By Ron Hunter, Patagonia Environmental Activism Manager
The Obama administration has finalized a sweeping new management plan for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska that proposes designating millions of acres as Wilderness and off-limits to most oil and gas development. President Obama and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell unveiled the Refuge’s Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP), recommending a Wilderness designation for the Arctic Refuge’s Coastal Plain.
This is big news.
This CCP recommendation by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) recognizes the value of the Arctic Refuge as a wilderness-quality ecosystem that supports a full range of arctic and marine animals and habitats. The coastal plain of the Refuge provides critical habitat for migratory birds, polar bears, wolves, muskoxen, and caribou and for thousands of years has provided sustenance and sustained the lives and culture of the Gwich’in and Inupiat people.
Above: Rainbow on the Brooks Range, Marsh Fork of the Canning River. Western boundary of the "1002" area of the Arctic National Wildlife Area. All photos: Ron Hunter
Continue reading "President Obama Calls for Wilderness Protection of the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge" »
We are saddened today to give you the tragic news that Patagonia ski ambassador Dave Rosenbarger—“American Dave” as we knew him—died on Friday, January 23 when he was caught in an avalanche while skiing on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif. Dave has been a part of the Patagonia family since 2010. Our hearts go out to Dave’s family and friends. He was an inspiration to many and his loss will be felt around the world.
Josh Nielsen, Patagonia Global Marketing Director, Outdoor, shares this remembrance:
“He was the epitome of a pure passion skier—someone who didn’t do it for the cameras or for the limelight—and was deeply committed to the sport for all of the right reasons. Dave was a calculated risk taker and a talented athlete who dedicated his life to climbing and skiing some of the most challenging lines in the world, especially in Chamonix, his winter home. Dave was known for having an effortless style while skiing in steep and precarious places but also for his infectious glowing personality. He contributed to our Patagonia family in so many ways. He had a natural eye for product design and became one of our most articulate and valued product testers. He was beloved by fellow ambassadors, a friend to all and the catalyst for many powder-laden Chamonix adventures. Dave was one of a kind and will be deeply missed.”
Above: David Rosenbarger stands below the North Face of Mont Blanc and looks across to the Chamonix Valley. Chamonix, France. Photo: Christian Pondella
Continue reading "Dave Rosenbarger 1976-2015" »
By Matt Rott, photos by Matt Shepherd
It’s funny how easily we miss out on opportunities lying just under our noses—especially when we’re trapped in the narrow-minded, one-dimensional pursuit of something as fleeting as a wave. I’d been chasing the left-hander breaking into Lelu Harbor for nearly fifteen years, enduring lengthy flat spells and months of inclement weather conditions in hopes of scoring extra large northeast swells and rare west winds. Yet, after a decade-and-a-half’s worth of trips, waiting impatiently for waves that never seemed to arrive on time, I remained completely ignorant of the adventure awaiting 80 feet beneath the surface and a few hundred yards to the south.
Continue reading "Freediving the Wreckage of Lelu Harbor" »
We’ve been watching the updates with bated breath and now all of us at Patagonia are thrilled to congratulate Tommy Caldwell and his partner Kevin Jorgeson on the first free ascent of the Dawn Wall in Yosemite Valley. Tommy first conceived the idea of the climb in 2007 and, seven years later, summited the route on the afternoon of January 14, 2015 after spending 19 days on the wall—and with much of the climbing world viewing the last pitches via live video stream. Longtime readers will be familiar with our coverage of the Dawn Wall dating back to 2010. It’s been a long haul and we couldn’t be happier for Tommy.
From Yvon: “When we first climbed the North American Wall on El Cap in 1964, we thought, ‘Well, that proves that any big wall in the world can be climbed.’ We never dreamed they could be climbed all free! Sending the Dawn Wall leaves Pope Francis with no choice but to admit our closest relative is the chimpanzee.’”
Above: Seven years of relief. An elated Tommy Caldwell at the top of the Dawn Wall. Photo: Chris Burkard
Continue reading "Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson Make First Free Ascent of Yosemite’s Dawn Wall!" »
By Beau Fredlund
I'm sitting in a bar with Doug Chabot, director of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. The man has more enthusiasm for snow science, alpine climbing and general life than about anyone I know. And the best part: it's infectious.
We are both a couple beers deep before our pizza arrives. The conversation floats, with laughter and zest. We talk of the day, the avalanche activity we investigated and the landscape surrounding the tiny mountain town where I live and work as a ski guide. “It’s a special place, no doubt,” Doug says with authenticity. I nod my head and gesture with deep agreement. Nowhere else quite like it I figure, as far as quality mountain towns go. Obviously, the topography is an integral aspect, but it’s the weather and snowfall that sets the place apart.
Above: Avalanche forecaster Doug Chabot, approaching the crown of a slab avalanche, just north of Cooke City, Montana. Photo: Beau Fredlund
Continue reading "You Know What They Say About the Weather" »
By Hank Gaskell
After my second trip to Southern Chile this past July, I have absolutely fallen in love with its simple way of life. More and more nowadays, it seems there is so much going on that it’s impossible to get ahead. Chile doesn’t know or care about that. Life there is content to just continue rolling at a steady pace, no one is ahead and no one is behind. Everyone is family. Our crew did a good job stepping back from our busy day-to-day lives to emulate the Chilean way. For two weeks, our “family” consisted of Otto Flores, Eala Stewart, Ramon Navarro, photographer Dylan Gordon, videographer Rodrigo Farias and my girlfriend Malia. Huge thank you to all; what a group of top-notch humans!
Above: This is Eala and I negotiating a sketchy water entrance off the point in Buchupureo. Photo: Dylan Gordon
Continue reading "Simply Southern Chile" »
By Colin Haley
After years of climbing exclusively in the Chalten Massif, I have finally exposed myself to another location in the Patagonian Andes. I spent most of November underneath Cerro San Lorenzo, Patagonia’s second-highest peak, with my longtime friend Rob Smith. While El Chalten becomes a bit more like Chamonix every year, the rest of the Patagonian Andes maintain a similar climbing experience as twenty years ago, except that now one can get weather information via satellite phone.
Editor’s note: Patagonia climbers will once again be sharing photos and stories for the duration of the climbing season in Patagonia. See it all on the Vida Patagonia trip page at Patagonia.com or follow #VidaPatagonia on Instagram.
On November 10th we hired a pickup truck ride from Gobernador Gregores into Perito Moreno National Park and got dropped off at the end of the road. It took three trips over three days to haul all our gear and food into basecamp—an old hut, known as Puesto San Lorenzo. For the entirety of our three-week stay we did not see a single other human, although we did see tons of guanacos, and saw fresh puma tracks nearly every day that we hiked in the lowlands.
Above: The main summit of Cerro San Lorenzo. The right skyline is roughly the South African route. Photo: Colin Haley
Continue reading "#VidaPatagonia – Hunger Games at Cerro San Lorenzo" »
By Heather Sterling
It’s early morning and our pre-dawn bedroom is see-your-breath freezing. But I’m curled up with my daughter Lily, snug in our cozy nest of blankets. I’m in that happy place between dreaming and waking. A habitual late-riser, I relish long, lazy mornings. I love adventure, I just prefer to initiate it after 9:00 a.m. and a good dose of caffeine.
Suddenly, I am aware of him; my husband John. I open one eye and see him standing in the doorway, fully dressed for the day that I now remember we have planned to spend backcountry skiing. I suspect that the tea has been brewed and the car already loaded. My brow furrows and dark thoughts cloud my groggy mind.
Above: Heather, John and Lily Sterling. Photo: Sterling Family Archive
Continue reading "Morning People" »