is for all those who couldn't be on-hand to celebrate this unique moment in our environmental history.

    To all those who worked so hard for this victory: Thank You.

    And to the Elwha and its salmon, on behalf of advocates of free-flowing rivers everywhere: Welcome Home.


    And from American Rivers, American Whitewater, and the Hydropower Reform Coalition, a film by Andy Maser:

    Year of the River: Episode 1 from Andy Maser on Vimeo.

    Come Hell Or High Water World Tour - A Bodysurfing Film by Keith Malloy

    Come_Hell_High_WaterWoodshed Films, Patagonia and Nixon are proud to announce the world tour for Keith Malloy’s debut film project, Come Hell or High Water. The film explores the history and progression of the sport of bodysurfing and the pureness that comes from riding a wave. Shot primary in 16mm, the film takes a unique look at the culture, beauty and simplicity of the sport, capturing the stories and locations of those who belong to this community.

    While Keith is most widely known for his time in the water as a surfer, his exploration into the world of bodysurfing began some 10 years ago when he wanted to reconnect with the ocean and did so through bodysurfing. Said Malloy about this project, “It’s about taking a breath and kicking your feet in the big blue sea.”

    A sold-out crowd watched the world premiere of Come Hell or High Water last weekend at the New York Film Festival. The film makes its west-coast debut this Friday, September 23, at the La Paloma Theater in Encinitas, California and will continue to crisscross the globe with more stops in Southern, Central and Northern California, North Carolina, London and more. A portion of the proceeds from the tour’s ticket sales will be donated to The Plastic Pollution Coalition, a global alliance aimed at working toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts.

    Hit the jump to watch the trailer and see the current film tour schedule.

    Continue reading "Come Hell Or High Water World Tour - A Bodysurfing Film by Keith Malloy" »

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