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    Alaska 2010 with Colin Haley: Dracula and Cassin Simul-Solo

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    Bjørn-Eivind Årtun and I have just come out from a 37-day trip to Denali and Mt. Foraker, which was partially funded by a Mugs Stump Award and the Norwegian Alpine Club (NTK). Here is a report of what we did. [Bjørn-Eivind high in the Messner Couloir on our first visit of the expedition to Denali's summit. Photo by Colin Haley]

    Editor's note: Patagonia ambassador Colin Haley takes the mic today for a recap of his recent trip to Alaska. Colin and Bjørn-Eivind Årtun won a Mugs Stump Award grant for the climb they would attempt on this trip: A single-push first ascent on the southeast side of Alaska’s second-highest peak, Mt. Foraker, one of the biggest unclimbed faces in the central Alaska Range. How did it go? Pull up a chair, grab your beverage of choice and enjoy a great read from one of America's premiere alpinists.

    We flew onto the Kahiltna Glacier on May 13, and immediately started up Denali’s West Buttress route to acclimatize. We soon established a basecamp at the 14,200 ft. camp on the West Buttress to stay for a while. On May 21 we attempted to climb and ski the Orient Express route, but turned around and skied from 17,500 ft. in the face of dangerous wind slabs. On May 25 we climbed to the summit of Denali via the Messner Couloir and returned to the 14,200 ft. camp in 9:15 roundtrip. On May 29 we climbed to the summit of Denali again via the West Buttress route in 8:10 roundtrip.

    Continue reading "Alaska 2010 with Colin Haley: Dracula and Cassin Simul-Solo " »

    Bad Weather in Patagonia - Mikey & Kate Settle for Aguja de la “S”; Colin Solos Aguja Guillaumet

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    [Approaching can be so miserable. Photo: Mikey Schaefer]

    By all accounts, the weather down in Patagonia this season has been terrible so climbers are taking what they can get. This has been the case for Patagonia ambassadors Mikey Schaefer and Kate Rutherford. After getting skunked on the larger features they had hoped to climb, Mikey and Kate finally got the chance on Monday to climb one of the smaller mountains in the Fitz Roy range.

    Aguja de la “S”
    Words and illustrations by Kate Rutherford
    Photos and captions by Mikey Schaefer

    A great way to climb in Patagonia is to allow your expectations to change with the prevailing winds, rise and fall with the amount of ice plastered to the cliffs, and be flexible. In the last week of our trip Mikey Schaefer and I got to actually climb something after waiting for the high winds of the last three weeks to pass. I put down my paint brush to check the weather on the Meteorogram, it looked more reasonable than before. There was a 36-hour period of low winds without precipitation. All the climbers in town rallied to head to the mountains.

    Continue reading "Bad Weather in Patagonia - Mikey & Kate Settle for Aguja de la “S”; Colin Solos Aguja Guillaumet" »

    Twenty Four - and so much more . . . [Updated with video]

    Mug Today's post comes from Patagonia's Athlete Liaison and Grassroots Event Coordinator, Kristo Torgerson. Kristo's the brains and sweat behind Patagonia's involvement in what has become one of the rock climbing community's coolest events, the 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell. We announced this year's event back in July. For a complete recount of last year's event from the eyes of competitor and Patagonia Rock Climbing Ambassador Sonnie Trotter, click here.

    This year, Kristo joined story-telling forces with Patagonia Climbing Ambassadors Kate Rutherford, Brittany Griffith, Mikey Shafer, and Colin Haley in a mad-lib-style trip report tour-de-force. Enjoy . . .
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    "24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell." To mention it by name elicits one of two responses, depending on your familiarity with this one-of-a-kind climbing event – head scratching and furrowed brows or big grins and stuttering excitement. If you didn’t make it to the event a couple weeks ago, then you’re likely still scratching your head, so let me ask you this: You’re a climber, yea? You’ve done some hard pitches in your time and spent some long days out, right? Good for you. Seriously though, how many hard pitches ...

    [Drink up and rack up, it's go time at 24 Hours of Horseshoe Hell. All photos: Lucas Marshall Photography, captions courtesy Kristo Torgersen.] 

    Continue reading "Twenty Four - and so much more . . . [Updated with video]" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: The Dreamers

    Epi29_logo It's Friday, and the Dirtbag Diaries are here to help you celebrate solstice with some sonic storytelling. Show host Fitz Cahall has the beta on today's episode:

    “I had convinced myself at that point that my goal was so important it was worth dying for,” says alpine master Steve House about his 15-year-old dream of climbing the Rupal Face. Big Dreams require big commitment. We may not all dream on the same scale and commitment levels, but we all share dreams. They pull us through our lives on solid ground. Today writer and climber Sarah Garlick presents: The Dreamers – reflections from four generations of the world’s best climbers: Steve House, Henry Barber, Steve Schneider, and Colin Haley. In the process Sarah found out a little bit about herself. Do you have a life long dream? What if you completed it? What if you never realized it?

    Audio_graphic_20px Listen to "The Dreamers"
    (mp3 - 31:15 - right-click to download)

    You can subscribe to the Dirtbag Diaries via iTunes and RSS, or connect with Fitz via Facebook and Twitter. For more from today's guest host, Sarah Garlick, check out her book Flakes, Jugs, and Splitters: A Rock Climber's Guide to Geology or her Patagonia field report "Open Bivy."

    Visit the myspace page of The Secret Life of Sofia to purchase their album Seven Summits -- the featured music on today's episode. Says Fitz, "I really dig this album. It's very difficult to write songs that speak to the power of high places without falling into ridiculous cliché. I've listened to this album dozens of times and at each listen I find some new historical reference or emotion I recognize from my own connection to the mountains. It is in some ways as much a novel as it is a record and [lead singer Kyle] Wilson avoids the cliché by sticking to inventive images that we all know and recognize but would never think to include in a song. Seriously, check it out."

    Mt. Hunter!

    I have just returned to Seattle from a three-week trip to the Central Alaska Range with Norwegian climber Bjørn-Eivind Årtun. The weather this May was significantly better than average -- apart from a few days of snow showers and a wind storm that lasted for a few days, the weather was consistently mild. The weather forecast on the other hand was consistently pessimistic, and was dead wrong about 85% of the entire month (we slowly learned to ignore it).

    [Editor's note: Today's post comes from Patagonia ambassador Colin Haley. It first appeared on Colin's blog, Skagit Alpinism, on Wednesday, May 27, 2009. All photos © Colin Haley or Bjørn-Eivind]

    We first warmed up with a climb of the "Mini Moonflower," (a sub-peak off of Mt. Hunter's Northeast Ridge) via its North Couloir. Bjørn-Eivind leading in the couloir:
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    Continue reading "Mt. Hunter! " »

    Colin Haley Solos Supercanaleta

    Supercanaleta Last week Colin Haley (24) soloed Supercanaleta on Patagonia's Fit Roy massif. This burly effort comes less than a year after he and fellow Patagonia ambassador Rolando Garibotti completed the incredible Torre Traverse. Here's Colin's take on the solo climb:

    One of the reasons why my trips to Patagonia have always been among my most cherished climbing trips is because I have always broken new personal ground in terms of my climbing. All four of my previous trips to El Chalten resulted in what was at the time my best climbing achievement: Aguja Poincenot with Bart Paull my first trip, Fitz Roy with Mark Westman my second trip, the Marsigny-Parkin-to-West-Face linkup on Cerro Torre with Kelly Cordes on my third trip, and last year accompanying Rolando Garibotti on the Torres Traverse.

    Climbing the Care Bear Traverse with Rolo this December was absolutely fantastic climbing, likely the most enjoyable climb I've done down here, but did not feel extremely serious or mentally taxing. And so, after a month of bad weather following the Care Bear Traverse (actually, there was one 1.5-day window at New Year's that I missed due to a respiratory infection), and with my ticket home looming imminently, it seemed that my spell of making personal progress every trip to Patagonia had finally come to it's inevitable end. But then, as the Patagonian weather seems prone to do, it decided to give me one last-minute opportunity to challenge myself...

    Continue reading "Colin Haley Solos Supercanaleta" »

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