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    Whiskey on the Rocks – Looking for answers in Scotland

    By Kristo Torgersen


    “It starts as rain or snow falling on Scotland’s highest mountain—Ben Nevis. Either as rain or melting snow it percolates the thin layer of peat soil until it reaches the granite rock and unable to penetrate it, runs under the surface until emerging in Coire Leish or Coire na Ciste. The outflows from these two mountain lochans, located well over 3000’ above sea level, make their way spilling over the blue and pink granite rocks of the mountain’s rugged north face until they join together as the Alt a Mhullin continuing on in the valley between Ben Nevis and Carn Mor Dearg.”Ben Nevis Distillery

    These poetic words adorn a bottle of gold-medal whiskey from the oldest legal distillery in Scotland, Ben Nevis—the source of distinguished single malts and the mountain crucible of British alpinism. This is where generations of alpinists, whether in wool knickers or Gore-Tex, developed mountain equipment and cut their teeth for expeditions to the great ranges of the world. It’s a place renowned for terribly stormy weather and long approaches to “short” climbs. It’s a place that honors style and demands an honest Scot’s prudence to climb routes only in “full” wintry conditions. It’s where Yvon Chouinard visited over 40 years earlier to test himself on Scotland’s hardest routes and compare the performance his own curved-pick Chouinard Zero ice tool with the angled-pick design of his Scottish contemporary, Hamish MacInnes. And it’s where Walker Ferguson, responsible for field testing all of Patagonia’s most technical products, has brought us to be guinea pigs with our own latest prototypes.

    Above: Jon Bracey navigates the exit on Gemini, Ben Nevis, Scotland. Photo: Kristo Torgersen

    Continue reading "Whiskey on the Rocks – Looking for answers in Scotland" »

    The Release – Fundamentals of fish and the path to responsible angling

    By Andy J. Danylchuk, PhD


    Recreational angling is an incredibly popular leisure activity in North America, spanning a wide demographic of our society and occurring almost every place fish can be found. Tools and techniques for recreational angling are also vast and selecting the right gear often consumes a lot of our leisure time, basements, and wallets. It is not a ‘one size fits all’ sport and, for the most part, I think we like it that way.

    Given recreational angling’s popularity, breadth and depth, this also means that many different kinds of fish are caught in many different ways. That is part of why we do it. In some cases anglers catch to keep, but even they have to release fish that are the wrong species, aren’t of legal size, or when the limit is reached. There is also a growing movement focused on voluntary catch-and-release—a way to enjoy the sport but potentially reduce the impact on fish. In theory, catch-and-release is more sustainable and more conservation-minded. If you see it swim away, the fish is fine... right?

    Above: April Vokey releases a Skeena River steelhead. Photo: Adrienne Comeau

    Continue reading "The Release – Fundamentals of fish and the path to responsible angling" »

    #VidaPatagonia – Blockbuster, a new route on the west face of Mojon Rojo

    By Luka Krajnc

    MojonRojo1r, Foto;Tadej Kritelj

    Coming to Patagonia with big goals can be an unpredictable thing. 

    Tadej Krišelj and I found ourselves at the wrong place below the triangular snowfield on Cerro Torres’ east face surrounded by snowflakes, spindrift and the first signs of avalanches. Backing off was more of a lesson than a failure and a few hours later we were squeezing under a dripping boulder bivy surprised by the snowy outcome of the relatively good forecast. The Patagonian weather had lived up to its reputation. 

    The next morning the sun welcomed us with its warmth which was perfect for drying the soaked equipment and regaining some climbing motivation. It became obvious that the good weather window hadn’t disappeared, it just came later than we expected. Walking back to Chaltén in such weather would have been a crime, so we took a rest day at Niponino and switched to backup plan mode.

    Above photo: Tadej Krišelj

    Continue reading "#VidaPatagonia – Blockbuster, a new route on the west face of Mojon Rojo" »

    Mile for Mile, Part 2 – The Run

    By Jeff Browning

    How do you tell the story of 106 miles in two days in a short and concise manner? It’s nearly impossible—similar to trying to restore an ecosystem and build a national park. So many little steps, so many little stories.

    Our route would take us through the new Patagonia Park. Starting north in the town of Chile Chico on the edge of the nearly 400,000-acre Jeinimeni Reserve, dropping into Valle Chacabuco on day one. Day two would take us through Valle Chacabuco to the Park’s headquarters, up and over Cerro Tamanguito and into the southern beech forests of Tamango National Reserve to end in the small village of Cochrane on the western edge of Lago Cochrane.

    Above: Mile for Mile: A Film About Trail Running and Conservation in Patagonia. Video: Rios Libres and Patagonia 

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    The Climbing is the Easy Part These Days – A report on the FA of Slesse's Heart of Darkness, Colin Haley and Dylan Johnson, 8 March 2015

    By Dylan Johnson

    Nelson photo with line

    Things have changed. That old "live simply" ethos Jenna and I lived by, roaming around the desert and mountains in our '83 Dodge Prospector van (with a sci-fi mural on the hood and velvet interior), feels a bit like a past life. Climbing these days is tightly packed between a life of airports, computers, conference calls and meetings—logging huge numbers of hours running my architecture practice. Time at home is spent cradling Olivia (our newborn) in the middle of the night or jogging alongside Emma (our two year old) as she rides her bike to school for the first time—or planning weeks in advance for a few hours out to dinner with Jenna on a cherished "date night." All that, and Jenna works harder than I do. 

    This time of year however, like a high school kid checking their Snapchat feed, I obsessively glance at my NOAA weather app: point forecast saved for the 49th parallel, just east of Mount Baker. NOAA doesn't work in Canada, but this ridgeline at the southern edge of the North Cascade's Chilliwack range is close enough.

    Above: Heart of Darkness on the north face of Mount Slesse, North Cascades, British Columbia. Photo: Jim Nelson 

    Continue reading "The Climbing is the Easy Part These Days – A report on the FA of Slesse's Heart of Darkness, Colin Haley and Dylan Johnson, 8 March 2015" »

    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: The Threshold Moment

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall


    When Kevin Fedarko stepped through the door of the O.A.R.S. boathouse in Flagstaff, Arizona, he didn’t realize he had crossed a figurative threshold as well as a literal one. Kevin had planned on rafting the Grand Canyon for a wilderness medicine course. Then, he planned to go back to his life as a successful freelance writer. But what he saw in that warehouse and in that first week on the Colorado River left him desperate to find a way to keep coming back. Kevin spent the next smelly, humiliating, beautiful and life-altering decade of his life developing a relationship with the Grand Canyon, writing about the Grand Canyon, and, ultimately, fighting to protect it.

    To learn more about the current threats to the Grand Canyon and how you can help, visit Save the Confluence and Grand Canyon Trust.

    Brendan Leonard wrote and narrated this episode. You can find more of his work at


    Listen to "The Threshold Moment" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.


    Visit 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.

    Have a great weekend everybody.

    A Chance Meeting with the Visually Impaired Skiers from Ski for Light

    By Michel Caron


    Not long ago, I joined Jasmine and my girlfriend, Marie-Pier, for a day of cross-country skiing in Craftsbury, Vermont. Marie-Pier is a certified ski instructor and Jasmine is a strong skier while I, uh, I am able to follow for some time until I find something else worth discovering and photographing. 

    That morning we met skiers with orange bibs and soon realized they were accompanying visually impaired skiers who were also wearing bibs. I was impressed by these people who were willing to go skiing despite their handicap. Even before dressing for skiing, I went outside to talk with them and asked if I could take some pictures.

    Above: A visually impaired skier navigates a downhill section with verbal guidance from her volunteer guide. Craftsbury, Vermont. All photos: Michel Caron

    Continue reading "A Chance Meeting with the Visually Impaired Skiers from Ski for Light" »

    Announcing the 2015 Copp-Dash Inspire Award Recipients


    The Copp-Dash Inspire Award, sponsored by Black Diamond Equipment, La Sportiva, Mountain Hardwear and Patagonia (with additional in-kind support from Adventure Film Festival, the American Alpine Club, Jonny Copp Foundation and Sender Films), announced the 2015 winners of the climbing grant established in memory of American climbers Jonny Copp and Micah Dash who were killed in an avalanche in China in May 2009, along with filmmaker Wade Johnson. In addition to providing financial support to prospective expedition teams, the goal of the Copp-Dash Inspire Award is to provide mentoring before and after the expedition to help the climbers bring back and share inspiring multimedia stories of their adventures.

    Above: Photos from a trip Jonny and Micah made to Chamonix in 2008 where they shivered through the night on the West Face of the Petit Drus. Photos: Jonny Copp

    Continue reading "Announcing the 2015 Copp-Dash Inspire Award Recipients" »

    See You Out There

    By Craig Holloway


    When I lived in Chicago I ran like there was no tomorrow. Sundays had me running long steady miles, Mondays were a set up for double-down Tuesdays, and Wednesday’s leg screaming repeats on the University of Illinois’s Circle Campus track provided the week’s endorphin highlight. A friend whom I trained with told me about ultramarathon running and thought I should give it a try. My first 50-kilometer trail run took place on a cool Kettle Moraine day. There were no cars to dodge, no pinballing between pedestrians, only bib-numbered souls encouraging each other along pine-scented singletrack.

    As I got more involved in the sport I learned that family and friends crewed and paced runners at 100 milers. Crews wait at aid stations with fresh shoes and clean gear. Pacers get their runners up big climbs, run with them through the night, and keep them running in the morning light. For most of the race, however, the runners are alone and it’s possible to take a wrong turn far away from any help. There is one runner I’d like to tell you about, a unique runner who found me after I had gotten lost during a 50K in the Sierra Nevada.

    Photo: Jeff Johnson

    Continue reading "See You Out There" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: Adventure 1000

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall


    It’s time for our annual Year of Big Ideas episode. This year, we talked to Alastair Humphreys, a 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. Among other things, Alastair has walked across India, and 1,000 miles through the largest sand desert in the world, cycled 46,000 miles around the world in four years and rowed across the Atlantic.

    People often come up to him after his talks and tell him they wish they could go on the kinds of adventures that he does. Alastair believes that they can. Today, he explains what he’s learned about what it takes to make an adventure happen. Here’s to another year of big ideas, and to committing to them. Happy 2015.


    Listen to "Adventure 1000" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.


    Visit 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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