The Cleanest Line

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    Tying the Room Together - 2014 American Alpine Club Annual Benefit, featuring Yvon Chouinard

    By Kelly Cordes

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    “Holy guacamole,” I mumbled to myself. “There are a lot of ties in this room.” Lots of exquisite dresses, too.

    I was at the recent American Alpine Club Annual Benefit Dinner, which begs the question of place: What was my broke ass doing in a VIP seat, wearing a borrowed bow tie, at a fancy fundraiser?

    It just so happens that I know people who know people who know people. Well, OK, the secret to my magic trick: Patagonia was the title sponsor, Yvon Chouinard the keynote speaker, and the dinner was in Denver – an hour and a half from my cabin in Estes Park.

    I agonized over wardrobe. As a person, I’d planned on jeans and a T-shirt. After all, it shouldn’t matter how you look on the outside. Then again, we have cultural norms, and I didn’t want to disrespect anyone, no matter how silly the norm. Ahhh, the issues that burn.

    [Above: We... are... family... Kelly CordesKate RutherfordSteve HouseLynn HillYvon ChouinardBrittany Griffith and Timmy O'Neill. Photo: Lee Pruitt] 

    Continue reading "Tying the Room Together - 2014 American Alpine Club Annual Benefit, featuring Yvon Chouinard" »

    Worn Wear – a Film About the Stories We Wear



    We would like to invite you to be among the first to watch Worn Wear, a new film from Keith, Lauren, Chris, and Dan Malloy.

    Worn Wear is an exploration of quality – in the things we own and the lives we live. This short film takes you to an off-the-grid surf camp in Baja, Mexico; a family's maple syrup harvest in Contoocook, New Hampshire; an organic farm in Ojai, California; and into the lives of a champion skier, a National Geographic photographer, and a legendary alpinist. It also features exclusive interviews with Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard.

    Released as an antidote to the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping frenzy, Worn Wear is an invitation to celebrate the stuff you already own.

    [Video: Worn Wear - a Film About the Stories We Wear]

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    Working for Wildness – Patagonia Environmental Initiatives 2013

    By Yvon Chouinard

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    “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” – Thoreau

    This year, Patagonia will be 40 years old. There is much to celebrate on this anniversary, but what I am proudest of is the support we’ve given the people who do the real work to save wildness: grassroots activists.

    I’m not an activist. I don’t really have the guts to be on the front lines. But I have supported activists ever since a young man gave a slide show in 1972 at a city council meeting in Ventura. What was proposed was an extension of utilities, roads and urban services across the Ventura River to support a planned freeway-related commercial development on the western floodplain near the river’s mouth. A lot of scientists got up to speak in support of the project. They said it wouldn’t hurt the river because it was already “dead.” Mark Capelli, who was a young graduate student and called himself “Friends of the Ventura River,” then gave a slide show showing all the life that was still in the river: eels, birds, raccoons. He pointed out there were still 50 steelhead showing up each year to migrate upstream. That brought the house down. The project was eventually stopped. He showed me what one person can do. He gave me hope. We gave him desk space.

    [Above: After 40 years, we still follow an early vision to protect wilderness for the sake of wilderness. Lost Arrow Spire, Yosemite Valley, California. Photo: Glen Denny]

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    Introducing “$20 Million & Change” and Patagonia Works – A Holding Company for the Environment

    By Yvon Chouinard

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    I don’t like to think of myself as a businessman. I’ve made no secret that I hold a fairly skeptical view of the business world. That said, Patagonia, the company my wife and I founded four decades ago, has grown up to be — by global standards — a medium-size business. And that bestows on our family a serious responsibility. The last line of Patagonia’s mission statement is “… use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” We’ve always taken that seriously.

    Three examples: Every year for 30 years, Patagonia has donated one percent of its sales to grassroots environmental organizations. We helped initiate the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, an organization of companies that produces more than a third of the clothing and footwear on the planet. In a very short time, the Coalition has launched an index of social and environmental performance that designers (and eventually consumers) can use to make better decisions when developing products or choosing materials. And last year we became one of California’s first B Corps (benefit corporations), which means that the values that helped make our company successful are now etched into our legal charter.

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    Thinking Like a Mountain Climber

    by Charissa Rujanavech

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    Yvon Chouinard first came onto my radar in 1999.

    I was a young lass from the Midwest, transplanted for the summer in southern Utah and awestruck by the dramatic landscapes of the West. Having never traveled beyond the forests of Missouri, I was eager to explore these wild mountains, deserts, and rivers. I soon discovered what would become my greatest passion: rock climbing.

    My early climbing mentors taught me lessons in balance and delicate footwork during the day, and recounted stories of the Yosemite Golden Age rock legends over the campfire at night. The names of Salathé, Frost, Robbins, Pratt, and Chouinard were brought to life, through tales of near-mythical ascents up immense granite walls I couldn’t even begin to imagine tackling.

    [Yvon Chouinard holds forth at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Photo: Anthony Clark.]

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    I Voted the Environment

    by Yvon Chouinard

    Now that the election is over, our work continues. I support the front-line activists, the river keepers and tree sitters who work to save a single patch of land or stretch of water. Today in the United States, small groups of kayakers and fishermen work tirelessly to bring down dams; duck hunters toil to preserve wetlands. And it’s mothers who exert the most pressure to clean up local toxic landfills. Activism never dies. Keep up the good work.

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    Stay involved with us: http://www.patagonia.com/enviro

     

    America: the DamNation

    by Katie Klingsporn

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    Despite their imposing numbers and size, most people never give dams a second thought.

    Patagonia founder and owner Yvon Chouinard is not one of those people.

    When he sees dams, he sees broken waterways, an antiquated way of thinking and a means of generating energy that is far from green. He also sees the potential to mend the damage by taking down dams.

    “I’m a fisherman, and I want to see fish come back to these rivers,” Chouinard said. “I want to establish that when you put in a dam or when you dig an open-pit mine or scrape down a mountain, that you have to restore it. There’s a public trust there and you have to restore it.”

    [Above: Executive Producer of DamNation and Patagonia founder, Yvon Chouinard, has long been an advocate of dam busting and protecting free flowing rivers. Photo: Tim Davis.]

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    What We Do For a Living - An Excerpt from "The Responsible Company"

    by Yvon Chouinard & Vincent Stanley

    New PictureWe are still in the earliest stages of learning how what we do for a living both threatens nature and fails to meet our deepest human needs. The impoverishment of our world and the devaluing of the priceless undermine our physical and economic well-being.

    Yet the depth and breadth of technological innovation of the past few decades shows that we have not lost our most useful gifts: humans are ingenious, adaptive, clever. We also have moral capacity, compassion for life, and an appetite for justice. We now need to more fully engage these gifts to make economic life more socially just and environmentally responsible, and less destructive to nature and the commons that sustain us.

    This book aims to sketch, in light of our environmental crisis and economic sea change, the elements of business responsibility for our time, when everyone in business at every level has to deal with the unintended consequences of a 200-year-old industrial model that can no longer be sustained ecologically, socially, or financially.

    Continue reading "What We Do For a Living - An Excerpt from "The Responsible Company"" »

    A Word …

    by Yvon Chouinard

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    The siege tactic used on Cerro Torre’s Compressor Route is perhaps the most egregious example of alpinism’s egoistic “manifest destiny” philosophy, one that calls for conquering the mountain by any means, then leaving in place the pitons, bolts, ropes and cables. This debases a route, leaving it accessible to those without the skill or nerve to climb in good style. It is the alpinist’s equivalent of hunting with headlights.

    Unfortunately, you can see the damage in so many places, in the Dolomites especially, where routes first done in great style in the 1920s now sport bolts every few meters.

    Thank God there are a few young climbers like Hayden Kennedy and Jason Kruk who exemplify the best qualities of alpinism. The magnificent southeast ridge of Cerro Torre has been unshackled and can now be an inspiration to future alpinists who have the courage to climb rather than merely summit by any possible means.

    [Above: Doug Tompkins and Yvon Chouinard in Patagonia. Conservacion Patagonica archives. Photo: Rick Ridgeway]

    Yvon Chouinard is the owner and founder of Patagonia, Inc. In 1968, he made the historic first ascent of the California Route on Fitz Roy, the highest peak in the Chalten Massif, with Doug Tompkins, Dick Dorworth, Lito Tejada-Flores and Chris Jones. His 1972 Chouinard Equipment catalog was hugely influential in the clean climbing movement (the title of this post harks back to the introduction), and relates to the recent controversy surrounding Cerro Torre. It’s also refreshing to know that, as the decades roll past, Yvon still practices what he preaches. For more on the Cerro Torre controversy, check out Kelly Cordes’ recent post and Doug Tompkins’ letter to Carlos Comesaña on La Cachaña. 

    The Master's Apprentice - Yvon Chouinard on Climbing with Fred Beckey

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    In honor of the release of Fred Beckey's 100 Favorite North American Climbs from Patagonia Books, we assembled this short podcast. Have a listen and you'll hear Patagonia's founder, Yvon Chouinard, talking about his alpine apprenticeship with sensei Fred Beckey in 1961.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "The Master's Apprentice" by Yvon Chouinard
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    This story first appeared in Alpinist 14, winter 2005. For more epic climbing stories, visit alpinist.com to subscribe to the magazine.

    The featured music is William Elliott Whitmore performing his song "Hard Times" a Patagonia Music Benefit Track for Urban Farming and their mission to create an abundance of food for people in need by planting, supporting and encouraging the establishment of gardens on unused land and spaces. Head over to Patagonia Music to hear more podcasts and more benefit tracks for non-profit environmental groups.

    Fred Beckey's 100 Favorite North American Climbs
    is available now from Patagonia.com and select book sellers. In the book, Fred offers up his characteristic mix of route tips, natural history and climbing lore for his 100 favorite climbs (with honorable mentions of a few more) -- it's the magnum opus of America's most prolific first ascensionist. Check out Patagonia Books for more titles.

     

    One Percent for the Planet
    © 2010 Patagonia, Inc.