The Cleanest Line

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    « April 2013 | Main | June 2013 »

    Throw the Line

    By Marta Czajkowska

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    Any wall climber will see that something is missing in that photo, trail line. The leader trails a small line so they can pull up a haul line to haul the bag. Right where the photo was taken, at the lip of the roof, Dgriff realized that he’d forgotten the trail line.

    "You have to throw it to me!" he shouted.

    "You know well enough that I can't throw," I replied as the sun was setting.

    "I'm going to either down-lead and re-lead, which is going to take an hour or so, or you have to throw the line."

    I started organizing my belay to gain time to wrap my head around the throwing. Dgriff yelled again using his favorite Kurosawa quote, "STOP STALLING AND THROW THE LINE OR WE WILL BE PLENTY DEAD!"

    [Above: David Griffith heads up the final 20-foot roof pitch of Wet Denim Daydream, Leaning Tower, Yosemite California. Photo: Marta Czajkowska]

    Continue reading "Throw the Line" »

    Andre's Red Knickers – A Story About Boatmen's Rituals

    By Jeffe Aronson

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    “Hey, Reeg,” I say, watching him wading chest deep, offshore in the frigid river, well past sundown, when most normal river guides should be sipping scotch (as I happen to be). He is sponging off the scum line from his handmade dory, the Escalante, his beauty and dream.

    He looks up at my quizzical smile, offering up all I will get: his characteristically inscrutable look through a knowing gray beard and nothing more.

    He doesn’t talk much anyway, though I must admit he himself is probably expecting a typically smart-aleck comment from me. I must, of course, oblige. Over the years I’ve been observing, and finally have been drawn into participating in this little pre-Lava ceremony since I came to the Dories.

    [Above: The author and clients, thankfully still upright, in Hermit rapid’s Fifth Wave. Photo: Rick Box]

    Continue reading "Andre's Red Knickers – A Story About Boatmen's Rituals" »

    Conservacion Patagonica Donates 37,500-acre El Rincon to Expand Perito Moreno National Park in Argentina

    By Rick Ridgeway

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    This week our friends and colleagues Doug and Kris Tompkins announced a donation by Conservacion Patagonica to the Argentina national park system of Estancia Rincon, a 37,500-acre parcel of wildlands in our namesake, Patagonia-the-place. This former sheep ranch is at the foot of Cerro San Lorenzo – the most Himalayan-like peak in all of Patagonia – and it creates a majestic extension to the existing Perito Moreno National Park.

    The story of this new conservation victory begins in the early ‘60s when Doug, a long-time climbing partner of Yvon Chouinard’s, founded The North Face. Doug sold TNF in the late ‘60s to start Esprit, the women’s clothing brand that he in turn sold in the late ‘80s so he could use the funds to create privately endowed parks and protected areas in Chile and Argentina. Those of you who are fans of the 180° South film will recognize this part of the story.

    [Above: Cerro San Lorenzo. Photo: Doug Tompkins]

    Continue reading "Conservacion Patagonica Donates 37,500-acre El Rincon to Expand Perito Moreno National Park in Argentina" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: Live from 5Point Vol. 5

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

    Dbd_mastWe're back for our third annual Live from 5Point event. The sun was shining, but Steve's Guitars was at capacity. Today we present the first two stories from Kevin Pearce and Chris Davenport. In 2009, Kevin was one of the best snowboarders in the world. On a training run, he had a major accident (his story is chronicled in the film The Crash Reel). Today, he talks about finding happiness after suffering a traumatic brain injury.

    Chris' career as a big mountain skier is impressive – numerous first ski descents of peaks, traveled around the world to ski, a two-time world champion. But I've always been impressed by Chris' creativity in the mission he chooses. Today, he talks about the aesthetics of the lines he chooses and what he loves about mountains, especially those close to home.


    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Live from 5Point Vol. 5"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com to download the music from "Live from 5Point Vol. 5", listen to The Shorts and pledge your support for the show. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes and RSS, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter.

    [Graphic by Walker Cahall]

    Introducing “$20 Million & Change” and Patagonia Works – A Holding Company for the Environment

    By Yvon Chouinard

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    I don’t like to think of myself as a businessman. I’ve made no secret that I hold a fairly skeptical view of the business world. That said, Patagonia, the company my wife and I founded four decades ago, has grown up to be — by global standards — a medium-size business. And that bestows on our family a serious responsibility. The last line of Patagonia’s mission statement is “… use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” We’ve always taken that seriously.

    Three examples: Every year for 30 years, Patagonia has donated one percent of its sales to grassroots environmental organizations. We helped initiate the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, an organization of companies that produces more than a third of the clothing and footwear on the planet. In a very short time, the Coalition has launched an index of social and environmental performance that designers (and eventually consumers) can use to make better decisions when developing products or choosing materials. And last year we became one of California’s first B Corps (benefit corporations), which means that the values that helped make our company successful are now etched into our legal charter.

    Continue reading "Introducing “$20 Million & Change” and Patagonia Works – A Holding Company for the Environment" »

    Help Protect Bristol Bay – Watch Sea-Swallow’d and Take Action Today

    By Ryan Peterson



    As with any creative endeavor, the process of building is fraught with self-doubt. But when I showed a draft of my film, sea-swallow’d to my friend Teplin Cahall 5 months ago, I got a boost. You see, Tep can't talk. He was born that way. Because of this and some associated developmental issues, he sees the world a little differently than do the rest of us.

    One gauges Tep’s thoughts and feelings on a matter by the glints of ecstasy or tears of rage that accumulate in his eyes, and the alternately soothing or garish noises that his vocal chords are able to emit. His emotions are pure, raw, unfiltered by the complications of the wide world. He’s like an animal - innocent, instinctual, knowing only truth. In this way, if you can decipher his notes and read his analyses, Tep is the best critic a friend could ever have. To date, according to his dad, Fitz, Tep has watched sea-swallow’d several hundred times. I take this as approval.

    Continue reading "Help Protect Bristol Bay – Watch Sea-Swallow’d and Take Action Today" »

    Worn Wear – The Hand-Me-Down

    By Shari Williamson, Bozeman, Montana

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    Dear Patagonia,

    I don’t actually know the original owner of this little red and purple fleece jacket. I do not know several names scrawled on the tag, but I know some of them… We found this jacket in a large ragged cardboard box of hand-me-downs from a family with three kids. The jacket came to them from a co-worker with two boys. 

    Next, with our two girls, this jacket saw hundreds of miles of trail, many nights in tents, from back roads to back yards, and every other day in between.

    Continue reading "Worn Wear – The Hand-Me-Down" »

    Piolets d’Or 2013

    By Hayden Kennedy

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    “Some declared it the climb of the century. But did anyone repeat GIV to confirm our illusion of it? Besides, does it make sense to declare a poem the poem of the century? Can you choose a woman of the century?” – Voytek Kurtyka writing about the Shining Wall on Gasherbrum IV

    There are no winners or losers in climbing. How can there be? Isn’t the point of climbing to escape these themes of ego and competition? To surrender ourselves to the experience at hand whether that entails failure or success; to push beyond the surface of our own expectations and those others have of us into a deeper well of motivation, curiosity and mystery? In my life, some of the greatest moments have come from failure. And what does success truly mean? Reaching the summit is an obvious and logical yardstick, yet too much focus on that singular measure can blind us to more profound possibilities like surrendering ourselves to the experience at hand, regardless of whether it entails failure or success. As the prolific Mugs Stump once said, “We were stuck on a portaledge on the Eye Tooth for eight days… We don’t need the summit. Just being here, in the present, that’s enough.”

    These were the thoughts going through my head when Kyle Dempster and I were lucky enough to get invited to the 21st Piolets d’Or ceremony in Chamonix. The annual event – held over four days with plenty of red wine and good French food – typically chooses a “best” alpine climb of the year and rewards that team with a golden ice axe. Kyle and I were nominated for our new route up the south face of Ogre I in Pakistan’s Karakoram Range.

    [Above: Hayden descends Ogre I after making the third ascent of the mountain with Kyle Dempster. Karakorum Range, Pakistan. Photo: Kyle Dempster]

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    Master of Stone: Layton Herman Kor

    June 11, 1938–April 21, 2013

    By Cameron M. Burns

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    One of the greatest American climbers of the late 1950s and ’60s, Layton Herman Kor, died April 21 after a long battle with kidney problems and cancer.

    The son of a Dutch mason (Jacob Kor) who came to the U.S. in 1897 from the Oldambt area of Groningen, the Netherlands, and a second-generation German-American (Leona Schutjer) from Iowa, Kor spent his early life in Canby, Minnesota and was particularly fond of swimming and fishing, especially during Minnesota’s hot summers. He loved the outdoors.

    Editor's note: We're grateful to author Cam Burns for sharing this tribute with us. Layton Kor was beloved by many in the extended Patagonia climbing family. Says Yvon Chouinard of Layton, “He and I were Mutt and Jeff climbers, my 5'4" to his 6' plus. I’d get freaked out belaying as he would quickly run out a long lead; I didn’t know if I was going to be able to hold him. I never had to find out, even though we climbed all over Yosemite and Chamonix. Back in camp he was just one of the guys.”

    [Above: photo courtesy of Glen Denny]

    Continue reading "Master of Stone: Layton Herman Kor" »

    Working Towards Responsible Supply Chains: Our Factory Monitoring Efforts

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    All of us at Patagonia have been shaken by the recent tragic events in Bangladesh. We offer our deepest condolences to all of the victims and their families. We are monitoring the press, the actions of governments around the world in response and the courageous efforts by the charities on the ground. Our stakeholders may ask what Patagonia is doing to monitor its supply chain and help prevent in our partner factories another occurrence of this kind of tragedy.

    Two decades ago we began seriously examining social and environmental issues in our supply chain. The more we learned, the more worried we became. So back in the mid-1990s Patagonia helped create the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a multi-stakeholder initiative whose sole purpose is to promote fair, safe and healthy conditions in factories worldwide. The FLA has been auditing our factories since the early 2000s and our own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program since 2008. Regular supplier auditing, training and education by committed brands has, in part, eradicated child labor and some forms of forced labor as well as led to minor improvements in health and safety.

    We fully recognize that some factories over the past 10 years have stepped up to the plate to do everything responsible brands do in their CSR efforts, including CSR reporting. Unfortunately, these exemplary factories are few and far between. We are constantly searching the globe to find them. When we do, we put them through our rigorous screening process before we place the first order. You can find sketches of many of these factories on Patagonia’s Footprint Chronicles.

    [Above: Shane Prukop, president of Trupart Manufacturing in Ventura, California, shows Patagonia’s Social and Environmental Responsibility team the River Crampon he makes for our company. Photo: Jim Little]

    Continue reading "Working Towards Responsible Supply Chains: Our Factory Monitoring Efforts" »

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