The Cleanest Line

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    « October 2011 | Main | December 2011 »

    The Labyrinth - an excerpt from Best Women's Travel Writing 2011

    From The Best Women’s Travel Writing 2011 - an excerpt from “The Labyrinth,” a story about surviving Costa Rican heartbreak and whitewater by Bridget Crocker, Patagonia copy writer. Bridget and fellow BWTW11 contributors will be reading at Diesel, A Bookstore in Malibu on Sun., Dec. 4 at 3p.m.

    Demin BW Portrait Bridget
    [Author and river guide, Bridget Crocker. Photo by Tony Demin.]

    “This upper section is called ‘The Labyrinth,’” Roland says, cinching down his frayed lifejacket. “It’s been run maybe three or four times before today. I’ve seen it a couple times and I’d say it’s pretty solid Class V. Lots of steep drops through tight chutes. There are a few slots we have to make—it’s not an option to miss them. I think I can remember them all, but we’ll have to scout as we go. There’s no way out of the gorge once we start.”

    Normally I would be anxious about taking a flaccid shredder down a little-run Class V boulder garden without the safety of other boaters along or even an evacuation route. Plus, Roland forgot his helmet and we have no throw bag. Oddly, I couldn’t care less. I feel no hint of the usual Class V jitters or concern for our lack of preparedness. It occurs to me that I may be spared a trip to Cathedral Point, as our little daytrip down the Labyrinth is suicidal enough.

    Continue reading "The Labyrinth - an excerpt from Best Women's Travel Writing 2011" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: Transitions - Efficiency Manifesto

    Dbd_transitionsParents new and old will be especially touched by this episode of The Dirtbag Diaries. Show host Fitz Cahall sets the stage:

    No one skins uphill to put together a splitboard efficiently. They do it to shred down. Making a transition at a belay is part of the process, not the main event. Transitions may not be sexy, but they make or break us. They are the difference between a cold night spent shivering on a ledge and walking out in perfect evening light. Almost five years after I wrote the Monoboard and started The Diaries, I find myself in a metaphorical transition. My passions run from the mountains to the Seattle music scene and I've become adept at moving between them. My life is about to change. My passions won't. It's time to refine the transition.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Transitions - Efficiency Manifesto"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to download the music from "Transitions - Efficiency Manifesto" 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.

    Special shout out to Walker Cahall for this episode's clever show graphic, and to Fitz and Becca Cahall as they near delivery time.

    Stuffing Ourselves on Black Friday

    by Annie Leonard and Rick Ridgeway

    The following Op-Ed first appeared in the Friday, November 25, 2011 edition of the Los Angeles Times. Annie Leonard is founder of The Story of Stuff Project. Rick Ridgeway is Vice President of Environmental Initiatives at Patagonia, Inc.

    Annie_leonard_tools_2 Rick_ridgeway_copenhagen

    [Annie Leonard (left) speaking at Patagonia's 2011 Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference. Photo: Tim Davis. Rick Ridgeway (right) speaking at the 2009 United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change. Photo: Kodiak Greenwood]

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    Today is Black Friday, when holiday shopping hoards descend on malls across the country, and retailers hope to turn a profit as their accounting books transition from red ink to black. This year, Black Friday comes two months after Earth Overshoot Day, when our planet’s accounts – the ones that measure human demand on the planet’s services that support our economies – transitioned the other direction, from black to red.

    Each year our planet can produce a certain amount of resources and absorb a certain amount of use – nature’s budget for the year. One group of scientists that keep an eye on this is the Global Footprint Network, and by its calculations, in 2011 we exhausted the annual budget on September 27th, less than 10 months into the year. That means we are currently 135% above the capacity of our planet to replace essential “services” like clean water, clean air, arable land, healthy fisheries and stable climate. Our over-consumption is eating into the very ecological systems that all the world’s economies – and indeed, all life – depend on. If that is troublesome, consider that by 2050, we'll be 500% above capacity unless we change how we make, use and throw away stuff.

    Continue reading "Stuffing Ourselves on Black Friday" »

    Don't Buy This Jacket, Black Friday and the New York Times

    NYT_11-25-11_2Photo: Patagonia advertisement from the Friday, November, 25, 2011 edition of The New York Times (click image to read as a PDF, 1.5MB).

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    Why run an ad in The New York Times on Black Friday telling people, “Don’t Buy This Jacket”?

    It’s time for us as a company to address the issue of consumerism and do it head on.

    The most challenging, and important, element of the Common Threads Initiative is this: to lighten our environmental footprint, everyone needs to consume less. Businesses need to make fewer things but of higher quality. Customers need to think twice before they buy.

    Why? Everything we make takes something from the planet we can’t give back. Each piece of Patagonia clothing, whether or not it’s organic or uses recycled materials, emits several times its weight in greenhouse gases, generates at least another half garment’s worth of scrap, and draws down copious amounts of freshwater now growing scarce everywhere on the planet.

    We’re placing the ad in the Times because it’s the most important national newspaper and considered the “paper of record.” We’re running the ad on Black Friday, which launches the retail holiday season. We should be the only retailer in the country asking people to buy less on Black Friday.

    Continue reading "Don't Buy This Jacket, Black Friday and the New York Times" »

    Recap on El Cap - Another Butt-Kicking

    - by Tommy Caldwell

    Today, Tommy Caldwell writes about the conclusion of another season of trying to free-climb the Dawn Wall. And coming up empty – though that’s really not the right word. We’ve covered his efforts in multiple posts (click here, here, or here), and it’s made frequent news in the climbing world for its nearly incomprehensible difficulty. Here’s how it feels, from the man himself. His words remind me of what it means to be grateful and of the spirit and values that matter most, which, I think, is worth remembering as we approach the holiday season. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. - Kelly Cordes
     
    CaldwellR.2010.09.12576(rope end)
    [Tommy recovering after a fall on one of the many crux pitches. Photo: Rebecca Caldwell]

    The wheels of my van protest loudly as I hit the rumble strips on Interstate 70. My wife, Becca, bolts upright out of a peaceful sleep with a panicked look on her face.

    “Did you fall asleep?” she says, her eyes the size of basketballs. Did I? I think for a second. I gaze toward the passenger seat. A bit of drool glistens on her cheek and her long hair sticks straight out from the right side of her head.

    Wow, that girl is cute when she is irritated at me.

    “I guess I was just daydreaming.” I shrug my shoulders and try to put on my best puppy dog eyes.

    “Well be careful!” She curls back up in the seat and is asleep in seconds.

    The truth is, I am not even a bit drowsy. The post-expedition mind is a funny thing. Both happy to be returning home, but trying to find a way to cope with something. A kind of loss of immediate purpose. And although the trip I am returning home from wasn’t exactly an expedition, it had a similar effect on my psyche.

    Continue reading "Recap on El Cap - Another Butt-Kicking" »

    Opening Night at the Tin Shed on Broadway

    - By Jeff DiNunzio

    NYC PICS 379
    [The crowd gathers at opening night of the Tin Shed on Broadway. All photos: Anthony Garcia]

    The crowd arrived Friday to join us in welcoming Jon Swift. He had been touring steadily, and this was his last performance before a much needed break. He had flown east to help celebrate the opening of Patagonia’s Tin Shed on Broadway—one of two interim stores we opened in New York for the holiday season. Two-hundred people had come, some by accident, to join Swift in the party. The experiment was underway.

    The Broadway Tin Shed sits smack between West 99th and 100th Streets, with Columbia University to the north, another Patagonia store 20 blocks south, Central Park to the east, the Hudson at its west, and a logjam of baby strollers right out front. “Tin Shed” is a reference to the days Yvon Chouinard first built rock climbing tools in his blacksmith shop in Ventura, CA. To see the structure in person is to recognize the connection immediately – a small corrugated shack, it looks like something a couple of the guys might throw together in an afternoon to keep the drizzle out of their beer while they tinkered around with their toys. A carcass of retail space on the Upper West Side was reincarnated in about a month. The Broadway store opened two weeks ago, followed by the Upper East Side this past Sunday.

    Continue reading "Opening Night at the Tin Shed on Broadway" »

    Éire

    by Patrick “Patch” Wilson

    Patch grabs 3

    Eyeing up a promising looking swell chart and coming to the end of a massive restoration project at work, I jumped at the opportunity to hitch a lift in my friend Lowey’s van and get back out to Eire for some waves again. The swell was looking big and the winds not quite right but I had time on my side and I have found over the years that to get the good days here it’s best not to be in a rush and just to hangout and take the place in.

    Editor’s note: Patagonia UK ambassador, Patch Wilson, joins us today with some thoughts about a recent surf trip, and a stack of amazing pictures. Thanks to Patch, Mickey Smith and Tom Lowe for sharing their photos.

    Autumn time and the big lows that sweep across the Atlantic throw swell straight at the West coast of Éire along with a lot of weather. In between weather fronts, when the wind is switching around and easing off a little, you can score perfect slabs, points and beaches if you know where to look on the right tide, wind and swell direction. It’s a gamble of: Should we go here and check this slab or here instead and check this point? But when things come together, it’s well worth the waiting and searching.

    [Above: Patch Wilson, turquoise bowl. Photo: Mickey Smith frame grab]

    Continue reading "Éire" »

    "Unexpected" from Patagonia Books Wins Prestigious Banff Award

    Banff award and book

    We’re honored to report that The Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival has awarded Unexpected: Thirty Years of Patagonia Catalog Photography its “Best Book – Mountain Image” award for 2011. Unusual for a business enterprise, Patagonia’s catalog devotes half its space to editorial content — environmental and sport essays and extraordinary photographs of wild places and active pursuits. Jane Sievert and Jennifer Ridgeway, Patagonia’s current and founding photo editor, respectively, have been calling, and culling, the shots for three decades. Unexpected is their compendium of most compelling photos the company has published, and a celebration of wilderness and outdoor-sport photography as an art and a practice. On behalf of the company, Jane, Jennifer and designer Annette Scheid accepted the award in Banff on November 3.

    Make the jump for more on the book from the Banff judges and to hear an interview with Bernadette McDonald whose book, Freedom Climbers, won the Grand Prize.

    Continue reading ""Unexpected" from Patagonia Books Wins Prestigious Banff Award " »

    Patagonia Sin Represas (Without Dams), a New Video from Environmental Documentarian, Bridget Besaw


    [Video: Bridget Besaw]

    News on the five proposed dams in the heart of Chilean Patagonia has been slow lately as we wait for an Environmental Impact Report on the 1,200-mile power transmission lines and a decision from the Chilean Supreme Court. One item of note: The Santiago Times reported a few days ago that Argentina's minister of planning is open to the idea of the electrical transmission lines passing through Argentine territory, another setback for those of us -- in Chile and abroad -- who vigorously oppose the dams.

    Yet, even while the approval process plows forward, those in opposition to the dams continue to make their case that the Pascua and Baker Rivers can run free indefinitely while Chile's energy needs are met through abundant, less-destructive renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal.

    Environmental documentarian, Bridget Besaw, recently created this video to illustrate what's at stake. She captured the images while on assignment for the iLCP's Patagonia RAVE (Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition) last year. The still images were first presented in March as a traveling exhibit to help raise awareness about the threat of the dams. Bridget is a member of 1% For the Planet and continues to use her photographic talents to highlight the depletion of natural resources around the planet.

    Take_actionPresident Piñera can still pull the plug on this project. Please take a moment to write the Chilean embassy and voice your opinion against the damming of Patagonia's wild rivers.

     

    Mother's Milk - A Runner's Story

    - by Kevin Alldredge

    I arrived in Knoxville early afternoon on Wednesday to spend some time with my mother before the Rock Creek Stump Jump 50K in Chattanooga on Saturday (Oct. 1st). I picked up the rental car and drove to Manorhouse, her assisted living home. Mom has severe dementia and is physically frail, no longer capable of performing even the most basic tasks necessary to sustain herself.  She smiled when she saw me.

    KA_photo1Nice…she still recognizes me. No doubt my brother Greg had reminded her several times that I would be here today. But for Mom to process and store that information for recall later might be, I fear, like explaining the Three Laws of Thermodynamics to Muriel, my five-year-old, and then expecting her to write an analysis of my lecture.

    I pushed Mom in her wheelchair around the building and grounds, and then fed her dinner. It had been a good afternoon and evening; Mom was smiling and seemed content. Her verbal skills these days consist mainly of a cascade of sounds, with an occasional string of two or three identifiable words, almost expressing a half thought.  Not too long ago, these sounds had been intelligible speech. Now, though, only her tone and facial expression suggest contentment, frustration or anger, statement or question. I always answer Mom with a smile and some response that most likely bears no relationship to what she attempted to say or ask.  Nonetheless, she usually seems satisfied with my “Oh yes, I think so, Mom”, or “No, no, we’d better not do that, Mom.”  Greg, who lives nearby, and sees her daily is Mom’s primary family link and caregiver. (He is scheduled for knee surgery this afternoon, thus probably putting all of his running days in his rearview mirror. So sorry, dude.) He always helps coach and prepare me on what to expect for my upcoming visits with Mom.

    [The author's mother in 2006, with her grandchildren, Muriel and Ansel. Photo: Kevin Alldredge.]

    Continue reading "Mother's Milk - A Runner's Story" »

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