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    The Vida Patagonia

    By Rolando “Rolo” Garibotti

    Rolo and a handful of stoked Patagonia ambassadors and friends will be sharing images and stories of their adventures throughout the Patagonia climbing season. Follow along at patagonia.com/vidapatagonia. If you’re planning to make a climbing trip to the area, tag your photos with #VidaPatagonia to appear on the page.

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    The peaks of the Chaltén Massif are some of the most iconic in the world: jagged spires that shoot toward the sky. They offer everything a climber could desire, from excellent quality granite to uniquely wild rime formations. All this is set in a dramatic environment, with the endless Patagonian steppe to the east and the broad expanse of the Ice Cap, an enormous network of glaciers that drops into Pacific Ocean fjords, to the west.

    The weather in the massif is notoriously challenging and short-tempered, receiving the wrath of the “Roaring Forties,” strong westerly winds that sweep across the southern Pacific. While the region’s fierce reputation deters many, others find it inspiring. During the southern hemisphere summer, climbers from all over the globe convene in El Chaltén for a dose of some of the most fantastic, most intense and most fun alpine climbing on the planet.

    Above: Patagonia 2015. Photo: Mikey Schaefer

    Continue reading "The Vida Patagonia" »

    Unraveling

    By Austin Siadak

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    The pig squeals and groans in protest as I wrestle it back onto my sweaty body. I groan even louder. Seventy pounds of ropes, cams, pins, beaks, portaledges, tents, food, fuel and everything else for a month-long big-wall expedition bulge from my haul bag, digging deep into my spine. I’ve already carried two of these loads more than 15 miles into our base camp. All of us wobble around granite blocks, exhausted, knees buckling under the loads on our backs.

    “Look at this place!” someone shouts excitedly. The Patagonian big walls of Torres del Paine thrust upward from rocky moraines into a cloudless blue, a skyline as jagged as shark’s teeth. Three thousand feet of granite and snow loom steeply on all sides, beckoning in the bright sun. We whoop in joy and disbelief. These walls have consumed our thoughts for more than a year, and to finally stand beneath them is a dream made real. Now we get to climb.

    Above: A year of obsession and planning results in getting here and seeing this. On the road to El Chaltén, Argentina. Patagonia. Photo: Matthew Van Biene

    Continue reading "Unraveling" »

    Jumbo Unchanged

    By Alex Yoder

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    Feeling lost. Feeling far from help. Far from a store, motors and people. I am existing in a world much bigger than I can comprehend. What I can see is all that is. I’m alive to find what I can’t yet see. There are two times of day: light and dark. Food is fuel for the body, not a dance for the tongue. The cold bites. The sun scorns. This is a taste of what life was like before modern technology began introducing non-essentials and conveniences.

    All the while, it is 2015. I have gadgets that tell me where I am. I have a mobile phone that can bounce my voice off of a satellite in outer space and send for help if something were to go wrong. Still, there is a romance in my heart that writes off all of the comforts and emergency equipment. In my mind, I am free. In my heart, I’m just an animal lost in the wilderness.

    Above: Alex Yoder, Jumbo Pass area. British Columbia, Canada. Photo: Steve Ogle

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    Cold-Water Bali or Myth?

    By Tony Butt

    Near fjord (elli thor magnusson)

    “Just go in,” said the woman’s voice. “There’s nobody there at the moment but the house is always left open. Yours is room two, upstairs.”

    I was calling ahead to the small guesthouse where we had booked a room. Slightly bewildered, I looked across at my traveling buddy, Martín. “It’s cool man, aquí no roban,” he said, in his usual mix of Argentine Spanish and colonial English. This place was nothing like the streets of Cape Town Martín had just come from, or the Buenos Aires he had grown up in. This was officially the safest country in the world, where the most serious violent crime might be a pub brawl between two drunken fishermen.

    Above: Somewhere near a fjord. Photo: Elli Thor Magnusson

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    Happy Holidays

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    Every year, we look back on the year that was—and every year, we’re deeply thankful for your support of our mission and your willingness to stand for nature in all its fullness and beauty. May the peace and joy of the holiday season be with you and your loved ones, and here’s to a bright New Year ahead.

    Inner glow meets outer glow in the Alaska Range. Photo: Norio Matsumoto

    In Memoriam: Kei Taniguchi and Kenshi Imai

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    It is with heavy hearts that we share news of the passing of two Patagonia climbing ambassadors, Kei Taniguchi and Kenshi Imai, in two separate incidents.

    Kei Taniguchi passed away on December 22 at Mount Kurodake in Hokkaido, Japan. Our deepest condolences and best wishes go out to her family and friends. She was 43 years old.

    Taniguchi climbed Mount Everest in 2007 and was the first woman to win the Piolet d’Or in 2009 for the first ascent of the southwest face of Kamet (7756m, India) in alpine style with Kazuya Hiraide. She became friends with many Patagonia ambassadors and employees around the world after joining our ambassador program in 2013. Her numerous adventures, ability to climb into the unknown and willingness to thoroughly pursue what she loved, always with a smile, gave us a lot of courage and strength. She has our deepest respect and gratitude, and will be missed dearly.

    Continue reading "In Memoriam: Kei Taniguchi and Kenshi Imai" »

    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" »

    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

    Continue reading "Keep Jumbo Wild: The Fight to Protect Jumbo Glacier" »

    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.

    Continue reading "Being There – A self-supported ski journey to the waves of northern Iceland" »

    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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