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    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: The Modern Dirtbag

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    In the golden days, dirtbags lived to climb. They didn’t work, have permanent addresses or sponsors. They ate leftovers off of tourists’ plates and slept in beater cars or in caves. They stayed in one place only as long as the weather allowed for climbing. Now, our modern world of fees, time limits and locked dumpsters has made it nearly impossible to live that way anymore. Dirtbagging is dying—or at least that’s what some people claim.

    Join Matt Van Biene for a day in Yosemite’s Camp 4 as he talks to climbers of all different ages, nationalities and backgrounds. Is dirtbagging dead or alive? What does the modern dirtbag look like? Well, you decide.

    Matt’s photographs from Patagonia were recently featured in The Alpinist. Check out the article here.

     


    Listen to "The Modern Dirtbag" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to past episodes, music credits and to pledge your support. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and DoggCatcher, 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.

    Have a great weekend everybody.

    Whiskey on the Rocks – Looking for answers in Scotland

    By Kristo Torgersen

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    “It starts as rain or snow falling on Scotland’s highest mountain—Ben Nevis. Either as rain or melting snow it percolates the thin layer of peat soil until it reaches the granite rock and unable to penetrate it, runs under the surface until emerging in Coire Leish or Coire na Ciste. The outflows from these two mountain lochans, located well over 3000’ above sea level, make their way spilling over the blue and pink granite rocks of the mountain’s rugged north face until they join together as the Alt a Mhullin continuing on in the valley between Ben Nevis and Carn Mor Dearg.”Ben Nevis Distillery

    These poetic words adorn a bottle of gold-medal whiskey from the oldest legal distillery in Scotland, Ben Nevis—the source of distinguished single malts and the mountain crucible of British alpinism. This is where generations of alpinists, whether in wool knickers or Gore-Tex, developed mountain equipment and cut their teeth for expeditions to the great ranges of the world. It’s a place renowned for terribly stormy weather and long approaches to “short” climbs. It’s a place that honors style and demands an honest Scot’s prudence to climb routes only in “full” wintry conditions. It’s where Yvon Chouinard visited over 40 years earlier to test himself on Scotland’s hardest routes and compare the performance his own curved-pick Chouinard Zero ice tool with the angled-pick design of his Scottish contemporary, Hamish MacInnes. And it’s where Walker Ferguson, responsible for field testing all of Patagonia’s most technical products, has brought us to be guinea pigs with our own latest prototypes.

    Above: Jon Bracey navigates the exit on Gemini, Ben Nevis, Scotland. Photo: Kristo Torgersen

    Continue reading "Whiskey on the Rocks – Looking for answers in Scotland" »

    Protect Bears Ears – Mutton Stew, Fry Bread and the Anatomy of a Public Lands Movement

    By Willie Grayeyes

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    My friend Leonard Lee works in the oil industry across San Juan County, Utah, both on and off the Navajo Nation. He oversees oil and gas wells and the crews who work them.

    So it may surprise you that Leonard is also the Vice-Chairman of a Native American organization that intends to protect 1.9 million acres of land as a national conservation area or national monument in San Juan County, Utah.

    The Bears Ears proposal was developed by Diné leaders like Leonard who were asked by U.S. Senator Bennett in 2010 if they had an opinion on public lands management. Never having been asked before, Navajo elders began telling stories. Hunters, gatherers and medicine men worked with conservation scientists to draw culturally important and sacred places onto maps. At the same time, spiritual leaders took their long-buried hopes and offered them to the winds as prayers for a place we call Bears Ears.

    Above: Cedar Mesa in Southeast Utah is one area that would be protected by the Bears Ears proposal. Photo: Josh Ewing

    Continue reading "Protect Bears Ears – Mutton Stew, Fry Bread and the Anatomy of a Public Lands Movement" »

    #VidaPatagonia – Blockbuster, a new route on the west face of Mojon Rojo

    By Luka Krajnc

    MojonRojo1r, Foto;Tadej Kritelj

    Coming to Patagonia with big goals can be an unpredictable thing. 

    Tadej Krišelj and I found ourselves at the wrong place below the triangular snowfield on Cerro Torres’ east face surrounded by snowflakes, spindrift and the first signs of avalanches. Backing off was more of a lesson than a failure and a few hours later we were squeezing under a dripping boulder bivy surprised by the snowy outcome of the relatively good forecast. The Patagonian weather had lived up to its reputation. 

    The next morning the sun welcomed us with its warmth which was perfect for drying the soaked equipment and regaining some climbing motivation. It became obvious that the good weather window hadn’t disappeared, it just came later than we expected. Walking back to Chaltén in such weather would have been a crime, so we took a rest day at Niponino and switched to backup plan mode.

    Above photo: Tadej Krišelj

    Continue reading "#VidaPatagonia – Blockbuster, a new route on the west face of Mojon Rojo" »

    The Climbing is the Easy Part These Days – A report on the FA of Slesse's Heart of Darkness, Colin Haley and Dylan Johnson, 8 March 2015

    By Dylan Johnson

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    Things have changed. That old "live simply" ethos Jenna and I lived by, roaming around the desert and mountains in our '83 Dodge Prospector van (with a sci-fi mural on the hood and velvet interior), feels a bit like a past life. Climbing these days is tightly packed between a life of airports, computers, conference calls and meetings—logging huge numbers of hours running my architecture practice. Time at home is spent cradling Olivia (our newborn) in the middle of the night or jogging alongside Emma (our two year old) as she rides her bike to school for the first time—or planning weeks in advance for a few hours out to dinner with Jenna on a cherished "date night." All that, and Jenna works harder than I do. 

    This time of year however, like a high school kid checking their Snapchat feed, I obsessively glance at my NOAA weather app: point forecast saved for the 49th parallel, just east of Mount Baker. NOAA doesn't work in Canada, but this ridgeline at the southern edge of the North Cascade's Chilliwack range is close enough.

    Above: Heart of Darkness on the north face of Mount Slesse, North Cascades, British Columbia. Photo: Jim Nelson 

    Continue reading "The Climbing is the Easy Part These Days – A report on the FA of Slesse's Heart of Darkness, Colin Haley and Dylan Johnson, 8 March 2015" »

    Announcing the 2015 Copp-Dash Inspire Award Recipients

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    The Copp-Dash Inspire Award, sponsored by Black Diamond Equipment, La Sportiva, Mountain Hardwear and Patagonia (with additional in-kind support from Adventure Film Festival, the American Alpine Club, Jonny Copp Foundation and Sender Films), announced the 2015 winners of the climbing grant established in memory of American climbers Jonny Copp and Micah Dash who were killed in an avalanche in China in May 2009, along with filmmaker Wade Johnson. In addition to providing financial support to prospective expedition teams, the goal of the Copp-Dash Inspire Award is to provide mentoring before and after the expedition to help the climbers bring back and share inspiring multimedia stories of their adventures.

    Above: Photos from a trip Jonny and Micah made to Chamonix in 2008 where they shivered through the night on the West Face of the Petit Drus. Photos: Jonny Copp

    Continue reading "Announcing the 2015 Copp-Dash Inspire Award Recipients" »

    Lucid Dreaming [Updated with video]

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    Patagonia climber Alexander Megos made the third ascent of Lucid Dreaming (V15) this week on the Grandpa Peabody boulder in the Buttermilks. It was a double-milestone effort for the German phenom.

    “Feels like a DREAM but it’s not. Finally took down my hardest boulder ever and as well my longest project ever!” Alex said on his newly created Instagram account.

    Photographer Ken Etzel was there to capture the climb and share some details.

    Continue reading "Lucid Dreaming [Updated with video]" »

    Watch Tommy Caldwell Climb Pitch 15 (5.14c) on The Dawn Wall

    On January 14, 2015, Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson made the first free ascent of The Dawn Wall on Yosemite’s El Capitan. Today we’re happy to share this exclusive video of Tommy climbing pitch 15, rated 5.14c—the first footage released by the film crew on the wall. 

    “The crux holds of pitch 15 are some of the smallest and sharpest holds I have ever attempted to hold onto,” Tommy wrote on his Facebook page. Four unique camera angles reveal those minuscule holds and the 1,300 feet of exposure under Tommy’s precarious foot placements. While multiple pitches of extremely difficult climbing remained above, the completion of pitch 15 was considered the last major hurdle to the eventual success of this seven-year dream project.

    Note: Pitch 15 was originally rated 5.14d, but was downgraded slightly after the completion of the route.

    With thanks to Big Up Productions and Sender Films.

    Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson Make First Free Ascent of Yosemite’s Dawn Wall!

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    We’ve been watching the updates with bated breath and now all of us at Patagonia are thrilled to congratulate Tommy Caldwell and his partner Kevin Jorgeson on the first free ascent of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite Valley. Tommy first conceived the idea of the climb in 2007 and, seven years later, summited the route on the afternoon of January 14, 2015 after spending 19 days on the wall—and with much of the climbing world viewing the last pitches via live video stream. Longtime readers will be familiar with our coverage of the Dawn Wall dating back to 2010. It’s been a long haul and we couldn’t be happier for Tommy.

    From Yvon: “When we first climbed the North American Wall on El Cap in 1964, we thought, ‘Well, that proves that any big wall in the world can be climbed.’ We never dreamed they could be climbed all free! Sending the Dawn Wall leaves Pope Francis with no choice but to admit our closest relative is the chimpanzee.’”

    Above: Seven years of relief. An elated Tommy Caldwell at the top of the Dawn Wall. Photo: Chris Burkard

    Continue reading "Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson Make First Free Ascent of Yosemite’s Dawn Wall!" »

    #VidaPatagonia – Hunger Games at Cerro San Lorenzo

    By Colin Haley

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    After years of climbing exclusively in the Chalten Massif, I have finally exposed myself to another location in the Patagonian Andes. I spent most of November underneath Cerro San Lorenzo, Patagonia’s second-highest peak, with my longtime friend Rob Smith. While El Chalten becomes a bit more like Chamonix every year, the rest of the Patagonian Andes maintain a similar climbing experience as twenty years ago, except that now one can get weather information via satellite phone.

    Editor’s note: Patagonia climbers will once again be sharing photos and stories for the duration of the climbing season in Patagonia. See it all on the Vida Patagonia trip page at Patagonia.com or follow #VidaPatagonia on Instagram.

    On November 10th we hired a pickup truck ride from Gobernador Gregores into Perito Moreno National Park and got dropped off at the end of the road. It took three trips over three days to haul all our gear and food into basecamp—an old hut, known as Puesto San Lorenzo. For the entirety of our three-week stay we did not see a single other human, although we did see tons of guanacos, and saw fresh puma tracks nearly every day that we hiked in the lowlands.

    Above: The main summit of Cerro San Lorenzo. The right skyline is roughly the South African route. Photo: Colin Haley

    Continue reading "#VidaPatagonia – Hunger Games at Cerro San Lorenzo" »

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