The Cleanest Line

Weblog for the employees, friends and customers of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Visit Patagonia.com to see what we do.

RSS Feed

Twitter

    Archives

    Search


    « November 2011 | Main | January 2012 »

    Old Young Friends

    by Kelly Cordes

    Mid-morning it hit me for the millionth time: this is ridiculous. Only, at this point in my life I rarely think of it as ridiculous-stupid. More like, ridiculous-ok-fine-so-what, with a chuckle-twist on the side. It was my inaugural day of taking the tools for a walk, 2011, and my friend Artley and I carried packs full of ice climbing gear to the base of Hessie Chimney, only to find it bone dry.

    Editor's note: This post is rated T for teen because of some profanities.

    “Well, we could just climb it, but it’s warm enough that I’d probably take off my gloves and climb bare handed,” Artley said.

    “Yeah. If there was a bunch of bullshit snow covering the choss, then it’d seem more worth it, huh.”

    We both paused – like a simultaneous realization that my words were equal parts true and absurd – and then laughed.

    “Sooo, Eldo?”

    “Eldo.”

    Kc - IMG_3549
    [Artley Goodhart taking the first lead in a snowy Eldorado Canyon. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "Old Young Friends" »

    Sicily Climbing Vacation

    by Brittany Griffith

    Capogallo3

    “Why would you come to Sicily to climb when you live in Utah?” the svelte Swiss woman asked in a barely detectible, yet posh accent. I looked at her blankly for a few seconds, wondering if she was attempting “second-language humor” or if she was indeed serious.

    “Uh, we don’t have overhanging tufas along the Mediterranean,” I said, still somewhat unsure if she was putting me on or not.

    “Yes, but there are no creks,” she said, miming a handjam.

    I’ll trade “creks” for good olives, authentic gelato and cheap prosciutto any day of the week I told her.

    “But Sicily is not well known to Americans, no?” She was unflagging (but correct) in debating our choice of European vacation, but still I hesitated…was this one of those Euro rhetorical questions: “no, yes” or “yes, no”?

    “Ah yes, but who doesn’t prefer an adventure?” I said, answering her question with my own. She looked at me like I was a day-old croissant. I giggled.

    And for the next two weeks we – JT, Chris Kalous (JT’s college “Outdoor Adventure Floor” dorm-mate from freshman year) Whitney Boland and myself – got ourselves into plenty of adventure… both climbing and as tourists.

    [Above: Because the temperature was fairly mild, we kinda forgot about the shorter daylight hours of winter. We got back to the base in the dark and had to hike out by iPhone light and the flash of the lighthouse beacon. Photo: JT]

    Continue reading "Sicily Climbing Vacation" »

    Mike Colpo 1975-2011 - Raising our Glasses to Localcrew

    Mike_12

    Mike Colpo, associate editor of this blog and frequent contributor (as “localcrew”), died suddenly on December 7 while trail running on his lunch hour near the Patagonia Distribution Center in Reno. He was 36.

    [Above: Mike and Skeena share some love. East Humboldt Range, Nevada. Photo: Old School]

    All of us who worked with him are in shock: Mike was young, fit and apparently healthy, his loss unexpected. And Mike was so modest about his talents and accomplishments that, now that he has gone, we’re coming to realize how much he took with him. He was a graceful writer and fine editor and a Zen-like master of the 140-character Tweet. He was a committed, and knowledgeable environmentalist who had a special love for Nevada’s wild places. He was a monster on his mountain bike and his beloved Xtracycle, an excellent backcountry navigator, telemarker, fly fisherman and alpinist who took a month out every summer to guide for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Wyoming.

    Guys like Mike never just disappear though. He’ll pull away and maintain a pace you can’t quite match. You see him cresting the hill way ahead and dig deep to catch him. He’ll drop in on the pow stash and you’ll just see him, a speck on the horizon until you’re not sure he’s still there at all. But like all adventure hounds, he’s there somewhere, among the trees and tall grass, his nose to the ground, thinking and looking for something fun. –Team Bacon Strip from “R.I.P. Mike Colpo

    Continue reading "Mike Colpo 1975-2011 - Raising our Glasses to Localcrew" »

    Portillo, Chile: Snow Product Testing with Josh Dirksen

    Josh_screengrab

    Following up on Monday’s recap of the Dirksen Derby, here’s the latest edition to the Patagonia Video Gallery featuring snowboard ambassador Josh Dirksen and snowsports designer Glen Morden. The guys were testing designs for next fall on this particular trip.

     

    Putting Pen to Paper in Opposition of the Pebble Mine

    By Laura Linn Meadows

    These days, taking action on an environmental issue requires little more than a click or two of the mouse button. It’s an effective way to tell your elected officials how you feel without sacrificing time from your busy life. There are some issues, however, that strike so deeply we are compelled to do more. The proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay, Alaska, is one such issue for Wyoming native, Laura Linn Meadows, so she took the time to write this touching letter to her congresswoman. And in time-honored tradition, she also submitted it her local paper, Jackson Hole News and Guide, to increase exposure and inspire others. At the end of the letter we have an “easy” way for you to take action on this issue.

    GVW1
    [Wyoming's Gros Ventre Wilderness, the author's inspiration for writing the following letter. All photos: Laura Linn Meadows]

    Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis
    113 Cannon House Office Building
    Washington, DC 20515

    Dear Congresswoman Lummis,

    I want to share a story with you. I recently returned from a pack trip into the Gros Ventre Range as the cook, a packer, and a guide with my brother, an outfitter. Our parents were waiting at the trailhead with trucks and trailers and transportation back to town for our guests. As I rode in with my packstring and the dudes, my father, who was beaming with pride, met me on the trail. His pride wasn’t because his kids were following in his footsteps for the first time, as Pete and I have taken many other pack trips together. He was proud because, for the first time, we had followed in the footsteps of our great-grandfather and grandfather. We had taken our guests to the Six Lakes, the favorite stomping ground of our predecessors. Pete and I are the 4th generation of Linns to parade our guests past the Cowboy Camp, dropping down to the Gros Ventre River at Upper Falls, past Darwin Peak, down the Jagg Creek Trail to Six Lakes, and over Two Echo Park. That’s 100 years of horseshoe tracks, double diamonds, and bacon fried on a campfire. That’s four generations of eyes peeking through binoculars at elk, moose, sheep, deer, bears, and wolves. Now I’m looking forward to the day when I have kids of my own that can climb into a little saddle on a big horse and weave down the same trails, watch brookies in the clear water of Crystal Creek, and find the big dipper in the night sky as the coals of the campfire putter out.

    Continue reading "Putting Pen to Paper in Opposition of the Pebble Mine" »

    The Fifth Annual Dirksen Derby Supporting Tyler Eklund

    by Aimee Lyn Brown

    Terje_Derby01

    Right about the time contest organizer and Patagonia snowboard ambassador Josh Dirksen yelled go, professional snowboarder Scotty Whitlake fell over laughing, legend Terje Haakosen cracked a smile and 28 shreds of all ages and genders grabbed splitboards and took off running uphill in shitty snow and poor visibility for no prize money and nothing but bragging rights, was when I fell back in love with snowboarding. The best part? I wasn’t alone.

    [Above: Burton team rider Terje Haakonsen on the descent. Photo: Aimee Lyn Brown]

    Continue reading "The Fifth Annual Dirksen Derby Supporting Tyler Eklund" »

    The Prophet

    by Sonnie Trotter

    On El Capitan in 2010, British rock climbers Leo Houlding and Jason Pickles completed their nine-year project, The Prophet (600m, E9 7a, 5.13d R). The difficult and dangerous new route climbs the far right side of El Cap, and Houlding, renowned worldwide for his boldness and skill, successfully freed every pitch, on lead, on their final push. This fall, Sonnie Trotter and Will Stanhope headed to Yosemite hoping to repeat the route. Trotter chronicled his efforts on his blog, including this post, below, which he wrote in late November, just after the culmination of a Yosemite journey – the second ascent of The Prophet. - Kelly Cordes

    The-Prophet-91
    [Will Stanhope climbing The Prophet, El Capitan. Photo: Sonnie Trotter]

    Wow. What a roller coaster. As life is I suppose. The highest of highs, and lowest of lows. It’s a beautiful thing really. I’m in Bishop, California, with my incredible wife, Lydia – I don’t mean to brag, but she gets more beautiful with each day. I am sooo lucky. I missed her dearly, I didn’t even realize how much until I saw her at the San Francisco airport two days ago. But there’s a sad truth that when you’re so focused on a project such as The Prophet, time literally flies by. Days turn into weeks and you don’t even think twice about it. Looking back now, most of it is a blur.

    Five weeks in the Valley, five failed ground-up attempts, four days in Lake Tahoe, two days in Santa Cruz, and over 25 days climbing, hiking, rappelling, hauling and slogging. El Cap is a glorious son of a bitch – that’s a fact. And The Prophet was one of the richest, most deeply rooted climbing experiences I have ever had, with a partner who’s got a boyish charm, a man’s ambition, and a spirit tougher than leather. It was more like an expedition than a climbing trip.

    Continue reading "The Prophet" »

    Back to Patagonia - Part 3

    by Crystal Thornburg-Homcy

    I made my way through the Pumalín Park area in Patagonia. Fjord Quintupeu was my next destination along with fellow surfer Jamie Sterling, Sol Raiz Organics, and filmmaker Jack McCoy. We paddled our kayaks into the wind with the sun warming our faces while refreshing splashes of freezing water hit our faces. We had a day of paddling, passing by waterfalls, isolated ranches, salmon farms, and seal colonies. When we finally made our way to the entry of the Fjord Quintupeu, the sun was starting to slip behind tall peaks that were blanketed with deep emerald forests, revealing heaven-high waterfalls.

    [Above: Crystal Thornburg Homcy+Chile from The Wave Journal. Video: Jack McCoy & Erik Derman]

    We navigated through the fish farm to get to our resting point at the base of a waterfall in the Quintupeu Fjord. The crew was ready to warm our bones as the temperature was dropping fast. Our escort boat was far behind back at the port, hours away with the warm gear. We attempted to stay warm by gathering wood, putting our girl and boy scouts skills to work. We finally got a flame going on the soaked logs. As we began to warm up, we passed the time waiting for our boat by doing yoga on the beach, and keeping our fire alive. The clouds began to seep into the Fjord, and the darkness was setting in. Our boat was finally spotted on the horizon. This time, we set up camp under the stars with the rumbling sound of a waterfall instead of the “Wild Bull.”

    Continue reading "Back to Patagonia - Part 3" »

    The River Speaks... and So Can You

    By Chris Kassar

    Every time I kneel down next to a river – even if just for a moment – I swear I can hear it speak to me. I know this probably sounds crazy, but I also know I’m not the only one who hears wise murmurs rising from the ripples of wild waters. For many of us, the rhythm of a river can mesmerize our soul, capture our spirit and force us to really stop and listen.

    The Baker River, nestled deep in the mountains of Chilean Patagonia, is no different. I spent weeks walking its banks, riding its waves, and crunching through the epic ice fields that feed it. I even floated over the exact spot where its journey as a river ended and it emptied into the sea – a feat in and of itself given that so many rivers, including my very own Colorado, no longer even make it all the way to the ocean. But, this trip from source to sea was much more than just a fun adventure. We – team Rios Libres – immersed ourselves in the landscape so we could arm ourselves with the knowledge needed to join the fight to protect Patagonia’s wildlands and the people who depend on them.

    During our excursion, the mighty Baker spoke volumes and gave us a glimpse into what the world used to be like - full of untamed lands, untouched rivers, intact forests and people who depended on the land and each other to survive. Spending a month at the edge of the world was like traveling back in time to an age when things were simpler and nature remained largely unaltered by the trappings of man.

    Continue reading "The River Speaks... and So Can You" »

    Special Places: Hyalite Canyon

    by Kelly Cordes

    Some places seem special, and I can’t always articulate why. I think it’s the smell of the air, the look of the place, the memories it holds. In a sense, Hyalite Canyon, near Bozeman, Montana, one of countless canyons in the American West of similar scale, isn’t extraordinary. Until you begin to unlock its secrets, which include over 200 ice and mixed pitches, and an incredible history of human experiences.

    Gambino - hyalite002
    [Pete Tapley on an early attempt at what would become Zack Attack, with Kelly Cordes belaying. Photo: Dan Gambino]

    This weekend is the 15th annual Bozeman Ice Climbing Festival, and so I got to thinking of writing about their festival, but the festival exists because the place exists, the memories exist, the legacy of Hyalite that has influenced so many of us. Me included, and in so many ways. One of the first places I learned to climb ice, some 18 years ago, was Hyalite. And Hyalite was the last place that I climbed waterfall ice – on February 1, 2010, the day I shattered my leg.

    Continue reading "Special Places: Hyalite Canyon" »

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2010 Patagonia, Inc.