The Cleanest Line

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    Effervescent Lunacy in Las Vegas

    Words and photos by Greta Hyland

    Effervescent Lunacy 8 

    The irony was not lost on me as I sat crossed legged in Las Vegas at a youth soccer tournament reading, The Solace of Open Spaces, by Gretel Ehrlich. The sound of traffic from the freeway merged with referees’ whistles and yelling coaches. I looked through the mountain of casinos hovering just beyond the concrete straps stretched in front of me at the expansive landscape beyond. Even with all the noise and obstacles it was still hauntingly alluring and drew my sight through the cityscape as though it were a ghost.

    I marveled at how even a city like Las Vegas could resemble a little island lost out at sea, so surrounded by space it is. It’s a common view in the American West but something you don’t notice as much in a city like Las Vegas. Somehow opening this particular book, in the midst of this particular city, made Las Vegas appealing in a way it had never been before.

    Continue reading "Effervescent Lunacy in Las Vegas" »

    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" »

    Green: The Old Red

    Words and photos by Michael Kew

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    “EXPECT ANOTHER ROUND OF STORM-FORCE WINDS, WITH HURRICANE-FORCE GUSTS POSSIBLE, ESPECIALLY IN THE VICINITY OF CAPE BLANCO. THIS WILL BE A VERY STRONG STORM. MARITIME AND COASTAL INTERESTS SHOULD TAKE ALL PRECAUTIONS NECESSARY TO PRESERVE LIFE AND PROPERTY.”

    By dawn, the damage was done—downed trees, flooding, thousands without power. The swell was huge and ripped apart by 70 mph gusts.

    A surf day? No.

    None of those for a while.

    Late that afternoon I sat on the couch and read “The Super Trees,” a feature in the October 2009 issue of National Geographic. It detailed Mike Fay’s and Lindsey Holm’s Redwood Transect, a yearlong, 1,800-mile, south-to-north hike through California’s coast redwood forests. Flanking their route, they’d found the world’s southernmost grove at Villa Creek in Big Sur; near the article’s end, one line struck me: “On the last day of their transect, as they hunted for the northernmost redwood near Oregon’s Chetco River….”

    Wait—I lived on the banks of the Chetco. And coast redwood is Oregon’s rarest type of forest.

    Continue reading "Green: The Old Red" »

    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: The Threshold Moment

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    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 Semi-Rad.com.

     


    Listen to "The Threshold Moment" 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.

    Have a great weekend everybody.

    Amelia the Tropicat: A Swell Companion [Updated]

    By Liz Clark, captain of Swell

    Amelia and Me

    I’ve had a few pets on Swell over the last nine years—most of them made their way aboard on their own. I don’t mind the geckos that often show up in a banana stock. They hide, so I rarely get to see them, but they are harmless and make cute coughing noises in the evening. I’ve hosted a wide variety of ants—from teeny fuzzy black ones to enormous shiny red ones. A roving wasp colony lives in my spinnaker pole from time to time, but we tend to give each other our space. Once a cricket turned up out of nowhere. I never saw him, but I adored his evening serenades until the day they were no more. While I was away on a trip to California, a newlywed rat couple from the boatyard where Swell was hauled moved aboard and raised four handsome rat babies who explored, chewed and pooped inside Swell from bow to stern. Their story had a rather gruesome ending … same song for the prolific cockroach family that sailed with me to Kiribati.

    Above: Liz Clark and her cat, Amelia, head back to Swell (outfitted with a kitty ladder in case water-loathing Amelia falls in the drink). Photo: Jody MacDonald

    Continue reading "Amelia the Tropicat: A Swell Companion [Updated]" »

    In the Land of the Misty Giants – Patagonia Vancouver celebrates grand opening with ‘zine and party

    By Danielle Egge

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    Until recently, our beautiful northern neighbor has gone underserved by the company. Though we’ve fought countless environmental battles in Canada and funded projects such as Groundswell, our brand brick-and-mortar presence has been minimal at best. Gallantly, Patagonia Toronto has held down the fort for us amidst all of the tuques and the, “ehs?”

    This is why we are beside ourselves with stoke to announce that Patagonia now has a second store in Canada! The store is located in Vancouver, British Columbia and sits on the corner of West 4th and Maple, in the heart of Kitsilano, a cozy, walkable neighborhood that’s bustling with folks drinking good coffee and riding cool bikes. While the store can’t boast Cardiff’s ocean views, it is just up the hill from Vancouver’s most popular local beach.

    Continue reading "In the Land of the Misty Giants – Patagonia Vancouver celebrates grand opening with ‘zine and party" »

    Dirtbag Diaries Podcast: El Avalanchisto

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    When Matt McKee first heard about the position forecasting avalanches for Minera Pimenton, a gold mine in the Chilean Andes, it sounded like the snow geek’s dream job. But mere hours after his plane touched down in Santiago, Matt started getting hints that maybe he had walked into a situation that more closely resembled a nightmare: a den of avalanche paths, a mine full of workers who didn’t believe in avalanches and a country that looked for someone to blame if things went wrong. Today, we bring you Matt’s story of trying to make it out alive.

    You can read Matt’s unabridged version of the story from the 2008 International Snow Science Workshop here.

     


    Listen to "El Avalanchisto" 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.

     

    Dirtbag Diaries: Adventure 1000

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

    Dbd_ep83

    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 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.

     

    Dave Rosenbarger 1976-2015

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    We are saddened today to give you the tragic news that Patagonia ski ambassador Dave Rosenbarger—“American Dave” as we knew him—died on Friday, January 23 when he was caught in an avalanche while skiing on the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif. Dave has been a part of the Patagonia family since 2010. Our hearts go out to Dave’s family and friends. He was an inspiration to many and his loss will be felt around the world.

    Josh Nielsen, Patagonia Global Marketing Director, Outdoor, shares this remembrance:   

    “He was the epitome of a pure passion skier—someone who didn’t do it for the cameras or for the limelight—and was deeply committed to the sport for all of the right reasons. Dave was a calculated risk taker and a talented athlete who dedicated his life to climbing and skiing some of the most challenging lines in the world, especially in Chamonix, his winter home. Dave was known for having an effortless style while skiing in steep and precarious places but also for his infectious glowing personality. He contributed to our Patagonia family in so many ways. He had a natural eye for product design and became one of our most articulate and valued product testers. He was beloved by fellow ambassadors, a friend to all and the catalyst for many powder-laden Chamonix adventures. Dave was one of a kind and will be deeply missed.”

    Above: David Rosenbarger stands below the North Face of Mont Blanc and looks across to the Chamonix Valley. Chamonix, France. Photo: Christian Pondella

    Continue reading "Dave Rosenbarger 1976-2015" »

    You Know What They Say About the Weather

    By Beau Fredlund

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    I'm sitting in a bar with Doug Chabot, director of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center. The man has more enthusiasm for snow science, alpine climbing and general life than about anyone I know. And the best part: it's infectious.

    We are both a couple beers deep before our pizza arrives. The conversation floats, with laughter and zest. We talk of the day, the avalanche activity we investigated and the landscape surrounding the tiny mountain town where I live and work as a ski guide. “It’s a special place, no doubt,” Doug says with authenticity. I nod my head and gesture with deep agreement. Nowhere else quite like it I figure, as far as quality mountain towns go. Obviously, the topography is an integral aspect, but it’s the weather and snowfall that sets the place apart.

    Above: Avalanche forecaster Doug Chabot, approaching the crown of a slab avalanche, just north of Cooke City, Montana. Photo: Beau Fredlund

    Continue reading "You Know What They Say About the Weather" »

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