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    Taking the Oars

    By Bridget Crocker

    Bridget_Crocker_Zambezi_River

    Sometimes a woman has to paddle against the current.

    When I’d first met Doreen, last season, she was a highsider – a porter and training guide who helped weight the rafts through the Zambezi’s high-volume hydraulics. She was barely five feet tall and less than a hundred pounds, but as a highsider, Doreen carried heavy coolers, oars, and rafts in and out of the steep Batoka gorge, matching the men load for load. The other highsiders, all male, started complaining that she was taking more than her share, making it harder for them to provide for their families. Doreen didn’t have a family of her own, they argued, so she didn’t need the money like they did.
     
    It was decided that Doreen must quit being a highsider and become the manager’s “house girl” – and so she came to work for us, doing the washing, ironing, and floor polishing.

    [Above: Bridget Crocker and crew take on Rapid #8 (aka Midnight Diner). Zambezi River, Zambia. Photo: Greg Findley/Detour Destinations]

    Continue reading "Taking the Oars" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: The Magic of Serendipity – The Year of Big Ideas 2013

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

    Dbd_YOBI_2012You might remember a story about climbers in the Magic Kingdom. It sounded like a dream job- climbing, secret lairs and cutting to the front of the roller coaster line. Our inbox flooded with emails about how to apply. But the program was canceled in 2005. Until last year. In an audition room filled with sponsored climbers and underground crushers, Susanica Tam felt her resume paled in comparison. Could climbing a mini-Matterhorn change Susanica's outlook on climbing?

    Today, we present our annual Year of Big Ideas. We went out into our community and listened to what you want to do in 2013. Here's to saying yes to new opportunities, stretching ourselves, and embracing a little spontaneity.


    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "The Magic of Serendipity"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)


    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to download the music from "The Year of Big Ideas 2013" or to hear past episodes of the podcast. You can subscribe to the show via iTunes and RSS, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter.

    [Graphic by Walker Cahall]


    Long Treks China – Skateboarding Through Tibet (Xining to Chengdu)

    Words, photos and videos by Adam Colton

    18-72-skate31

    My name is Adam Richard Colton and on August 30th, 2012 I set out on a solo self-supported journey to see what the outskirts of Tibet had to offer. I did not speak any Mandarin, I did not speak Tibetan but I am an expert at facial expressions and hand signals. Below is a bit of a recap of the trip. And videos after the jump. --Ed.

    [Above: Skating at 15,000' and stoked, just over the big pass.]

    I hit the ground running after a 25-hour flight from LAX to XINING, CHINA, elevation 7,000 feet. I felt like a wreck (hahah) and I knew this was going to be a hard trip. It was like waking up from a horrible sleep and rushing outside to run a marathon with no training or warm up. First day, right off the plane, I started skating. I was already being bombarded by big trucks, nasty smoke, and mountains to climb. Towards the end of the day I was so exhausted, I found shelter from all the stares and people in a gutter on the side of the road. When you are tired, gutters are comfortable.

    Continue reading "Long Treks China – Skateboarding Through Tibet (Xining to Chengdu)" »

    Van Life – Lessons From the Road

    Words and photos by Sonnie Trotter

    Van Life-5

    "Don't throw that away" she said, "we can reuse it".

    A small pot of dish water was clutched in my hand, as murky as the amazon,

    "Put it in here instead, we don't have much left."

    She was right, we didn't. It was cold outside, a late November evening in Bishop, California and we had more than everything we needed for another amazing day of bouldering, everything except water. If we were careful, we could scrape by and still be very comfortable. If we wasted it, we'd have to drive all the way back into town, thus wasting gas as well. Or, we could just be dehydrated and miserable.

    I poured the dirty dish water back into another pot, and we reused it to wash our dishes five more times before we ran out of food two days later.

    Continue reading "Van Life – Lessons From the Road" »

    Death of Another Wave – Paul Do Mar, Madeira

    By Patch Wilson

    Patch bomb drop

    Roughly 10 years ago the Madeiran government gave the go-ahead to seawall project that was built to protect the village of Jardim do Mar. This seawall put an end to the best big-wave right point in Europe. The wave that breaks there now is a shadow of its former self. The huge concrete boulders they installed as part of the seawall means the wave is just full of backwash, and according to local surfers is pretty dangerous to surf. Many of the people who supported the seawall originally are now complaining about its size and lack of asethetic. Jardim do Mar, once considered one of the most beautiful villages on the island of Madeira, has been vandalised by a government wanting to line its own pockets with EU money, and a wave that was once considered one of the best in Europe is now lost.

    [Above: Patch Wilson dropping into a glassy morning wall. Photo: Mickey Smith]

    Continue reading "Death of Another Wave – Paul Do Mar, Madeira" »

    Wooly in Patagonia

    by Jim Little, Patagonia Creative Services

    IMG_6747

    We have some great benefits at Patagonia. But none is better than the opportunity to volunteer with environmental groups through our internship program. During my 15 years working as an editor here at our headquarters in Ventura, I’ve gotten to follow wild buffalo in West Yellowstone, see the effects of industrial forestry in Chile, learn about the sagebrush environment in northern Nevada, and most recently, spend two weeks in Patagonia, Argentina, working with The Nature Conservancy on its grasslands project.

    Sheep ranching is the most prevalent land use in the Patagonia region, which is three times the size of California and mostly privately owned. Overgrazing is turning its grasslands into desert. To reverse the degradation, preserve biodiverstiy and freshwater resources, Patagonia has partnered with The Nature Conservancy and Ovis XXI, an Argentine company that manages and develops a network of wool producers.

    [Above: A gaucho and his border collie head to their flock.]

    Continue reading "Wooly in Patagonia" »

    B.C. or Bust – A Road Trip from Santa Barbara to Tofino

    by Trevor Gordon, photos by Jeremy Koreski

    Bridge cross

    This was my fourth time up to Vancouver Island to surf and camp along its coastline. I’ve sort of made a pact with myself to visit this place at least once a year after first falling in love with it three years ago. The beauty and power of Canada captures you, and it keeps me coming back. Each time I’ve been up there, I say, “It’s so close! Next time, I’m going to drive up!”

    I have a maroon 1988 VW Vanagon that would likely meet its death if I attempted the trip aboard it. My vagabond buddy Foster Huntington has been living in his van for more than 16 months. His is the mature, accomplished, big-brother version of my van – a 1987 4WD Vanagon with an Audi motor.

    I had a window of 12 days to make my trip to BC happen before I had to be back. After that, I couldn’t make it work until spring and by then conditions for surf are even less favorable. I asked Foster if he was around to take a road trip up to Vancouver Island and before I could finish he insisted we take his van. “I’ll get a tune-up tomorrow!” he said.

    [Above: The van charging north through patchy fog in Humboldt County, California.]

    Continue reading "B.C. or Bust – A Road Trip from Santa Barbara to Tofino" »

    Don’t Wait for Good, Go Find It – Full Circle

    by Laurel Winterbourne

    Cover_1

    The world needs GOOD stories. Fortunately there are people like Trevor Clark who put it all on the line, travel thousands of miles and spend countless hours, days and months to get these stories out there. Trevor is an outdoor adventure photographer and friend of Patagonia who decided that he wanted to tell stories that mattered to him.

    After meeting Jessie Stone and hearing her story, there was no question in Trevor’s mind that this story needed to be told. Jessie is a professional whitewater kayaker and medical doctor who went to Uganda to paddle the Nile, but what she saw, changed the course of her life and the lives of many others.

    [Above: Dr. Jessie Stone is a member of the US Freestyle Kayak Team and a Medical Doctor. In 2004, she founded Soft Power Health to provide malaria education, prevention and control for the people of Uganda. Video frame: Trevor Clark]

    Continue reading "Don’t Wait for Good, Go Find It – Full Circle" »

    Three Rooms – Packing 101 with The BAG

    by Brittany Anne Griffith

    Boatload

    This may sound weird, but I love packing. When essentials are limited to two 50-pound bags – what a van can carry – a 40-liter backpack, or even just a carry-on, the things you think you need to take versus the things you actually do take is a fun game for me.

    My most recent trip had a slightly different take on our typical domestic climbing adventure and my packing volume was restricted to a boatload – literally. We were going to take a boat down southern Utah’s Green River, camp on a sandbar, prepare Thanksgiving dinner, and climb desert towers. That’s a lot of shit to remember to bring, and it all had to fit on a raft. We would be somewhat remote, a day’s boat ride and drive from Moab, so forgetting an essential could range from a hassle to devastating. JT gave me his short list as he rushed out the door to work the day before we left: pruning shears, axe, hatchet, waders, two each of #4, #5 and #6 Camalots, and three cases of beer. I don’t know what concerned me more: the request for an axe or that we might be climbing something that would require all that wide gear.

    [Packing the boat along the shores of the Green River. Photo: BAG’s iphone]

    Continue reading "Three Rooms – Packing 101 with The BAG" »

    Deep Water Video Series – Ocean Adventures with Kohl Christensen



    Kohl Christensen's life balances the search for the biggest waves with building and farming at home in Hawaii. Deep Water, a new short video series, follows Kohl and his friends as they chase huge surf around the world.

    Hit the jump to watch episodes two and three.

    Continue reading "Deep Water Video Series – Ocean Adventures with Kohl Christensen" »

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