The Cleanest Line

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    Do What You Love to Protect What You Love: Mile for Mile Campaign Surpasses Fundraising Goal

    By Kris Tompkins

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    “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”
    – Edward Abbey

    Scale is a hard thing to get a handle on. We pour over maps to try to understand a landscape. Better yet, sometimes we get to fly over it, circling the valleys and mountains to get a real lay of the land. But sometimes, there’s no substitute for crossing it on foot—learning a place step-by-step, sinking into the real magnitude of wilderness.

    I fell in love with Patagonia by foot. I can remember my first walk through the grasslands of southern Chile—dropped off near the outskirts of a small town, I had just the clothes on my back, a pack on my shoulders and the wind on my face. It only took a matter of days for me to fall in love with the region’s looming peaks and curious creatures. Over twenty years later, using personal funds and the help of many friends and supporters, my husband Doug and I have managed to conserve nearly 2 million acres of threatened wilderness in South America. In 2004, we had the opportunity of a lifetime to acquire one of the largest grassland restoration projects in the world: the future Patagonia National Park.

    Above: Ultrarunners Jeff Browning, Krissy Moehl and Luke Nelson join Conservacion Patagonica founder Kris Tompkins on the Avilés Trail. Patagonia Park, Chile. Photo: James Q Martin

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    Curacao’s Big Oil and Big Tarpon

    By Brian Irwin

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    “Fish, two o’clock,” shouted Norman Chumaceiro, my guide to tarpon on the idyllic island of Curacao, 40 miles off the coast of Venezuela. “Now they’re at nine! And six. They’re everywhere!” he exclaimed.

    If anyone could help me come tight on a tarpon it’s Chumaceiro, who, along with his friend Albert Macares, are the only tarpon fishermen on the island. They spend most weekends angling for the king in the Schottegat harbor, just east of the Santa Anna Bay, where luxury cruise liners amble in and out, unloading thousands of tourists to the island every day to shop the strip of waterfront, candy-colored Dutch-style buildings. As I cast feverously to the rolling fish, hundreds of them, I couldn’t help but to notice that this harbor, while thronged with more tarpon than I’ve ever before seen, was coated with a thin slick of oil.

    Above: Norman Chumaceiro points to pods of tarpon, sometimes many dozen, in the Shottegat Harbor, Curacao. Photo: Brian Irwin

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    Mālama Honua: Hōkūleʻa’s Voyage of Hope

    By Jennifer Allen

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    “He waʻa he moku, he moku he waʻa,” is a Hawaiian proverb, meaning, “The canoe is an island, the island is a canoe.”  

    Centuries ago, Polynesian voyaging canoes were tools for survival, enabling islanders to find food and settle new lands. Life on the canoe was a microcosm of life on land. Everyone needed to care for one another and for the canoe in order to survive. The clearest modern-day expression of this truth is the Hawaiian double-hulled sailing canoe, Hōkūleʻa.

    Hōkūleʻa is sailed without modern instruments, using only the sun, moon, swells, birds, winds, and stars as natural guides. Her practice is one of pure sustainability, her mission, fully inspired. Since launching from Hilo in May 2014, Hōkūleʻa has crossed three oceans, four seas and eleven time zones—stopping in over fifty ports to connect with communities who care for the health of the oceans and our shared island, Earth. This worldwide voyage is known as Mālama Honua—to care for earth.

    Above: Sailing for over forty years now, Hōkūleʻa has ignited a sailing canoe renaissance in island communities throughout Polynesia. Photo: John Bilderback    

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    Why Minnesota Can’t Afford Mining Near the Boundary Waters

    By Adam Fetcher

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    Patagonia has supported the work of Northeastern Minnesotans for Wilderness and the Campaign to Save the Boundary Waters through grant funding, our employee environmental internship program, retail store events, product donations and an invitation to attend the 2015 Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference. You can read our past coverage on The Cleanest Line here and here. To learn more about how you can get involved, visit savetheboundarywaters.org.

    Growing up in Minnesota, I took the lakes for granted. To me, living in the “Land of 10,000 Lakes” meant summers at the cabin—waterskiing, fishing and family time on the dock. The lakes I knew were surrounded by houses and roads, and I remember falling asleep most nights to the gentle but persistent hum of motorboats wafting across the glassy water. (Almost as persistent as the hungry mosquitos buzzing around my ears at bedtime.) Even through the noise, I slept peacefully in the cool Northern Minnesota breeze.

    Above: Paddling toward shore, ready for a swim in the late afternoon. Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota. Photo: Adam Fetcher

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    A Couple Good Ones

    By Jeff Johnson

    It’s 2002. Dan Malloy, the youngest of the Malloy brothers, is surfing in a contest at Sunset Beach on Oʻahu. He is 25 years old and upholding a foundation built by his two older brothers, which has made him the most hopeful of the Malloy clan to excel in the competitive surfing world. But it’s been a slow road. Although he is arguably one of the best “free” surfers in the world, his rankings on the pro tour show otherwise.

    Editor’s note: Thank you to our friends at YETI Coolers for letting us republish this story. It first appeared on the Yeti blog. Above: The Malloy Brothers. Video: YETI 

    For his brothers, there aren’t many expectations to fill. They know how difficult it is to do well at Sunset Beach, an arena notorious for big, funky, irregular surf. Regardless, the day is sunny, the water an opaque turquoise blue, and the waves are big—the size of telephone poles. Dan, trying to match his freakish, natural ability with the nuances of contest surfing, is more discerning than ever with his wave selection. Just before the end of his heat he catches a set wave. He makes the long drop, fading confidently back toward the towering whitewater, turns at the bottom, and pulls up into a giant tube ride. Dan disappears for a time that seems to stand still, and emerges out on the face. The crowd of spectators erupts. He can hear the hoots and crackling applause as he paddles in toward the beach.

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    Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

    By Eliel Hindert

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    The road has been my home for the better part of my adult life. That elusive space not quite here or there, but simply a collection of moments in between.

    Let’s rephrase that. The road has been where I’ve felt most at home for the better part of my entire life. Sure, I’ve had homes during this time period, even signed a few leases despite my better judgement. But it’s always that momentum, that inexplicable excitement of stepping over a threshold and knowing you won’t return to that place anytime soon, or ever, that keeps the movement constant.

    Above: Eliel Hindert threads a forest of needles into the volcanic crater of Ulleung-Do Island, South Korea. Photo: Garrett Grove

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    Chuitna: More Than Just Salmon on the Line – Watch the full film for free and take action!

    By Paul Moinester


    Watch Chuitna - More Than Salmon On The Line. After a successful run on the film tour circuit and dozens of local screenings, we're thrilled to share this short film with you for free. Video: Trip Jennings


    Stop a Massive Open-Pit Coal Strip Mine on the Chuitna River

    Take_action_largePlease join the fight and help Judy, Larry, Terry and the Tyonek defeat the Chuitna Mine. All it takes is a few keystrokes and mouse clicks. Watch the film and share it on social media. And take action today at American Rivers by telling Alaskan officials to protect the Chuitna’s important habitat. Then, like the Facebook page or text “Salmon” to 313131. You will be notified when it’s time to speak up again.


    The Biggest Salmon Fight No One’s Heard Of 

    The 40-minute bush plane flight from Anchorage to Alaska’s Chuitna River watershed is like a journey back in time. As the tires grip the gravel of the tiny outpost runway, you are thrust into a wild world teeming with life and vibrant rivers overflowing with salmon. It’s a world like my Pacific Northwest home used to be, before we dammed our rivers, logged our forests, and destroyed our salmon runs.

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    Cochamó

    By Patch Wilson

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    In early 2014, I spent some time exploring the coastline around southern Chile looking for waves and generally just checking out a place that I had always wanted to visit. I ended up heading as far south as Chiloe which is the first island on the coast of where Patagonia starts. It had been a really slow start to the season for waves and so I found myself with my brother Phil and close friend Chris looking for other entertainment while we waited for swell.

    We had got talking to an English lady called Kate up the coast and she mentioned Cochamó. She told us about these crazy waterslides and pristine rivers, epic campgrounds and insane granite climbing faces. The place sounded so amazing we had to go and check it out for ourselves.

    Above: Horses cruised around the campgrounds the whole time giving the place an even wilder feeling than it already has. All photos by Patch Wilson

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    Cold-Water Bali or Myth?

    By Tony Butt

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    “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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    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

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