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    « July 2012 | Main | September 2012 »

    Hunting Waves and Wind – Kohl, Slezak & Fletch Check in from Chile

    Farias_waves

    Patagonia ambassadors Kohl Christnesen, Jason Slezak and Fletcher Chouinard are down in Chile right now hoping to score south swell and good wind for kiteboarding. Kohl just called in with a surf report:

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to Kohl Christensen Chile Phone Report
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Farias_the_crew

    We're hoping to hear back from the boys as the swell fills in. If you're a regular reader, you'll remember what happened the last time Kohl lured Fletch down to Chile.

    Update: Already received a new photo of Kohl getting ready to go kite. Follow @fcdsurfboards on Twitter and Instagram for more pics as they come in.

    [Photos by Rodrigo Farias Moreno (@fariasmoreno)]


    What’s at Stake for the Places We Love this Election

    by Vanessa Kritzer, League of Conservation Voters

    AyC3QVOCEAEtA0u.jpg largeWhen you wake up on November 7th, what kind of future do you want to have ahead?

    A future in which your children – and the generations beyond them – will have the opportunities to play in the same forests, discover the same animals, climb the same mountains, and swim in the same lakes that have been such an important part of your life? A future when you don’t have to worry that the air you breathe and the water you drink may be endangering your life and the lives of your loved ones? Or a future in which Big Oil and Dirty Coal are given free rein to pollute our environment, put our public health at risk, and hasten global warming in order to protect their billions of dollars in profits?

    [Above: The author shares why she votes the environment during Wilco's concert at Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Vienna, Virginia. Photo: @LCVoters]

    You might think that no election could have such a major impact on your life, but the decisions we make this November – and the leaders we elect – will make all the difference in whether we can protect the places and way of life that we love going forward.

    Continue reading "What’s at Stake for the Places We Love this Election " »

    Of Ideals and Actions

    by Kelly Cordes

    Perhaps an overly dramatic title. After all, it’s just climbing, and it’s supposed to be fun. That’s the cliché, anyway. Though often a disingenuous one.

    Then again, part of what we love about climbing is the escape from the daily b.s. of today’s world, the immersion into a place where we can move freely in wild places and act however we wish.

    Yes, act however we wish.

    Since the 1974 first ascent of Cerro Torre, by Italy’s Ragni di Lecco team, only three new routes have been established to its summit without using the Compressor Route’s bolt ladders to get there.

    I thought it would make for a cool story. (Cool side-note: Patagonia field testers and ambassadors were involved in all three of those ascents.) So I developed the idea and storyline, got audio and interviews from Rolando Garibotti, Colin Haley, and Hayden Kennedy, narrated the intro and transitions myself, recorded some field sounds, and selected and arranged the photos. We had audio and video gurus polish things up. The result, below, is a narrated slide show that rolls-through in video format.

    Continue reading "Of Ideals and Actions" »

    Wwoofing and Waves in New South Wales

    by Patch Wilson

    IMG_1862

    Spending a few months in Oz this year, I was looking for a way to not blow my budget. I didn’t want to spend every waking moment living out the back of my van, constantly scrimping and saving. I wanted to surf as much as possible on one of the best coastlines for waves in the world.

    Wwoofing (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) seemed like a good way to get around this problem, the idea being that you work a few hours a day in return for your food and accommodation. It just so happens there are some great spots for doing this all over Australia, especially in New South Wales. You can pretty much pick an area with good waves on the coast and then get in touch with your Wwoofing host, line it up and off you go.

    [Above: Cylindrical left. All photos: Patch Wilson]

    Continue reading "Wwoofing and Waves in New South Wales" »

    Post RAGBRAI – Riding the Bike Ride I Didn't Train For

    by Brittany Griffith

    Busphoto

    I was actually pretty anxious about going on RAGBRAI. I didn’t really know what to expect. I travel extensively to the far corners of the world, but always as a climber, with the security of other climbers and knowing, to some extent, what the climbing experience will be like. Editor's note: If you missed it, check out Brittany's pre-race training post before reading on.

    As I sat delayed in the Minneapolis airport awaiting my flight to Cedar Rapids staring blankly at the flight information screen, I started to fret. I only knew my uncle. Would the remaining 18 people that made up the Regulators (who were mostly cops) like me? Think I was an idiot (I still hadn’t sat on a road bike)? Go to bed at 8pm and wake up before dawn? Know that I have unpaid speeding tickets in three states? Would they make me wear a purple wig?

    Some of my fears were dispelled upon seeing the team’s bus. It was bigger than the Gypsy Van, had a full-sized storage freezer turned giant cooler, and stripper poles.

    Above: Tony and Dean load the rig. Photo: BAG iPhone]

    Continue reading "Post RAGBRAI – Riding the Bike Ride I Didn't Train For" »

    The Sacred Headwaters

    by Paul Colangelo

    In a remote mountainous region of northern British Columbia lies the Sacred Headwaters, the shared birthplace of three of British Columbia’s most important salmon rivers, the Stikine, Skeena and Nass. It supports one of the largest predator-prey ecosystems in North America, and it is the traditional territory of the Tahltan First Nation. Largely unprotected, numerous proposed mining developments now threaten the water, wildlife and culture of this land.

    The largest proposed development is Shell’s coal bed methane (CBM) project. In its tenure of nearly a million acres in the heart of the Sacred Headwaters, Shell would extract methane gas using the water-intensive fracking process, which would risk contaminating and altering the water levels in the headwaters. A maze of roads and pipelines would connect the wellheads, fracturing the now pristine wildlife habitat.

    [Video: National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis describes the Sacred Headwaters. Featuring photos by Paul Colangelo and music by Todd Hannigan.]

    Continue reading "The Sacred Headwaters" »

    Latok Northwest Face

    by Josh Wharton

    Photo I_2

    The incredible northern aspect of Latok I (~7200 meters) needs no introduction as one of the world’s greatest unclimbed mountain escarpments. Since the historic first attempt by an American team in 1978 (still holders of the current highpoint), the peak has seen more then 30 unsuccessful expeditions. Although it has been climbed once from the south, via a serac-threatened snow route in 1979, an ascent from the Choktoi Glacier remains one of the greatest challenges in the Karakoram.

    I first became infatuated with Latok in 1998, at a small slideshow by the accomplished American alpinist Jeff Lowe, a participant in the 1978 expedition. I felt the mountain was the best combination of aesthetics and difficulty that I’d ever seen, and dreamed of one day being capable of climbing it in alpine style. By 2007 I felt I had gained the requisite skills and experience, and made my first expedition to Latok. Completely shut down by poor weather, I returned again in 2008 and 2009. On each trip, my partners and I were thwarted by weather, conditions, or both.

    [Photo: Latok I and II, showing the infamous North Ridge outlined by the sun-shade line dropping from Latok I’s west summit. The lines show possible routes of ascent. The lower 500 meters is blocked from view by a smaller peak in the foreground (outlined in black for clarity). From the final bivouac (marked by a small white triangle), we will traverse easy snow slopes along the South Face to the summit, before reversing our path of ascent.]

    Continue reading "Latok Northwest Face" »

    A Pacific Epiphany – An Excerpt from “Crossings”

    by Michael Kew

    From “Jewel of Palm and Rain,” Chapter 26

    It was California's autumn equinox, with its earthy browns and yellows, its wind and its chill, on the cusp of solitude, that had sent me away. A shirtless late-afternoon bike ride across the farm, down the leafy corridor of Rincon Creek and out to the beach afforded goose bumps from a wan sun, with glassy, head-high waves wrapping around the famed point of Rincoñada del Mar.

    Kew_1
    [This? Photo: Michael Kew]

    The air was clear, the sky vast and blue. In the distance were the shadowy hills and gullies of the islands Santa Rosa and Santa Cruz; even Anacapa looked warmly near and familiar. In time, rain would fall there and here, and the beach sand would darken—the tourists were gone—but today, under the auspices of gulls, autumn had arrived. This was Rincon in late October, a polyglot pointbreak returned to itself, to the locals and the afternoon low tides, the clean swells and sunburned eyes, squinting into the glare of a setting sun.

    Continue reading "A Pacific Epiphany – An Excerpt from “Crossings”" »

    Chattahoochee River - Critical Water Supply or Gift to Developers?

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    Chattahoochee River among America’s Most Endangered Rivers

    The Chattahoochee River, that flows through Atlanta, recently made the list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers. We’re helping shine a national spotlight on two boondoggle dam/reservoir proposals that are far too expensive and would harm clean water supplies, recreation, an outstanding trout fishery and wildlife habitat.

    “These dams are being sold as critical water supply projects, but they have always been planned as amenity lakes to benefit private developers and landowners…. These are sham water planning efforts that will benefit a small group of private landowners at the expense of taxpayers and the environment.”

    - Sally Bethea, Executive Director
    of Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper

    051812_take-action_logo_S12Join us and our partner, American Rivers, to urge the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny permits for these dams and reservoirs.

    Help keep the Chattahoochee healthy. Please take action today.

    [Mountain laurel blooms on the Chattahoochee River, Chattahoochee National Forest, Atlanta, Georgia. Photo: Carl Donohue]

    Notes from Squamish

    by Kelly Cordes

    I am loath to admit it, but Colin Haley was right. He’s been singing the praises of the Pacific Northwest in summertime, proclaiming it better than my beloved ‘Rado. At last, I humbly concede (although they pay for it the rest of the year, with continual grayness and rain). I’m wrapping up a trip to Squamish, and it’s been a touch of paradise. I feel it’s changed me and my cynical, critical, judgmental nature. Here, a few notes:

    Kc - squamish carving IMG_5622(LR)
    [Inspiration for my shift toward unabridged positivity. Namaste. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    • Day one, my SLF (special lady friend) and I go cragging in the afternoon, and I lead a thin slab in the full sun. It’s still like a million degrees cooler than back home, even in mid-summer. Sonnie Trotter happens to be trail running past, and as he looks up he probably thinks, who’s the idiot climbing that route in the sun? Silly tourist… followed by, wait! I know that mullet! Next thing we know, Sonnie comes up to say hello and chat. Says he wasn’t thinking that at all. T’was a pattern of friendliness that’s repeated itself in myriad forms during our stay. People here are so nice.

    Continue reading "Notes from Squamish" »

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