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    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.]

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    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" »

    New Tin Shed is Live - 14 Fresh Stories to Fuel Your Stoke

    Patagonia's Tin Shed

    Friends, the new Tin Shed is now live. Within its walls you'll find 14 inspiring stories from around the globe covering alpine climbing, rock climbing, skiing, snowboarding, surfing, fly fishing, environmental activism and cultural connections. Go bouldering with Lynn Hill and surfing with Wayne Lynch and the Malloys, hear Steve House's  thoughts on climbing partners, go fly fishing with Tom Brokaw, explore the deserts of Namibia, travel to Patagonia -- all of these stories and more are waiting inside.

    Step into the Tin Shed

    Tip: clear the cache on your browser if you don't see the new content right away.

    A new Tin Shed means the old stories have been moved to the archive. You can click View All Stories within the Shed to see all the past-season content, or, hit the jump for a YouTube playlist that contains most of the videos from the spring '09 issue of the Shed.

    Continue reading "New Tin Shed is Live - 14 Fresh Stories to Fuel Your Stoke" »

    Skiing Pico de Orizaba

    Many of the crew here at Patagonia del norte (aka, Reno Distribution Center) scattered to the hills this weekend for some summertime fun, only to be served up a reminder that summer's coming to an end. Sure, there's another month+ of clear skies and warm weather, but two cold storms in the month of August are enough to get some of us 'round here started on thoughts of wintertime fun. And what better way to ease the seasonal transition than with a little adventure that delivers a taste of both. Today's post comes to us courtesy of Cleanest Line reader, Ryan Lynch. Ryan's a climber and skier who lives in Jackson, WY and works on a "hotshot" crew, fighting wildfires. During his time off last year he headed south with fellow skier/climber/hotshot, Matt Castellon, to do a little skiing off of North America's third-highest summit. Here's Ryan:
    _____________________________________________________________

    PicoOrizaba Not many people go to Mexico for the skiing, but that is exactly what we did on a month long rock-climbing and skiing road trip south of the border. The main objective for the trip was to climb and ski off the top of the 18,490 ft. volcano, Pico de Orizaba. Along the way we were able to stop and check out many of Mexico’s lesser known sport climbing areas. My partner on this adventure was Matt Castellon, who, like me, is a wildland firefighter just off of his first year as a McCall, Idaho, smoke jumper.

    Pico de Orizaba is a dormant volcano located southwest of Mexico City and just 68 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. Orizaba, also known as Citlaltépetl by the Mexican people, is part of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range and reaches a height of 18,490 ft. (5,636 m), making it the third highest peak in North America. The first known ascent of the peak was completed by a group of Europeans during a botanical expedition on August 22, 1838. Members of this expedition included Henri Galeotti, Augusto B. Ghiesbreght, Jean-Jules Linden, and Nicolas Funck. This group ascended the peak by way of the Jamapa Glacier, which is on the north face, and is now known as the “normal route.”

    [Pico de Orizaba. Photo: Ryan Lynch]

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    Summer Reading: "Beyond the Mountain" by Steve House, plus Book Tour Dates

    Beyond_the_Mountain_cover "22,000 feet on the Rupal Face, Nanga Parbat, Pakistan: August 15, 2004. I take a deep breath and push the honed edge of the knife against the rope. It doesn't cut. I whetted the edge for just this reason. Frustrated, I look at the small knife in the palm of my mitten. I have carried this knife upwards for four days, on a climb where every ounce counts both towards and against my own survival. The rope is sacred, both a symbol and the truest expression of partnership, but if I can cut it Bruce and I can rid ourselves of four pounds and climb to the summit."

    And with that Steve House begins his new book, Beyond the Mountain, the latest title from Patagonia Books. In the foreward, Reinhold Messner says, "[Steve] is at the top of mountaineering. He climbs the right routes on the right mountains in a time when everyone is climbing Everest. He is also a great storyteller: he tells about doing, not about morals or lessons." Beyond the Mountain is available now from Patagonia.com and other online booksellers.

    Steve will soon be embarking on a 20-city book tour to promote Beyond the Mountain with readings, signings and slide shows. Details are still being solidified but we can share dates and times for the first seven stops. Hit the jump to see when and where you can share an evening with celebrated alpinist Steve House.

    Continue reading "Summer Reading: "Beyond the Mountain" by Steve House, plus Book Tour Dates" »

    Backyard Adventures: The Sawtooth Traverse

    Morning after Central Idaho's Sawtooth Mountain Range offer a stellar backyard for Steve Graepel's adventures. A Boise resident, he wedges his endurance training around family and a full-time job. His Backyard Adventure gives us a glimpse at a beautiful section of country to be included in one of his bigger projects: connecting 1,200 miles across Idaho’s backcountry by foot, raft and mountain bike. We can't wait to read that Backyard Adventure. Until then, here's Steve in the Sawtooths.
    _______________________________________

    “Steve, I’ve got an idea ...”

    This is how it always starts. One of us drops the bait. Only this time it wasn’t me.

    Alice lake2 Scott and I have both been caught up with middle management - middle life. He runs a lab in the Bay area, and I've been tasked with leading a creative department at my place of work. Our schedules have been forged out of early mornings and late nights. Workouts squeezed between bottles and diapers.  We've both grown soft under our heavy shells of work, kids and family, barnacled with noon-meetings and mortgages...second mortgages. Our early trips together, traveling to climb in far-flung ranges have become cob-webbed memories and we now feel fortunate when we can carve out a weekend together every other year or so. As incentive to extract us from the grind of our day jobs, Scott makes the pitch.

    “Let’s do the Wonderland...in two days.”

    Like carp to corn, I’m hooked.

    [Top, Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains in early morning light, as seen from the author's bike after running over 40 miles of trail to traverse the length of the range. Above, the route as it runs past an un-named lake below Alice Lake. Photo: Steve Graepel.]

    Continue reading "Backyard Adventures: The Sawtooth Traverse" »

    Dirtbag Diaries Shorts: Knees and Weather Permitting

    The_Shorts_NBB Host Fitz Cahall introduces today's Dirtbag Diaries Short before hitting the road for a well-deserved summer break:

    Some of us were lucky enough to hoist a bulging pack onto our shoulders, stumble into the mountains and return changed at a young age. Some of us heard the mountains’ calling later in life. That doesn’t mean the passion burns any less bright.  When writer Sarah Wroot took her first hike through Scotland’s craggy hills, she was overwhelmed with a surprising notion. “If I had a pack and a tent, I could keep going. I could be free to go wherever I want,” she thought. The idea took hold. Today, Sarah takes us all the way the Scottish Highlands and a journey that changed her life.

    Enjoy the rest of the summer. We’ll be back this fall with a whole new season of stories.

    Download "Knees and Weather Permitting"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    In between full-length episodes of The Dirtbag Diaries, listeners like you have the chance to narrate your own story on the show -- these are the Shorts. To submit your story for consideration, visit The Dirtbag Diaries and look for the Story Suggestions? link in the sidebar. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with Fitz via Facebook and Twitter.

    Fastpacking the Pacific Crest Trail

    Krudmeister Patagonia Customer Service Rep, Adam Bradley, aka “krudmeister,” aka “El Monstro” has been taking some time off this summer to do a little hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail. Before he left, we’d asked him if he wouldn’t mind sending updates. His reply: “Well, I guess, but I don’t know how much of a story there is to tell you. The trail’s the story. When it comes down to it, I’m just a guy out walking in the woods.”

    This is all well and true, and many a person has hiked the PCT. But he left out a small detail: how FAST he’s walking through those woods. He’s been on the trail now for a little over a month and recently sent word about his progress. 45 days, 18 hours, 27 minutes, and 45 seconds to be exact. Most folks take somewhere between 150 – 180 days to cover the PCT's 2650 miles, so by day 45 they might find themselves somewhere around, say, Agua Dulce, CA – still quite a hump from the southern tip of the 400+ mile-long Sierra Nevada. So we had to double-check to make sure we heard The Mighty Krud correctly. He’d just told us the Sierra Nevada were a memory at this point, and he was entering Oregon with 1720 miles already behind him.

    Here’s some excerpts from the trail journal he’s been keeping of this year’s hike:

    Sunset This year is different than last year for me . . . I have actually trained for this. . . .[but] training aside, I don't think there is really anything that can prep oneself for being on your feet 14hrs a day for 65 days. Of course I am referring to the mental aspect of the walk, which is about 90% of it. The up side is that I have done it before, so unlike last year there isn't the unknown factor. I also understand the pace of the first 35 days. But the first 700 miles of the PCT in my opinion are grim. I couldn't ever walk that section again if I didn't have a goal like this to spur me on.

     

    Hit the jump for more excerpts, or click here to check out them out in their entirety:

    [Top, Adam Bradley (aka krudmeister) on his way through the dry lands of Southern California. Bottom,  food for the soul at the end of a long day on the trail. Photos: Adam Bradley]

    Continue reading "Fastpacking the Pacific Crest Trail" »

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