The Cleanest Line

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

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    Taking Power Back: In Boulder and Beyond

    by Lynn Hill

    Speaking at City Hall

    When I first started climbing, I took advantage of any opportunity to escape the city and go climbing in beautiful places with my friends. I still do. But over the years, this freedom and beauty has eroded as the world has become more populated, more polluted, and more corrupt than ever. Though I continue to find peace through climbing, I can no longer escape my sense of responsibility to help protect life and harmony on this planet.

    Today was election day in many parts of the United States. Patagonia ambassador Lynn Hill shares her thoughts on why it's important to stay involved in the democratic process and not get discouraged. -Ed

    [Above: Lynn Hill speaks in front of Boulder City Hall, Colorado. All photos: Beth Wald]

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    It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

    By Lynn Hill

    Owen and Ruby 2 During spring break last week, my son, Owen, and I joined up with five different families and friends in Hueco Tanks, Texas to enjoy a week of bouldering, camping and a refreshing dose of community-style living. I am a big believer in the saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." I grew up in a large family (seven kids) and we lived in a neighborhood full of kids of all ages. Since our street formed the last cul-de-sac in a suburban neighborhood of Southern California, it was relatively safe to play games, ride bikes, skateboards and scooters in the middle of the street, or explore the open fields and hills behind our house. On occasion we also went on a weekend camping trip with other families, as well as numerous other road trips to various beautiful places across the western states. Since Owen is an only child, trips like this last one to Hueco Tanks are a unique opportunity to be part of an extended family.

    [Owen and Ruby explore the boulders. Hueco Tanks, Texas. Photo: Lynn Hill]

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    Lynn Hill Sends Chablanke

    MVM_Lynn_Hill Climbing video site Momentum Video Magazine (MVM) recently posted a video of Patagonia ambassador Lynn Hill, sending the V11/12 boulder problem Chablanke in Hueco Tanks, Texas. There isn't an easy way to point you to the exact video, but it's worth the effort to locate if you want to see Lynn climb this very difficult problem. Here's how: Visit the MVM homepage, look for the video player, then scroll down the list and click on Lynn's video -- it's from Issue #23.

    Lynn shared the following thoughts about the climb:

    I tried this boulder problem a few years ago when I was in Hueco for a brief period to become a Texas State Park guide and another time when I was there to instruct at one of my climbing camps, but I hadn't tried it since last year. It's a beautiful boulder with interesting moves and it looked like something I could do if I came up with some creative solutions. On the crux move, I had to do four set-up moves to get my feet underneath me before moving my hand up to a small crimp on an extremely overhanging face.

    For me, the most relevant factor in my ability to perform well on the rock has to do with my love of climbing. I also think that working on my climbing technique video this year (Elements of Technique) has not only inspired me to improve my own efficiency on the rock, but it has provided the opportunity to go climbing on a more consistent basis than I have in years. After nearly thirty years of climbing, I still love to do it whenever possible! The fact that I have a child and consequently more responsibilities now than ever, has inspired me to grow in new ways and has given me a more balanced view on life. A child can be one of the best teachers in life.

    We'll be sure and let you know when Lynn's instructional video, Elements of Technique, is available. Have a good weekend everybody.

    Lynn's Tips: Traversing Techniques

    By Lynn Hill

    The weather was so beautiful the other day that I decided to visit one of my favorite local traverses up on Flagstaff (Boulder, CO) called the Monkey Traverse. On this long, overhanging band of rock, I choreographed my own variation that I call Lynnie's Low Down since it eliminates all the good holds on the upper traverse. Though some people might call this contrivance a "butt dragger" it has always been a good fitness barometer and a great way to toughen my skin!

    I asked my friend to take some pictures of a few traversing and resting techniques. Since this traverse is so long with no decent rests before the final crux moves, I try to find the most efficient way to rest whenever possible.


    The knee knocker rest is a simple example of a technique that I call bracing. There are many ways to gain leverage and stability by pressing or bracing one body part against another. In this case, I was able to find opposing foot holds in just the right location to help stabilize my lower body and get a more efficient rest.

    Continue reading "Lynn's Tips: Traversing Techniques" »

    Eastern Priest

    by Lynn Hill

    Lynneasternpriest_2 The weather in Boulder this fall has been exceptionally warm. I have been enjoying the warm weather to engage in activities such as a small video shoot on a boulder problem in Eldorado Canyon. Normally I don't allow myself to get sucked into other people's idea of what they want me to climb for their purposes, but on this occasion, I liked the people who were behind the camera and trusted them enough to participate in their project. In keeping with the theme of their project, which is, highball bouldering, they suggested that I climb a notorious highball V4 boulder problem called Eastern Priest.

    [Photo: Lynn Hill Collection]

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    by Lynn Hill

    [Editor's note: On behalf of all the contributors to The Cleanest Line I'd like thank you for visiting the site and for all the thoughtful comments you've left over the past 10 months. I think Lynn sums up the feelings of many, if not all of us in this post. Have a great day. --Free]

    In honor of Thanksgiving, I reflect on the gratitude I feel for my fortunate situation in life. I'm grateful for the all wonderful people in my life, the opportunities to create and evolve as a person, and for the sense of freedom I enjoy, which is not a given in many places in the world.

    Continue reading "Gratitude" »

    Yosemite Trip

    by Lynn Hill

    Deanmarimike I just arrived home from a brief but pleasant trip to Yosemite Valley, where I was invited to give a presentation at the AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) annual meeting. The fall colors were splendid and the climbing temperatures ideal. It was a coming home of sorts, I met up with my old friends, Mari Gingery, Mike Lechlinski, and Dean Fidelman, who were part of my community of friends living in Southern California during the late 70's and 80's. We enjoyed every opportunity possible to climb and hang out together and in retrospect, it seems fitting that it was with Mari and Dean that I first climbed the Nose in 1979.

    The following year, Mari and I teamed up for another ascent on El Cap on a spectacular route called, the Shield. Known as a relatively difficult aid route at the time, some of the guys doubted our chances of making it to the top and said things like, "Get ready to rescue those girls up there." But Mike, Mari's boyfriend of the last thirty-five years, was the only one besides us, who was confident that we would make it to the top.

    [Dean, Mari and Mike share a laugh. Photo: Lynn Hill]

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    By Lynn Hill

    I was recently asked a series of questions on the topic of motivation. There are many ways to interpret the word, but by any definition, I don't think I lack it. What I lack most of all is time. I often have obligations that get in the way of being able to get out to play as much as I'd like, but when I do, I'm simply happy to be out there.

    Climbing is a kind of play with gravity and my curiosity to experiment with what's possible is what keeps me engaged and motivated. I believe that climbing helps me maintain my child-like spirit, which is something I hope to never tire of. But as I've matured, I've learned to appreciate a greater dimension of the climbing experience. Climbing is not only about playing on the rocks, but a pretext for learning about interesting places all over the world, different cultures, languages, people, and landscapes.

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    Setting Realistic Goals

    By Lynn Hill

    I've found that the process of setting goals and the accompanying list of tasks "to do" in order to accomplish the goal, is essential in reinforcing my intents and purposes. Virtually every motivation guidebook includes at least one chapter about the proper organization of one's tasks and goals.

    It is usually suggested that it is critical to maintain a list of tasks, with a distinction between those which are completed and those which are not, thereby moving some of the required motivation for their completion from the tasks themselves into a "meta-task" task list. The viewing of the list of completed tasks can also be motivating, as it can create a satisfying sense of accomplishment.

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    Muscular Balance

    By Lynn Hill

    Overuse injuries in climbing are prevalent these days, especially for ambitious newcomers and people who simply have a hard time listening to their bodies. I know that most athletes are aware of the basic principles of preventative medicine but sometimes we tend to disregard them at the most crucial times. The following post is mostly just a reminder to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY and always try to use perfect form in every activity.

    Knowing what perfect form is comes from paying attention to that intuitive sense we all have within us. But one thing we can do that is within our conscious choice is to work on developing muscular balance, since this is one of the keys to being able to maintain perfect form in movement.

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