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    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

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    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" »

    Morning People

    By Heather Sterling

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    It’s early morning and our pre-dawn bedroom is see-your-breath freezing. But I’m curled up with my daughter Lily, snug in our cozy nest of blankets. I’m in that happy place between dreaming and waking. A habitual late-riser, I relish long, lazy mornings. I love adventure, I just prefer to initiate it after 9:00 a.m. and a good dose of caffeine.

    Suddenly, I am aware of him; my husband John. I open one eye and see him standing in the doorway, fully dressed for the day that I now remember we have planned to spend backcountry skiing. I suspect that the tea has been brewed and the car already loaded. My brow furrows and dark thoughts cloud my groggy mind.

    Above: Heather, John and Lily Sterling. Photo: Sterling Family Archive

    Continue reading "Morning People" »

    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. 

    Continue reading "Shipping Out for the Environment" »

    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.

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