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    Fitz’s Fall Layering System – Suggestions for dressing your child in the cold

    By Rebecca Caldwell

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    Today’s post comes from Rebecca Caldwell, photographer and wife to Patagonia climbing ambassador Tommy Caldwell, and mama to their son, Fitz. She discovered the climbing lifestyle five years ago and now spends more time soaking up the beautiful places around the world than at home. They share their somewhat unconventional lifestyle with Fitz, and hope to encourage others to explore the outdoors with their kids, too.

    Every autumn since I’ve known Tommy we have loaded up our van, left our home in Estes Park, Colorado, and driven to Yosemite National Park for him to work on his mega-project, The Dawn Wall, on the monolithic El Capitan. After we had Fitz we couldn’t wait to share this breathtaking place with him. This time of year the leaves turn golden and fall to the ground, snow dusts the valley rim, the warm California sun plays hide and seek behind the south walls as it moves from east to west, and the cold sinks into our temporary home in Upper Pines campground. Van life with Fitz means dealing with constant weather changes and variations. Making sure he’s warm enough, but not too warm, is an ongoing challenge. As an active adult it’s easy to find information about layering systems for your endeavors, but rarely do people talk about layering systems for kids.

    Above: Fitz racking up for Moby Dick. Photo: Rebecca Caldwell

    Continue reading "Fitz’s Fall Layering System – Suggestions for dressing your child in the cold" »

    An Excerpt from The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre by Kelly Cordes

    By Kelly Cordes

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    At the wind-scoured southern tip of Argentina, between the vast ice cap and the rolling estepas of Patagonia, rises a 10,262-foot tower of ice and rock named Cerro Torre. Considered by many the most beautiful and compelling mountain in the world, it draws the finest and most devoted technical alpinists from around the globe. Reinhold Messner, the greatest mountaineer in history, called it “a shriek turned to stone.”

    I began work on my book in spring 2012, after the Compressor Route de-bolting controversy. On a broad level, I’d gained a glimpse into Cerro Torre’s complex and layered history during my dozen years as an editor for the American Alpine Journal. On a personal level, I’d grown familiar with the spectacular mountain in January 2007, during my climb with Colin Haley. But once I began my book research, I became intrigued by how the intertwined stories of Cerro Torre—this wholly uncaring, inanimate object—seemed to reflect the best and worst of human ambition, and how often our actions are fueled by the power of belief. My notes and threads related to the main stories could fill several volumes.

    Continue reading "An Excerpt from The Tower: A Chronicle of Climbing and Controversy on Cerro Torre by Kelly Cordes" »

    The Trip

    By Kitty Calhoun

    A partner enjoying El Cap

    I anticipated the change with dread and excitement. My son was leaving the nest for college and I was determined to return to my former goal-driven climbing lifestyle. Fred Becky would be proud of me. After a night of mourning, alone under the desert stars, I promptly returned home, found my address book, and started calling all the girls I knew who might be interested in my next project.

    I had become fixated on Tangerine Trip, VI A2 or C3F, on El Cap for a number of reasons. Nothing compares to the nights spent sitting on a portaledge, hundreds of feet above the valley floor, where only a few have earned the position. There is nothing to do but eat dinner—a bagel with cream cheese and tuna, perhaps—and slip into the sleeping bag. I savor the brief escape from the concerns and busyness of the world, where silence is broken only by the whoops of joy from other souls perched high on the wall and swallows swoop through the air, enjoying themselves just as much as the climbers.

    Even though aid climbing is out of vogue, I’ve found that leading hard aid pitches challenges me and scares me just as much as any other form of climbing. No, I’m not ready to live vicariously just yet.

    Above: "Big wall Kate" on El Cap from my last trip to Yosemite four years ago. Photo: Kitty Calhoun

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    Dirtbag Diaires: What You're Handed

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    Regardless of how you choose to play outside, if someone gets hurt in the mountains, the first step on the checklist remains the same: “scene safety”—you make sure the thing that hurt your buddy isn't going to hurt you too. But there's no checklist for emotional safety when things go wrong. Today we bring you the story of a family, an accident and the repercussions they navigated for years afterwards.

     


    Listen to "What You're Handed" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to past episodes, featured music and to pledge your support. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, RSS, SoundCloud and Stitcher, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter. The Dirtbag Diaries is a Duct Tape Then Beer production. Graphic by Walker Cahall.

    Family Man, 5.14 – A short story (and video) of a first ascent

    By Sonnie Trotter

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    It all began five years ago, as many things do these days, with a simple email to a few of us Squamish cracks hounds from a friend in Okanagan Falls, British Columbia.

    Hey Boys,
    Check out these roof cracks. I think they’ll go free. Peace out.
    - Doug

    Doug and his wife Janet are longtime local climbers, hikers and explorers in the Skaha region, and probably know the lay of the land as good, or better, than any other living beings. But even more than that, they are simply two of the greatest people ever. Of course, this letter from Doug wouldn’t be complete without an eye-catching photograph or two, which he gracefully attached to his email for our viewing pleasure. I’ll admit, I was attracted to the climb right from the get-go but time, money and other commitments delayed a proper visit to the crag for nearly two years.

    Above: Sonnie about to enter the upper crux of the route. Photo: Taran Ortlieb

    Continue reading "Family Man, 5.14 – A short story (and video) of a first ascent" »

    National Geographic Announces 2015 Adventurers of the Year

    Yesterday, National Geographic pulled the curtain back on the winners of their 10th annual Adventurers of the Year, “each selected for his or her remarkable achievement in exploration, adventure sports, conservation, and humanitarianism.” Four of the winners are from the Patagonia family and we couldn't be happier for them.

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    Tommy Caldwell for completing the Fitz Roy Travese with partner Alex Honnold--seven summits that define the Fitz Roy massif (and the Patagonia logo). Read the interview. Photo: Mikey Schaefer

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    Ben Knight, Travis Rummel and Matt Stoecker for the creation of their film, DamNation. Read the interview. Photo: DamNation Film

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    Liz Clark for 10 years of solo sailing in search of surf, simplicity and self-reliance. Read the inteview. Photo: Jeff Johnson

    Rocky-traverse-paragliding
    Gavin McClurg and Will Gadd for traversing 500 miles of remote Rockies terrain via paragliders. Read the interview. Photo: Jody MacDonald

    Along with the individual awards, voting has begun for the People's Choice. We encourage you to cast your vote (deadline is January 31, 2015), but with so many amazing people in the running we're not sure how you're going to choose.

    Congratulations to all of the winners, especially the folks we're honored to work alongside.

    An excerpt from The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains by Barry Blanchard

    By Barry Blanchard

    Patagonia is proud to announce our latest publication: Barry Blanchard’s memoir, The Calling.

    With heart-pounding descriptions of avalanches and treacherous ascents, Blanchard chronicles his transformation from a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks to one of the most respected alpinists in the world. This is the story of the culture of climbing in the days of punk rock, spurred on by the rhythm of adrenaline and the arrogance of youth. It is also a portrait of the power of the mountains to lift us—physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually—and the depths of relationships based on total trust in the person at the other end of a rope. Includes climbs with renowned alpinists such as Kevin Doyle, Mark Twight, David Cheesmond and Ward Robinson.

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    Chapter 1

    I SAW THE AVALANCHE COMING. It charged over the step of dirty brown ice above like a breaking wave of black water. It hammered back down into the gulley, driving into us like the fist of god, and I screamed.

    The avalanche slapped my crampons out from under me, and I was folded in half. I was going to die. The animal in me fought to force my hand into the torrent, to grab something solid. My crampons raked over the ice as I stumbled, thrusting my knees into the pressure of the onslaught, trying to get my feet under me. I shouted and I thrashed and the surging snow pushed my arms down at the same time that it swept my feet out to flap like rope-anchored logs in a strong current. My anchor leash was as tight as cable; it hummed with a high-frequency vibration that was transmitted into my bowels along the waist-belt of my harness. My senses where overcome; I didn’t know which way was up. I was terrified.

    Continue reading "An excerpt from The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains by Barry Blanchard" »

    Relay Handoff on a Slovenian Alpine Playground

    By Luka Krajnc

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    All stories have to start somewhere. This one started over a cold beer when Marko Prezelj, Tadej Krišelj and I were sitting on the porch of Marko´s house on a warm, early summer evening discussing future plans. The debate evolved and ideas flew by when Marko briefly mentioned that together with Klemen Mali, more than ten years ago, he tried to climb a new route on the northwest face of Vežica in the Kamnik–Savinja Alps. The wall lies in the northern part of Slovenia and is known for its steep nature and quality limestone. After climbing one long pitch and scoping the central part of the wall they realized that their fitness did not meet the requirements needed for climbing the route in the imagined style, so they put the project aside for a time when they might be stronger. After several years they decided to pass the idea on to younger adventure-seeking climbers.

    Every seed needs to be planted before it can grow and develop into something bigger. This one immediately fell onto fertile ground as we were highly motivated and eager to face the challenge. A few days later, we found ourselves on the steep approach in a joyful atmosphere full of excitement and expectation. Marko showed us the proposed line, we discussed various technical and ethical strategies and then he left us for our reality check.

    Above: Searching for friction on the vertical playground. All photos by Marko Prezelj.

    Continue reading "Relay Handoff on a Slovenian Alpine Playground" »

    Greenland Vertical Sailing 2014 – Part 3, Back to civilization and summary of climbs

    By Nico Favresse, photos by The Wild Bunch

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    How could we describe the feeling of taking our first shower in over two months? Mmmm...

    We have just hit civilization in Greenland. These last three weeks have been very exciting in many ways! Adventurous climbing, a close polar bear encounter (without anything to defend ourselves) and a very scary crossing back to Greenland which included a strong storm with snow and huge waves! On this kind of trip the adventure never seems to end until you are back under that hot shower. It does make the shower so much better!

    Editor’s note: Catch up with Captain Shepton and The Wild Bunch in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

    So three weeks ago, we sailed away from Sam Ford Fjord to explore Gibbs Fjord. Finally, the intense weather conditions in Sam Ford Fjord eased off allowing us to see some blue in the sky. It was very enjoyable sun bathing on the deck while sailing around enjoying the magical scenery of mountains, big walls, glaciers and icebergs floating around the Fjords. However, it being early September, the temperature was decreasing day by day, proportionally to the area of our bodies on which we applied sunscreen.

    Above: Nico enjoys a snow-free offwidth on Walking the Plank, Plank Wall, Gibbs Fjord.

    Continue reading "Greenland Vertical Sailing 2014 – Part 3, Back to civilization and summary of climbs" »

    FORCE – A seven-city film tour with Patagonia climber and photographer Mikey Schaefer

    By Fitz Cahall

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    I’m a homebody. My friend Mikey Schaefer is not. I made a conscious choice to develop a lifelong relationship with my local ranges and the urban environment right out my front door. A climber and photographer by trade, Mikey travels the world and he, much like I did, found a landscape that left its mark on him. It was 15,000 miles away, but, hey, when a place speaks to you, you listen.

    “Patagonia chose me, as much as I chose Patagonia,” Mikey will tell you if you ask. I’d say the same thing about the Sierra and the Cascades.

    Since his first trip as a 21-year-old to this fabled land of wind and granite (and more wind), Mikey has made Patagonia a part of his life. Every November or December, Mikey uproots his life and migrates to the South American summer and the hamlet of El Chalten where the staggering granite spires of Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy loom in the backdrop. Over the years, he fulfilled an audacious goal of establishing first ascents on all seven skyline summits of the Fitz Roy Massif. Take a look at that Patagonia logo on your jacket. That skyline is the defining element of Patagonia’s corporate logo. It’s bigger in real life.

    Continue reading "FORCE – A seven-city film tour with Patagonia climber and photographer Mikey Schaefer" »

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