By Bridget Crocker
Sometimes a woman has to paddle against the current.
When I’d first met Doreen, last season, she was a highsider – a porter and training guide who helped weight the rafts through the Zambezi’s high-volume hydraulics. She was barely five feet tall and less than a hundred pounds, but as a highsider, Doreen carried heavy coolers, oars, and rafts in and out of the steep Batoka gorge, matching the men load for load. The other highsiders, all male, started complaining that she was taking more than her share, making it harder for them to provide for their families. Doreen didn’t have a family of her own, they argued, so she didn’t need the money like they did.
It was decided that Doreen must quit being a highsider and become the manager’s “house girl” – and so she came to work for us, doing the washing, ironing, and floor polishing.
[Above: Bridget Crocker and crew take on Rapid #8 (aka Midnight Diner). Zambezi River, Zambia. Photo: Greg Findley/Detour Destinations]
Continue reading "Taking the Oars" »
Words, photos and videos by Adam Colton
My name is Adam Richard Colton and on August 30th, 2012 I set out on a
solo self-supported journey to see what the outskirts of Tibet had to
offer. I did not speak any Mandarin, I did not speak Tibetan but
I am an expert at facial expressions and hand signals. Below is a bit
of a recap of the trip. And videos after the jump. --Ed.
[Above: Skating at 15,000' and stoked, just over the big pass.]
I hit the ground running after a 25-hour flight from LAX to XINING,
CHINA, elevation 7,000 feet. I felt like a wreck (hahah) and I knew this was
going to be a hard trip. It was like waking up from a horrible sleep and
rushing outside to run a marathon with no training or warm up. First
day, right off the plane, I started skating. I was already being bombarded
by big trucks, nasty smoke, and mountains to climb. Towards the end of
the day I was so exhausted, I found shelter from all the stares and people in a
gutter on the side of the road. When you are tired, gutters are
Continue reading "Long Treks China – Skateboarding Through Tibet (Xining to Chengdu)" »
ForewordBy Fred Beckey
We live on an astounding planet, punctuated by mountains on every continent. The mere presence of mountain ranges has long drawn the human imagination as an invisible force. Some say mountains have a “psychic gravity” enticing us into their grip. There is a magic among great peaks as a location of splendor, where changing light plays games with intense colors, affecting the tones of snow and ice and many gleaming ridge outlines.Editor’s note: In honor of Fred’s milestone birthday, we’re pleased to share the foreword from his most recent book, Fred Beckey’s 100 Favorite North American Climbs. Happy Birthday Fred, from all of us at Patagonia. Photo: Jim Stuart
Mountain peaks have long filled humanity with a sense of the supernatural, and in ancient times were holy places, and in some cultures were considered sacred – the abode of the great spirit. In Asia, millions of the devout regard the Himalaya as the dwelling place of gods and a pathway to the heavens. Certainly the potentially dangerous nature of such mountains has tightened their grip on the human imagination.
Continue reading "Happy 90th Birthday to the Master, Fred Beckey" »
Words and photos by Sonnie Trotter
"Don't throw that away" she said, "we can reuse it".
A small pot of dish water was clutched in my hand, as murky as the amazon,
"Put it in here instead, we don't have much left."
She was right, we didn't. It was cold outside, a late November evening in Bishop, California and we had more than everything we needed for another amazing day of bouldering, everything except water. If we were careful, we could scrape by and still be very comfortable. If we wasted it, we'd have to drive all the way back into town, thus wasting gas as well. Or, we could just be dehydrated and miserable.
I poured the dirty dish water back into another pot, and we reused it to wash our dishes five more times before we ran out of food two days later.
Continue reading "Van Life – Lessons From the Road" »
By Patch Wilson
Roughly 10 years ago the Madeiran government gave the go-ahead to seawall project that was built to protect the village of Jardim do Mar. This seawall put an end to the best big-wave right point in Europe. The wave that breaks there now is a shadow of its former self. The huge concrete boulders they installed as part of the seawall means the wave is just full of backwash, and according to local surfers is pretty dangerous to surf. Many of the people who supported the seawall originally are now complaining about its size and lack of asethetic. Jardim do Mar, once considered one of the most beautiful villages on the island of Madeira, has been vandalised by a government wanting to line its own pockets with EU money, and a wave that was once considered one of the best in Europe is now lost.
[Above: Patch Wilson dropping into a glassy morning wall. Photo: Mickey Smith]
Continue reading "Death of Another Wave – Paul Do Mar, Madeira" »
By John R.K. Clark
I always notice the sea birds when I’m out in the lineup, waiting for waves. On the south shore of Oahu, where I bodysurf most, I see manu o ku, or white terns, doing their aerial acrobatics. I see iwa, or great frigates, hovering almost motionless high above. But the birds that I really like to see are the kaupu — the brown boobies who fly fearlessly through crowds of surfers. Kaupu love to ride waves, and they get everyone’s attention as they skim through the lineup, wings spread wide, surfing the air currents along the face of a breaking wave. Native Hawaiians called their flight kaha, or gliding, and this is the word they used for bodysurfing: kaha nalu, wave gliding. To me this is the essence of bodysurfing: gliding across the face of a wave. Bodysurfers are wave gliders whether they’re making a death-defying drop at the Wedge, powering through a perfect barrel at Pipeline, or just cruising with their kids in the shorebreak at Makapuu.
[Above: Keith Malloy in Tahiti, from page 52. Photo: Chris Burkard]
Continue reading "Excerpt from "The Plight of the Torpedo People" a New Bodysurfing Book from Keith Malloy" »
By Katie Klingsporn
In September of 2011, machines began chipping away at the Elwha Dam in Washington’s lush Olympic Peninsula, kicking off the largest dam-removal project in United States history.
The dam has since been completely removed from the section of the Elwha River it had occupied since 1913. Another dam upstream, the Glines Canyon Dam, located in Olympic National Park, is partially dismantled and expected to be a thing of the past by early next summer, freeing the river for the first time in 100 years.
[Above: The 210 foot Glines Canyon Dam in Olympic National Park has illegally
blocked spawning habitat for an extraordinary chinook salmon run since
1927. Photo by Ben Knight/DamNation
Continue reading "DamNation – A River Reestablishes Itself" »
by Jim Little, Patagonia Creative Services
We have some great benefits at Patagonia. But none is better than the opportunity to volunteer with environmental groups through our internship program. During my 15 years working as an editor here at our headquarters in Ventura, I’ve gotten to follow wild buffalo in West Yellowstone, see the effects of industrial forestry in Chile, learn about the sagebrush environment in northern Nevada, and most recently, spend two weeks in Patagonia, Argentina, working with The Nature Conservancy on its grasslands project.
Sheep ranching is the most prevalent land use in the Patagonia region, which is three times the size of California and mostly privately owned. Overgrazing is turning its grasslands into desert. To reverse the degradation, preserve biodiverstiy and freshwater resources, Patagonia has partnered with The Nature Conservancy and Ovis XXI, an Argentine company that manages and develops a network of wool producers.
[Above: A gaucho and his border collie head to their flock.]
Continue reading "Wooly in Patagonia" »