The Cleanest Line

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    A World of Rivers

    by Jason Rainey


    Water is life. Our bodies are about 60% water. Over two thirds of the surface of the Earth is covered by water, but only 0.006% of the Earth’s freshwater reserves is stored in rivers. As Patagonia's Our Common Waters campaign points out, the rivers of today’s world are broken. Roughly two-thirds of the world’s rivers have been dammed and diverted, and many major rivers of the world are tapped out before they reach the sea. Fifteen percent of the annual rainfall around the globe is now sequestered in reservoirs instead of replenishing floodplains and carrying nutrients to the sea.

    The Colorado, the Indus, the Nile and the Yellow are just a few of the rivers that have had their perennial connection to the ocean broken. And nations that are rapidly industrializing threaten the remaining great rivers of the world with new dam-building schemes.

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    Spring Gardening

    by Crystal Thornburg-Homcy


    My husband Dave and I started our garden about five years ago. Now our garden operation is called Crave Greens. The name was inspired by the combination of Crystal and Dave. Our love for the natural environment and passion for cooking inspired us to get our hands dirty by growing as much of our own food as possible, and wanting to know exactly where our food was coming from. With the desire to bring fresh organic produce to the tables of friends and family, we hope to inspire others to start a small garden too.

    We hope to show others in our community that you don't need a big space to grow your own food, or to give up your daily life either. If anything, growing an organic garden will only improve your well-being. Currently we have two, raised garden beds. One is 6x10 feet and the other is 8x12 feet. We spend an average of 4-8 hours a week in the garden.

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    Beyond and Back: Fred Beckey

    by Jeff Johnson


    I first met Fred Beckey about 6 years ago at the Crossroads Cafe in Joshua Tree. He was sitting at a corner booth surrounded by young women (in their 40’s), empty pint glasses, and wearing an ear-to-ear grin. I was told he had more first ascents than anyone in the world. He was in his early 80s and still going at it. We were introduced and the first thing he said to me was, “What?” I hadn’t said anything yet. Aside from his earing aid, which he never uses, Fred was as vibrant and alive as a twenty-year-old. He still is.

    Throughout the years Fred has stopped by the Patagonia offices in Ventura to break up his long road trips. It’s always a treat. Everyone in the building can recognize that voice when he enters the photo department and hovers over Jane Sievert’s desk, commenting on photos and offering beta for obscure climbs.

    [Above: Portrait of Fred in Ventura. December, 2010. Photo: Jeff Johnson]

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    High Five - Celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of The Cleanest Line [Updated]

    by Fitz Cahall


    Over five years things change. And yet they don’t.

    That was the thought that ran through my head. I sat on top of a spare tire in the back of my truck that I used to call home. Becca sat in the front seat calming our six-week-old child. We were still dressed in our touring gear. It was nuking two inches of snow an hour.

    Behind us sat our 13-foot, 1976 Scamp travel trailer that we painstakingly refurbished over the last year and a half. The carbon monoxide alarm had triggered minutes earlier. Three feet of snow covered the propane safety valve. Gas leaked into the cramped space. We fled into the night and the relative comfort of the truck. We couldn’t move the trailer or the truck if we wanted to. There was simply too much snow. I drank a beer because there didn’t seem to be anything I could really do in the situation. We were safe. Rattled, but safe. Five years earlier I couldn’t have imagined this moment.

    [Above: The maiden voyage of the Scamp. Photo: Becca Cahall]

    The idea was simple. When it snowed we would simply migrate our small family to the mountains so we could be the people we wanted to be – skiers and climbers. We were carving out our vision of life in the mountains. This is our version of the cleanest line. At the moment, it wasn’t pretty. We were cold. We were wet. We were tired. It’s the story of my mountain life. The only thing that was different was that we were three instead of two. That’s a monumental change and yet it isn’t. The only path forward for us is remaining true to our core DNA.

    Continue reading "High Five - Celebrating the Fifth Anniversary of The Cleanest Line [Updated]" »

    Texas Tower Soul Crush

    by Jonathan Thesenga


    My college friend Chris Kalous and I had an epic weekend climbing Texas Tower, which is down between Blanding and Hanksville in southern Utah. Two-hours of aggro, axle-smashing 4x4, then two hours of heinous post-holing up to our knees through breakable-crust snow just to get to the base at 11:30am. Shoes soaked. Pants soaked. 600 feet of stout offwidths and chimneys — no time to waste. We did not free the 5.11+ crux OW — not even close. I linked the final two pitches into one and topped out just as the sun was setting. Out of food and water, knees and shoulders throbbing in pain from all the unrelenting OW action, but who cares... I was on the summit of one of the biggest, baddest and burliest towers in the desert. So psyched! Then realized I couldn't find the summit anchor, that it was buried under the 18 inches of snow blanketing the sloping north side of the summit — WTF? Desert alpine?

    [Above: Texas Tower, 600-feet of pissed-off sandstone wideness, still more than an hour's hike away through snow conditions sent straight from the devil himself. Photo: JT]

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