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    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: The Threshold Moment

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    When Kevin Fedarko stepped through the door of the O.A.R.S. boathouse in Flagstaff, Arizona, he didn’t realize he had crossed a figurative threshold as well as a literal one. Kevin had planned on rafting the Grand Canyon for a wilderness medicine course. Then, he planned to go back to his life as a successful freelance writer. But what he saw in that warehouse and in that first week on the Colorado River left him desperate to find a way to keep coming back. Kevin spent the next smelly, humiliating, beautiful and life-altering decade of his life developing a relationship with the Grand Canyon, writing about the Grand Canyon, and, ultimately, fighting to protect it.

    To learn more about the current threats to the Grand Canyon and how you can help, visit Save the Confluence and Grand Canyon Trust.

    Brendan Leonard wrote and narrated this episode. You can find more of his work at Semi-Rad.com.

     


    Listen to "The Threshold Moment" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to past episodes, music credits and to pledge your support. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and DoggCatcher, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter. The Dirtbag Diaries is a Duct Tape Then Beer production. Graphic by Walker Cahall.

    Have a great weekend everybody.

    A Chance Meeting with the Visually Impaired Skiers from Ski for Light

    By Michel Caron

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    Not long ago, I joined Jasmine and my girlfriend, Marie-Pier, for a day of cross-country skiing in Craftsbury, Vermont. Marie-Pier is a certified ski instructor and Jasmine is a strong skier while I, uh, I am able to follow for some time until I find something else worth discovering and photographing. 

    That morning we met skiers with orange bibs and soon realized they were accompanying visually impaired skiers who were also wearing bibs. I was impressed by these people who were willing to go skiing despite their handicap. Even before dressing for skiing, I went outside to talk with them and asked if I could take some pictures.

    Above: A visually impaired skier navigates a downhill section with verbal guidance from her volunteer guide. Craftsbury, Vermont. All photos: Michel Caron

    Continue reading "A Chance Meeting with the Visually Impaired Skiers from Ski for Light" »

    Deep Time in Nevada – A proposal for a Basin and Range National Monument

    By Ron Hunter, Patagonia Environmental Activism Manager

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    In John McPhee’s book, Basin and Range, he talks about time, deep time, in the sense that it is a silent world of austere beauty, of hundreds of discrete high mountain ranges that are green with junipers and often white with snow. The terrain becomes the setting for a lyrical evocation of the science of geology, with important digressions into the plate-tectonics revolution and the history of the geologic time scale. McPhee goes on to say, “If you free yourself from the conventional reaction to a quantity like a million years, you free yourself a bit from the boundaries of human time. And then, in a way you do.”

    I’ve explored the Great Basin for the last 20 years and like nothing better than to poke around the remote places in Nevada, exploring both the natural and historic wonders of the state. When you want to get away from everyone on a holiday weekend, you don’t go into the Sierra Nevada, you wander around in the Great Basin, and more times than not, the only things you share the country with are a few cattle, mule deer, jackrabbits, and howling coyotes. McPhee had it right, there’s a timelessness to the place, somewhere that you can let your hair down and if you’re lucky, soak in a hot springs while counting shooting stars.

    Above: Beholding volcanic chaos in Basin and Range, Nevada. Photo: Tyler Roemer

    Continue reading "Deep Time in Nevada – A proposal for a Basin and Range National Monument" »

    Our DWR Problem

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    Patagonia—as well as other high-quality outdoor outerwear suppliers—for years relied on a Durable Water Repellent (DWR) of a certain chemistry (described below) to bead up, then disperse, surface moisture from rainwear. It is necessary, even in a waterproof jacket, to prevent surface saturation. A soggy surface creates a clammy, wet-feeling next-to-skin climate even where water does not actually penetrate the surface. The DWR we used as a standard for years was a long-chain (C8) fluorocarbon-based treatment that is highly effective and extraordinarily durable. Unfortunately, its by-products are toxic and persist in the environment, a combination that makes it unacceptable despite its excellent performance. Governments around the globe have now required chemical companies to stop making C8 DWR, so every high-quality outerwear supplier has been searching for alternatives of comparable performance.

    For the past decade, we’ve carefully researched and tested every available fluorocarbon-free alternative. Many finishes—including waxes and silicones—will lower the surface tension of a fabric enough to cause water to bead up and disperse rather than saturate. But they are easily contaminated by dirt and oil and rapidly lose their effectiveness, reducing the effective lifetime of a garment.

    Continue reading "Our DWR Problem" »

    Go Simple, Go Solo, Go Now – The Life of Audrey Sutherland

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    On February 23, 2015 a true heroine and friend of the company passed away. Audrey Sutherland grew up in California and moved to Hawai'i in 1952, where she lived to be 93. She raised her four children as a single mother, supporting her family by working as a school counselor. In 1962, she decided to explore the coast of Moloka'i by swimming it while towing a raft with supplies, the first of countless solo adventures by this remarkable woman. 

    Please read some shared stories from folks who were lucky enough to meet her. Photo: Sutherland Collection

    I met Audrey Sutherland, while editing her book Paddling North, at her house overlooking Jockos (named after her son of surfing fame) on the North Shore of O'ahu. She was in her late 80s and getting a little hard of hearing, but there was a spark in her eye and cast of her bearing that radiated her adventurous spirit. In the course of us reviewing the edits on her book I learned about her childhood in the Los Angeles foothills, her marriage to and divorce from a commercial fisherman, her move to Hawai'i, and how she raised her family by herself on the beach on the North Shore. 

    Continue reading "Go Simple, Go Solo, Go Now – The Life of Audrey Sutherland" »

    Save the Chuitna – Watch the trailer and join the fight against coal mining on salmon streams

    By Paul Moinester

    There is something intensely visceral and awe-inspiring about the Chuitna Watershed. Deep pools teeming with wild Pacific salmon pervade the vast landscape. Oversized tracks from grizzlies and moose are omnipresent, creating an eerie feeling as you navigate through fields of fireweed. And the spirit of the native Tyonek people, who have called this land home for millennia, resonates with every flight of an eagle and leap of a salmon.

    For the media team privileged to visit this remote Alaskan paradise, the harsh reality that we were experiencing a wilderness slated for destruction proved incomprehensible. Even still, it seems unfathomable that the river we waded could soon be bulldozed to make way for one of the United States’ largest open-pit coal mines and Alaska’s largest coal export terminal.

    Above: Chuitna - More Than Salmon On The Line (Trailer). Video: Trip Jennings and Save the Chuitna.

    Continue reading "Save the Chuitna – Watch the trailer and join the fight against coal mining on salmon streams" »

    Amelia the Tropicat: A Swell Companion [Updated]

    By Liz Clark, captain of Swell

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    I’ve had a few pets on Swell over the last nine years—most of them made their way aboard on their own. I don’t mind the geckos that often show up in a banana stock. They hide, so I rarely get to see them, but they are harmless and make cute coughing noises in the evening. I’ve hosted a wide variety of ants—from teeny fuzzy black ones to enormous shiny red ones. A roving wasp colony lives in my spinnaker pole from time to time, but we tend to give each other our space. Once a cricket turned up out of nowhere. I never saw him, but I adored his evening serenades until the day they were no more. While I was away on a trip to California, a newlywed rat couple from the boatyard where Swell was hauled moved aboard and raised four handsome rat babies who explored, chewed and pooped inside Swell from bow to stern. Their story had a rather gruesome ending … same song for the prolific cockroach family that sailed with me to Kiribati.

    Above: Liz Clark and her cat, Amelia, head back to Swell (outfitted with a kitty ladder in case water-loathing Amelia falls in the drink). Photo: Jody MacDonald

    Continue reading "Amelia the Tropicat: A Swell Companion [Updated]" »

    In the Land of the Misty Giants – Patagonia Vancouver celebrates grand opening with ‘zine and party

    By Danielle Egge

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    Until recently, our beautiful northern neighbor has gone underserved by the company. Though we’ve fought countless environmental battles in Canada and funded projects such as Groundswell, our brand brick-and-mortar presence has been minimal at best. Gallantly, Patagonia Toronto has held down the fort for us amidst all of the tuques and the, “ehs?”

    This is why we are beside ourselves with stoke to announce that Patagonia now has a second store in Canada! The store is located in Vancouver, British Columbia and sits on the corner of West 4th and Maple, in the heart of Kitsilano, a cozy, walkable neighborhood that’s bustling with folks drinking good coffee and riding cool bikes. While the store can’t boast Cardiff’s ocean views, it is just up the hill from Vancouver’s most popular local beach.

    Continue reading "In the Land of the Misty Giants – Patagonia Vancouver celebrates grand opening with ‘zine and party" »

    Xboundary – Defending Alaska & British Columbia salmon rivers from open-pit mining

    By Ryan Peterson & Travis Rummel 

    An open-pit mining boom is underway in northern British Columbia, Canada. The massive size and location of the mines—at the headwaters of major salmon rivers that flow across the border into Alaska—has Alaskans concerned over pollution risks posed to their multi-billion dollar fishing and tourism industries. These concerns were heightened with the August 4, 2014 catastrophic tailings dam failure at nearby Mount Polley Mine in B.C.’s Fraser River watershed.

    Last summer, as part of production for Xboundary, we completed a 100-mile transect of the Unuk River watershed. What follows is an excerpt and action alert from an interview we did with Trout Unlimited Alaska after the trip, who, along with Patagonia, sponsored our project.

    Video: Xboundary a salmon film by Ryan Peterson.

    Continue reading "Xboundary – Defending Alaska & British Columbia salmon rivers from open-pit mining" »

    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: El Avalanchisto

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    When Matt McKee first heard about the position forecasting avalanches for Minera Pimenton, a gold mine in the Chilean Andes, it sounded like the snow geek’s dream job. But mere hours after his plane touched down in Santiago, Matt started getting hints that maybe he had walked into a situation that more closely resembled a nightmare: a den of avalanche paths, a mine full of workers who didn’t believe in avalanches and a country that looked for someone to blame if things went wrong. Today, we bring you Matt’s story of trying to make it out alive.

    You can read Matt’s unabridged version of the story from the 2008 International Snow Science Workshop here.

     


    Listen to "El Avalanchisto" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to past episodes, music credits and to pledge your support. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher and DoggCatcher, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter. The Dirtbag Diaries is a Duct Tape Then Beer production. Graphic by Walker Cahall.

     

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