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    by Kelly Cordes

    We traverse a rare and beautiful band of bullet rock, smooth with long reaches and thirty-foot runouts, the universe dropping away to the valley floor. We’re getting close. Justin continues along the line of weakness, toward the northwest ridge 500 feet below the summit of Mt. Siyeh, Glacier National Park, Montana. For 15 years I had feared this face. Heard its stories, its legends, its reputation as a “death face.”

    Jw - 100_1945(LR)
    [He’s down there somewhere…. Photo: Justin Woods]

    Reputations can be a funny thing. Especially if they shut you down before you even try. To me Siyeh became a 3,500-foot monster that I could never be good enough to climb. Never been climbed in a day, forced bivies bordering on hypothermia, a death face, I heard. I heard.

    Continue reading "Reputations" »

    Solitaire: World Premiere in Denver, Sept. 15

    Cleanest Line readers have been joining Sweetgrass Productions on their journey to produce their most ambitious film to date, Solitaire through their series "On the Road With Solitaire." The movie opens this week, September 15th, at Denver's Gothic Theatre. Watch the trailer and attend the premiere if you can, or stay tuned to the Sweetgrass website for the latest on when the film will be coming to a venue near you. Now, here's Nick from the Sweetgrass crew: 

    YoutGreat Scott, the day is nigh! Solitaire, that one confounding cord holding together two long and eventful years, drops on the unsuspecting masses this Thursday, September 15th. Hard for us to believe. Its real. All those 4am struggles with alarm clocks, and sweat-soaked skin tracks, and bus terminals, and luggage, GOOD GOD THE LUGGAGE!-- it all boils down to a 4x6 inch piece of cardboard with a disc inside.

    It's a tough feeling to express-- all of the wonder, all of the mystery, all of the uncertainty of committing to this project in an inhospitable land . . .

    [South America puts a couple wrinkles in your brow. Photo: courtesy of Sweetgrass Productions.]


    Continue reading "Solitaire: World Premiere in Denver, Sept. 15" »


    by Kelly Cordes

    The transition to darkness scares me. Fleeting rays of final light linger on the horizon. I stare down thousands of feet, where immense shadows from ice-capped towers overhead cast dark shapes into the valley below. I barely make out the specks of our tents at base camp. A fire starts. Our cook is warm, comfortable, and will soon crawl into his sleeping bag. But here, on a rocky ledge, we settle down onto flaked-out ropes and into wafer-thin aluminized bivy sacks – those little two-ounce things they make for emergencies – and await the slow and sharp creep of cold.

    Cordes - JW bivy1 LR
    [Josh Wharton awaiting nightfall on Shingu Charpa, Pakistan. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "Nights" »

    Your Help is Needed to Protect the Green and Colorado Rivers

    Recently Patagonia participated in a Save the Colorado River campaign funding meeting that provided over $150,000 (including $25,000 from Patagonia) to over a dozen outstanding nonprofits working to protect and restore the ecological health of the Colorado River and its watershed. The Save the Colorado River campaign is a partnership between business and philanthropic groups, founded by New Belgium Brewery and including Patagonia, CLIF Bar, Teva, Kenney Brothers Foundation, the Environment Foundation, Environment NOW, National Geographic and Clean Water Fund. Learn more at:
    Through Save the Colorado River and the Our Common Waters campaign, we encourage you to read on and lend your voice to a coalition of 20 conservation groups who are fighting to stop the proposed Flaming Gorge Pipeline water project…

    Please sign the petition at

    The Colorado River Watershed today faces many challenges, as our need for water in the west continues to grow.

    From hopeful beginnings at the headwaters of its longest tributary, the Green River…

    Photo: G. Thomas, via Wikimedia Commons

    to the dry and cracked landscape of the Delta, 50 miles south of the Mexico border.  Where the mighty River once met the Sea of Cortez in a rich estuary, it is now reduced to this:

    End of colorado
    Screen-grab from Pete McBride's short film about the proposed Flaming Gorge Pipeline project.

    These conditions will only get worse as human consumption increases and climate change threatens to jeopardize the snowpack that feeds the river.

    Hit the jump to read more about the proposed Flaming Gorge Pipeline project, and watch Pete McBride's image-rich video trailer.

    Continue reading "Your Help is Needed to Protect the Green and Colorado Rivers" »

    Introducing the Common Threads Initiative - Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle, Reimagine


    “Recycling is what we do when we're out of options to avoid, repair, or reuse the product first. That's why I am so impressed with Patagonia for starting its Common Threads Initiative with the real solution: Reduce. Don't buy what we don't need. Repair: Fix stuff that still has life in it. Reuse: Share. Then, only when you've exhausted those options, recycle.” –Annie Leonard, author of The Story of Stuff

    In the 18th century Lancashire's cotton mills and the budding clothing trade helped fuel the Industrial Revolution and create the modern economy. Now it's time to reverse the engines – to help create the next, more sustainable economy. Today, we are pleased to announce the launch of our Common Threads Initiative: a partnership between our customers, eBay and Patagonia to make, buy and use clothes more sustainably, with the ultimate aim of keeping the clothes we sell from ever reaching the landfill.

    Continue reading "Introducing the Common Threads Initiative - Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle, Reimagine" »

    Running to the Sea - Help Save the Colorado River Delta

    Delta_rivers end0636

    "But along the way I learned how the problem could be fixed and that the delta is far from dead both in terms of people who care about it and the remarkable habitat that still remains." –Jonathan Waterman

    When our fall catalog lands in your mailbox, you’ll find an excellent essay on the Colorado River by Jon Waterman, a writer who has devoted himself to the river and everything that depends on it. The Colorado was once a great river but it has been ruined by water greed. You can find out more about the river and Patagonia’s ongoing campaign at Our Common Waters. Here, Jon sends an urgent and eloquent plea to help save the Colorado. Please take action today.

    In June 2008, as I began paddling the 1,450-mile long Colorado River, the knowledge that the river had not reached the sea for a decade outraged me. And it wasn’t just because paddling the last 90 miles would be a challenge. It is outrageous because we have shunted our most iconic western river to the greatest desert estuary in North America and not only has this been swept under the rug by our Bureau of Reclamation, but people I met everywhere along my journey from the Rockies toward the Sea of Cortez were largely unaware that the river had run dry.

    [Above: Pete McBride portaging toward the sea along the empty river banks. Photo: Jon Waterman]

    Continue reading "Running to the Sea - Help Save the Colorado River Delta" »

    Strawberry Jam

    Thank you letter from customer

    Thanks Colin. The jam was awesome!

    To Suffer Well

    by Kelly Cordes

    Kc - cfs IMG_0815(LR)

    I think back a few weeks to when I found my friend Craig 52 miles into a grueling mountain run, wobbling on the trail like a baby deer. He held himself up with his trekking poles, grinned and told me he was fine. Uhhh, you don’t look fine, dude. I’d joined him for morale toward the end of his first 100km (62 miles) race, and, naturally (as distinctly opposed to "stupidly"…), he chose one of the toughest: the Kat’cina Mosa, which gains 17,404 feet of elevation. Craig (a.k.a. CFS) blew-up around mile 40. Nothing truly damaging, he just hurt. Bad. Legs gone, drunk-walk bad. For the last 20 miles. Damn that unassuming scrawny bastard is tough. Seven months ago he could barely walk around the block. Strangest thing, too: the happiest I’ve ever seen him was during the run (at least until he blew-up, and even then he didn’t complain) – goofy, shit-eating grin, chatting, laughing, suffering. Didn’t think once of quitting. Not for a second. I like that. Wish I had it more often.

    As he eventually trotted across the finish line, I was reminded, once again, of mental toughness.

    [CFS staggering along, only 10 miles to go… Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "To Suffer Well" »

    Combing the Coast


    If you've ever read a story about surfing on the Canadian coast, you're pretty sure to have read a few boilerplate paragraphs about how pristine it is in this part of the world. How bears and wolves stroll past the tent sites on the shoreline, perhaps, or how the lineups are alive with seals and whales, or how the water is a pure psychedelic green and the mountains are a thick shag carpet of trees. [Heading out for a Friday evening surf on Flores Island. All photos: Malcolm Johnson]

    We're happy to welcome back Canadian writer and surfer, Malcolm Johnson, to The Cleanest Line. This time, Malcolm takes us on a journey to a pristine island in Clayoquot Sound and opens our eyes to the unbelievable reach of ocean pollution.

    Those things are true enough – in the town I live in, you can cast off the rocks for dinner or walk into forests that haven't changed since the Pleistocene. But those things are also a bit misleading, or at least only partly true. The British Columbia coast has managed to retain much of its beauty and biodiversity, but it’s not some sort of pre-industrial idyll that’s free from the pressures of the modern world. It’s all a matter of image, I guess – you’ll find plenty of text in the surf and travel magazines about our area's natural attributes, but not a lot about fish-farm waste, or the spawning streams clogged with logging debris, or the fact that Tofino, which bases much of its economy on surfing and eco-tourism, pipes its sewage straight into the waters of Clayoquot Sound. The reality of it is that the coast here is as vulnerable as anywhere to the forces of environmental degradation – the Northern Gateway is one of the more worrisome examples, a controversial pipeline project that would increase tanker traffic and put the Great Bear Rainforest at risk.

    Continue reading "Combing the Coast" »

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