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    Stand Up Paddling the Rivers of Australia with Zeb Walsh and Adam Colton

    Today we're featuring two rivers in Australia and two takes on stand up paddleboarding. First we'll hear about Zeb Walsh's (Patagonia Australia) one-day training run down the icy waters of the Snowy River. Then, Adam Colton (Long Treks on Skate Decks) takes us on a 30-day trip down the Murray.

    A Man In Snowy River 

    by Patagonia Australia & Zeb Walsh


    He was hard and tough and wiry — just the sort that won’t say die
    There was courage in his quick impatient tread;
    And he bore the badge of gameness in his bright and fiery eye,
    And the proud and lofty carriage of his head.

    Originating from the high mountain peak of Kosciuszko, and draining down through the Eastern Slopes, The Snowy River winds 352 KM before reaching the Bass Strait.

    In far East Gippsland, an athletic physique approaches the shores, lead by an ambitious spirit and determination. His kind eyes intercept the flowing waters. This land is a part of Zeb’s birthright and what better way to connect with the river than to follow its flow. Setting out on a stand-up, paddling from Orbost, 20km downstream but into a nasty head wind, all the way to Marlo.

    Continue reading "Stand Up Paddling the Rivers of Australia with Zeb Walsh and Adam Colton" »

    Well to Wheel - UCSB Grad Students Evaluate Patagonia’s Transportation Practices & Opportunities

    Footprint_chroniclesOver the years, Patagonia has focused a tremendous amount of time and energy on finding ways to reduce the impacts of our business operations. Through life cycle analyses of our clothing and gear, we’ve learned that most of the environmental impacts come from growing or synthesizing the fibers and manufacturing the fabrics. But until recently, we hadn’t conducted an in-depth analysis on the impacts of our transportations systems or the potential to integrate alternative fuel technologies into those systems.

    That changed in April 2012, when we began working with a group of graduate students from UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. As part of their studies, they are conducting a research project that will evaluate how we transport goods in the US and explore the possible use of more environmentally friendly fuels. Patagonia does not own a transportation fleet; instead we contract with companies that specialize in distribution and transportation to ship our products. We asked the students to investigate ways we can integrate low-carbon fuels into our transportation network. By doing so, we hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Continue reading "Well to Wheel - UCSB Grad Students Evaluate Patagonia’s Transportation Practices & Opportunities" »

    Underway - An Excerpt from "The Voyage of the Cormorant" by Christian Beamish

    by Christian Beamish

    Voyage_of_the_Cormorant_coverPatagonia Books is proud to announce our latest release: Christian Beamish’s first book The Voyage of the Cormorant, which tells of his journey down the Pacific coast of Baja in an 18-foot open boat he built himself. The book includes maps and is illustrated by Ken Perkins. Below is an excerpt:

    From Chapter 3 – Underway

    A full moon rose over the arroyos, the desert held a pinkish glow, and stars shone down like a compliment in a million points of light all across the water. I sailed along, swaddled against the cold in a parka and outer shell, drifting in my thoughts deep into the night. Eventually, the wind fell away, and the ocean settled into a broad, glassy sheet. I smelled the clean desert scrub on the suddenly warmer air. The lines and sails and my outer jacket seemed to crackle in the dryness.

    I knew that this was all the warning I would get.

    Lashing the tiller in place with a bungee, I scrambled forward and dropped the main sail. Not one minute later, I saw and heard the wind line across the water behind, roaring down and tearing at the surface like a swarm of locust: the dreaded Norte. People call it the devil wind because of the fires it breathes to life and, I suppose, for the madness too. It is a terrible, mindless thing.

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    Dealer Service VS. Invasive Weeds, Mono y Mono

    by Laurel Winterbourne

    [The Dealer Service team conquered the invasive species. Photo: Arya Degenhardt]

    When you spend most of your days sitting at a desk and staring at a computer, it’s easy to get lost in the day to day work of managing orders, inventory and deadlines. We often forget to think about the bigger picture of what brought us to this company, but when it comes down to it, we all work for Patagonia for a reason. It’s not just a job, but an opportunity to be a part of something that is bigger and more important than a pay check. We share passion for nature’s fragile open spaces where we can sit in quiet reflection or pursue self-powered sports, either way these beautiful places are what fill our souls.

    Our work group, which services our Patagonia dealers, took a day to give back to the open spaces that we love and to get back in touch with why we are here. We drove from the Reno, Nevada distribution center, two and a half hours south to a lake that is as bizarre as its name, Mono Lake. Few of us had spent much time here, but we all had driven by on the 395 and admired its beauty from afar.

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    Nature, Culture and Pleasure in Corsica

    by Jasmin Caton

    Corsica is a mountainous French island in the Mediterranean, and according the The Lonely Planet Guide, "it's hard to find a better combination of nature, culture and pleasure". With a description like that, it's pretty hard not to want to make a trip there! But as I was planning my annual spring Euro climbing vacation, I found it hard to get a sense of the quality and quantity of the climbing in Corsica, and after visiting many of the ultra-classic French climbing zones like Ceuse, the Gorges du Verdon, Presles and the Gorges du Tarn, all of which I could easily revisit, I wondered if Corsica was going to stand up to my high standards of French stone.

    [I shouldn't have worried... Photo: Jasmin Catin]

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    The Whole Altar

    by Nate Grey

    Alaska_2004_264The early morning stillness is broken by a whining sound. I can barely detect it over the sound of the river whispering past. I re-set to cast and send the big black leech cross current to the far bank. I mend the line and settle in for the short drift. The light is too low to see the fish. I know they are there, though. The previous evening I had scouted. The far bank showed several rainbows two feet long or longer. Big fish. Healthy fish. Hungry fish. I’m actually a little chilled. It’s worth it, though. Later in the day other folks will arrive. I’ll be long gone by then, asleep in my tent. Getting up at 3AM is definitely worth it for the solitude and the chance to fish these big fish without worry of getting stepped on by other folks looking to do what I’m doing. So far I’ve hooked and lost four fish. In my mind, each fish larger than the last. The fish are athletic jumpers and managed to spit the big barbless black leech each time. And each time I’d curse my slow reaction time.

    Again, I hear the whining noise. The early morning fog seems to attenuate the noise for a moment and then it’s gone again. I wade downstream to set up for a pocket against the far bank that showed several larger fish the previous day. These fish are large for a reason. They’re well fed. Extremely well fed. The bigger rainbows feed on the corpses and eggs of the dead sockeye salmon that are soon to accumulate here. The larger rainbows know that the smorgasbord is soon to start.

    The sockeye are the reason these rainbows are here, the reason I’m here. Without the sockeye there would be rainbows but not nearly as large nor as abundant. The sockeye are what makes this whole river teem with rainbows. It’s not just the adult salmon the rainbows feed on but the young fry and smolt of the salmon as well. Spring, summer and fall there is a steady stream of food provided by the salmon and the rainbows take every advantage.

    [Photo: Mark Emery]

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    Going Monk?

    by Kelly Cordes

    I gotta dig down, I gotta go monk. Ever seen Zoolander? Of course you have. Me, too – about a hundred times. It’s a hilarious spoof on the world of male modeling, and there’s that classic scene of the “walk-off” challenge when, between rounds, Hansel digs deep and pulls out what’s needed to win the comp. Thus it seemed fitting to Jonny Copp and me, in 2003, to name our new route “Going Monk.” High on an obscure peak in the East Fork of the Kahiltna, as a storm rolled in, we continued, driven, summiting in a whiteout and fighting through a spooky descent.

    I wrote about inspiration, Jonny and my love for climbing in the mountains in a recent piece, The Art of Disaster Style, published in the latest Elevation Outdoors. Funny thing is that for the photo of Jonny on our route, they wrote a serious caption referencing our route name (Jonny would have loved it!). Same with a Rock & Ice editor back then, when they did a news piece and the editor asked, “Did you guys name it ‘Going Monk’ because you saw God?” Me, completed flummoxed: “Nah man, haven’t you seen Zoolander?”

    Flash forward to ten days ago: Justin Woods and I sit on a ledge 12 pitches up the Eye Tooth. Massive avalanches roar through the cirque, crashing down from the mid-day heat melting the snowpack. Alive. We’re totally safe, out on a pillar, though Justin hacks like a smoker – or, to extend the Zoolander thing – a longtime coal miner.

    Kc - justin leading IMG_5212(LR)

    [Black lung and all, Justin Woods leading on the west face of the Eye Tooth, Alaska. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

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    Indian Creek Reflection, Before It All Slips Away

    by Luke Mehall

    Res.photoThe good times are moving fast these days, zipping by as we fly through space on this big ball of rock. As a writer it is my job to record, to pause, to go back in time, if only slightly, and squeeze the juice out of divine moments, and leave something special for those that read.

    I once had a Recreation professor in college that would say our moments in the outdoors have less meaning if we don’t reflect upon them afterwards. I think it’s technically called a debrief. I find truth in that idea as I sit here and write now, recharging and reenergizing for the next climbing excursion.

    The red rock desert of Indian Creek canyon is my home. I would not be opposed to have my ashes scattered there after my time here is done. I cannot fathom death now, being so alive, yet someday it will come. I just hope I can grow old, write, climb, and love more than I already have. I’ve got plans and dreams.

    This place, a seemingly endless corridor of red rock walls and towers with perfect cracks, little trace of man’s impacts, desert trees and bushes, free camping in the truest sense of the word, birds, lizards, bunny rabbits, and deer; it is a life changing place. Personally it consumes me, and living in Durango, Colorado just two and a half hours away, well it’s a part of my existence, and it gives and takes energy to be a part of this place.

    [The Reservior Wall (currently closed for Peregrine falcon nesting) reflects below. Photo: Braden Gunem

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