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    « September 2011 | Main | November 2011 »

    Dirtbag Diaries: Tales of Terror Vol. 2

    Tales_of_terror_logo_smallKelly Cordes started the Halloween festivites on Friday with his Halloween Bloodbath (?) post on Friday. Now that our favorite scary holiday has arrived, we hand the flashlight over to Fitz Cahall for his annual Tales of Terror episode on The Dirtbag Diaries.

    What frightful things get your heart racing? Ghosts? Unidentifiable sounds in the middle of the night? Or the person you might meet out in the woods? It can be difficult to separate an initial seed of fear from the growing tangle of possibility that can quickly emerge in your head, but sometimes that sprouting seed is very tangible. Today, we bring you stories from Sara Porterfield and Jeremy Allyn. They'll make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. You'll try to shudder them off. But the seed- the seed will remain. And isn't that what scary stories are all about?

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Tales of Terror Vol. 2"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com to hear or download the music from today's podcast. And if you happen to be visiting Patagonia HQ today, our resident fortune teller/receptionist, Joyce, is waiting to greet you. Happy Halloween!

    Halloween_2011_joyce_2
    [Welcome to Patagonia. I predicted your arrival last week. Photo: Free]

    Patapumpkin
    [Thanks to Patagonia Facebook fan, Michael Bellia, for sharing this photo of his killer carving skills. Photo: Michael Bellia]

    Halloween Bloodbath (?)

    by Kelly Cordes

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    [Parking lot Limbo. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    "It's gonna be a bloodbath!"

    The words rocked me back to my mullet years in the 80s, back in high school, central Pennsylvania. "Oh my," Mean Gene would usually add. I'm talking about Mean Gene Okerlund, the rounded, balding, deadpan serious WWF announcer. As you know, WWF would later become WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment, rather than Federation), and things would never be the same. It's when rasslin' lost its soul, became all about the money and show instead of love of the sport. As a former diehard professional wrestling fan (today I can no longer bear witness to the charade it has become), I feel qualified in my assessment, and not just because of my mullet – I attended multiple events live. Like Mean Gene, I kept it real. I once shook the massive hand of Andre the Giant (RIP), got the Junkyard Dog's autograph in a bar, got spit on by one of the Samoans, and chased by George the Animal Steele (at the shows in Altoona, Pennsylvania, they sometimes eschewed fan restraints, unthinkable as it seems given the IQ and behavioral tendencies of most [emphasis mine] 'rasslin fans). Anyway, when Mean Gene talked bloodbaths, he usually spoke of an upcoming steel cage match, as in, "This Saturday night, at the West Virginia state fairgrounds, Superfly Snuka and Rowdy Roddy Piper, in the steel cage! It's gonna be a bloodbath, ladies and gentlemen!" Oops, almost forgot: "Oh my."

    "Dude, there's gonna be Gremlins swinging from the rafters," Josh said next, snapping me out of my 1986 nostalgia. Josh Nielsen, who manages Patagonia's ambassador team (not unlike herding cats), was telling me about the upcoming all-company Halloween party.

    Continue reading "Halloween Bloodbath (?)" »

    Back to Patagonia - Part 2

    by Crystal Thornburg-Homcy

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    As I packed my bags for my trip to Patagonia, reminiscing about my last visit over four years ago, I remembered the sudden shift of weather patterns from cold to hot, to snow and even rain. My activities would range from surfing, kayaking, hiking, snowboarding, to relaxing in the natural hot springs, and a few film festivals in the cities, so I had to pack accordingly. For my trip to Southern Chile, I had this Patagonia gear list in mind.

    1. Primo Down Jacket
    2. Fiona Parka
    3. 3/4-Sleeve Diviner Top
    4. Merino Sweater Coat
    5. Tranquila Leggings
    6. Expedition Weight Merino Hiking Mid Socks
    7. Rain Shadow Pants
    8. Lidia Jacket
    9. Rain Shadow Jacket
    10. Merino 3 Midweight Crew
    11. R4® Hooded Front-Zip Wetsuit
    12. Woolly Hat

    Editor's note: Patagonia surf ambassador Crystal Thornburg-Homcy follows up on her recent post, Back to Patagonia, with today's entry.

    I was invited to be part of the crew from 1% For The Planet member, Sol Raiz Organics, to head off on an adventure with world renowned cinematographer, Jack McCoy, and big-wave surfer, Jamie Sterling, to explore the path of our hero, Yvon Chouinard, and to experience the area that inspired him to name his outdoor gear company Patagonia.

    Continue reading "Back to Patagonia - Part 2" »

    Journey Through a Scroll Painting

    by Dave Campbell

    From standing guard over endangered sea-turtle eggs, to mapping oceanic pollution and starting one of the West's most successful wilderness protection organizations, our Environmental Internship Program provides Patagonia employees with opportunities to participate in the fight to protect the Earth's resources. It's been a while since we've shared an employee's story from the front lines, but Dave Campbell, author of today's post, proves that it was worth the wait. Dave, a pro sales rep for Patagonia, spent 2 months this summer in the Far East collaborating with The Nature Conservancy China on an environmental project. Here's Dave:

    D2

    It was February 2005; my Tibetan climbing partner Luo Rijia and I had just pulled ourselves onto the summit of Aotaimei Mountain in China’s Sichuan Province, becoming the third team ever to reach its 17,523-foot summit. Half of our climbing rack consisted of Luo Rijia’s hand forged pitons and most of the satellite peaks around us had virgin summits. We were standing above one of the last regions of the world to shelter reclusive animals like the giant panda and golden monkey. For a moment I felt like I was in a land forgotten by the outside world and time, though with 1.3 billion people and the inertia of the world’s fastest growing economy just over the horizon, it was hard to not wonder what would soon become of Aotaimei and the last wild regions of the Middle Kingdom.

    In spring of 2011, I spoke with our environmental department about my personal interest in working with The Nature Conservancy in China; as a result they offered to cover my regular wages for two months while I volunteered overseas as part of Patagonia’s Environmental Internship Program. Within a month I was on a plane crossing the Pacific.

    Continue reading "Journey Through a Scroll Painting" »

    In honor of our dear colleague, Holger Bismann

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    I write to convey the news of the passing of our dear friend and wonderful colleague, Holger Bismann.

    Although you wouldn't have known it by the way Holger's exceptionally positive attitude prevailed through the challenge of his recent health issues, he had been ill for the past few months and passed away quietly on Saturday at a hospital near Munich. His wife Christelle, and daughters Johanna and Helena were by his side.

    Holger joined us in December 2008 as the General Manager for Patagonia Europe. From day one, his joy for life and passion for all things Patagonia were a perfect match for our Annecy colleagues, and that spirit, drive, and vitality bubbled over to every person he met as one of our most energetic brand ambassadors. He visited the Ventura offices several times with his family to take in the California lifestyle and try surfing; his delight, pride, and pure love for "his girls" was a joy to experience.

    Continue reading "In honor of our dear colleague, Holger Bismann" »

    We're Just Getting Started: Elwha and Condit Establish Dam Removal Momentum

    Chouinard_dams_HANSON

    On Saturday, September 17, demolition started on two Elwha River dams – the largest dams to be taken down in our nation’s history. And this is just one example from a movement that is gaining momentum and traction across the country this year.

    Communities are evaluating local dams that block free-flowing rivers, altering the natural ecosystems and species that rely on the flow. Dams kill fish and prevent migrating species like salmon from spawning, and they block nutrients and needed sediment from being transported downstream to coastal beaches and wetlands. These impacts ripple throughout the local environment, but also have huge social and economic consequences.

    [Above: Fletcher Chouinard, Malinda Chouinard, Yvon Chouinard, Claire Chouinard and Matt Stoecker have a message for President Obama. Elwha River, Washington. Photo: Michael Hanson]

    Continue reading "We're Just Getting Started: Elwha and Condit Establish Dam Removal Momentum" »

    Seeing Red

    by Brittany Griffith

    Lodephoto2
    [Connecting the dots on a Motherlode classic. Photo: Keith Ladzinski]

    I hung limp on the end of the rope with my forehead resting on the taut line. I felt my throat tighten. I hadn’t been this frustrated in a very long time.
     
    I realized a long time ago that grades were relative, but it seemed everyone here, 30-40 people, including a seven year old homeschooled girl, could climb the severely steep 5.12s that I was just about ready to shamefully accrue yet another DNS (did not summit) on.

    I pulled back on, twisted up to a small, sharp pocket, stuffed in two fingers, and then lurched up to a heavily chalked flat edge, which was not nearly as large as my belayer (who was currently engrossed in an all-important dialog with another belayer about learning to play the guitar) previously made it look. I held it (and my breath) with a death grip. Gravity eventually won and I fell until the loop of slack hit the GriGri and my belayer was jarred out of her stimulating conversation.

    Continue reading "Seeing Red" »

    Back on the Dawn Wall with Tommy Caldwell

    by Tommy Caldwell

    CaldwellR_2010_09_12089I wiggle the tip of my pinky finger into a small opening in the crack, and step high onto a small edge. Ouch! Maybe if I focus harder on the moves I will forget the pain. I pull onto the rock again, climb a few feet, then surrender. Such a long way to go, I think. I switch off my headlamp and suddenly vastness of space becomes apparent. El Cap shimmers below a sky of vivid stars, while my partner Kevin, 200 feet above me, grunts like a freight train. We are working the pitches separately on self-belay so that we can be more efficient. The beam of his headlamp swings back and forth and a calm darkness surrounds us. There is not even a breath of wind.

    Editor’s note: Patagonia ambassador Tommy Caldwell and his partner Kevin Jorgeson are back on the Dawn Wall in Yosemite, trying to free climb the steepest, blankest part of El Capitan -- a project first conceived in 2007. Tommy sent us some thoughts before heading up to the portaledge.


    Free climbing the Dawn Wall has become a strong obsession. And I have been at it for a long time. Not only in time spent on the wall, but the training as well. I have spent months beating my fingers rhythmically on the campus board. Years on the boulders fingering sharp holds and trying to build callus. I know my nerves must be hardened and my perspective of what I am capable of changed, so long days that leave me weary have become the norm.

    [Above: Enjoying a rare rest and looking ahead to the daunting crux of the climb. Photo: Becca Caldwell]

    Continue reading "Back on the Dawn Wall with Tommy Caldwell" »

    Notes from Pakistan - Part 1

    by Kelly Cordes

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    I just returned from seven weeks in Pakistan, where I took a few notes:

    [Hayden Kennedy in base camp, with K6 rising in the background. Photo: Kelly Cordes]:

    • Getting from the States to Islamabad went smooth as silk. Best airline ever? Emirates. “Baller,” as Hayden put it. Side note: “Baller” is not, as I’d ignorantly guessed, a crude reference. Rather, it originally referred to great basketball players, usually inner city street kids who made it big, though it’s come to mean anything done well, and livin’ large. Emirates, baller. Definitely baller. The cheap seats are like friggin’ first class. “Um, ma’am, I think I might be in the wrong seat, but first class is way up front and I can see the back of the plane right there so I’m confused,” I said. “No sir, this is your seat. Would you like a hot towel and a drink?” Ummm, OK.

    Continue reading "Notes from Pakistan - Part 1" »

    Long Treks on Skate Decks Morocco: Episode 4 - The Lost Peak

    Loaded(2)

    Back in July, we shared the trailer for a unique video series our friends at Loaded Boards were working on: three guys skateboarding 2000 kilometers across Morocco. They're four episodes into the series now and it's time to get you caught up (we've been sharing them regularly on our Facebook page). [Paul Kent and Aaron Enevoldsen stoked on some decent pavement for the descent. Photo: Adam Colton]

    Here's Adam Colton, co-founder of Loaded Boards, and one of the guys from the trip:

    We are finally in the Atlas Mtns and loving it. Our terrible trio goes from being lost in the souks of Marrakech to combing the High Atlas mountains in search of the Lost Peak "Tizi n'tischka".

    In this episode, enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells (scratch and sniff) of Marrakech. Weave and wind the twisted streets past riads, merchants, and snake charmers. Clean off the grime of the city, then be whisked away to mysterious countryside inhabited by Argan trees and the Imazighen peoples. Then top it off with a slow climb, and rapid descent, of the highest mountain pass of the entire trip -- an elevation of 2290 meters (7,513 feet).

    Viewer beware! Aaron is shown some native music, Paul begins to learn to speak a little Tamazight and Adam battles frog monsters in the night.




    To see episodes 1-3, push on over to the LongTreks Morocco playlist on YouTube.

    Enjoy your weekend, everybody. Hope all of you on the left coast have been getting some waves the last few days.

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2010 Patagonia, Inc.