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    An Outing with Donini: Porch Angles (Part Two)

    by Kelly Cordes

    In early 2009, Kelly took a trip to Northern Chilean Patagonia with climbing legend Jim Donini. Here, Kelly revisits his notes from an adventure with Jim. This is the second in a series of short posts from their trip. Read the first here.

    Kc - doniniSV IMG_0404

    Porch Angles

    Just before dark, utterly worked at the decidedly unimpressive altitude of 2,350', we found a flat mini-meadow and bivied. In the morning, within an hour of moderate bushwhacking we reached what Jim calls the “Sound of Music Meadows.” Indescribably beautiful, rolling meadows with peaks and ponds in every direction, not a road in sight, glaciers winding in valleys below and icefalls tumbling from glacial plateaus. Another smaller meadow lies above, then a scrappy rock band, and then long, easy snow climbing culminating in a crevasse-riddled climb up an unnamed ca 6,200' peak that’s the key to reaching the line that Jim won’t shut up about seeing from his porch.

    [Above: Jim scheming at our first bivy, still only a fraction of the ways toward San Valentin. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "An Outing with Donini: Porch Angles (Part Two)" »

    Let’s Bring Back Repair

    by Annie Leonard

    Annie_leonardA few years ago I bought a cheap portable radio for $4.99 to listen to the news while I walk to work. Soon after, one of the earphone buds broke. No problem, I thought – I’ll just fix it using parts from my drawer of other broken electronics. No such luck: the whole radio, including the earphones, was in one piece, connected without screws or snaps, so that if any one part broke it couldn’t be repaired. For less than 5 dollars, Radio Shack knew, I’d find it easier to buy a new one.

    I call making a radio – or any other product – that can’t be repaired ‘design for the dump.’ Designers call it planned obsolescence and it’s at the heart of the take-make-waste system that’s trashing the planet, our communities and our health.

    You see, while we’re all pretty familiar with the three ‘R’s’ – reduce, reuse,  recycle – many of us, including many product  designers and manufacturers, give short shrift to the fourth ‘R’:  repair. Before recycling comes repair.

    Continue reading "Let’s Bring Back Repair" »

    The Wolverine Way - Go Like Hell and Never Back Down

    by Douglas H. Chadwick


    Ten years ago, a bad-ass wolverine mountaineer we called M3 got busy expanding his territory from the east side of Montana’s Glacier National Park into Canada. When this two-year-old bumped up against the turf of a long-established male known as M6, M3 took it over, claimed the older guy’s main squeeze – the female F15, and kept right on enlarging his crown-of-the-continent empire. Grown thin and scruffy, M6 wandered away southward, never to be seen again.

    Shortly afterward, M8, the yearling son of M6 and F15, turned up in one of our Glacier Wolverine Project’s log box traps. Judging from the bloody gash on his face, he, too, had run into Mr. Badass. The team patched up M8 a bit before turning him loose. Across the Divide, Alex “Buck” Hasson was wintering alone in a cabin, skiing out to keep tabs on several radioed wolverines on the park’s west side. To locate a signal, he usually had to go for miles. But early one morning, he stepped from the outhouse to find a gulo 40 feet away: M8.

    [Above: A wolverine in the wild. Glacier National Park, Montana. Photo: Steven Gnam]

    Continue reading "The Wolverine Way - Go Like Hell and Never Back Down" »

    Further 2012: Stable Snow, Super Deep

    by Ryland Bell


    Following up on his sat-phone call from last week, Patagonia snowboarding ambassador Ryland Bell called last night with another update from the Bagley Icefield in Alaska. He's there with a crew of riders filming for Further the upcoming movie by Teton Gravity Research and Jeremy Jones. Ryland revs up our anticipation to see the film by describing the conditions they've been hiking to and riding from base camp.


    Audio_graphic_20px Listen to Ryland Bell call #2 from Bagley Icefield
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Visit Teton Gravity Research for more on Further and to watch a preview.

    Heroes - Part One

    by Brittany Griffith


    I don’t have many heroes – Julia Child, Nakano Takedo, Florence Nightingale… and Arnaud Petit and Stéph Bodet. If you haven’t heard of Arnaud and Stéph, just Google, “World’s Most Adventurous Climbing Couple.” From Morocco to Algeria to Venezuela to the climbs of Ceüse above their self-built house, they’ve done first ascents in more countries than states I’ve been to in America (I still haven’t ticked New Mexico). They’ve traveled the world together, doing their climbs with style, with commitment, with an eye for the absolute best line. They are my climbing heroes.

    [Stéph Bodet floats a 7c+ slab arête just before sunset. Photo: Arnaud Petit]

    Continue reading "Heroes - Part One " »

    Patagonia Clothing: Made Where? How? Why?

    Patagonia_labelAbout once a week, one of our stores or our customer service receives a question about the manufacturing of Patagonia clothing: Where do you make your clothes? Are they made in China? Why? Why don’t make you make them here in the United States? What are the conditions inside your factories?

    We thought it would be helpful if we shared a lengthy post, with links to more information.

    First, Patagonia doesn’t own farms, mills, or factories. Yet what is done in our name is not invisible to us. We are responsible for all the workers who make our goods and for all that goes into a piece of clothing that bears a Patagonia label.

    It took us a long time to ask ourselves what we owe people who work for others in our supply chain. We had high sewing standards, even for casual sportswear, and exacting standards for technical clothes. To meet quality requirements, our production staff had always been drawn to clean, well-lighted factories that employed experienced sewing operators. Although we had always bargained with our factories over price and terms, we never chased lowest-cost labor.

    Continue reading "Patagonia Clothing: Made Where? How? Why?" »

    An Outing with Donini: Entry Fee (Part One)

    by Kelly Cordes

    In early 2009, Kelly took a trip to Northern Chilean Patagonia with climbing legend Jim Donini. Here, Kelly revisits his notes from an adventure with Jim. This is the first in a series of short posts from their trip.

    Kc - sVal view P1050430

    Entry Fee

    I’ll be damned, the old man was right. Chilean friends universally flashed doubtful looks when I said we planned to access San Valentin from Mirador, rather than the epic icecap way – probably the main reason why this line remains unclimbed. And this line, well, Jim has a full-on woody for it, won’t stop looking at it, won’t stop talking about it, because, he readily admits, he can see it from the front porch of his house (his and his wife’s humble but tranquil “retirement home” in pretty much the middle of nowhere). This was January 2009, and I’d spent the previous week in Santiago, and when friends asked I’d just shrug my shoulders and make air quotes in saying that Jim claims he “Has it all figured out.” One Chilean, who’d just come back from a month on the icecap, shook his head and smiled a smile that said, OK, but you gringos have no idea. He’s right that I had no idea. Jim, on the other hand, older than my dad (Jim was 65 then, but going on 30 – still is), has forgotten more great climbs than I’ll ever do. He’s a walking talking climbing legend who’s still cranking trad-eleven (5.11 trad routes, that is), and he knows how to figure things out.

    [Above: The coveted view from the porch – literally shot from Donini’s porch – with the unclimbed north ridge of San Valentin in profile in the middle of the frame. Lago General Carrera in the foreground. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "An Outing with Donini: Entry Fee (Part One)" »

    Further 2012: Greetings from Wrangell-St. Elias

    by Ryland Bell


    Today, Patagonia snowboarding ambassador Ryland Bell checks in from the largest non-polar icefield in North America. Ryland made his big-mountain debut in the highly acclaimed human-powered snowboarding film, Deeper, and rejoins Jeremy Jones and the Teton Gravity Research team this spring on the Bagley Icefield in Alaska to film Further.

    The crew flew from the Ultima Thule Lodge with legendary bush pilot Paul Claus into Wrangell-St. Elias National Park to set up camp for a month and climb everything they ride. TGR’s Further is set to release in September. The two-year project has chronicled big-mountain snowboarding in Japan, the Arctic Circle, Austria, the High Sierra, and now Alaska. Calling in with the sat phone, Ryland updates us on the scene and the progress of the project so far.


    Audio_graphic_20px Listen to "Ryland Bell calling from Bagley Icefield"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Visit Teton Gravity Research for more on Further and to watch a preview.

    Jungle Jamming Expedition with Nico Favresse, Sean Villanueva and Friends


    Regular readers of The Cleanest Line are no doubt familiar with our musical Belgian climbing ambassadors Nico Favresse and Sean Villanueva (see Secret Passage, Asgard Jamming, Greenland Vertical Sailing). The boys just completed a big wall expedition in Venezuela and today we're happy to share the reports from their trip, with meaty details on two new routes at the end. So tune up and and tune in for the latest from Nico and Sean.

    January 31, 2012

    Ok, so we’re heading off on another big wall adventure! On February 5 we leave to go big wall jamming on the mythical tepuis of Venezuela. We’re going on a search for first ascents and virgin walls in the mighty jungle. Besides the difficulties of climbing and jamming, there will be all the interesting animals like snakes, spiders, scorpions, crocodiles, monkeys etc. and we sure hope they like our music.

    [Above: Nico en route to his dream in front of Akopan, another beautiful Tepui. All photos:]

    Continue reading "Jungle Jamming Expedition with Nico Favresse, Sean Villanueva and Friends" »

    The Penobscot River Restoration Project

    by Topher Browne


    In September, 2011, The Cleanest Line reported the demise of two dams on the Elwha River in Washington State. Currently the largest dam removal project on the continent, the demolition of the 108-foot Elwha Dam and the 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam will allow five species of Pacific salmon – including a super strain of Chinook salmon topping 100 pounds – to access more than 70 miles of previously unavailable waterways. Salmon currently spawn in five miles of river below the Elwha Dam, which provides no fish passage.

    Dam busting is a hot commodity on both the left and right coasts of North America. On December 17, 2010, the Penobscot River Restoration Trust – a joint venture between American Rivers, the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Maine Audubon, the Natural Resources Council of Maine, the Nature Conservancy, the Penobscot Indian Nation, and Trout Unlimited – purchased the Veazie, Howland and Great Works Dams on the Penobscot River in Maine at a cost of 25 million dollars. Phase Two of the Penobscot River Restoration Project begins with the removal of the Great Works Dam in 2012 and the removal of the Veazie Dam over a two-year period beginning in 2013. Construction of a fish bypass at Howland Dam runs concurrently with dam removal. The estimated cost to implement this phase of the project is 30 million dollars.

    [Above: Great Works Dam, the first dam to be removed during the project. Photo: Bridget Besaw]

    Continue reading "The Penobscot River Restoration Project " »

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