The Cleanest Line

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    In Search of the Place of Dreams

    Words & photos by Somira Sao

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    One of the primary reasons my husband James and I have gone sailing with our three kids (now ages 7, 5 and 2) has been to give them the gift of experiencing life in the wilderness. For those who decide to disconnect from the masses—whether it be at sea, in the mountains, river, surf or wherever your preferred environment is—choosing to connect with nature comes with its personal rewards.

    For the past four years we have sailed over 25,000 ocean miles as a family and lived full-time aboard our 40-foot sailboat Anasazi Girl. Our trade-wind routes have taken us across the North Atlantic, Equator and South Atlantic. We have rounded the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Leeuwin and Cape Reinga via the South Indian Ocean, Great Australian Bight, Tasman Sea and South Pacific.

    Above: Tormentina (3) and her brother Raivo (9 months) on their first offshore passage from Maine to France. North Atlantic (July 2011). All photos: Somira Sao

    Continue reading "In Search of the Place of Dreams" »

    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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    For the Love of Honey

    By Hank Gaskell

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    His hands were unlike other farmers. Not calloused, hard, cracked and stiff, but broad, flexible and quick. He seemed not to mind the thick white suit we were both wearing or the suffocating screen helmet. I felt like I was going to melt away.

    The deeply forested Waiho‘i Valley on Maui has countless wild bee hives that are vital to the flowering ecosystem. Avocado, mango, guava, ohia, rainbow eucalyptus and wild ginger thrive in fertile soil that’s fragmented by dark lava veins. The Kapia stream ribbons down through it all towards the ocean. At the base of the valley, nestled in a dead mango stump, a hive plagued a local fisherman and his family.

    The gnarled location of the hive forced my friend Kenny to be more attuned and work more smoothly than usual—he had been doing this for twenty years. When the bees attacked he remained calm and focused. With surgeon-like precision he worked the hive, angling the box and gently adjusting the combs to fit snugly. His movements were clever and patient yet eager. The white suit clung to my sweaty skin, making it easier for the bees to sting me, but I watched intently. I was hooked.

    Above: My girlfriend Malia and I inspect a frame from one of our hives to see if it’s ready to harvest. Hana, Hawai‘i. Photo: Anna Riedel

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    Patagonia Bike to Work Week 2015 – #ridehard4adam

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    Reno D.C. Recap

    By Gavin Back

    As with most years, Patagonia celebrated a belated Bike to Work Week (B2WW) due to business conflicts. And yet again we had fantastic participation. Here in Reno, we collectively rode 4,586 miles but the crown deservedly goes to our North American retail stores who together rode 5,833 miles—with extra kudos for our Freeport store colleagues who rode a huge 1,176 miles! For every mile ridden, Patagonia donated $1 to a local cycling orientated non-profit. This year, the Reno D.C. mileage money went to the Tahoe-Pyramid Bikeway, a non-profit that is spearheading construction of a bike path along the river Truckee, starting at Lake Tahoe and finishing at Pyramid Lake.

    Upon arriving at work on the Monday of B2WW, we received the worst possible news. One of our colleagues, Adam Excell in Toronto, had been struck and killed by a driver while cycling over the weekend.

    Above: Reno coffee riders honor Adam Excell. See more photos from Patagonia employees around the world at #ridehard4adam. Photo: ©Tyler Keck

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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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    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: 700

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    “I was looking for no less than a new way of living in this world for our entire society,” says Clay Shank. “Like, what’s the alternative to this capitalistic system that we have here?”

    Today, we bring you “700,” the story of Clay Shank’s ambitious goal to find a new way of life and his unlikely method: skateboarding 700 miles through the state of California, hiking the 210-mile John Muir Trail, climbing Mt. Whitney and Half Dome and, all the while, capturing a video portrait of the people living in California. But, first, Clay had to learn to talk to strangers.

    You can find Clay’s videos, including his newest film “Up To Us” and the trailer for his feature-length film “700 Miles” on his website clayshank.com.

     


    Listen to "700" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

    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.

    On the Road with Worn Wear – 2015 Spring Tour Recap

    Words, photos and illustration by Donnie Hedden

    In the spring of 2015, Patagonia hired me to document a lively traverse across the United States—the Worn Wear tour. The story is as follows.

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    “What in the heck is that thing you got there?” mutters a middle age lady smoking a cigarette out back of the service station. “It’s a mobile clothing repair wagon,” I tell her. “We’re going around the country fixing folks’ clothes so they don’t have to throw away their favorite jackets.” She looks off into the distance taking in the concept, sweat beading down her forehead—summer came early in East Tennessee. “Well, if I woulda known y’all were coming,” she exclaimed, “I woulda brought down my jeans. The damn knees keep blowing out!”

    She takes one last rip and puts out her cigarette. “You know, that’s a good idea you’ve got there. This country could use something like that. We buy so much crap and throw it away.” She gets to her feet. “You all travel safe and keep up the good work. I gotta get back to it.”

    Continue reading "On the Road with Worn Wear – 2015 Spring Tour Recap" »

    Watch “Denali” the Best of Festival Winner at the 5Point Film Festival

    Today, we’re pleased to share Denali, a film about our good friend, photographer Ben Moon and his beloved dog. Denali recently won the Best of Festival and People’s Choice awards at the 2015 5Point Film Festival.

    From Ben: “This was an incredibly challenging story for me to tell—lots of love and a massive thank you to Ben Knight and Skip Armstrong for making this film a truly moving and beautiful piece. You guys are my heroes! Huge shout out to Patagonia, First Descents, Ruffwear, Snow Peak, and Clif Bar for their support in making this film a reality. And big thanks to everyone else who was a part of this project.”

    Check out more of Ben’s stunning photography at benmoon.com.

    Video: Denali from FELT SOUL MEDIA on Vimeo.

    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.

     

    Earthquake in the Langtang Valley

    By Colin Haley

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    I got on a plane in Vancouver around midday on April 16. I was exhausted. After a four-month season in Patagonia, my six weeks back in North America turned out much less restful than I had imagined. Conditions had been excellent, and I couldn’t keep myself from going out in the mountains a bunch. The downside to my most successful ever season in Patagonia is that I was swamped with requests for photos, requests for writing, and a huge pile of related e-mails. I barely slept my last couple nights in BC, staying up late trying to catch up, and then finally closed my computer to head to the airport. I hadn’t caught up—not even close—but I was out of time. I finally just forced myself to let it go: “No one’s gonna die because you didn’t reply. It’s only e-mail.”

    Editor's note: Our hearts go out to all who were impacted by the recent earthquakes in Nepal. You can find ways to help at the end of this post. We're grateful to Colin for allowing us to share this story which first appeared on his personal blog, and we're so glad he's home safe.

    After a couple hours in the airport in Guangzhou, I boarded a plane for Kathmandu. In the last few days I had put in a lot of time to make sure I had all the necessary equipment packed, but beyond gear I don’t think I’ve ever started a climbing trip so clueless and unprepared. I’d never been to Nepal before, and knew almost nothing about it. I borrowed the Lonely Planet guidebook from some young Australian guys next to me on the plane, and did some last-minute studying. Around midnight on the 17th, I arrived at the house of Raphaelle, a young woman who is half Nepali and half French. My climbing partner, Aymeric Clouet, had arrived from France early that morning, and he stayed up to greet me.

    Above: This is the room in Gualboo’s lodge where Aymeric and I had been sleeping. I’m lucky that I happened to get up from my nap 15 minutes before the earthquake began. Photo: Colin Haley

    Continue reading "Earthquake in the Langtang Valley" »

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