"I think we say a lot about who we are through our work." --Chris Burkard
One of the joys of working at Patagonia is dropping by the photo department and peeking at the recent submissions. We share the best of the best in our catalogs and on our website, and they never fail to inspire us.
One of the many photographers we’re grateful to work with is Chris Burkard from California's Central Coast. You've no doubt seen his work in our print catalogs and our new digital surf catalog. Chris kindly shared some of his photos with us for today's post and a video that captures the spirit of his work.
Hit the jump to see the photos. Warning: after viewing, the urge to shut off your computer and go surfing will be extremely difficult to resist.
Ty Draney, a member of the Patagonia Ultrarunning Team, and friend Luke Nelson recently completed the Great Salmon Run in partnership with Save our Wild Salmon. The pair were inspired to trace over 120 miles of the Snake River sockeye's migration route, motivated by facts like these:
• Thirteen populations of salmon and steelhead are officially in danger of extinction. The four remaining Snake River stocks are either threatened or endangered.
• The Columbia Basin was once home to the largest salmon fishery in the world — supporting tens of thousands of jobs, providing a nutritious food, and generating billions of dollars in economic activity each year.
• Up to 30 million wild salmon and steelhead once returned to the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Today, it is less than one percent of the number.
• Snake River sockeye salmon migrate higher than any salmon in the world: Adults swim 900 miles and climb 6,500 feet in elevation — from the Pacific Ocean to Redfish Lake in the Rocky Mountains of Idaho.
• With more than 200 dams, the Columbia Basin today is among the world’s most dammed landscapes. Removing four costly dams will restore salmon, create jobs, save money, and establish a clean energy blueprint for the future.
Here’s Ty’s report:
[Bighorn Crags, deep in the heart of the Columbia Basin. Central Idaho. All photos: Matthew Irving]
"I think we're taking this whole salmon metaphor way too far...."
That's all I could think at the time. We had been wandering off course for hours, trying to get up to the Bighorn Crags. As it turns out the 78 miles we ran along the river was the easy part. We had left Boundry Creek at first light, hoping to make good time while the weather was cool. The trail was very runnable and we were in high spirits.
It’s a double-shot of music this Monday to get your week started. Today, we have two new videos from the Patagonia Music Collective and our partners at HeadCount. First up, Adam Gardner and Luke Reynolds from Guster talk about their benefit track “Satellite” and the special concert where it was recorded. “Satellite” is a Patagonia Music exclusive and the proceeds benefit Reverb’s work to help make concert tours, and concert goers, more environmentally conscious.
[Colin Haley walking out from a false start, with the Fitz Roy massif behind. Photo: Kelly Cordes]
Early winter in Estes Park, tourist season finally over and the town asleep, I stood in an empty backroom at a local bar. “Tango,” said Jay, “is the dance of passion. It’s a dramatic cat-and-mouse game – teasing back-and-forth, graceful, seductive.”
It’s so fun being a beginner. My girlfriend and I soaked up our fifth dance lesson.
“There are three main types of Tango,” Jay continued, “International, American, and Argentine.”
Wind rattled the back door. It was December 2007. Maybe getting too cold for the melt-freeze climbs now, I instinctively thought. For the past 14 years I’d devoted myself to ice and alpine climbing, which often involve mediums so fickle and ephemeral that many climbers hate it. The quixotic wake at absurd hours to pursue mere rumors, trudge endlessly with heavy packs following a hunch, and travel 12 time zones away for a potential line they saw on a crinkled photograph. In Argentine Patagonia, passionate climbers wait months on end for just one opening, one chance to go chasing windmills. You have to love the dance.
[Leaders of grassroots environmental groups from around the country (and the world!) gather at the Stanford Sierra Camp to learn the latest tactics and techniques to aid in their ongoing work. All photos: Tim Davis]
On the list of points of pride that come with working for Patagonia, the Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference is near the top. As an employee, I’ve known about it for years, but as with many of our environmental initiatives, it’s a largely altruistic affair. The tools presented at this conference are, after all, for the activists who are on the front lines of today’s environmental issues. And what this means for employees is this: most of us don’t get to go.
Every job eventually feels like a grind, and there are plenty of work days that can leave one feeling pretty far from things like “meaning” and “purpose.” But it's things like our Tools Conference that provide meaning and purpose to the work we do here. I haven’t always felt a part of the difference that I know is being made at the Tools Conference, but attending this year’s gathering changed all of that.
When she's not busy making us jealous about climbing in places like Greenland and France, Patagonia Climbing Ambassador Jasmin Caton guides folks to some of British Columbia's choicest rock climbs and snow-covered lines with Valhalla Mountain Touring, a business she owns and runs together with her husband. Jasmin teamed up with fellow ambassador Brittany Griffith for this year's 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell. We're pleased to share the report from Jasmin's personal blog. And hit that 2-4 Hell link (rrrright over there, previous sentence) for a cool video recap of the past 6 years of madness. - Ed
Imagine how you feel at the end of a full day of climbing; the pleasant forearm and back ache, the tenderness of the skin on your fingers and toes, the craving for a cold beer and some tasty food. That's pretty much how I felt 8 hours after the starting gun went off at the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell in Arkansas. But instead of giving in to fatigue I chugged some canned coffee beverage, scarfed down one of the turkey-hummus-veggie wraps I had pre-prepped to avoid energy-bar burnout and dragged the rope over to our next pitch.
[A few light snacks for a day of climbing. All photos: Jasmin Caton]
Most of our photo-centric "Picture Story" posts have been about climbing. Today, the fishing guys get in on the action with an encouraging report from one of eastern Canada's iconic salmon streams, and a family fishing operation that depends on the health of the river's fish populations: - Ed
Live Release of Atlantic salmon is the best practice the Wilson family could have adopted for their sporting camps on the Miramichi River. Years of overfishing, dams and habitat destruction all have taken a toll until some years back when ASF and NASF salmon groups came in with plans for passage, buying out commercial nets, etc. After years of hard work, good numbers of fish are once again coming into the system.
Pictured here is Bill Taylor, president of the Atlantic Salmon Federation releasing a huge hen salmon that Jake MacDonald hooked, and after a wild twenty minutes managed to land. It began as normal as any other fish until the first jump revealed a monster of a salmon (Jake's first ever). Ten minutes in, Jake announces that he thinks he lost it, and when he tried to reel-up we discovered the line was around a big rock on the far side of the river.
Jake was fighting the fish from the canoe so I told him to keep a tight line as we poled the boat over to the rock, just in case the big girl was still hooked up. Sure enough, as I drifted closer she ripped clear and the fight was on again. Another ten minutes and Bill managed to slide the big salar into a landing net. It is amazing how such a big fish can be landed after all that on such a small #8 hook. Guide Keith Wilson is all smiles as the two put this beautiful salmon back in the river to swim another day. Live release has been a major conservation tool at Wilson's since 1983 and success is evident today as the camp broke records with the number of fish caught in 2011. Ernest (EJ) Long has been guiding at Wilson's for nearly 48 years and he credits the ASF with the best fishing he has experienced on the Miramichi to date. There is no doubt that Live-Release angling is working for the Miramichi River. - Keith Wilson, of Wilson's Sporting Camps
It's been about 4 1/2 years since my last trip to Patagonia, but my memories of the vast landscapes, milky blue rivers, and wild animals had never left my mind. What really left an impact on me was the thought of this place, being DESTROYED by dams, deforestation, mining, and invasive species.
My last visit to Patagonia was with a group of Patagonia employees as part of the Patagonia Environmental Internship Program. Through the program, employees can leave their jobs for up to one month to work for the environmental group of their choice. Patagonia continues to pay their salaries and benefits while they're gone, and the environmental groups worldwide get them for free. To date, more than 850 employees have taken part in the program.