The Cleanest Line

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

RSS Feed

Twitter

    Archives

    Search


    Hiking Down Memory Lane

    John ken tony It's been said that if you remember the 60s then you weren’t there. But if, like me, you grew up in the 60s and 70s and were into backpacking or climbing, there is actually a whole lot to remember. Like many of us, I got my start backpacking in the Boy Scouts. I remember our troop had a bunch of army surplus tents called "shelter halfs" which were heavy canvas tents that came in two pieces. They slept two people so each person would carry one half the tent and then you’d button them together in camp. Even though you only carried half the tent and it didn’t even have a floor, it still weighed in at 5lbs per half. My first ever backpacking trip combined this tent with a cotton sleeping bag and a old scout pack called (I think) the Trapper Pack, an L-shaped torture device/pack frame that lacked both padded shoulder straps and a hip belt. I think we went three miles, and to this day it remains the longest trip of my life.

    Although some of the younger folks I work with seem to think trips like that epitomize backpacking in the 60s & 70s, it was actually an era of huge advances in lightweight equipment. With the “back to nature” and “anti-establishment” sentiments of the 60s, backpacking became the ‘in’ sport, and suddenly trailheads were overwhelmed with hikers seeking out their very own wilderness experience. This popularity spawned a rush to create lighter and more durable backpacking gear. The people who started these companies were true pioneers and all of us who enjoy the great gear of today owe them a huge debt.

    Indeed, so much of what we take for granted today came about during this period of innovation.Old gear As writer and industry historian, Warren McClaren notes “The 70s seem to be when everything happened. MSR stoves, Therm-a-rest, Gore-tex, Geodesic domes, Friends, Fastex hardware, Pit zips, internal frame packs, etc.”  All these things came about within a few short . . .



    [Top - Jon, Tony & Ken, about halfway through the PCT, 1974. Photo: Ken La Russa. Above, right - A collection of some of Bruce Johnson's vintage gear. Photo: Bruce Johnson]

    Continue reading "Hiking Down Memory Lane" »

    Rios Libres: The Voice of the Ice

    Timm Neff walk Team Rios Libres is back with an update from the Neff Glacier, at the headwaters of the Río Baker. The team's first two reports can be found here (1, 2). With the Neff at their backs, the team followed the river to the sea, doing their best to document the diversity, beauty, and wildness of the region. Before completing their journey, the team will be checking in on a region of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field last believed to be last visited and documented by explorer Eric Shipton during 1960-61 expedition.

    Reports from the Rios Libres team are that their travels are proceeding smoothly, but the impacts of the quakes continue to be felt and much support is still needed (information about how to help is here).

    ___________________

    Childs-Neff1 The Voice of Ice (a report from Craig Childs)

    At night I lay in my tent listening to the thunder of collapsing seracs, multi-ton columns of ice breaking free and falling a thousand feet. Smack, crack, rumble, groan. In these deeply-cut canyons, echoes build and fade. The ice-bound head of the Rio Baker is not a stable or quiet place.

    [Top, Timmy O'Neill walks the line on the Neff Glacier. Above, left - Craig Childs watches as a huge chunk of ice falls 20 stories down the Neff Glacier. Photos: James Q Martin]

    Continue reading "Rios Libres: The Voice of the Ice" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: The Shorts - Trekker's Blues

    The_Shorts_NBB What better way to browse the Winterfest Sale than with the Dirtbag Diaries playing in the background? Here's host Fitz Cahall with today's listener-submitted Short:

    More people reach the top of Mount Everest than hike the entire length of the Pacific Crest Trail. It asks a lot of the human body. When writer Alissa Bohling and her longtime boyfriend Paul set out of the trail, they thought a trip of that significance would leave a mark on their relationship. They didn't foresee that it would leave Paul hobbling and struggling to get healthy years after they reached the Canadian border. In today's Short, Alissa puts pen to paper and imagines a pain-free life for Paul. If we write it down does it become true? I hope so.

    Listen to "The Shorts - Trekker's Blues"
    (MP3 - right-click to download - music info)

    For more Shorts and full-length episodes, visit The Dirtbag Diaries or Patagonia's Tin Shed. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or join the Dirtbag nation on Facebook and Twitter.

    Looking for something different? From the creators of The Dirtbag Diaries comes a new Web television project called The Season. Writer/narrator Fitz Cahall and filmmaker Bryan Smith follow five outdoor athletes through the course of a single season in the Pacific Northwest. Check out the first two episodes now at theseasontv.com.

    Waypoint Namibia Now Available on DVD

    WaypointDVDfront In September, we featured a post about a new film from Patagonia Climbing Ambassador Majka Burhardt and filmmaker Chris Alstrin, Waypoint Namibia. Burhardt and fellow Patagonia Ambassador Kate Rutherford rallied climber Peter Doucette, photographer Gabe Rogel, and Alstrin to round out the crew they would need for their month-long trip to Africa's second-least-populated country, where they encountered unexpected remoteness, crushing heat, great climbing, and - as they'd hoped - Namibia's Himba people. 

    The film is now available on DVD, and 5% of the proceeds from the sale go to help fund Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation Trust, an organization that strives to improve the lives of rural people by diversifying the socio-economy in Namibia’s communal areas to include wildlife and other valuable natural resources.

    To reach Namibia's incomparably remote climbing destinations, Burhardt, Rutherford, Doucette and their crew drove washboard roads for days on end in search of undiscovered climbing. Along the way, they met Namibia's Himba people, tested their mettle in extreme heat and worked their way (somewhat accidentally) up a new route on the Orabeskopf face of the Brandberg Massif, Namibia's highest peak. A slide show of the trip is available with caption in the Tin Shed.

    The DVD is available for purchase off of Majka's site. This short features highlights from the full-length video:


    Waypoint Namibia Short from Majka Burhardt on Vimeo.

    If seeing the video at home isn't enough, try to catch Majka and Waypoint Namibia as they make the rounds with the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival. With over 50 showings coast-to-coast between now and May 1, you can find a date and venue near you. View the complete tour schedule for a list of showings.

    Dirtbag Diaries: Fueled by Strawberry Jam - The Year of Big Ideas 2010

    Big_ideas_2010 The Dirtbag Diaries kick off 2010, and your weekend, with their annual Year of Big Ideas episode (2008, 2009). Do you have aspirations for the new year? Becca Cahall takes the mic today for an episode that's full of great goals:

    Ski filmmaker Nick Waggoner knew what he wanted to do with his life. He wanted to be a skier of the diehard variety. There were two obvious hurdles. First, he lived in New York City. Second, he was 11 years old. He found a way to make it work and before he was legally behind the wheel of a car, he was squeezing adventure out of skiing. In the last decade, his passion for skiing evolved into a passion for making films about skiing, but his approach has remained the same. Today, we bring you another Year of Big Ideas -- a time to turn daydreams into concrete goals. Professional athletes, weekend warriors, and full time dreamers present their goals for 2010.

    Download "Fueled by Strawberry Jam - The Year of Big Ideas 2010"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Head over to the Dirtbag Diaries for information on the music from today's podcast. You can also connect with the show via Twitter and Facebook. Fitz's new Web TV show, The Season, is due to begin at the end of the month.

    Fittingly, I just watched Nick Waggoner's latest film, Signatures, again the other night. I love how the lines Taro Tamai draws inspire me to both strap on my snowboard and paddle out for a surf. He calls his brand of riding "snowsurfing" and for good reason. The trailer for Signatures can be viewed in the Tin Shed; visit Sweetgrass Productions or Patagonia.com to pick up your copy.

    Fun Divided By Three

    Chalkboard_logo The Dirtbag Diaries is on the air. Host Fitz Cahall introduces today's podcast:

    As outdoor types, we love rating systems. We'll rate anything. Rapids. Climbs. Ski runs. Now, we've gone and tried to rate the unrateable -- fun. Fun divided by three -- it's this concept that has been floating around campfires for years.  It dictates that there are three types of fun. There is type one fun and type two fun, but today, we are going to explore type three fun. This is the epic. The suffer fest. This is collarbone breaking,  giardia-getting, soaked-to-the-bone, carnage. If it sounds horrible, that's because it probably is. What does type three fun entail? Why do some people seem particularly drawn to these types of adventures and what could possibly motivate us to embrace type three fun? Today, we bring you answers.

    Download "Fun Divided By Three"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links and more information on the music in today's podcast. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with Fitz on Facebook and Twitter.

    Product Testing - Dressing Right for a Windy Hike

    Whitejones We test our gear on a variety of levels. Our athletes and ambassadors are responsible for putting the latest designs and fabrics through the paces before we'll add a new product to our lineup. But just because something reaches our shelves doesn't mean testing is over. Once a new item shows up in our catalogs, our Customer Service staff gets busy ground-truthing the latest offerings. They know the questions our customers will be asking, and turn that attention to our gear. _____________________________________

    Product Report: Nano Puff, Merino 1 T-Shirt, Nine Trails Jacket, Simple Guide Pants, Lightweight Travel Tote.
    Activity: Hiking - Jones-White Trail, Carson Range of the Sierra Nevada
    Tested by: Patagonia Customer Service reps OldSchool, Cory E., Andrea W., Dave S., Kevin L., and Megan B.

    Twice a year our happy little work group gets to cut work and take a day to test gear, get a bit of exercise and share some lies. It had been beautiful weather for weeks prior so of course once the appointed day arrived it was howling windy. We had planned to climb Mount Rose but we were overruled by our boss Tammy who was quite worried about being blown off the summit, ripping her Nine Trails Jacket and mussing her hair. The rest of us love being pelted mercilessly by 80 mph winds, but in the name of group harmony we all acquiesced to a somewhat easier (and lower) nine mile hike known as the Jones-Whites Loop. There’s no such thing as a free hike here at Patagonia so all of us were required to fill in our coworkers on just what we chose to wear…Below are some excerpts from these reports:

    First me:

    Merino 1 t Gearing up for any wilderness trip requires the utmost in planning and this trip was no exception. From my vast array of old and new Patagonia stuff, some dating back to the previous century I picked clothing suitable for a summit bid. I went with the Merino 1 T-Shirt, quite possibly the best athletic t I’ve ever worn. It's  light airy, quick drying and incredibly

    [Whites Creek, Mt. Rose Wilderness, Nevada. Photo: Ken Larussa]

    Continue reading "Product Testing - Dressing Right for a Windy Hike" »

    Small World

    P1010303

    Today's post is from Lisa Myers, of Patagonia's Environmental Team. As one of the folks responsible for finding ways to support non-profit environmental groups, work with like-minded businesses, and educate others on our environmental initiatives, she works hard to stay informed. In an effort to better understand the work being done on climate-change issues, Lisa enrolled in a focused, on-the-ground course in Alaska's remote Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) through California State University Channel Islands. Here, she reflects on this recent experience.

    I am a morning person, but setting my alarm clock for 2:00 a.m. crossed the line. When the noise jolted me from sleep, I switched from unconscious to conscious fairly quickly as I registered that soon I ‘d be boarding a plane headed to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (as part of a class offered at California State University Channel Islands where I am a student). My classmates and I were about to spend six days exploring the impacts of climate change.

    From the plane, a few short hours after waking, I watched the world transform beneath me. Familiar mountains covered in chaparral disappeared and the view shifted to much larger features like Mt. Shasta, Mt. Olympus, Denali and long stretches of valleys filled with verdant rivers, lakes and streams without any homes, roads or even one bright neon backpacking tent dotting the landscape.

    [Flying over the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge on the way to Barter Island. Photo: Lisa Myers.]

    Continue reading "Small World" »

    Patagonia Ambassador Moehl Takes 1st in Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, Sets Course Record

    Krissy finish2 [Editor's note: The following report comes to us from Patagonia Athlete Liaison, Kristo Torgerson, with photos courtesy of Justin Bastien (www.justinbastien.com).]

    On August 30th, Patagonia Ambassador Krissy Moehl left an indelible mark on the ultra-running world when she crossed the finish line in Chamonix, France to take first place in the Women’s division at the 7th annual Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB); a 103-mile circumnavigation of the Mont Blanc massif, stretching across France, Italy and Switzerland, with over 31,000 feet of elevation gain. Krissy’s time of 24:56:01 also earned her a new Women’s course record, made her the first American woman to cross the finish line, and landed her 11th overall in a race that began with over 2,200 competitors. 2nd place went to last year’s winner, Britain’s Elizabeth Hawker, who crossed the finish line over an hour behind Krissy. Patagonia also had Ambassador John Stamstad and employee Jenny Uehisa finish the race with times of 39:52:14 and 43:23:25 respectively.

    The news of Krissy’s victory has been a jaw-dropping experience for all of us here at Patagonia. Like overjoyed parents, we couldn’t be more proud of her. Many of us have found ourselves reveling, “1st place!…1st American!…course record!…11th overall!…all in the Multi Use Skirt!!”. I’ve even had a few friends who were present at the race say what they found most impressive was how much energy she carried through the finish line with her – all smiles, and laughter and looking fresh.  

    We’ve been privileged to work with Krissy for many years now, and in her role as an ambassador she wears several hats. As an accomplished ultra runner, employee of the Conservation Alliance, and vibrant  (hit the jump to continue reading)

    [Patagonia Ambassador Krissy Moehl crossing the finish line to claim the Women's title in the 103-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. Photo, Justin Bastien, www.justinbastien.com]

    Continue reading "Patagonia Ambassador Moehl Takes 1st in Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc, Sets Course Record" »

    Interview: Patagonia Employee Sets New Record on the Pacific Crest Trail

    Heart of sierra If you've ever called Patagonia's Customer Service line and asked a question about ultra-light hiking, then chances are good you've been referred to Adam Bradley. He's been working for Patagonia for years, during that time developing a reputation as one of the most fired-up, friendly, and knowledgeable customer service reps out there. He keeps his fire blazing by using his time off each summer to chip away at a personal list of long-distance, ultralight thru-hiking objectives. With each hike, he became more fired-up and serious about bigger and bigger objectives. This summer, he and ultralight-hiking guru Scott Williamson took their passion to a new level, setting the record for the fastest-ever thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. We were fortunate to grab an interview with Adam shortly after his return:

    - First the basics: Tell us what record you set, and how it relates to the previous one.

    On the evening of August the 12th Scott Williamson and I set the unsupported Pacific Crest Trail speed record. Our time from the international border of Baja California Norte to the northern terminus was 65 days 9 hours 58 minutes and 47 seconds. This is 21 hrs faster than David Horton’s supported 2005 Pacific Crest Trail speed record, and 6 days faster than Scott Williamson and Tatu Joe Kisner's 2008 unsupported record.

    [Scott Williamson in the High Sierra, on his way - with partner, Adam Bradley - to a new PCT speed record. Photo, Adam Bradley.]

    Continue reading "Interview: Patagonia Employee Sets New Record on the Pacific Crest Trail" »

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2010 Patagonia, Inc.