The Cleanest Line

Weblog for the employees, friends and customers of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Visit Patagonia.com to see what we do.

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    The Underwear Story

    by Luke Mehall

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    My dream job would be being an underwear model. A friend helped me figure this out one day after I’d just purchased some new undies, and we were looking at the models on the packaging.

    “What a job that would be, wearing underwear for a living,” I said.

    “You could do it,” Amber answered. “And since you’re a climber you could model for Patagonia.”

    A quick check of the Patagonia catalog showed that they didn’t use the same advertising technique that we imagined; my visual image was Victoria Secret style for the female models. Still the dream was planted.

    [Above: The author sent us this photo from his modeling portfolio. Color us impressed. Joshua Tree, California. Photo: Dave Marcinowski]

    Continue reading "The Underwear Story" »

    Winterless Wonderland: Help Protect New England’s Winters

    by John Kassel

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    In the mid-1990’s a Vermont ski area executive told me this joke.

    “How do you make a small fortune in the ski industry in New England?” he asked.

    “Start with a large one.”

    He was talking about the challenges he faced then, which seemed normal at the time:  limited water for snowmaking, labor shortages, skyrocketing costs of doing business, aging baby boomer population, and inconsistent (though generally reliable) snowfall. The snow sports industry now faces a much more fundamental challenge: a shrinking winter.

    [John Kassel, his brother Peter Kassel, and Peter’s dog Bear (Bear is the one in the middle) on a New Year’s Day hike up Vermont’s Camel’s Hump. Note the extremely thin snow cover – unusual for the Green Mountains at that time of year. Photo courtesy of John Kassel]

    Continue reading "Winterless Wonderland: Help Protect New England’s Winters" »

    Mike Colpo 1975-2011 - Raising our Glasses to Localcrew

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    Mike Colpo, associate editor of this blog and frequent contributor (as “localcrew”), died suddenly on December 7 while trail running on his lunch hour near the Patagonia Distribution Center in Reno. He was 36.

    [Above: Mike and Skeena share some love. East Humboldt Range, Nevada. Photo: Old School]

    All of us who worked with him are in shock: Mike was young, fit and apparently healthy, his loss unexpected. And Mike was so modest about his talents and accomplishments that, now that he has gone, we’re coming to realize how much he took with him. He was a graceful writer and fine editor and a Zen-like master of the 140-character Tweet. He was a committed, and knowledgeable environmentalist who had a special love for Nevada’s wild places. He was a monster on his mountain bike and his beloved Xtracycle, an excellent backcountry navigator, telemarker, fly fisherman and alpinist who took a month out every summer to guide for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in Wyoming.

    Guys like Mike never just disappear though. He’ll pull away and maintain a pace you can’t quite match. You see him cresting the hill way ahead and dig deep to catch him. He’ll drop in on the pow stash and you’ll just see him, a speck on the horizon until you’re not sure he’s still there at all. But like all adventure hounds, he’s there somewhere, among the trees and tall grass, his nose to the ground, thinking and looking for something fun. –Team Bacon Strip from “R.I.P. Mike Colpo

    Continue reading "Mike Colpo 1975-2011 - Raising our Glasses to Localcrew" »

    In honor of our dear colleague, Holger Bismann

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    I write to convey the news of the passing of our dear friend and wonderful colleague, Holger Bismann.

    Although you wouldn't have known it by the way Holger's exceptionally positive attitude prevailed through the challenge of his recent health issues, he had been ill for the past few months and passed away quietly on Saturday at a hospital near Munich. His wife Christelle, and daughters Johanna and Helena were by his side.

    Holger joined us in December 2008 as the General Manager for Patagonia Europe. From day one, his joy for life and passion for all things Patagonia were a perfect match for our Annecy colleagues, and that spirit, drive, and vitality bubbled over to every person he met as one of our most energetic brand ambassadors. He visited the Ventura offices several times with his family to take in the California lifestyle and try surfing; his delight, pride, and pure love for "his girls" was a joy to experience.

    Continue reading "In honor of our dear colleague, Holger Bismann" »

    Enduro Idiot

    “You guys are idiots,” Cousin Bob told us over the pay phone. “I’m coming to get you.”

    I don’t know which I do better, come up with stupid ideas or talk others into doing them. In my defense, I will say that my ideas seem a lot less stupid since being hobbled and wiser with age. Granted, I can’t say that the latter came on its own, versus being a de facto function of the former. But I’m getting smarter. Take, for example, last weekend. My good friend Craig Scariot (CFS) did the Kat’cina Mosa 100km mountain trail race. Me? I made margs and cheered him on (a.k.a. “crew” – when you’re as anti-social as CFS, that’s what you get).

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    [Hikers and runners along a trail in the Mont Blanc massif, France. Photo: Kelly Cordes]


    OK, so I’m a huge fan of ultras – by the way, Krissy Moehl is defending her UTMB title and women’s course record (from 2009; race was cancelled last year) the last weekend of this month, so a big shout-out to Krissy - Gooooo Krissy, woohoo! – and, truth be told, I’m only a tiny bit jealous. I used to run, before shattering my leg. Used to be my favorite thing besides climbing. Little-known fact: I was the first woman finisher at the 1993 Seattle Marathon. In short, loathe though I am to admit it, I used to have a pony tail; and, of course, I have a girl’s name. So when I crossed the finish line, the announcer surely thought me an ugly girl and announced, “Let’s cheer home Kelly Cordes, this year’s first woman finisher!” I didn’t say a word – a person like me should take whatever he can get, and sometimes it’s the little victories in life that count.
     

    Continue reading "Enduro Idiot" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: The Shorts - Penance

    Shorts_back_pack_half Do as I say, not as I've done. It's the central paradox of many father-son relationships. We strive to learn from our mistakes and grow throughout our lives.  We want to see our hard earned wisdom reflected to others. After road racing bicycles for seven years, and pushing his youthful limits of bravery and luck, Gary Visser settled into life in South Carolina. He discovered a new passion in the salt water marshes, raised a family, and taught his son, Garrett, to fly fish. As Garrett prepares to leave for college, Gary appreciates that letting go, much like his parents did more than 30 years ago, is harder than one might think. Happy Father's Day.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "The Shorts--Penance"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com to hear the music from "Penance" or download past episodes from the podcast. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with like-minded listeners on Facebook and Twitter.

    Celebrating Bike to Work Week 2011

    Bike to Work Friday event 107 We celebrated our most successful Bike to Work Week event ever this year with riders, walkers, runners company-wide tallying over 11,991 miles! Employees in Ventura logged in 2,262 miles; Reno logged in 2,155, our U.S. and Toronto retail stores combined logged in 7,151 and our 35 colleagues in Annecy, France added 681 kilometers (just over 423 miles).

    We introduced a new component this year, the Bike to Work Week Challenge Grant, in which our Ventura headquarters, Reno Service Center and all of our North American retail stores partnered with a local non-profit bicycle advocacy organization in which Patagonia donated $1 for every mile an employee pedaled or walked. Through this program, we were able to donate at total of $11,991 with individual grants to 29 hard-working bike advocacy groups such as VCCOOL, Reno Bike Project, Bikes Not Bombs  and Trips for Kids.

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    [A bike-chain blackboard that the Patagonia team from our Upper West Side store put together to track their cycling progress.]

    Continue reading "Celebrating Bike to Work Week 2011" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: Ditch Logic

    Ditch logic_logo In 2005, Gregg Bleakney was on the rise. He was crushing his job as a software executive. At 30, he owned a beautiful home complete with white picket fence in North Seattle. He had a serious girlfriend. He drove a fast car. His sofa was black Italian leather. He had all the trappings of a successful life, but Gregg also had a secret. Something he wasn't sharing with his boss, his family or friends, even his longtime girl friend. It was an idea that was about to change his life. Today, we present Ditch Logic. Evolving as a person isn't always pretty. --Fitz Cahall

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Ditch Logic"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com to hear the music from "Ditch Logic" or download past episodes from the podcast. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with like-minded listeners on Facebook and Twitter.

    Fitz and his crew have been working on a couple video projects. Check out the Fringe Elements series over at National Geographic, featuring Patagonia ambassadors Colin Haley and Krissy Moehl. Then watch The Love Letter starring Fitz and his wife, Becca -- it's the video companion to "Unseen But Felt." 

    Dirtbag Diaries: Embrace This

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    Crank through your week with a new podcast from the Dirtbag Diaries. Show host Fitz Cahall sets the stage:

    I love bikes. I like riding them through the woods. I like working on them. I even like riding bikes on roads, but I've never been a road biker. To me road biking has always seemed a bit like raw oysters.  I take one look at it and I think, "I don't want to try it." Despite their slimy demeanor, I really like oysters. Once I got over their looks, they taste pretty damn good. Maybe road biking would be like that for me. This summer I decided to not only try road biking, I decided to embrace it in all its spandex glory. My climbing could suffer. The mountain bike could collect cobwebs in the garage. Along the way, I discovered the joy of riding through my city.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Embrace This"
    (mp3 - right-click to download - contains some expletives)

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com to hear or download the music from today's podcast. Fitz and crew are also holding another Night of the Living Dirtbag Contest. Submit a scary, outdoor-themed story to the Dirtbag Diaries for a chance to win a prize. Submissions are due by October 10th; contest details are on their site.

    [With thanks to Allie. Graphic by Walker Cahall.]

    Cellist Ben Sollee Ditches the Van and Pedals by Patagonia

    Our lives seem to move in fast forward. We run from our homes to our jobs and back barely noticing the scenery, or the people around us. For touring musicians the pace is even faster—they drive 300 miles to a city that they’ve never seen during the day, load their gear into the venue for the night, and drive off when the show ends to the nearest motel to the highway. Then wake up and do it all again.

    For cellist Ben Sollee things were moving too fast. Or he was. The solution? Jump on a bicycle and ride from gig to gig, feeling the asphalt beneath him and the pull of his cello in tow. Sollee has teamed up with drummer Jordon Ellis for the Ditch The Van Tour and the duo stopped by the Patagonia headquarters last week to talk bicycles and share their vision, and music, with all the employees at the Ventura office. Is there a better reason to stay at work past five o’clock than a beer and some live music?

    [Video: Ditch the Van Bike Tour - Chapter 2 from marty benson on Vimeo.]

    Continue reading "Cellist Ben Sollee Ditches the Van and Pedals by Patagonia" »

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