The Cleanest Line

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    Kiteboarding for a Cause

    By Jessica Salcido

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    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

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    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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    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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    The Chase: a tiny film

    By RC Cone

    Honestly, we went to Iceland to catch big fish. It was that simple. We wanted to bask in the late Arctic sun while bringing dreamy meter-long Atlantic salmon to hand. We wanted to drink whiskey afterwards, go to bed and do it again every day we could. What surprised us wasn’t our ability to check that mission off the list it was the insignificance that those goals held compared to what we actually discovered. The Chase: a tiny film is an ode to the friendships and experiences that were shared while chasing our passions.

    Above: The Chase: a tiny film. Video: Tributaries Digital Cinema

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    Respect for the Past . . . and Rules to Protect a Sacred Place

    By Josh Ewing

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    Fifteen years ago, I was drawn to southeastern Utah by the vast tracts of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and National Forest lands where I could find the freedom to explore and climb and have an adventure—rarely seeing another human other than my climbing partners or an intrepid hiker. I loved the feeling that my every move wasn’t being scripted by a ranger or a regulation, a sense I sometimes get when visiting National Parks.

    Now, years later, these remarkable lands are no longer a place I visit on a quick weekend trip. Literally in my backyard, I work every day to protect this landscape for future generations. Our big project right now is working with a coalition of groups to protect the Bears Ears cultural landscape as a permanent National Conservation Area or Monument.

    Above: Josh enjoys an oil-field-free view from the third belay on Eagle Feather (5.10). Eagle Plume Tower, Valley of the Gods, Utah. Photo: Mikey Schaefer

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    Beauty in a Blurry Photo – Merging climbing, science, and conservation in Mozambique

    By Majka Burhardt

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    Exactly one month ago I tightened the last bolt in the last hold on the first-ever climbing boulder in Mozambique—and then climbed on it with over 1,000 Mozambican school children.

    Tonight, over dinner in Central Mozambique, I made a promise to climb a 12-pitch run-out granite slab with a Mozambican farmer named Elias who’s never roped up in his life.

    Tomorrow, I meet 25 African students in Gorongosa National Park to spend 10 days exploring the vortex of conservation, science, leadership, stewardship and adventure.

    And all of this started because of a blurry photo of a mangy rock face.

    Above: The first round of Mozambican students arrive to “climb” on Mount Namuli with Patagonia ambassador Majka Burhardt. The first-ever climbing wall was built to showcase The Lost Mountain, a combination science, conservation and adventure initiative on Mozambique’s Mount Namuli. Photo: Gustav Rensburg 

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    Lago to Lago – Connecting the two great lakes in Patagonia Park

    By Rick Ridgeway, Patagonia VP of Public Engagement

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    The official grand opening of the new Patagonia National Park in southern Chile is scheduled for late November but the park, even now, is attracting thousands of visitors including three of our trail running ambassadors who, in January, ran parts of the 100-plus miles of trails already constructed. Patagonia-the-company funded part of that construction but the new park, projected to be nearly 650,000 acres, has entire watersheds currently outside of the existing trail system.  

    Editor’s note: As we continue to expand on The New Localism, it’s important to revisit previous campaigns and breathe new life into them. Today, Rick Ridgeway reconnects with Mile for Mile which is more than halfway to its funding goal. Remember, Patagonia, Inc. will match your Mile for Mile donations through 2015.

    In March, I joined two friends, Jib Ellison and Weston Boyles, to scout a potential route that could provide a more-or-less direct link between the two great lakes that bookend the park: Lago General Carrerra on the north and Lago Cochrane on the south. These two lakes are so stupendous that when people first see them they appear mythical, like scenes from a Maxwell Parrish painting.

    Above: Finding a route above the Aviles Norte on day two. The team had Google Earth maps and an iPhone app that recorded positions that Patagonia National Park will use if they create a permanent trail along the route. Photo: Weston Boyles

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    Mundaka: Surf but don’t touch

    By Tony Butt

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    When the first surfers turned up at Mundaka around the late 1960s and set their eyes upon those perfect lefthanders, they had no reason to think the waves wouldn’t be there forever. Almost half a century later, we now know that Mundaka is a very special wave, perhaps unique in the world; not just because of its perfection, power or length, but because of the miraculous circumstances that made it the way it is. Sure, there are waves just as long and hollow as Mundaka, but the vast majority break on immovable rock or coral platforms. Mundaka, on the other hand, relies on a rivermouth sandbar.

    In the early days, the overriding concern was how the surfers themselves could make the best of the wave. How could they improve board design and riding techniques to get in and out of those freight-train barrels as easily as possible? They had no idea that the principal concern would eventually turn from dominating the wave to protecting it.

    This article isn’t just about Mundaka, although Mundaka is the central theme running through it. It is also about estuarine systems, chaos, Nature and us.

    Above: The Mundaka sandbar behaving itself, winter 2014-15. Spain. Photo: Javi Muñoz

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    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: Live from 5Point Vol. 8 with Frank Sanders and Tommy Caldwell

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    In our fifth annual Live from 5Point Film Festival, we interview Frank Sanders and Tommy Caldwell.

    Frank spent his youth climbing on the East coast. His path took a turn in 1972, when he hitchhiked west and saw Devil’s Tower for the first time. Now, at 63, Frank owns and guides out of Devil’s Tower Lodge. He shares the story of his journey and what it’s like having found his place.

    Over the last seven years, Tommy has spent month long chunks of time focused on climbing The Dawn Wall, the hardest big wall free climb in history. On January 14, he and his partner, Kevin Jorgenson, pulled over the top of El Capitan into a swarm of cameras and microphones. He talks to Fitz about what it’s like to end a seven-year relationship with a project and how his life has changed now that people outside the climbing world recognize him.

     


    Listen to "Live From 5Point Vol. 8" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

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    Tommy Caldwell and Fitz Cahall chat on stage during the making of this episode. Steve's Guitars, Carbondale, Colorado. Photo: James Q Martin

     

    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.

     

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