The Cleanest Line

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    Our Man in Guinea Bissau: A Stand-Up Guy

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    We're not sure when Cesare Fiorucci of Seregno, Italy, bought his first pair of Stand-Up Shorts or how soon he adopted the habit of indelibly inking each country of destination on the pocket bags. But photographic evidence illustrates the first pocket-log entry as "Guinea Bissau 88/89." A businessman himself (Fiorucci International), Cesare once asked Yvon Chouinard, "How is it possible for the owner of Patagonia to get rich if the products are so imperishable?"

    [All photos courtesy of Cesare Fiorucci.]

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    Operation Algeria – The Essential Clothes

    by Brittany Griffith

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    “March is a killer month in the Sahara. Temperatures rise and fall with such rapidity that the body has difficulty adjusting.” This sentence from the book I was reading (The Conquest Of The Sahara, by Douglas Porch) made me more anxious than the current kidnapping news. How was I to pack two weeks of clothes into an MLC for our climbing trip to southern Algeria, knowing the temperatures there could rise and fall by up to 70 degrees Fahrenheit?

    [Leaving the shade and entering the hot sun near the top of Nouvelle Lune, a 900-foot route on Tizouyag Sud. All photos: Jonathan Thesenga & Brittany Griffith]

    Editor's note: Fresh off her trip to Algeria with Jonathan Thensenga, Brittany Griffith shares her clothing choices for climbing in the desert. Most of the links cover both genders so men can benefit from these recommendations too. As with all product posts, availability can be limited. Don't hesitate to contact Customer Service if something you're interested in isn't available on Patagonia.com.

    Not only would I need to pack clothes what were incredibly (impossibly?) versatile, I needed the clothes to be durable and resilient. I’ve been on climbing trips to the African desert before (Mali) and realize how scarce water is, so I knew that washing my spoon, much less my clothes, would be completely out of the question. After much thought (best described as fretting), I ended up with neat, little stacked piles of clothes all over my bedroom. Here’s what they were:

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    Just Released - 2011 Patagonia Fly Fishing Digital Catalog

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    Like you, we’d rather spend our time on the water, eyeing the arc of a line through air, feeling the push of current against our legs, inhaling the damp earth along a riverbank. But if you can’t immerse yourself in the river, try wading into our latest digital catalog: full of beautiful photos, compelling stories and all of our new, extensively revised fishing gear, it’s nearly as good as coaxing a trout from a willow-lined stream.

    Catch your copy of our digital Fly Fishing Catalog

    [Peacock pyrotechnics just gets the heart racing. Agua Boa River, tributary of the Amazon, Brazil. Photo: Barry & Cathy Beck]

    Buy a Song, Benefit the Environment - Introducing Patagonia Music and the Patagonia Music Collective

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    I'm very excited to announce a brand new philanthropic collaboration for us: Patagonia Music. We've teamed up with a diverse group of world-class musicians to raise funds for environmental activism. The concept is simple: Buy a song, benefit the environment. Artists donate exclusive Benefit Tracksyou won't find these songs anywhere else – you buy some great music, and every Benefit Track purchased raises much-needed funds for non-profit environmental groups. Together we form the Patagonia Music Collective. Preview all Benefit Tracks.

    Btn_music_app-on How do you hear the music? Visit our new Patagonia Music page and launch the pop-up music player. You can also download our new Patagonia Music iPhone App right now, for free. If you hear a song you like, click the right arrow for the link to purchase it on iTunes.

    Hit the jump to see the complete Patagonia Music Collective launch line-up. We'll be adding new artists and exclusive songs frequently. [Featured artists in photo: Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt, Philip Glass, Ziggy Marley]

    Continue reading "Buy a Song, Benefit the Environment - Introducing Patagonia Music and the Patagonia Music Collective" »

    Hiking Boots with a Lighter Footprint

    Patagonia-Zero-Impact-sketch-plan Building an environmentally conscious hiking boot that’s also a top performer is no easy task. Design and construction are complex; so is the supply chain.

    As Backpacker magazine put it: “Boots are the most complex gear in our kit, with numerous components – fabrics, leathers, soles, shanks, glues, padding, laces, hardware – plus myriad sewing processes, fit intricacies and the hurdle of translating sophisticated blueprints to assembly lines a world away.”

    This complexity is reflected by the fact that only five footwear companies responded to Backpacker’s 2010 Zero Impact Challenge, which invited 60 companies to build a hiking boot with the least environmental impact and the highest quality. Only three companies have actually gone to market with a commercial product.

    Patagonia Footwear is one of those companies. We used our experience building environmentally conscious, high-quality products, and the experience of our footwear partner Wolverine World Wide in manufacturing top-performing shoes, to build the P26 Mid, featured in the latest round of The Footprint Chronicles.

    [Our decision to use leather in the construction of our P26 - Backpacker's decision that leather gave the P26 a higher environmental impact - sparked an online debate about the use of leather. Backpacker said that synthetic uppers could deliver the same performance and durability as all-leather ones, while drastically reducing environmental impact. We disagreed, believing that leather’s performance and durability are unsurpassed – and that leather and synthetic shoes should be in different categories. Links to the online discussions at Backpacker magazine and Treehugger.com can be found a few paragraphs after the jump.]

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    From the Trenches series – The Belay Parka

    Like flocks of swirling swallows or shimmering schools of tropical fish, our customers swoop in with mysteriously synchronized concerns and questions on a regular basis, prompting the need for ready answers. Times like these, nothing would be more handy than magically beaming knowledge out into the ether. Building on his "+1 Core for Winter Climbing" post, Kelly Cordes is back in the Trenches with more layering advice for winter climbing. - Ed
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    Kc - Jonny storm.jpg Another winter climbing tip, this one a key component to the clothing system: Overlayering, a.k.a. the belay parka. Everyone’s heard of layering, but the standard method can be wildly impractical for the stop-and-go activity of climbing, and so too often people err on the side of warmth (understandably enough), and wear too much insulation from the start – too much? Yes, definitely. They dress for standing around, which makes sense except that then you overheat when you’re moving. That makes you sweat. Then your clothes get damp and lose some insulating value – even the fancy synthetics drop-off some when wet. Then you’re cold. And wearing too much is bulky and uncomfortable, restricting your movement so you can’t climb as well, which means less fun. It’s rough, this micromanaging of your environment. Solution? Fairly simple: dress lighter and throw on an overlayer, or belay jacket, or puffy coat, whatever you want to call it.

    How warm the overlayer depends on how cold the climbing. For winter climbing, everyone loves the DAS Parka and the higher-fill down parkas (as opposed to lighter three-season pieces like our Down Sweater). Soon I’ll get into the utility of superlight variations on the overlayering theme, what I sometimes call the “Micro Belay Parka,” like the Nano Puff.

    Anyway, a lot goes into regulating body temperature while climbing in the cold, and we know most of it: don’t wear cotton, start with a wicking baselayer, add the right amount of insulation, put on a shell. Stay hydrated and well fed. Wear a hat. But what’s the “right amount of insulation”?

    [Jonny Copp makes good use of his belay parka in Alaska, while descending from the first ascent of “Going Monk.” Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "From the Trenches series – The Belay Parka" »

    In Alaska, it Socks to Leave Your Booties Behind

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    Nobody likes to wear booties when they surf, but there are some places where the water is so cold it can't be avoided. What happens then when you forget your booties after hiking in to surf beautiful head-high waves in 30-degree water? You get creative.

    Yak_jan_surf So, I've long been a fan of Patagonia products. However, yesterday I had an experience that I think is worth repeating. It was a perfect January-in-Alaska surfing day: couple inches of fresh snow, low hanging sun on the mountains, air temp in the low thirties, water temp in the high thirties. Ran the skiff out to the island and hiked across to the Gulf side. Perfect, glassy head-high waves. It doesn't get any better, at least that's what I thought 'til I opened up my wetsuit bag and found I had left my booties behind. Fail! Not enough daylight to run back and get them, so I figured I would just give it a try without. At the last minute, I decided to leave the heavy socks I got from you guys on. Turns out it wasn't that bad. Lasted well over an hour and only got out because the sun was setting. Salvaged the day. Not saying it wasn't cold, but the socks preformed well. Thanks for making such a stout product.

    Cheers,
    Nate

    Yak_island_surf Originally from the East Coast, Nate was lured to Alaska by the prospect of seasonal fisheries work and fly-fish guiding -- basically by wild salmon and trout. Ten years later he's still there working full time as a biologist and supplementing his fishing with kayaking, birding and surfing. We're grateful to Nate for allowing us to share his story and photos.

    [Top: A rarely ridden wave with the St. Elias Range in background. Middle: Ultra Heavyweight Mountaineering Socks not being used for mountaineering. Bottom: An island pointbreak in the Gulf of Alaska. All photos by Nate]

    From the Trenches series - +1 Core for Winter Climbing

    Like flocks of swirling swallows or shimmering schools of tropical fish, our customers swoop in with mysteriously synchronized concerns and questions on a regular basis, prompting the need for ready answers. Times like these, nothing would be more handy than magically beaming knowledge out into the ether. Kelly Cordes is our guest Trencher today, fielding a question that is at once simple - and surprisingly complex: How do you dress properly for ice climbing? - Ed
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    Kc - TC vest Some people don’t like winter climbing because, surprise surprise, it’s cold. But it’s also beautiful – the stillness, the ever-changing medium, the winter light. Fun only in retrospect (Type II fun)? Not necessarily. The trick, or one of them, is to keep your body temperature just right. But you don’t want to inhibit mobility, since trying to climb while bundled-up like Ralphie from A Christmas Story isn’t much fun, either.

    Here’s one simple pointer: wear an extra layer in your core, or torso. I call it my “+1 Core” layer. We’ve long known, courtesy of physiologists and backed by our own experiences, that when push comes to shove our bodies prioritize shunting warm blood away from our extremities and toward our more vital areas. By wearing an extra layer in your torso to keep key areas toasty, you get serious bang for your buck warmth-wise, while maintaining arm mobility. It’s a similar concept to that old saying from granny: if your toes are cold, put a hat on (surely the reason all shirtless bouldering bros wear a beanie). I, and many other climbers, believe that this whole “core warmth” thing helps me get away with wearing thinner, more dexterous gloves while winter climbing – nothing is worse than fumbling with gear in big gloves. Well, frozen fingers are worse, but that’s kind of my point, too. Like granny says.

    [Tommy Caldwell misunderstands the vest concept. Photo: Kelly Cordes]

    Continue reading "From the Trenches series - +1 Core for Winter Climbing" »

    Patagonia Footwear Partners Team Up to Inspect Factories

    L1020481 Patagonia has been working with Wolverine World Wide (WWW) for four years to build a successful line of hiking boots, lifestyle and multi-sport shoes, sandals and more. We rely heavily on WWW’s experience making footwear – an extremely complicated process – but stay involved in every step of the process.

    That’s why members of Patagonia’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team recently traveled to China to check out our shoe factories. Social and Environmental Responsibility Director Cara Chacon and Social and Environmental Responsibility Analyst Julie Netzky toured all five of our footwear factories to get to know WWW’s CSR team and learn about their program.

    “The week-long factory visits were really important for both brands to benchmark our CSR programs, share best practices and knowledge and move the factories forward on compliance,” said Cara, who has spent 11 years auditing over 1,000 factories and helping brands improve their CSR programs.

    They toured the factories and onsite dormitories, with WWW’s Corporate Responsibility Director Jim Musial and Human Rights Manager Allen Chen, to review remediation efforts from recent audits and observe labor, environmental health and safety conditions as part of their routine factory visits.

    [Auditors inspect one of Wolverine World Wide's factories to ensure proper storage of chemicals with secondary containment. Photo: Cara Chacon]

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    Pataclimb.com a New Online Resource for Climbing in Patagonia

    Garibotti_pataclimb_03 Our friend Rolo Garibotti just sent word about his latest labor of love for the region he loves so much. Previously, we updated you on his work with the Patagonia Sustainable Trails Project. Today, we're happy to share news on the launch of Pataclimb.com, an online climbing resource assembled by Rolo and his friend Doerte Pietron. 

    It is raining heavily in El Chalten, the small town at the base of Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre in southern Argentina. Last week we had great weather, a window so good that we managed to climb both “big boys”, Torre and Fitz, in a mere seven days roundtrip from town. Such luck comes with a price and by the looks of the disastrous looking forecast seems like we will be paying for it in the next few weeks.

    I first visited this area in 1987, when at age 15 I managed to somehow miraculously survive an ascent of Guillaumet. It wasn’t until the mid 1990s that I fell in love with this place and since then I have been coming regularly. Between 1998 and 2000 I worked hard at putting together a guidebook to this area but for a number of reasons never finished it, although the desire to do it stayed. Later, with the increased digitalization of information I realized that the best form of guidebook might be online, allowing for constant updating and correcting. I talked about this online guide idea for a couple of years until German climber Doerte Pietron convinced me to stop talking and to actually do it. With her help designing it and after more than a year of work, it has finally come to life.

    Continue reading "Pataclimb.com a New Online Resource for Climbing in Patagonia " »

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