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    Fitz’s Fall Layering System – Suggestions for dressing your child in the cold

    By Rebecca Caldwell

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    Today’s post comes from Rebecca Caldwell, photographer and wife to Patagonia climbing ambassador Tommy Caldwell, and mama to their son, Fitz. She discovered the climbing lifestyle five years ago and now spends more time soaking up the beautiful places around the world than at home. They share their somewhat unconventional lifestyle with Fitz, and hope to encourage others to explore the outdoors with their kids, too.

    Every autumn since I’ve known Tommy we have loaded up our van, left our home in Estes Park, Colorado, and driven to Yosemite National Park for him to work on his mega-project, The Dawn Wall, on the monolithic El Capitan. After we had Fitz we couldn’t wait to share this breathtaking place with him. This time of year the leaves turn golden and fall to the ground, snow dusts the valley rim, the warm California sun plays hide and seek behind the south walls as it moves from east to west, and the cold sinks into our temporary home in Upper Pines campground. Van life with Fitz means dealing with constant weather changes and variations. Making sure he’s warm enough, but not too warm, is an ongoing challenge. As an active adult it’s easy to find information about layering systems for your endeavors, but rarely do people talk about layering systems for kids.

    Above: Fitz racking up for Moby Dick. Photo: Rebecca Caldwell

    Continue reading "Fitz’s Fall Layering System – Suggestions for dressing your child in the cold" »

    Shipping Out for the Environment

    By Gavin Back

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    This summer, the Patagonia Shipping Department in Reno, Nevada helped two local environmental non-profits. We were able to work for the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund and the Sugar Pine Foundation. This was made possible by the environmental internship program Patagonia offers to every employee.

    Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund (HVWHPF) is a group based on the southern edge of Reno. Their mission is “to protect and preserve the wild horses that settle in the foothills surrounding Hidden Valley.” Work includes rescuing and protecting horses that have been captured and are for sale at auction, often to slaughterhouses, and helping to feed these iconic wild animals of the West during the winter months. The wild horses that roam the West play an important role, grazing vast expanses of the desert which, in turn, can help control the proliferation of devastating wild fires.

    Above: Chris shows off his fine Sugar Pine planting skills. All photos courtesy of the Patagonia Shipping Department. 

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    Percebeiros: The Hunter-Gatherers of Europe’s Rugged Coastlines

    By Tony Butt

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    Until recently in our evolutionary history as a species, humans couldn't extract resources faster than those resources were renewed. Even if we wanted to we couldn’t because Nature put a limit on the amount we could physically take.

    Then, sometime within the last few thousand years, we crossed a tipping point and now we are quickly and unashamedly depleting our own resource base. Our addiction to technology and unsustainable living has spread to almost every corner of the globe. For example, where I live in northwest Iberia, there are no large cities but there are steelworks, paper mills, aluminium factories and a coal-fired power station right next to the coast. Much of the landscape is scarred by open-cast mines and quarries, and the mountains are planted with eucalyptus—an invasive species that can harm the ecosystem. These industries are a source of employment for a local population who could not imagine an alternative.

    However, there are a few groups of people in this area who make a living in a much more sustainable way. One such group are the percebeiros, or collectors of goose barnacles. A surprising number of my surfing friends along this coast are percebeiros, so I thought I would talk to them about their work, and find out how being a surfer and being a percebeiro go hand in hand.

    Above: Elias Vazquez uses his biztonta to collect goose barbacles. Photo: Tony Butt

    Continue reading "Percebeiros: The Hunter-Gatherers of Europe’s Rugged Coastlines" »

    Dirtbag Diaires: What You're Handed

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    Regardless of how you choose to play outside, if someone gets hurt in the mountains, the first step on the checklist remains the same: “scene safety”—you make sure the thing that hurt your buddy isn't going to hurt you too. But there's no checklist for emotional safety when things go wrong. Today we bring you the story of a family, an accident and the repercussions they navigated for years afterwards.

     


    Listen to "What You're Handed" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to past episodes, featured music and to pledge your support. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, RSS, SoundCloud and Stitcher, 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: Tales of Terror Vol. 5

    By Fitz & Becca Cahall

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    Ghost stories. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, ghost stories have a way of seeping into your mind. And, if they're really good, suddenly, that soft rapping on the window or the flickering lights become more ominous--like we've primed out minds to seek another explanation. In part, that's the fun of ghost stories. But how do we explain those things we had no intention of seeing? Our Tales of Terror winners, Justin Gero and Melina Coogan, present tales of seeing something they really, really didn't want to.

     


    Listen to "Tales of Terror Vol. 5" by The Dirtbag Diaries on Soundcloud.

     

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    Happy Halloween from your hosts, the Cahall family! Photo: Becca Cahall

     

    Visit dirtbagdiaries.com for links to past episodes, featured music and to pledge your support. You can subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, RSS, SoundCloud and Stitcher, or connect with the Dirtbag Diaries community on Facebook and Twitter. The Dirtbag Diaries is a Duct Tape Then Beer production. Graphics by Walker Cahall.

    An excerpt from The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains by Barry Blanchard

    By Barry Blanchard

    Patagonia is proud to announce our latest publication: Barry Blanchard’s memoir, The Calling.

    With heart-pounding descriptions of avalanches and treacherous ascents, Blanchard chronicles his transformation from a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks to one of the most respected alpinists in the world. This is the story of the culture of climbing in the days of punk rock, spurred on by the rhythm of adrenaline and the arrogance of youth. It is also a portrait of the power of the mountains to lift us—physically, emotionally, intellectually, spiritually—and the depths of relationships based on total trust in the person at the other end of a rope. Includes climbs with renowned alpinists such as Kevin Doyle, Mark Twight, David Cheesmond and Ward Robinson.

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    Chapter 1

    I SAW THE AVALANCHE COMING. It charged over the step of dirty brown ice above like a breaking wave of black water. It hammered back down into the gulley, driving into us like the fist of god, and I screamed.

    The avalanche slapped my crampons out from under me, and I was folded in half. I was going to die. The animal in me fought to force my hand into the torrent, to grab something solid. My crampons raked over the ice as I stumbled, thrusting my knees into the pressure of the onslaught, trying to get my feet under me. I shouted and I thrashed and the surging snow pushed my arms down at the same time that it swept my feet out to flap like rope-anchored logs in a strong current. My anchor leash was as tight as cable; it hummed with a high-frequency vibration that was transmitted into my bowels along the waist-belt of my harness. My senses where overcome; I didn’t know which way was up. I was terrified.

    Continue reading "An excerpt from The Calling: A Life Rocked by Mountains by Barry Blanchard" »

    Liz Daley 1985-2014

    By Josh Nielsen, Caroline Gleich, Alex Yoder & Forrest Shearer, photos by Garrett Grove

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    Earlier this week, we received the tragic news that Liz Daley, a former Patagonia snow ambassador, was killed in an avalanche on Monday in the Fitz Roy Massif region of Argentina. Our hearts go out to Liz’s family and friends.

    Liz was an amazing person known for her warm outgoing personality, matched by a smile and laugh that left a mark on anyone who spent time with her. While at Patagonia, Liz worked closely with the snow product team, inspiring design, testing gear and helping to refine what is now our current women’s line. Truly passionate and skilled, Liz had a unique combination of both snowboarding and climbing talent that took her on many adventures around the world, which we always enjoyed sharing.

    Continue reading "Liz Daley 1985-2014" »

    The Voyage(s) of the Cormorant, Part 3

    By Christian Beamish

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    “Check out that fin,” my buddy, Dillon Joyce, said.

    And there it was, 50 feet off the stern, an unmistakable dorsal, weaving in a slow “S” through the water. Wasn’t the sharp triangle-shape of a whitey, and as we were five- or six-miles out from Santa Cruz Island on our long sail back to the mainland, my best guess is that we were seeing a rather large blue shark. Nothing fearful about a blue shark, even if we sat a mere foot off the water aboard Cormorant. And compared to the wild ride of the day before, we were content to enjoy the light winds and the sight of thriving sea life in the Santa Barbara Channel.

    Editor’s note: If you’re just joining us, catch up with Part 1 and Part 2.

    I’d ordered a new pintle, cast in bronze by Classic Marine in the UK, fixed the rudder and returned to Santa Rosa to retrieve Cormorant. It happened that Dillon, a young surfer from San Clemente with whom I’ve sailed the islands once before, was planning a hiking trip out there and we agreed to travel together. Solitude has its place, but the safety and company of a good friend is priceless. The ranger had offered to give us a ride out to the backside of the island, as hiking with all the gear for the return sail would be impractical, and he met us at the dock.

    Above: A very simple arrangement: The haliyard runs through a hole in the top of the mast and ties off on a cleat—no stays, no fuss. Photo: Dillon Joyce

    Continue reading "The Voyage(s) of the Cormorant, Part 3" »

    The Voyage(s) of the Cormorant, Part 2

    By Christian Beamish

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    When the pintle snapped I felt a moment’s disbelief and then something like panic spark down in my belly. But I tamped that feeling with a long drink of water and a pep talk, noting to myself that I was not injured, that I had plenty of food and water, and that the conditions were calm. Johnson’s Lee, a good anchorage on the southwest corner of the island, was about five miles down and I draped a sarong over the top of my ball cap and tucked it in to my long-sleeve shirt for sun protection, then leaned into steady pulls on the oars with the thought that I might meet someone at the anchorage who could help me.

    Editor’s note: In case you missed it, catch up with Part 1. Photos: Christian Beamish

    Coming in close along shore I had a good view of desolate beaches and the scrub canyons that led upwards, the water below was aquarium clear and revealing sand one moment, rock reef and kelp the next. At a corner of rock shelves and low dunes, two big elephant seals pushed against each other chest-to-chest without much enthusiasm for the fight, their percussive groans having no effect on the females in deep slumber further up the sand. I kept on, steadily rowing, not wanting to squander the momentum I had gathered. But I stopped occasionally for water and to shake the numbness from my hands. When a light breeze started up a couple of hours later I raised sail and steered with an oar, Polynesian style.

    Continue reading "The Voyage(s) of the Cormorant, Part 2" »

    The Voyage(s) of the Cormorant, Part 1

    By Christian Beamish

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    If I’ve learned anything in these recent years of open boat adventuring aboard my 18-footer, Cormorant, it’s that everything is fine until it isn’t. But also, as Yvon says, “The real adventure starts when something goes wrong…”

    Late July, 2014—Shoving off from Gaviota for the 27-mile crossing to San Miguel Island came with a new kind of anxiety, as I no longer travel solo in life but am now married with a soon-to-be three-year-old daughter. When the State Parks Lifeguard pointed to Natasha and our little girl, Josephine, and asked me if I was planning to bring them along, I vehemently replied, “Nooo!” aghast at the thought.

    But another thought came on its heels, and that was that if it this sailing journey was too dangerous to consider bringing my young family along, why was it OK to go alone? I’ve rationalized this by telling myself that I pick my days carefully (the forecast was for light-to-moderate winds), wear a lifejacket and lifeline, and carry a Spot satellite device if I really blow it and need to be rescued. So with the mental shrug of the shoulders that it takes to do these types of trips, I pulled Cormorant off the trailer, got her down the beach, and kissed my ladies goodbye.

    Above: High-seas selfie, 15-miles into a 27-mile crossing. All photos by Christian Beamish

    Continue reading "The Voyage(s) of the Cormorant, Part 1" »

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