The Cleanest Line

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    Two in the Tsaranoro Valley: A report from the rock walls of Madagascar

    By Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll

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    Fire in the Belly

    What were we thinking? Was it arrogant of us to go straight up this blank-looking headwall? The chances that this line would go free were pretty slim. Was it the aesthetics of the blankness and steepness that had attracted us? Why didn’t we choose to follow more obvious features that were more likely to go?

    After having climbed some of the classics in Madagascar’s Tsaranoro Valley with Argyro Papathanasiou from Greece in July, I was joined in August by Siebe Vanhee from Belgium, who immediately spotted a major unclimbed line on Tsaranoro Atsimo, to the right of Mora Mora (a line freed by Adam Ondra in 2010 at 8c).

    Above: Deciphering the puzzle of Fire In The Belly: One finger razor blade edge with right hand to bad sloper with left. Photo: Siebe Vanhee

    Continue reading "Two in the Tsaranoro Valley: A report from the rock walls of Madagascar" »

    Repair is a Radical Act

    By Rose Marcario, Patagonia CEO

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    This holiday season, I have an early New Year’s resolution for the sake of Planet Earth: let’s all become radical environmentalists.

    This sounds like a big leap—but it’s not. All you need is a sewing kit and a set of repair instructions.

    As individual consumers, the single best thing we can do for the planet is to keep our stuff in use longer. This simple act of extending the life of our garments through proper care and repair reduces the need to buy more over time—thereby avoiding the CO2 emissions, waste output and water usage required to build it.

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    Clean While You Climb: A recap of the 2015 Yosemite Facelift

    By Timmy O’Neill

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    Ken Yager is a man who understands the value of volunteerism. He approaches his work with the belief, creativity and passionate toil of a big wall climber. It’s an apt metaphor as he’s climbed El Capitan dozens of times. Along with his wife Schree and two children, he lives in El Portal, located three and half miles down the road from the Arch Rock entrance station to Yosemite National Park. And as the founder and cardiovascular system of the Yosemite Climbing Association, he is a leader of ideas and action.

    The Yosemite Climbing Association represents an international community of climbers who are also activists, dreamers and doers. Core to the Yosemite Climbing Association’s mission is the preservation of the artifacts and lore of every age of Yosemite climbing history. Through Ken’s sharp eye, ear and hand, the collection covers a critical portrayal and understanding of the importance and scope of Yosemite’s impact on global climbing.

    Above: Ken Yager and Lynn Hill at the Facelift sign-in table. Lynn was one of 1,467 unique volunteers who participated in this year's trash-cleaning event. Yosemite National Park, California. All photos by Steve Rathbun / Courtesy of Yosemite Facelift

    Continue reading "Clean While You Climb: A recap of the 2015 Yosemite Facelift" »

    Patagonia Opposes TPP

    By Rose Marcario, Patagonia CEO

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    Now that full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has finally been made public, we can say unequivocally that we oppose it, as it advances the interests of big business at the expense of the environment, workers, consumers, communities and small businesses. This confirms our previous fears (here and here) about the agreement’s serious social and environmental costs.

    The proposed trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 other Pacific Rim nations, crafted behind closed doors over a five-year period, may indeed cut tariffs, increase trade and build closer economic and regulatory relationships among its signatories, as its proponents say. But it will also weaken worldwide labor standards, harm the global environment, diminish regulatory safeguards and enable corporations and individuals that already have far too much influence gain even more at the expense of everyone else.

    Map: The Footprint Chronicles®

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    Pitch Simply: An interview with Major League Baseball player Daniel Norris

    By Adam Fetcher

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    I first met Daniel Norris on Twitter, after Google News Alert led me to read a story in the Toronto Observer in which Daniel, then a top Blue Jays pitching prospect, cited Patagonia as a major inspiration. I was confused: baseball is not exactly our typical focus as a company. Yet after learning more about him, it became clear to me that Daniel shares a like mind with Yvon’s philosophies around simple living, great storytelling and a serious commitment to the environment.

    Daniel is now a big leaguer with the Detroit Tigers, but he spent the past two spring training camps living in his beloved 1978 Volkswagen van. He’s an ambassador for 1% for the Planet, a surfer from Tennessee and a photographer with a habit of shooting beautiful portraits of homeless people and sharing them on Instagram, where he also recently had a very frank conversation with his followers about his thyroid cancer diagnosis.

    Above: Daniel Norris and the van he calls home in the off-season. All photos courtesy of Daniel Norris

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    A Real Victory: President Obama Rejects the Keystone XL Pipeline

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    Today, President Obama did the right thing and put a final stop to the Keystone XL pipeline.

    The Keystone XL pipeline would have connected the tar sands oil fields in Canada to a massive refinery and port complex near Houston, Texas. But people across North America on both sides of the border said “No” to shipping tar sands oil.

    Above: Demonstrators in front of the White House protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline in 2011. Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images 

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    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: Tales of Terror Vol. 6

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    Phantasmal footsteps, strange silhouettes, inexplicable movements and unaccountable sounds. In our sixth annual Tales of Terror, Bix Firer, Lorraine Campbell and Kealan Sojack share three stories of ‘What the *&@! was that’? A dream? Or an indication that, perhaps, we are not as alone in the woods as we like to think. Happy Halloween.

     


    Listen to "Tales of Terror Vol. 6" 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.

    Keep Jumbo Wild: The Fight to Protect Jumbo Glacier

    By Mike Berard

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    For 24 years, residents of the Kootenays in British Columbia, Canada, have been largely opposed to a proposed year-round ski resort in the heart of the Central Purcell Mountains—a region that encompasses both cherished alpine backcountry and critical core grizzly bear habitat. At the time this story was going to print, the provincial government had just dealt would-be developers a significant blow by deeming the ski resort project not “substantially started”—a finding that would require developers to return to square one to reapply for an environmental assessment certificate in order to continue with their plan. As the developers contemplate their next move, local skiers, snowboarders, climbers, wildlife conservationists and First Nations peoples staunchly hold their line, hopeful that with this ruling, the quarter-century-long battle may be nearing an end. But whether the developers redouble their efforts or their opponents celebrate victory—what a long, strange trip it’s been.

    Above: Jumbo Valley. Central Purcell Mountains, British Columbia, Canada. Photo: Garrett Grove

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    Being There – A self-supported ski journey to the waves of northern Iceland

    By Léa Brassy

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    Léa Brassy and Vincent Colliard are based Biarritz, in the French Basque Country, and currently reside in French Polynesia. Léa is a Patagonia surf ambassador and nurse while Vincent, also a passionate surfer, focuses on polar explorations and guiding. Together, they’re on a Simple Voyage. In 2014, the couple made a unique trip to northern Iceland in search of uncrowded waves. The result is the story you’re about to read and an upcoming film, also entitled Being ThereAbove: Pulling a sled is pretty accessible but it takes a little practice to find the rhythm. Léa got it pretty quickly. Photo: © Vincent Colliard
       

    Winter in Iceland is ridiculously unpredictable. It can be beaten by wind and swell one minute and infused with silence and solitude the next. Drawn by the appeal of its wilderness, my partner and I dreamed of traveling there for a long time. Combining both of our passions for surfing and exploring, we decided to go self-supported, on skis, to the snowy valleys of the north in search of a unique experience.

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    Walking the Ground – Two ‘Jumbo Wild’ skiers talk wild places, community and activism

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    Jasmin Caton and Leah Evans both live and work in southeastern British Columbia: Caton as a ski guide and co-owner of Valhalla Mountain Touring; Evans as founder and director of the freeski program Girls Do Ski in Revelstoke. Caton has been skiing the backcountry since she was a child, while Evans comes from a hard-charging, competitive freeskiing environment. We spoke with them just after they’d completed an eight-day ski traverse through a section of the Jumbo Glacier backcountry, to see for themselves the site of the proposed and hotly contested Jumbo Glacier Resort featured in Jumbo Wild the new film by Sweetgrass ProductionsAbove: Leah and Jasmin strap in and buckle up for the bootpack. Selkirk Mountains, British Columbia, Canada. Photo: Garrett Grove


    You’d never skied together before this trip. How’d the dynamic work?

    Jasmin: A trip like this with new people can leave you with a feeling of, “Hmmm,” but this was definitely a “YES.” Hanging out with Leah has inspired me to try some more exciting stuff. Our skills are really complementary, and we can offer each other a lot.

    Leah: For sure. I watched everything Jasmin did because she has such depth of experience out there. I’d see her do something with her pack or something, and I’d say, “Um, I’m going to do that with my pack, too.” I want to learn as much as I can from her.

    Continue reading "Walking the Ground – Two ‘Jumbo Wild’ skiers talk wild places, community and activism" »

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