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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    Kiteboarding for a Cause

    By Jessica Salcido


    For the past few years, a small group of kiters here at Patagonia have participated in Kiteboarding 4 Cancer, a spectacularly beautiful kite race in Hood River, Oregon designed to raise money for the survivor-focused nonprofit, Athletes 4 Cancer.

    Cancer has impacted all of our lives—we’ve loved and cared for friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances battling the disease. We know about the treatments, the medications, the prognoses. For survivors, however, life after cancer looks quite a bit different from the lives they put on hold. When treatment concludes survivors must bravely discover their new “normal” in a world where others can’t possibly relate to their unique situations. Often, with little traditional medical support, they must navigate an entirely new physical and emotional landscape, complete with physical challenges, changes in appearance and a lingering uncertainty about the future.

    That’s where Athletes 4 Cancer (A4C) steps in. This nonprofit is dedicated to sending cancer survivors to outdoor adventure camps. More than just another cancer support group, Athletes 4 Cancer’s Camp Koru utilizes the transformational power of nature and the spirit of determination required by outdoor sports to restore and rebuild lives after cancer.

    Above: Aerial view of the colorful chaos. Hood River, Oregon. Photo: Richard Hallman

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    The Trip Continues – Full of Adventure

    By Kitty Calhoun

    Yoshiko rapping of p 1, 2

    As my friends and I get older, the threat of slipping into a normal lifestyle becomes more real. I have to mow the lawn, get the oil and filter changed in the car, go to the dentist. These days, given a choice, I would rather do a few sport pitches and get a good workout in, than burn a whole day on a multi-pitch route. My sense of adventure, along with my confidence, is fading with my youth. Yvon Chouinard once said, “When everything goes wrong, that’s when adventure starts.”

    Did I really want to go through an adventure, including all the accompanying fear, unknowns and discomfort that are usually associated with it? On the other hand, I was perfectly healthy with no good reason not to test myself again. I decided Tangerine Trip, a short but steep, moderate aid route on El Cap, would be the perfect experience to get me off the slippery slope to complacency.

    Above: Yoshiko Miyazaki-Back raps off pitch 1 of Tangerine Trip. El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, California. Photo: Kitty Calhoun 

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    Save Money, Save Salmon, Save Mike: Free the Snake

    By Steve Hawley


    Meet Mike. He’s 21 years old, 20 feet long, weighs about 10,000 pounds. He speaks a language that was taught to him by his elders: a series of squeaks, clicks and squeals that allow him to coordinate hunting strategies with his clan. His species is the apex predator in the eastern Pacific. He also babysits.

    Mike is often seen protectively swimming alongside his younger siblings, part of a group of 80 orcas known as the Southern Residents that spend their summers fishing in the vicinity of Puget Sound. But over the past decade the babysitting gigs have been too few and far between. Not enough young orcas are making it through pregnancy, birth and into adolescence. Toxicity is a problem, as it is for all the world’s large marine mammals. But lack of food—Chinook salmon—is a death sentence. Acknowledging as much, NOAA put Mike and the rest of the Southern Residents on the Endangered Species list in 2005.

    Above: J26 Mike surfaces in Haro Strait, a key foraging area for the Southern Residents. Photo: Monika Wieland/Orca Watcher Photography

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    Two Big Threats to Yellowstone – Take action now


    Long before the arrival of Europeans, native peoples referred to Yellowstone as the “land of yellow rock waters” for the distinctive stone forged by volcanic blasts and the boiling waters of the largest geothermal system in the world. By 1872, Congress had dedicated Yellowstone as the nation’s—and the world’s—first national park. Yellowstone thus predates the states of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana and the Department of Interior—and of course the Park Service itself. The Congress of the day may have specified Yellowstone Park as a “pleasuring-ground,” but a century and a half of protection has created something far more valuable than a spot to snap pictures. In the words of the Park Service, as a “mountain wildland, home to grizzly bears, wolves, and herds of bison and elk, the park is the core of one of the last, nearly intact, natural ecosystems in the Earth’s temperate zone.”

    This is precisely what is at stake now for Yellowstone as the National Park Service approaches its centennial. The challenge rests not with the Park Service itself, which has earmarked more than $2 million for worthy restoration projects, but in two related outside threats.

    Above: Fish and Wildlife Service is making its second attempt in a decade to delist the Yellowstone grizzly as an endangered species. Doing so would would remove a major obstacle in the path of a proposed gold mine just 30 miles north of the Yellowstone Park boundary. Photo: R. Bear Stands Last, courtesy of the GOAL Tribal Coalition  

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    Patagonia to Cease Purchasing Wool from Ovis 21

    Dear Friends, 

    We’ve spent the past several days looking deep into our wool supply chain, shocked by the disturbing footage of animal cruelty that came to light last week. Patagonia’s partnership with Ovis 21 has been a source of pride because of the program’s genuine commitment to regenerating the grassland ecosystem, but this work must come equally with respectful and humane treatment of the animals that contribute to this endeavor.

    The most shocking portion of PETA’s video shows the killing of animals for human consumption. Like those in the Ovis 21 network, most commercial-scale ranches that produce wool from sheep also produce meat. What’s most important is that we apply strong and consistent measures to ensure animals on ranches that supply wool for products bearing the Patagonia name are treated humanely, whether during shearing or slaughter. We took some important steps to protect animals in partnering with Ovis 21, but we failed to implement a comprehensive process to assure animal welfare, and we are dismayed to witness such horrifying mistreatment.

    In light of this, we’ve made a frank and open-eyed assessment of the Ovis program. Our conclusion: it is impossible to ensure immediate changes to objectionable practices on Ovis 21 ranches, and we have therefore made the decision that we will no longer buy wool from them. This is a difficult decision, but it’s the right thing to do.

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    PETA’s Wool Video [Updated]

    Update 8/17/15: Thank you to everyone who commented on this story. Your feedback is very important to us. Please see our follow-up post on this issue for the latest news.

    PETA has shown us video footage from within the Ovis 21 farm network that supplies merino wool for Patagonia’s baselayers and insulation. It is as disturbing as anything PETA puts out. Three minutes long, the video contains graphic footage depicting inhumane treatment of lambs and sheep; of castration; of tail docking (the removal of a sheep’s tail); and slaughter of lambs for their meat. We’ll go into detail below. 

    It’s especially humbling to acknowledge responsibility for the practices shown because the impetus for our original involvement in this project was, in addition to restoring grassland, improvement of animal welfare. In 2005, we became aware (through PETA’s campaign against Australian wool growers) of the painful practice of mulesing sheep to reduce the damage from flystrike. We worked to stop sourcing wool on the open (and untraceable) market as quickly as we could, and even delayed a major product launch of merino baselayers until we could find reliable sources for non-mulesed wool in New Zealand and Australia.

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    In Search of the Place of Dreams

    Words & photos by Somira Sao


    One of the primary reasons my husband James and I have gone sailing with our three kids (now ages 7, 5 and 2) has been to give them the gift of experiencing life in the wilderness. For those who decide to disconnect from the masses—whether it be at sea, in the mountains, river, surf or wherever your preferred environment is—choosing to connect with nature comes with its personal rewards.

    For the past four years we have sailed over 25,000 ocean miles as a family and lived full-time aboard our 40-foot sailboat Anasazi Girl. Our trade-wind routes have taken us across the North Atlantic, Equator and South Atlantic. We have rounded the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Reinga via the South Indian Ocean, Great Australian Bight, Tasman Sea and South Pacific.

    Above: Tormentina (3) and her brother Raivo (9 months) on their first offshore passage from Maine to France. North Atlantic (July 2011). All photos: Somira Sao

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    A Fighting Chance for Wild Steelhead - Vote for Puget Sound wild steelhead gene banks

    Words and photos by Dave McCoy


    The cacophonous boom of that explosion will forever resonate within me. With the flip of a switch, one hundred years of destructive history began to wash away. It was a new day—a day in which the Elwha was finally free. At long last, its waters could once again run unabated to the sea and its steelhead inhabitants could return to their long forsaken home waters.

    It had been a tough century for Elwha steelhead. Once so numerous it was common lore you could walk across the river on their backs, the Elwha’s steelhead population crashed after construction of the infamous dams. With 90 percent of the watershed choked off, their habitat was essentially rendered obsolete and their numbers nearly followed suit.

    That flip of a switch gave Elwha steelhead a fighting chance, something they had not had in a century. However, the State of Washington is now poised to let another man-made roadblock further depress Elwha steelhead stocks and undermine the recovery of wild fish—steelhead hatcheries.

    Above: Releasing the greatest reward, a wild steelhead. All photos: Dave McCoy

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    Ten Tuamotus Days – Empowering the sisterhood

    By Liz Clark

    Last year I got to meet fellow Patagonia ambassadors Kimi Werner and Léa Brassy for the first time. Patagonia kindly arranged for all of us to meet upon the waters of some remote atolls in French Polynesia that have come to be my beloved backyard and playground. From all that I knew about them, I expected we’d have an enjoyable time but I never imagined that we would connect in such a way that, by the end of our time together, it felt like I had gained two sisters.

    All three of us enjoy very similar things—wilderness, wildlife, waves, conscious eating, etc.—but I feel like it was our open minds and hearts that made this time together so genuine and so special. Whether we were diving, sharing waves, giggling under the stars at night, wandering on the motu looking for coconuts or just watching the seabirds circle and dive, it was like they saw exactly what I saw: divinity, freedom, peace, respect. Being with Kimi and Léa in nature felt like being completely understood.

    Above:  the four-video series documenting Liz, Léa and Kimi’s time together in French Polynesia. Videos: Patagonia

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    The Rescue Box

    By Tom Doidge-Harrison

    Photo credit Tom Doidge Harrison 

    In its deep summer slumber, it is hard to gauge the latent fury this place can serve up to the unsuspecting. There are, however, clues to the power of this landscape that can both give and take in equal measure. The weathered faces of naked shale give evidence to deadly drops of tonnage. The natural order of the rounded boulders, hewn from the limestone shelf that extends at sea level, hints at unseen forces liberally applying Newton’s first law of motion to provide a natural floor, devoid of scale from most vantage points. But much of this runs in the background, as eyes are drawn to the beauty of the place itself.

    The Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most cherished landmarks and for good reason. Numerous miles of stacked sea cliffs, gloriously abundant with bird life, are arranged such that each bluff and headland is curiously framed by the next. The beauty, as most surfers are well aware, extends out to sea a few hundred meters where deep lengthy lines of North Atlantic grunt are pulled into form atop a perfect anomaly of faults and features in the bedrock. Aileen’s is a wonder in a wonderous corner of the world’s original ‘island.’

    Above: The dangerously beautiful Cliffs of Moher, Ireland. Photo: Tom Doidge-Harrison 

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