The Cleanest Line

Weblog for the employees, friends and customers of the outdoor clothing company Patagonia. Visit Patagonia.com to see what we do.

RSS Feed

Twitter

    Archives

    Search


    Of Rats and Men

    By Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll

    Sean_4

    If you are chained to a wall in a dark dungeon famished rats will slowly nibble at your flesh. You can kick, scream and quiver all you want but the rats will sluggishly keep nipping away until they reach your heart and your body goes lifeless. Then they keep going until there is nothing left.

    While that might seem like a torture scenario from the Middle Ages, I’ve seen it happen many times. When the bad weather comes, and stays, day after day, and you’re stuck in a tent, a cave or a portaledge, every day you wake up with renewed hope that is quickly crushed by the same old bad weather. Much like the rat slowly eating the corpse, the Patagonian weather has a way of slowly nipping at your motivation. It can transform the most eager and enthusiastic climber into an empty, burnt out, uninspired bum. And when the good weather finally comes, there is nothing left.

    [Above: Cold conditions during a summit attempt on Cerro Catedral, in Torres Del Paine, Chile. All photos courtesy of Sean Villanueva O’Driscoll]

    Continue reading "Of Rats and Men" »

    Running With My Devils

    By Steve Graepel

    _DSC2171

    I remember running the 50K and getting off course but fighting back into third place, and I remember that it was hot... hotter than hell. And then... and then nothing...

    I don’t remember collapsing. I have no memories of kicking off good-Samaritan runners who pinned me down to the Prairie floor. I have no recollection of coolers of ice poured over my torso... packed around my groin, armpits and neck. I don’t remember soiling myself. No memories of my clothes being cut from my body in front of dozens of strangers. No memories of the ambulance ride to the local clinic or the life-flight to the Mayo Clinic. I don’t remember any of it.

    Three days later I woke with a plastic tube shoved down my throat. “What the...” I tried to spit out, but the words slipped out as a groan.

    “Cough it out. Cough it out!” shouted a blue silhouette as the corrugated tube ripped across my vocal cords. I chased the tube with vomit and then heard the familiar voice of my wife, calming my anxiety.

    Above: Mike James in Hells Canyon, Idaho. All photos by Steve Graepel

    Continue reading "Running With My Devils" »

    Throw the Line

    By Marta Czajkowska

    Czajkowska_m_0022

    Any wall climber will see that something is missing in that photo, trail line. The leader trails a small line so they can pull up a haul line to haul the bag. Right where the photo was taken, at the lip of the roof, Dgriff realized that he’d forgotten the trail line.

    "You have to throw it to me!" he shouted.

    "You know well enough that I can't throw," I replied as the sun was setting.

    "I'm going to either down-lead and re-lead, which is going to take an hour or so, or you have to throw the line."

    I started organizing my belay to gain time to wrap my head around the throwing. Dgriff yelled again using his favorite Kurosawa quote, "STOP STALLING AND THROW THE LINE OR WE WILL BE PLENTY DEAD!"

    [Above: David Griffith heads up the final 20-foot roof pitch of Wet Denim Daydream, Leaning Tower, Yosemite California. Photo: Marta Czajkowska]

    Continue reading "Throw the Line" »

    Andre's Red Knickers – A Story About Boatmen's Rituals

    By Jeffe Aronson

    Jeffe_2

    “Hey, Reeg,” I say, watching him wading chest deep, offshore in the frigid river, well past sundown, when most normal river guides should be sipping scotch (as I happen to be). He is sponging off the scum line from his handmade dory, the Escalante, his beauty and dream.

    He looks up at my quizzical smile, offering up all I will get: his characteristically inscrutable look through a knowing gray beard and nothing more.

    He doesn’t talk much anyway, though I must admit he himself is probably expecting a typically smart-aleck comment from me. I must, of course, oblige. Over the years I’ve been observing, and finally have been drawn into participating in this little pre-Lava ceremony since I came to the Dories.

    [Above: The author and clients, thankfully still upright, in Hermit rapid’s Fifth Wave. Photo: Rick Box]

    Continue reading "Andre's Red Knickers – A Story About Boatmen's Rituals" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: Live from 5Point Vol. 5

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

    Dbd_mastWe're back for our third annual Live from 5Point event. The sun was shining, but Steve's Guitars was at capacity. Today we present the first two stories from Kevin Pearce and Chris Davenport. In 2009, Kevin was one of the best snowboarders in the world. On a training run, he had a major accident (his story is chronicled in the film The Crash Reel). Today, he talks about finding happiness after suffering a traumatic brain injury.

    Chris' career as a big mountain skier is impressive – numerous first ski descents of peaks, traveled around the world to ski, a two-time world champion. But I've always been impressed by Chris' creativity in the mission he chooses. Today, he talks about the aesthetics of the lines he chooses and what he loves about mountains, especially those close to home.


    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Live from 5Point Vol. 5"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com to download the music from "Live from 5Point Vol. 5", listen to The Shorts and pledge your support for the show. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes and RSS, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter.

    [Graphic by Walker Cahall]

    Piolets d’Or 2013

    By Hayden Kennedy

    Dempster_k_0023_2

    “Some declared it the climb of the century. But did anyone repeat GIV to confirm our illusion of it? Besides, does it make sense to declare a poem the poem of the century? Can you choose a woman of the century?” – Voytek Kurtyka writing about the Shining Wall on Gasherbrum IV

    There are no winners or losers in climbing. How can there be? Isn’t the point of climbing to escape these themes of ego and competition? To surrender ourselves to the experience at hand whether that entails failure or success; to push beyond the surface of our own expectations and those others have of us into a deeper well of motivation, curiosity and mystery? In my life, some of the greatest moments have come from failure. And what does success truly mean? Reaching the summit is an obvious and logical yardstick, yet too much focus on that singular measure can blind us to more profound possibilities like surrendering ourselves to the experience at hand, regardless of whether it entails failure or success. As the prolific Mugs Stump once said, “We were stuck on a portaledge on the Eye Tooth for eight days… We don’t need the summit. Just being here, in the present, that’s enough.”

    These were the thoughts going through my head when Kyle Dempster and I were lucky enough to get invited to the 21st Piolets d’Or ceremony in Chamonix. The annual event – held over four days with plenty of red wine and good French food – typically chooses a “best” alpine climb of the year and rewards that team with a golden ice axe. Kyle and I were nominated for our new route up the south face of Ogre I in Pakistan’s Karakoram Range.

    [Above: Hayden descends Ogre I after making the third ascent of the mountain with Kyle Dempster. Karakorum Range, Pakistan. Photo: Kyle Dempster]

    Continue reading "Piolets d’Or 2013" »

    2013 5Point Film Festival Trailer



    Let's do this! From April 25 - 28, 2013 the 5Point Film Festival will take over your senses, transport you to another place and leave you inspired for adventure. Join us. Visit 5pointfilm.org for more information and tickets.

    [Video: 2013 5Point Film Festival Trailer from 5Point Film Festival.]

    Flow

    By Dr. Tony Butt

    Flow

    You are out surfing on your own. Someone else paddles out, comes up to you and says, “How long have you been out here?”

    You think as hard as you can. In the end you take a stab at it and tell him about an hour. But the truth is you really don’t know – on one hand it seems like a couple of minutes, but on the other hand it feels like you’ve been out there forever.

    If you really have been deep in concentration, your world will have been reduced right down to what you see and feel in your immediate surroundings. Nothing exists apart from you and the waves and maybe the wind or the odd seagull. All that stuff you were doing earlier this morning seems like something in the distant past, almost from another life. Your mother-in-law, the traffic, the bank manager and the shopping have simply ceased to be.

    Your surfing is effortless, almost as if the surfing itself is doing it for you. You feel like a passenger just along to enjoy the ride. You’ll be paddling back to the line-up after each wave without the slightest effort, feeling like you could go on catching waves forever. You are living in the moment, enjoying surfing for its own sake.

    [Tony, definitely not thinking about his mother-in-law or the bank manager. Photo: Jakue Andikoetxea]

    Continue reading "Flow" »

    The Usual x Patagonia

    By Patagonia Surf Europe

    The_Usual_X_Patagonia

    The Usual magazine teamed up with Patagonia’s NYC surf crew to put together this unique edition. Check it out.

    “On the following pages, we start on the Bowery, where our favorite company Patagonia will take over the old CBGB gallery to open their first East Coast surf store in early 2013. Just like CBGB’s nurtured New York’s alternative music culture, Patagonia’s shop will be a hub for surfers — the misfits of the global brand.”
    Hit the jump to read the full digital edition of the magazine.

    Continue reading "The Usual x Patagonia" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: Benighted

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

    DBD_5541643Great stories often have these five words, “and then it got dark.” But how can carefully executed alpine starts and planned summits turn into watching stars dot the sky? Well, getting benighted can happen for a few reasons. One: unforeseen circumstances. Two: complete denial of reality. Or three: getting too comfortable in the dark. Kelly Cordes, Ryan Peterson, and Jay Puckhaber share their tales of being out, long after the sun has set.


    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "Benighted"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    Editor's note: On March 15, 2013, The Dirtbag Diaries logged their two millionth download. It's an amazing milestone. If you've enjoyed this podcast as much as we have, if it has "spurred your courage to try something new, to quit a bunk job, or say yes to a deep seeded belief while others told you to play it safe," then please pledge your support for the show.

    Together we can help Fitz and Becca evolve the show and reach the next two million downloads. Thanks for listening.

    [Graphic by Walker Cahall]

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2014 Patagonia, Inc.