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    The Trip Continues – Full of Adventure

    By Kitty Calhoun

    Yoshiko rapping of p 1, 2

    As my friends and I get older, the threat of slipping into a normal lifestyle becomes more real. I have to mow the lawn, get the oil and filter changed in the car, go to the dentist. These days, given a choice, I would rather do a few sport pitches and get a good workout in, than burn a whole day on a multi-pitch route. My sense of adventure, along with my confidence, is fading with my youth. Yvon Chouinard once said, “When everything goes wrong, that’s when adventure starts.”

    Did I really want to go through an adventure, including all the accompanying fear, unknowns and discomfort that are usually associated with it? On the other hand, I was perfectly healthy with no good reason not to test myself again. I decided Tangerine Trip, a short but steep, moderate aid route on El Cap, would be the perfect experience to get me off the slippery slope to complacency.

    Above: Yoshiko Miyazaki-Back raps off pitch 1 of Tangerine Trip. El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, California. Photo: Kitty Calhoun 

    Continue reading "The Trip Continues – Full of Adventure" »

    Respect for the Past . . . and Rules to Protect a Sacred Place

    By Josh Ewing

    Belaying-VOG-Mickey_Schaeffer

    Fifteen years ago, I was drawn to southeastern Utah by the vast tracts of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Forest lands where I could find the freedom to explore and climb and have an adventure—rarely seeing another human other than my climbing partners or an intrepid hiker. I loved the feeling that my every move wasn’t being scripted by a ranger or a regulation, a sense I sometimes get when visiting National Parks.

    Now, years later, these remarkable lands are no longer a place I visit on a quick weekend trip. Literally in my backyard, I work every day to protect this landscape for future generations. Our big project right now is working with a coalition of groups to protect the Bears Ears cultural landscape as a permanent National Conservation Area or Monument.

    Above: Josh enjoys an oil-field-free view from the third belay on Eagle Feather (5.10). Eagle Plume Tower, Valley of the Gods, Utah. Photo: Mikey Schaefer

    Continue reading "Respect for the Past . . . and Rules to Protect a Sacred Place" »

    Beauty in a Blurry Photo – Merging climbing, science, and conservation in Mozambique

    By Majka Burhardt

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    Exactly one month ago I tightened the last bolt in the last hold on the first-ever climbing boulder in Mozambique—and then climbed on it with over 1,000 Mozambican school children.

    Tonight, over dinner in Central Mozambique, I made a promise to climb a 12-pitch run-out granite slab with a Mozambican farmer named Elias who’s never roped up in his life.

    Tomorrow, I meet 25 African students in Gorongosa National Park to spend 10 days exploring the vortex of conservation, science, leadership, stewardship and adventure.

    And all of this started because of a blurry photo of a mangy rock face.

    Above: The first round of Mozambican students arrive to “climb” on Mount Namuli with Patagonia ambassador Majka Burhardt. The first-ever climbing wall was built to showcase The Lost Mountain, a combination science, conservation and adventure initiative on Mozambique’s Mount Namuli. Photo: Gustav Rensburg 

    Continue reading "Beauty in a Blurry Photo – Merging climbing, science, and conservation in Mozambique" »

    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: 700

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    “I was looking for no less than a new way of living in this world for our entire society,” says Clay Shank. “Like, what’s the alternative to this capitalistic system that we have here?”

    Today, we bring you “700,” the story of Clay Shank’s ambitious goal to find a new way of life and his unlikely method: skateboarding 700 miles through the state of California, hiking the 210-mile John Muir Trail, climbing Mt. Whitney and Half Dome and, all the while, capturing a video portrait of the people living in California. But, first, Clay had to learn to talk to strangers.

    You can find Clay’s videos, including his newest film “Up To Us” and the trailer for his feature-length film “700 Miles” on his website clayshank.com.

     


    Listen to "700" 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.

    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: Live from 5Point Vol. 8 with Frank Sanders and Tommy Caldwell

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    In our fifth annual Live from 5Point Film Festival, we interview Frank Sanders and Tommy Caldwell.

    Frank spent his youth climbing on the East coast. His path took a turn in 1972, when he hitchhiked west and saw Devil’s Tower for the first time. Now, at 63, Frank owns and guides out of Devil’s Tower Lodge. He shares the story of his journey and what it’s like having found his place.

    Over the last seven years, Tommy has spent month long chunks of time focused on climbing The Dawn Wall, the hardest big wall free climb in history. On January 14, he and his partner, Kevin Jorgenson, pulled over the top of El Capitan into a swarm of cameras and microphones. He talks to Fitz about what it’s like to end a seven-year relationship with a project and how his life has changed now that people outside the climbing world recognize him.

     


    Listen to "Live From 5Point Vol. 8" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

    DBD_JQM
    Tommy Caldwell and Fitz Cahall chat on stage during the making of this episode. Steve's Guitars, Carbondale, Colorado. Photo: James Q Martin

     

    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.

     

    Earthquake in the Langtang Valley

    By Colin Haley

    27

    I got on a plane in Vancouver around midday on April 16. I was exhausted. After a four-month season in Patagonia, my six weeks back in North America turned out much less restful than I had imagined. Conditions had been excellent, and I couldn’t keep myself from going out in the mountains a bunch. The downside to my most successful ever season in Patagonia is that I was swamped with requests for photos, requests for writing, and a huge pile of related e-mails. I barely slept my last couple nights in BC, staying up late trying to catch up, and then finally closed my computer to head to the airport. I hadn’t caught up—not even close—but I was out of time. I finally just forced myself to let it go: “No one’s gonna die because you didn’t reply. It’s only e-mail.”

    Editor's note: Our hearts go out to all who were impacted by the recent earthquakes in Nepal. You can find ways to help at the end of this post. We're grateful to Colin for allowing us to share this story which first appeared on his personal blog, and we're so glad he's home safe.

    After a couple hours in the airport in Guangzhou, I boarded a plane for Kathmandu. In the last few days I had put in a lot of time to make sure I had all the necessary equipment packed, but beyond gear I don’t think I’ve ever started a climbing trip so clueless and unprepared. I’d never been to Nepal before, and knew almost nothing about it. I borrowed the Lonely Planet guidebook from some young Australian guys next to me on the plane, and did some last-minute studying. Around midnight on the 17th, I arrived at the house of Raphaelle, a young woman who is half Nepali and half French. My climbing partner, Aymeric Clouet, had arrived from France early that morning, and he stayed up to greet me.

    Above: This is the room in Gualboo’s lodge where Aymeric and I had been sleeping. I’m lucky that I happened to get up from my nap 15 minutes before the earthquake began. Photo: Colin Haley

    Continue reading "Earthquake in the Langtang Valley" »

    A Steep Ski Traverse of the Mont Blanc Range from East to West

    By Fred Bernard, with Laurent Bibollet

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    The Mont Blanc range is not a very big mountain range, but it is steep. It has become a kind of laboratory for skiers, mountaineers and climbers from around the world. Laurent and I consider ourselves somewhere is the middle as we are ski-mountaineers, IFMGA mountain guides and part of the Peakpowder guide team.

    The Mont Blanc range sees tons of action because of its fast and easy access, with cable cars reaching higher altitudes in minutes. The idea of doing a steep ski traverse of the Mont Blanc range from its most easterly point to its most westerly point came to me about eight years ago. For some unknown reason, it had never been done; no one had tackled this challenge.

    Above: Laurent Bibolet traverses Les Courtes, one leg of the team's traverse of the Mont Blanc range. Photo: Fred Bernard

    Continue reading "A Steep Ski Traverse of the Mont Blanc Range from East to West" »

    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

    Ewing_j_0008 

    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 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" »

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