Patagonia November Journal 2018

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W H A T W A S L E F T page 42

A tree can’t vocalize or write itself into our records: We must assign them importance, even though they always stand taller, grander, and very often, longer than us. T R E E L I N E page 8

Previous: Waji the spray-shaper emerges from his most recent creation, mustache first. Hokkaido, Japan. G A R R E T T G R O V E

Climbing itself—with its emphasis on initiative, boldness and balance—moves against the technological solution. MY LIFE ON ICE page 64

We were free from thinking about existing routes or grades and just climbed using our own senses.






If the salmon don’t arrive by the evening of the 17th, I walk down through the woods to stand in the dark and listen for them. L E S S O N S F R O M T H E R I V E R page 86


B R U C E H I L L R E M E M B E R E D page 90

Treeline Trees are our oldest living companions. They record time, transmit messages through their roots, and form communities that grant us—through shade, shelter and an anchor for the snowpack—a measure of safety and freedom. Treeline is our new film about them and a few mountain-loving folks among three extraordinary forests in Japan, British Columbia and Nevada. Here are some notes and images that we made while making Treeline, on tour in Patagonia stores this fall.

Trees are intertwined with human existence—through religion, in times of war, in standing for what we’ll fight to protect, with our hopes and wishes that we share. They stand implanted in our own history. There’s a whole world of legendary trunks out there, like the Bodhi Tree in India—the canopy under which Prince Siddhärtha transformed into the Buddha. The Wishing Tree in Portland, Oregon—a horse chestnut that boasts the written hopes of both locals and visitors, who tie notecards to its branches until they’re whisked away by wind and rain. The Hiroshima Bonsai, one of the oldest bonsai in the world, that survived the atomic bomb in a nursery just two miles from the epicenter. Luna, the coastal redwood that Julia Butterfly Hill occupied for 738 days starting in 1997 to protect her from being cut by the Pacific Lumber Company.* But a tree can’t vocalize or write itself into our records: We must assign them importance, even though they always stand taller, grander, and very often, longer than us. There’s a necessary humility that

arises from simply noticing our barked, gnarled and rooted companions. When we travel in winter through the forest, we are passing through the trees’ homes and communities, weaving ourselves into their lives and ecosystems, but we often tell our stories and not theirs. What about the intersection of us and the trees? Is it enough just to recognize that they’re there? Does this gesture make us a symbiont of the woody tribe? Snowboarding or skiing through the trees is a lifeline, providing refuge for winter days when the alpine snowpack is sketchy. It’s pure joy. It’s powdery cruising in December when it’s dark at 3:30 p.m. and you’ve had your hood up all day—hooting and hollering through birch, spruce, cedar and pine—finding pillows to launch along the way. Forests can be a giddy, expansive playground and serious haven of safety, both at the same time. When we ride through a forest, we have a fleeting opportunity to notice how trees influence us, to understand how they redefine our own winter-loving lives.


Left: In the “y” or the top of the “x”? Alex Yoder in a secret spot outside Niseko. Hokkaido, Japan. Previous: Most trees in Japanese public spaces are highly manicured from the beginning of their life to craft a distinct aesthetic, like this intricate pine entanglement in the Yamagata Prefecture. Honshu, Japan. A L L P H OTO S: G A R R E T T G R O V E

*From Wise Trees, by Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, 2017, Abrams, New York.



I grew up tree skiing in Rossland, British Columbia. When I was still pretty young, I remember skiing with a girl visiting from Tahoe and losing her in the forest. “We don’t really ski the trees at home,” she said when we were reunited. And I just thought, isn’t that what skiing is? The forest is my safe place. I’ve been lucky to ski in incredible places around the world, but there is something about my new home ranges near Revelstoke— the Monashees and Selkirks—that keeps me connected, glued, rooted. You’d think I’d get tired of going to the same places, but by touring through the local treescapes, I’ve woken up to the dynamic details of the

forest. The way the moss hangs or the light shimmers in certain patches—the silver shine on the bark of a massive cedar that makes it look like it’s glowing from the inside out. I see something new every day. Revelstoke was basically snowed in for four months last winter, which pulled folks into the mountains to the low, shadowy band of cedars that don’t often keep good snow. Normally, because the old-growth live at such a low elevation, we only pass through them on our way up the mountain. When it does snow enough down low, the carpet of white around them easily melts. Or the snow doesn’t pile up to make it ski-worthy because of the forest canopy.

Above: Leah Evans approaching a cedar “mother tree” at the bottom of the Womb, a slide path off Mount Macpherson near Revelstoke, British Columbia. Forest ecologist Suzanne Simard has helped us understand that mother trees send nutrients to the surrounding forest, increasing the resilience of an entire network of trees. Lef t: Evans in the ar tful pause between turns and oldgrowth cedar. Skiing with these 120- to 250-year-old trees is becoming a rarity in British Columbia as snow levels rise.


L as t winter was special. We got to converse with the wise old-growth while navigating up on skins and weaving our way down through them. They create such a beautiful pattern for skiing because not much else grows right next to them—you can flow and dance because they give you the space. Like an artful pause in a powerful public speech, skiing through these cedars provides a split second to reflect, but then calls you to engage again. You actually have time between turns to notice the trees. 12

If you plant a tree, you want to watch it grow. You create a kinship with it. I didn’t plant the old-growth, but I feel we’re kin; they remind me of my own histor y and where I come from. Life as a skier in British Columbia can connect you to trees because you spend so much time in the mountains, but I don’t think that automatically makes you able to understand them. I believe the trees need people to protect them. The ones who truly want to grasp their presence. The ones who feel like when they’re together, they’re at home.


When Patagonia skiing ambassador Evans isn't crushing backyard pillows, directing her series of women’s freeskiing camps or making snacks for friends on the skin track, she can be found on the dance floor or admiring local trees.

Above: “We skied many days off the Begbie Shoulder in perfect conditions all the way to the road,” says Evans. “I think it’s the most snow in a season I’ve ever experienced so consistently.” Revelstoke, British Columbia. Left: Sharing the commute with logging vehicles, trucks loaded with snowmobiles and other skiers headed back into town on the 2-plus-mile trek to the car after laps on the Begbie Shoulder. Revelstoke, British Columbia. Opposite: Making her way through a previously logged section of the inland temperate rainforest near Revelstoke, British Columbia, Evans skis among the stumps and new growth. Some old-growth cedars remain, many bearing the marks of angry chain saws.


The Core A S TO L D BY TA R O TA M A I

Riding in Niseko, Hokkaido, mostly means riding through trees. Most are heavily bent, hard birch deciduous trees, reaching their branches wide to their sides. Their sporadic spacing pulls each rider’s creativity to the front. The forest and the gentle angulation of the slopes have made a strong impact on the board design for my snowboard company, Gentemstick, too. The tail, base and sidecut designs have been adjusted to carve the snow freely, and there’s a special type of rocker in the nose to smoothly approach transitions in concave terrain. Many other thoughts have come from riding in these forests—the ultimate goal is to unify with the natural environment. If your

aim is to go as fast as possible or to win a competition, you use whatever materials allow you to achieve that goal. There are many kinds of materials in this world, but I believe wood is the best when it comes to the riding feel I want. Wood is essential in our lives and can be found relatively easily. As a core material, different woods can offer a variety of properties. However, using wood means we can’t waste it. I don’t want to make disposable boards. There is one forest where I find the most prestigious wood for core material. It’s a forest with a beautiful stream, home to the amago trout that boast admirable red dots on their bodies. There is a special place in that

Left: “There’s always a strong tree that reigns in each forest,” says Taro Tamai. “Even if I can’t find that specific one, I can sure feel its presence. If I encounter one, I accept that they’ll simply and silently look after me.” Right: This Cryptomeria corridor near the Togakushi Shrine in the Nagano Prefecture pulls tree-seeking crowds from Tokyo to walk through towering Japanese red-cedar, pay their respects to nature and ask for the protection of something in their lives. Honshu, Japan.


Above: A priest performing a ritual inside the “jinja,� or shrine, beyond a torii gate. Torii gates mark the line between the world of humans and the world of the gods. Hokkaido, Japan. Right: Tamai harnessing the upside of a natural quarter pipe on the flanks below Mount Yotei. Hokkaido, Japan.


The ultimate goal is to unify with the natural environment.

forest, which is restricted to public access. Back in the Feudal era, the shogun of that time, Ieyasu Tokugawa, needed cypress trees to build his castles so the forest was clear-cut. Afterward, the forest was managed for the next 300 years and has also become home for the special hinoki (cypress) trees. Every 20 years, hinoki are used for the restoration ceremony of the 2,000-year-old Shinto shrine Ise Jingu. When they thin that forest for the ceremony, I use the leftover wood for the

core of my boards. Young hinoki trees are supple and the best for making snowboard cores. Thanks to the people living in Uematsu Town, I’m allowed access to good-quality straight lumber without knots. Those beautiful hinoki timber cores provide unparalleled riding performance for weaving through trees. Gentemstick boards are a physical manifestation of the philosophies I’ve developed by listening to nature and hearing the forests speak.


Tamai is known as a pioneer of the snow-​ surfing movement. His passion to live in harmony with nature comes from a childhood escaping the tussle of Tokyo to the mountains and sea. He lives with his family in Niseko, where he meditates on every snowy undulation in the nearby mountains and forests.



From Los Angeles, we’d driven through Las Vegas and onto the loneliest stretch of highway in America toward Ely, Nevada. It was meant to be a trip spent skiing and shooting photos in the bristlecone pine forest high in the peaks of Nevada’s Great Basin National Park. By the end of the eighth day, we would retreat sick, exhausted, empty-handed and a little spooked. Filmmaker Jordan Manley and I had come from sea level and figured we must have altitude sickness the first day. The town of Ely sits at over 6,000 feet, and after we’d hiked to the summit of Mount Washington at 11,658 feet to find the bristlecones, we both felt terrible. We thought it was a moment of recalibration—adjusting to the harsh climate where the trees thrive. We skied down and turned in for a rotten night’s sleep.


The next day we were snowed out, and for our third day Carston Oliver joined us, fresh from a trip to India. Partway up that day’s 5,000-foot ascent, he was violently ill, puking and shitting nonstop (very likely a dose of cholera, which a partner on his trip had already been diagnosed with). Jordan and I continued on to the bristlecones and stood quietly for a few hours, staring at the trees. It was cold. Windy. Rime covered everything. The bristlecone pines in that area are 1,000 to 3,000 years old, and it’s eye-​open­ing to think of all that has happened in their lifetimes. In just the last 150 years, they’ve patiently watched humans migrate into the valley below and start mining the very mountain they have sat upon for millennia. Within a few decades those mine shafts sat vacant, and

Above: Carston Oliver stands atop Mount Washington, Nevada, looking out on the ranches, wind farms and arid desert below. Right: Honored by Grove, Manley and Oliver as “the Old Friend,” this 8- to 10-foot bristlecone stands ragged without the protection of other trees nearby, most of its roots above ground.

Opposite (both): Two days prior, the forest floor was completely brown. A quick-moving storm laid down just enough snow for the crew to make their way on skis into the rarely explored (during winter) Great Basin National Park. White Pine County, Nevada. Left: The bristlecone curse or cholera? Oliver still battling an unknown sickness on the last day of the trip, leaving him dehydrated and needing to rest or empty his insides every 40 minutes.

now wind turbines populate the flat expanses of land that were once ignored. In that grove, time changed, but I’m not sure if it sped up or slowed down. All I know is that we were in their place. The view from where we sat was of the valley bottom miles below, sparsely dotted with sage and juniper. Brown. Dry. Being up there with the bristlecones was like seeing from an enlightened being’s point of view, removed from our society and its “knowledge” in an unaltered zone. During those hours of waiting and staring, I wondered how many people have stood with these trees in the winter. It’s not an easy place to get to in March—or anytime, for that matter. This forest exists in the middle of nowhere. How do the trees survive? There’s no soil. It’s all rock. What are they rooted in? How do they get their nutrients? They never have a good season—it’s either extremely hot and dry, or brutally cold, snowy and windy. Our small, beat-up team went through 12 packs of toilet paper in four days. Jordan

and I had realized we probably didn’t have altitude sickness, but rather food poisoning from one of the few restaurants open in Ely. Carston battled with the Indian malady day after day, lying in the snow, face white, lips blue. We all tried to rally, but it began to feel like we just weren’t supposed to be there, like skiing shouldn’t be shot there. A human, especially a skier, looks foreign in the bristlecone landscape anyway, and I didn’t like feeling that we were pushing our own narrative on these trees. So we were done. In eight days there, I got one good ski shot. I’m not overtly spiritual. But I remember taking a photo of one bristlecone pine and instantly feeling pretty disturbed. Lying awake that night, I had the sense the trees were telling us to leave. Then I had a dream that echoed the same message. When I look at the photos now, I still have vivid memories of that dream. It’s always superquiet, and just like in real life, there’s nothing else there but the bristlecones. No shrubs or other trees. No wildlife. No skiers.


Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Grove is one of the only photographers in the world without an Instagram account. Instead, find his work everywhere from skate magazines to The New Yorker. He stays rooted in capturing snowy mountains like any true Washingtonian should. Grove took the photos in support of Treeline.


Rooted in Facts Trees face many of the same challenges we do: a depleted ozone layer, the effects of deforestation, and a rapidly warming climate, to name a few. As we learn more about our silent companions from people like Canadian ecologist Suzanne Simard, who 20 years ago discovered that trees communicate with each other through fungi networks, we become better equipped to help them just as they help us. Compiled by Chris Kassar.

200 Million Years Age of “the most ancient living tree” species, Ginkgo biloba (aka the ginkgo tree).

26 Feet Height some fungi achieved before trees grew on Earth, according to fossil records.

18 Inches Depth at which most tree roots can be found because growing conditions are best there.

7 Miles Length of mycelium in a single pinch of dirt. Mycelium is a kind of fungi freeway—tubular threads that attach to tree roots, enabling trees to communicate their needs to other trees, send each other nutrients and broadcast warning signals. Each of these tubes is about a tenth the width of a single eyelash.

11 Tons Volume of carbon dioxide removed each year from the atmosphere by a hectare of temperate forest such as those found in British Columbia’s southern Kootenays. Because of wildfires, B.C.’s forests can no longer be counted on to sequester carbon every year.

50 Percent Half of a tree’s roots usually grow in the top 6 inches of soil, but they offset the lack of depth by spreading laterally.

100 Gallons of Water Amount a large oak tree consumes in a day. A large sequoia may consume 500 gallons in a day.

80 Percent Ratio of a tree’s nutrients that will go into the belowground community (roots and microbial community, which includes the fungi).

850 Human Lives Number of people, in the United States alone, saved each year by urban trees reducing air pollution and decreasing associated illness. $6.8 billion in total health-care costs are also saved.


Mother Tree This tree can be connected to hundreds of younger trees in one forest.

Here, a young pine sapling, the next generation as it were, stretches above the snow in a previously logged area below Mount Yotei. Hokkaido, Japan. G A R R E T T G R O V E

Officially Kazushi Yamauchi, often referred to as Yama-san and globally recognized as Orange Man, the powder-surfing legend and yogi is most often found among the forests of Japan on his 192 Gentemstick swallow tail wearing peace-sign hologram sunglasses and reciting the Hare Krishna mantra, or taking a moment in full lotus position—always in orange. The only English he admits to knowing are the lyrics to “Funky Town.” G A R R E T T G R O V E



Re-Psychled Before we could challenge the snow industry to move to recycled materials, we had to change our thinking, too. There are a number of ways to reduce a garment’s impact, but none more significant than making it out of recycled fabric. Doing so keeps material out of landfills and cuts demand for the petroleum used to make weather-resistant stuff like nylon and polyester—the material used in every ski or snowboard jacket you’ve ever worn (including ours). Ironically, anytime we’ve looked to switch to a nonvirgin fabric, we’ve basically had to start from square one. The problem isn’t the science, it’s convincing our partners that there’s a healthy demand for recycled alternatives—and making sure there’s zero compromise in performance. “The industry has had a mental block, a stigma around recycled, so for a long time we didn’t even try,” says Pasha Whitmire, Patagonia’s senior material developer. Whitmire is as easygoing as he is unwavering—valuable qualities when you’re trying to change people’s minds. Once he did, he found that working with fabrics made from postconsumer waste was just not that hard. He helped develop a new PowSlayer Jacket with 100% recycled GORE-TEX Pro face fabric (the first of its kind), which we introduced last year and remains a favorite with backcountry skiers and snowboarders. Still, that was just one, highly specialized jacket. “The real gut punch for me was going to one of the biggest textile-producing regions in the world,” says Whitmire.

“In just one factory, thousands of weaving machines produce meters of new, petroleum-based fabric every minute. It’s pretty sickening.” Whitmire realized we could do more, so now we’re extending the PowSlayer’s recycled benchmark across our Snow line. No question, we’ve had failures along the way. Our tearing instrument, which puts a small cut in the fabric and tests at different forces, would rip a piece easier than we’d like for those minute nicks and cuts that inevitably happen from ski edges or a crampon encounter. Or the abrasion machine would destroy a material after rubbing it vigorously with the rough side of a Velcro® fastener. Every recycled Snow shell we build must be just as bomber as its virgin counterpart or we won’t release it. This fall, 77 percent of our Snow garments passed those tests and are fabricated with recycled content, including our popular Powder Bowl Jacket. This diverts more plastic bottles and nylon than ever from the waste stream and into the Snow gear we make. Now, the wide availability of these previously discarded materials has the potential to change the industry, and we’re hoping other brands will start to use them, too. “If it can be thought up,” Whitmire says, “then we can make it happen. The path is rarely blazed for us, but we’ll happily set the track.”

Alex Yoder surfing a snowy swell. Hokkaido, Japan. G A R R E T T G R O V E




“Performance technology is at its peak. Real innovation at this point is making stuff that doesn’t screw up the environment.” PA S H A W H I T M I R E , S E N I O R M AT E R I A L D E V E L O P E R

Powder Bowl Jacket Our tough, long-wearing waterproof/breathable and windproof jacket keeps the chill away between runs. And, when you’re deep in a hearty storm, the durable and cleanly styled Powder Bowl provides critical comfort and warmth with a new 2-layer 100% recycled polyester GORE-TEX face fabric. A DWR (durable water repellent) finish increases wetweather protection by stopping saturated snow and freezing rain. Imported.


For neck and face protection in frigid, blowing snow, there’s a two-way-adjustable, helmetcompatible hood with a visor and tall collar Seal out spindrift and cold air with the fully adjustable powder skirt (with webbing loop that attaches to any Patagonia Snow pants) Pocket on the forearm for a pass, plus one chest, two interior and two handwarmer pockets for daily essentials when you might not be carrying a pack Embedded RECCO ® avalanche rescue refl ector makes you searchable, but is not a replacement for an avalanche beacon

Women’s Powder Bowl Jacket $399.00 I 31408 XS-XL I Regular fit I 814 g (28.7 oz) men’s available online




“Our approach with this season’s PowSlayer was to simplify and refine. We eliminated excess fabric that did not have a purpose, which helped us reduce the jacket’s weight and use fewer materials overall in our Snow line.” ERIC WALLIS, SNOW PRODUC T LINE MANAGER

PowSlayer Jacket The PowSlayer is our lightest, most packable Snow jacket. Optimized for backcountry touring, it offers the highest level of storm protection in our Snow line for high-output days in variable conditions with a 3-layer 100% recycled GORE-TEX Pro face fabric for the pinnacle of waterproof/ breathable and windproof protection. A DWR (durable water repellent) finish increases durability and prevents wet-out in soggy, spitting conditions. Imported.


Refi ned fi t with a slightly longer hem for protection in deep snow Pit zips quickly release heat when hiking for more turns; chest pockets designed by mountain guides for holding backcountry essentials For optimal visibility, there’s a helmet-compatible, two-way-adjustable hood with a visor; to eliminate loose ends, a Cohaesive® cord-lock system embeds cord locks into the hood and hem Seal out spindrift and cold air with the fully adjustable powder skirt (with webbing loop that attaches to any Patagonia Snow pants) Embedded RECCO ® avalanche rescue refl ector makes you searchable, but is not a replacement for an avalanche beacon

Men’s PowSlayer Jacket $699.00 I 30305 XS-XL I Regular fit I 547 g (19.3 oz) women’s available online




In Sync Highly stretchy, breathable and with an impressive range for temperatures and conditions, this duo works competently together or separately. Nano-Air ® Light Hoody An extended-range midlayer and gear-tester favorite, the Nano-Air ® Light Hoody is built for the highest-exertion mountain athletes and objectives, and offers unhindered movement with the same dynamic stretch as the Nano-Air Hoody, but with 75% more breathability and two-thirds the insulation. A light yet durable 100% nylon ripstop shell and plain-weave liner, both with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish, offer generous mechanical stretch and exceptional breathability. Revolutionary 40-gram FullRange® insulation warms and stretches. Imported.


To allow for quick venting and ease of layering, the stripped-down pullover hoody silhouette, with a deep center-front zipper, wears trim through the arms and midsection Removing abrasion points while enhancing comfort and stretch, the engineered pattern eliminates seams across the shoulders and back Warm and simple stretchy hood with elastic binding Exterior left-chest zippered pocket For low-bulk layering, we’ve tailored the Variable Conditions Cuffs with a stretch-woven fabric carefully chosen for low water absorption and great abrasion resistance

Men’s Nano-Air® Light Hoody $249.00 I 84280 XS-XXL I Slim fit I 309 g (10.9 oz)

Capilene® Air Hoody Capilene® Air is the most advanced baselayer we’ve ever made. It has the greatest range of warmth and comfort of any of our baselayers, insulates even when wet, dries quickly and resists odors for day-afterday use. Made from an airy blend of 51% merino wool from New Zealand and 49% Capilene recycled polyester, Capilene Air feels light and soft on the skin and stretches naturally to move with the body in motion. Imported.


Soft against skin with fabric that stretches to move with the body Seamless 3-D construction eliminates chafe points through the entire garment (which has almost no wasted material) Warmth-providing high collar and seamless hood with anatomical shaping For added recovery and comfort over extended use, there is a soft, stretchy elastic knit in the cuffs and hem Gender-specific knit texture traps warmth and allows airflow Fine merino wool is blended with Capilene® recycled polyester for enhanced warmth balanced with improved wicking, durability and dry time

Women’s Capilene® Air Hoody $149.00 I 36505 XXS-XL I Slim fit I 164 g (5.8 oz) men’s available online

Photo: G A R R E T T G R O V E



Descensionist Pack 32L The ski and snowboard variant to our Ascensionist alpine pack—our midsize Descensionist 32L is a purpose-made backcountry-touring pack built to go light on the ascent, but has all the features to accommodate safety tools for epic descents. Imported.

Descensionist Pack 32L $179.00 I 48170 S/M, L /XL I 1,040 g (2 lbs 4.7 oz) 40L available online

The real deal: This Descensionist Pack and all ski-touring essentials shown belong to Leah and are used daily on skin tracks throughout British Columbia.


What I Packed Rogers Pass, Revelstoke, British Columbia. Ski touring. Day trips in the Revelstoke backcountry can go from mellow to type 2 fun easily. I always stuff my pack with the skitouring basics and lots of homemade snacks for the days when I’m skiing out by headlamp accidentally. L E A H E VA N S , PATA G O N I A S K I I N G A M B A S S A D O R

M A I N C O M PA R T M E N T A Micro Puff and big mittens for emergencies, a tuque that rolls up nicely and a first-aid kit, which includes a blister kit (the most used piece of the kit), handwarmers, duct tape and tampons.

ZIPPERED TOP POCKET I always carry a headlamp, skin wax, lip balm, sunscreen and toilet paper in an old rice-cake wrapper (it’s waterproof). FRONT POCKET I keep it superminimal here with my shovel

I also usually throw my park pass into this pocket for the days I’m touring up on Rogers.

and probe, and sometimes my skins, so I don’t get everything else wet in my pack if I’ve been hiking through really gloppy snow. SIDE-ACCESS ZIPPER My 32-ounce water bottle (with some drink mix that has electrolytes) and lunch are easy to access in the main compartment. I usually pack leftovers from dinner or whatever is left in the refrigerator (my favorite has been a wrap with jam and Parmesan cheese).


The Art of Repair The best way to reduce the environ­ mental impact of your clothes is to keep wearing them. Sometimes, they just need a little love.

We love fixing gear that’s been nearly worn out by our customers and friends so much, we’ve been driving the country since 2015 in Delia, our first Worn Wear clothing-repair biodiesel truck, designed and built by San Francisco artist Jay Nelson. When Delia rolls into town, she brings a crew of repair experts who’ll fix your garment for free, regardless of the brand. Delia has come to represent Worn Wear as a symbol of love and goodwill—just like her namesake, a beloved employee at our garment repair center in Reno. Now, meet Uncle Dave, Delia’s spiritual brother. Also built by Nelson, this rig takes its name from “Uncle Dave” Wilkin. Uncle Dave met Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard in the Grand Tetons in the ’60s and, on Yvon’s invitation, began working seasonally at Patagonia’s Ventura headquarters in the early ’70s. He lovingly cared for our grounds until his passing in 2017. Normally, Nelson likes to do everything himself, but he took a different tack entirely with Uncle Dave, asking other artists to build the different parts so he could assemble them as a whole—an experience he calls unforgettable, in part because he had to learn a new skill. Eighty-year-old master sheet-metal worker John Gregson taught Nelson and his assistant to make the copper sheet-metal roof that now sits atop the trailer. Uncle Dave’s doors are made of reclaimed old-growth redwood, originally from a bridge in Mill Valley. The insulation in the walls is salvaged wool from Fibershed, a regional textile collective focused on practices that benefit the climate. The interior walls are made of organic Huston Textile cotton canvas stretched over a wooden frame; the shingles are sustainable eastern red cedar. Both vehicles, Uncle Dave and Delia, represent Patagonia’s hope that we can all change our relationship with the things we make, buy and own, and find more happiness in stuff we already have. It all starts with graphite and paper. Artist Jay Nelson’s initial drawings for the trailer that would become Uncle Dave—complete with a taijitu (yin-yang) doodle tucked into the rear tire.

The Worn Wear crew hits the road again, bringing the fix to the Eastern Seaboard in January and February 2019. Check out for a full schedule of stops. While you’re there, you can also shop for or trade in quality used Patagonia gear, learn how to repair your items yourself, and read stories of romance and commitment between people and their clothes.

Above: The man himself. Dave Wilkin loved physical work and tended the grounds at Patagonia’s Ventura headquarters. He grumbled at people who trod on his flowers, but never failed to offer nonoffenders a smile or a story. T I M DAV I S Left: Even if the repair techs can’t get first tracks, at least Uncle Dave can. Getting up and on the road early during the 2018 Extended Play Worn Wear tour. K E R N D U C O T E


What Was Left After a failed first attempt, three friends return to India’s Mount Nilkantha to confront—and embrace—the terrible, beautiful duality of a life in the mountains.

It was our third day on the southwest face of Mount Nilkantha, what we’d thought would be our summit day, and it was my lead block. I wove through steep rock and faceted snow, staring at the “Castle,” the 700-foot fortress towering above me. Four thousand feet fell away below to the braided rivers of the valley floor. Vertical, blank walls had blocked us farther left, and so I kept traversing right, another rope length, until I found a weakness: a long runnel of ice that disappeared from view before re-emerging beneath an overhanging ice dagger. I gasped the thin air and brought up my partners, Chantel Astorga and my husband, Jason Thompson. The afternoon sun beat down and my thoughts raced. What if it’s a dead end? Should I have searched longer on the other side? I handed Chantel the rack and left her with some cheesy words of encouragement. She began making her way up the tight runnel. Every day for the past two years, I had thought about Nilkantha. In 2015 our friend Caro North, Jason and I first visited this isolated valley in India’s Garhwal Himalaya, just south of the holy city of Badrinath. We had aspirations for the beautiful and intimidating southwest face, an untouched 4,600-foot wall of granite, ice and snow. But while acclimating on the west ridge, the skies turned dark

and an electrical storm engulfed us on an exposed section at 20,000 feet, jolting us with shocks and forcing a retreat. The weather shut down, and we never set foot on the face. My life is driven by climbing. I love long days on a route, the fleeting moments on the summit and even the nights spent shivering in the open, waiting for the sun to rise. Climbing is a self-centered desire, but it’s also more than a physical act, more than a summit. It’s the art of embracing the unknown in challenging situations and spectacular places with the people we love and trust. We carry these experiences home with us—and wherever we end up next. The ropes came tight, yanking me into the present. Chantel was out of sight above. As Jason and I climbed higher, we heard her yell, “It’ll go!” Her words echoed off the walls and evaporated. I let out a howl and climbed faster. Chantel continued, inching up steep granite, swinging into the hanging ice dagger and pulling through the last of the hard climbing; we knew, finally, that we would reach Mount Nilkantha’s summit. As the sun settled into darkness, together we stood in alpenglow atop the Castle, feeling a wave of contentment wash over us, if only for a minute.


Left: The approach to advanced base camp was threatened by large seracs above. We started very early, hoping to beat the sun and falling ice. Chantel and I moved as fast as we could through this crevassed area to get to a point of relative safety. Previous: On day two, we started climbing on steeper terrain and quickly found this spectacular WI4 pitch—sticky ice and amazing rock that I wished went on forever. It would be a classic at any crag; we were lucky enough to climb it on a beautiful mountain. ALL PHOTOS: JA SON THOMPSON


Above: After 12 hours of climbing on day one, we found a bivy. It took awhile to dig a flat spot, but it turned out to be pretty nice. We still had some daylight, so we enjoyed a bit of downtime, checking weather and chilling out. A rare moment on such a big climb. Left: Every night and morning, I recorded barometric pressure and weather observations. It allowed me to notice small details in the weather and gave me a better idea of what was happening in the present instead of relying only on outside forecasts. Right: This was the moment we realized that we were going to summit the next day. We’d made it through the crux pitch, and as I brought Chantel up hand over hand through the easy section, the light began to fade. We had to set up our bivy on a pretty exposed ridge, but we really didn’t care. We were psyched.


It’s strange—we spend our lives focusing on faraway adventures, chasing overtly pointless dreams, and then return more closely bonded to those we left behind.

Thirty-six hours later we summited, then descended to base camp and began the journey home, fatigued but with a deep sense of gratitude, eager to share the joy with our friends and loved ones. It’s strange—we spend our lives focusing on faraway adventures, chasing overtly pointless dreams, and then return more closely bonded to those we left behind. In Delhi, we celebrated into the night. But the following morning we awoke to personal messages pinging and beeping. As we read, an indescribable hollowness ran through us. Back home in Montana the day before, our close friends Hayden Kennedy

and Inge Perkins, a vibrant couple deeply in love, had headed out for a casual ski tour. Hayden, 27, and Inge, 23, were young, but old souls. They were the kind of friends who called just to say hello, wrote letters and gave handmade gif ts. Before our trip, Hayden and Inge came by our house to wish us well, share food and hang out. Before they left that evening, Hayden gave Jason, Chantel and me each a piton that a friend in Slovenia had made for him. We took one on the route with us as a goodluck charm. They were kind like that, the type of people we all wish we were. They were also two of the best mountain athletes of their generation, but you would


never know it from talking to them. They avoided attention and wanted instead to know how you were doing. They had both endured emotional hardship and loss, maybe too much for people their age, but they were building a life together. Inge was finishing her degree, and Hayden worked in a restaurant. After years of living in their vehicles, they had just signed a yearlong lease in Bozeman and dreamed of opening a bakery. On their ski tour, they were caught in an avalanche. By that night, both of them were dead. We sobbed and wandered the foreign streets, empty and devastated, trying to comprehend how our friends could so suddenly be gone. How can we understand such loss when it is inseparable from the freedom the mountains give us? We tried to hold the light from our lost friends. The climbing we’d just experienced vanished into nothingness. All that mattered was all that was left: We were together, and we were coming home.


The team named their new route Ob­ scured Perception. Gilbert Chase is a Patagonia climbing ambassador and lives in Bozeman, Montana.

Right: It was late and we were exhausted when we finally found a flat bivy spot a few hundred meters below the summit. It was on the north side and very cold, with strong winds that had carved out wild lines on the snow. None of us had slept that high and we definitely did not sleep much, but it was flat and we could rest under the serene nighttime sky.


Inclement Gifts Weather has a way of complicating— and enriching—everything.

By the time I top out, it’s snowing and it’s dark. I walk back as far as the rope will let me, and in the flattest spot I can find, I dig a hole and sit, bracing myself. I yell, “Rope-fixed!” repeatedly, but my partners can’t hear me over the wind, so I wait. Below they struggle for nearly an hour to decide whether they can weight the rope or not. In the meantime, snow piles up on my jacket. I should be worried, but the absurdity of our predicament makes me laugh. Eventually Ermanno appears, followed soon after by Alessandro. The weather worsens as we walk the last few meters to the summit. We can’t see a thing. We are on the top of a jagged Patagonia spire, in the middle of the night in the kind of weather that one usually avoids. We sit down below an alcove, brew and wait for dawn. When it finally arrives, the clouds lift and we’re treated to one of the most beautiful sights any of us have seen. The crisp morning light glitters every which way, reflecting off the fresh snow covering the surrounding peaks. We tend to avoid bad weather, for good reason, but Patagonia’s renowned conditions—incessant bursting winds and harsh, often horizontal precipitation—have for ages provided the framework that gives success meaning here. The challenges the peaks present are seldom grappled at face value, but rather through a weather prism. Climbing in Patagonia in the late 1970s, Jim Bridwell wrote that “good weather is as precious and BY ROL ANDO GARIBOT TI

Left: Lean and mean. Using only tiny granite edges and small blobs of ice, Chris Mutzel finds the first pitch of Exocet on Aguja Standhardt to be run out, rime-covered and extra-heady. Argentine Patagonia. AUS T I N S I A DA K Previous: The wind toys with Peter Doucette’s ropes on the summit of Aguja Guillaumet. Patagonia is synonymous with ferocious weather, but without it, would we feel the same about the place? B E R N D Z E U G S W E T T E R


rare as water in the Sahara.” He described the quick changes of weather, the length of the storms and the brutal wind, observing that for climbers, the “line between [audacity and] stupidity is razor-thin” and that “in Patagonia perhaps there is no distinction.” He likened this truth to a game of Russian roulette with four loaded chambers. Earlier, in 1952, Lionel Terray had made similar observations, describing the “terrible winds which make climbing on it mortally dangerous” as being more hazardous than anything he had encountered before. The ferocious winds knock you to the ground during approaches, dictate when you can climb and shape the surrounding environment in the most unexpected ways. One finds trees that grow parallel to the ground, growing downwind in gravity-defying shapes. During particularly strong bursts you may hear explosive noises—the sound of air being channeled around peak edges and pillars in a form of the Venturi effect that accelerates air to the point of breaking the sound barrier. Other times you hear what Greg Crouch aptly called “the Patagonian Organs,” pulsating tones that sound like an out-of-tune church organ. However, without this “bad,” we would not have the “good” that makes Patagonia so unique. For example, without the wind and the moisture, we would have no rime mushrooms, the large formations that build up on the upwind side of mountain summits and ridges and windward rock faces, often overhanging on all aspects. They form when the terrain is engulfed in clouds and strong winds blow supercooled cloud droplets onto subfreezing surfaces. Rime mushrooms are particularly scary to climb— they have the consistency of cotton candy,

so not only is it hard to get any purchase to move upward, but it’s also hard to protect yourself adequately. In addition, one often forgets that without a good dose of bad weather these peaks “fall apart,” literally. During particularly warm, dry summers, more of which are forecasted as a result of climate change, rockfall becomes a grave concern and large portions of the Chaltén Massif become off-limits. Ice and low temperature are what keep the permafrost depth close to the surface, preventing the peaks from exfoliating. I’ve been enamored with this place, in all its moods, since I was a child. My second-​ ever bivy in Patagonia was up on Aguja Guillaumet at age 15. A raging storm caught my partner and me while we were descending. The wind stole one of our ropes and when night fell, just four rappels from the glacier, we decided to stop. It snowed all night, but thankfully by morning the wind had died down so we could descend to safety. From the chin area of my balaclava hung an icicle. I still recall how proud I was of it, as a symbol of the harsh conditions we had encountered, as if surviving particularly bad weather was a badge I could wear. In spite of my best efforts on the long walk down to base camp, it melted out. In the ensuing years, as I became more conscious of my own fragility and less enamored with unexpected adversity, I learned to avoid bad weather as much as I could, to step in when it swirled out, and to spiral away before it picked up too much again. Still, for all the strategizing to avoid it, weather continues to provide the necessary counterbalance to make experiences meaningful. Play isn’t quite the same without a friend at the other end of the teeter-totter.

The ferocious winds dictate when you can climb and shape the surrounding environment in the most unexpected ways.


Garibotti first climbed the Chaltén Massif in 1987, at age 15, when he ascended Aguja Guillaumet. Since 2005, he’s spent his summers there and is the author of the local climbing guidebook.

Left: You sure you want to be a product tester? Clipped in, boots loosened, sitting on ropes for insulation, layered up in every piece of clothing they have (including “matching” prototype parkas) and settling in just 200 meters below Fitz Roy’s summit: Anne Gilbert Chase and Majka Burhardt as ready as they can be for a decidedly uncomfortable night. Argentine Patagonia. P E T E R D O U C E T T E Next: The forecast said clear weather. Several teams of hopeful climbers waited for the clouds to lif t but were instead reminded how tricky it is navigating in low vis. Argentine Patagonia. J A S O N T H O M P S O N




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For Bone-Cold Days Fitz Roy Down Parka For frozen belays, shiver bivies and just plain January—all the usual alpinists’ fare—the Fitz Roy Down Parka delivers expedition-level loft and warmth. Advanced Global Traceable Down traps your heat inside a 100% nylon shell with a DWR (durable water repellent) finish that sheds snow and moisture. The fully baffled construction ensures thermal efficiency by eliminating quilt-through cold spots. The helmet-compatible, single-pull hood has an internal, heat-locking high-

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Photo: J A S O N T H O M P S O N



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Ascensionist Pack 30L $149.00 I 47997 I S/M, L /XL I 670 g (1 lb 7.6 oz) 40L available online

The real deal: This Ascensionist Pack and all gear shown here made the trip to the summit of Nilkantha and back home to Bozeman with Anne Gilbert Chase. 62

What I Packed Southwest face of Mount Nilkantha, Garhwal, India. Alpine climbing. I carried the bare essentials on our successful summit bid on Nilkantha, because getting gear and supplies to the base of the route can be as hard as the route itself.

DAISY CHAINS AND LOOPS I put some straps on the side of the pack, and a small foam sleeping pad fi ts perfectly there and stays in


place until it’s bivy time.

LID POCKET The top lid is reserved for odds and ends like headlamp, DeLorme, sunscreen, extra energy gels or blocks—essentials that don’t necessarily fi t in my pants pocket.

M A I N C O M PA R T M E N T While approaching the climb, the 30-liter pack is stuffed full with rope, rack, water, stove, etc. The pack distributes the weight really well, so my shoulders aren’t worked


before the climb even begins.

The haul loop sees a lot of action on long

My sleeping bag and tent go in the bottom

alpine routes, hanging from the anchor,

of the pack, while my Grade VII Down

allowing my back some rest and giving me

Parka sits right on top so I can put it on

easier access to the inside of the pack for

easily at belays in the early-morning cold.

eating and drinking. 63

My Life on Ice The sports that made our founder who he is, and the closest he’s come to mastery.

Over my lifetime, I have been seriously involved in many outdoor sports: mountain climbing, telemark skiing, spearfishing, kayaking, surfing and fly fishing. I have thrown myself passionately into each of these activities until I achieved 75 percent or so proficiency. Then I would move on to something else. Even with climbing, I would specialize in one form of alpinism for a time, such as big walls or jam cracks or expeditions to the highest peaks, until I reached sufficiency, but not perfect mastery. Overspecialization, the last 25 percent, did not seem worth the effort. The closest I have come to mastery, though, is climbing snow and ice. My favorite is mixed climbing, with one foot on verglas (thin ice covering rock) and the other on snow. Starting in 1966 and for the next couple of decades, I climbed during summers and winters on the snowy ranges of every continent. When I began, ice equipment was primitive and provincial—in fact, it was different in each country where climbing was practiced. Technique was primitive, too, and divided roughly into two schools: those who used flat-footed (or French) cramponing techniques, and those who relied on front points. Neither side was willing to admit the worth of the other. It is possible to do all your ice climbing with only one technique, but it isn’t efficient, nor does it make for a very interesting experience—like knowing only one dance: When the music changes, you are still dancing, but rather out of step. When I returned from winter climbing in the Alps or from Ben Nevis in Scotland,

my head would spin with excitement about what I had learned—and with ideas for improving the gear. Tom Frost (my partner at Chouinard Equipment) and I had already redesigned and improved almost every rock-climbing tool. Now we turned to ice gear, to new crampons, ice axes and hammers, and ice screws. I have been fortunate to have participated in several of my “passion” sports during their golden age. It’s always exciting to be involved in the evolution of any sport in the early days, when new techniques and equipment are invented almost daily. And it’s easy to improve equipment when what you start with is so rudimentary. I first put my head underwater with a face mask at La Jolla Cove, California, in 1951 when I was 13. Afterward, I would practice holding my breath in high school math class so I could freedive more deeply for lobster and abalone. To ward off the cold, I wore an army-surplus wool flight suit. For a weight belt, I used an army cartridge belt filled with lead from melted car batteries; the “safety” clasp was made from a door hinge. When I first was learning to surf in 1954, I made my own surfboard out of balsa wood and wore a wool sweater to stay warm. When telemark skiing was reinvented in the early 1970s in the California Sierras and the Colorado Rockies, we started with ordinary cross-country skis with no side cut, then gradually evolved the technique and equipment to the point where, today, people can “free-heel” even in the most extreme conditions.


Above: Yvon Chouinard climbs ice near the Whitney Portal. In the late ’60s he brought the French technique of ice climbing—crampons flat to the ice—to America and developed tools to enhance the sport in this country. Eastern Sierras, California. T O M F R O S T Left: On the first ascent of the Diamond Couloir, Mount Kenya, Kenya. T O M F R O S T

Inventing better equipment made climbing ice easier and less tiring; we could spend more time concentrating on the climb itself and less on cursing our gear. But technological development, even in climbing, comes not without cost. Although a designer and innovator, I have always believed that rejecting a possible technology is the first step in allowing human values to govern the pursuit of progress—just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Climbing itself—with its emphasis on initiative, boldness and balance—moves against the technological solution. As I developed new ice equipment, I worked on creating new techniques that relied less on gear. I stretched myself, used only my ice axe for clawing in situations with steeper and more brittle ice. I kept my second ice tool holstered for whole pitches and climbs. The idea was technological inversion: to apply fewer tools with more sophisticated technique. I was rewarded for walking this edge by seeing more sharply what was rude and by what comes boiling up from within. “Simplification of means and elevation of ends is the goal,” is how Henry David Thoreau supposedly simplified it. The two can’t help but happen together. In thinking back on the snow and ice climbs I’ve done, I realize that many of them no longer exist. The Black Ice Couloir on Wyoming’s Grand Teton is gone. Its classic alpine north face, like the north faces of the Alps’ Eiger and Matterhorn, is too dangerous to climb in summer. The ice in the fissures that once helped hold these faces together is gone, and the rockfall is now much more prevalent. When I first climbed in the Canadian Rockies in 1958, the Columbia Icefield flowed down almost to the then-dirt road between Banff and Jasper, Alberta. Now it’s a 30-minute walk to its terminus. The classic ice climb on the north face of nearby Mount Athabasca is melting away. I rarely climb anymore, but I particularly like to fly-fish for steelhead and salmon. When I fly over the Coast Mountains in British Columbia on my way to the steelhead rivers, I look down at pocket glaciers that are a fraction of the size they were when I first climbed there 40 years ago. Those

small icefields provide cold water all summer long to the salmon rivers that in some summers are already only a few degrees from being too hot to support the anadromous fish. Combine that with drastic clear-cutting and ham-fisted fisheries management, and the long-term outlook for salmon is grim. In two weeks of concentrated fishing this year, I caught only three steelhead. This has been my experience of climate change, whether or not each phenomenon is a direct result of global warming. The fact remains that by our own doing, we have changed the climate of our home planet— scientists all over the world agree on this, as reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tell us. And we are causing another great extinction; we are in danger of losing one in four mammal species, one in eight birds, a third of all amphibians, and 70 percent of all the plant species that have been studied. (One 2015 synthesis of several climate studies by the University of Connecticut’s Mark Urban concludes that if “we follow our current, business-as-usual trajectory, climate change threatens one in six” of all species on Earth.) Because we are also large creatures of nature, we are not exempt. Anthropocentric thinking got us into this mess in the first place, and the same flawed logic says that we can reverse global warming merely by changing technology. Consider the futility of trying to save the ski piste of the Pitztal Glacier in Austria by covering it with an insulated blanket. Instead, the solution to our overheating of the planet has to begin with us in the developed world consuming less and more intelligently—and using technology, but appropriate technology. In some cases this may mean that we “turn around and take a forward step,” as the conservationist David Brower advocated. The icefalls, snow gullies and glaciers that have carved me into what I am today are melting, and I am perhaps bearing witness to the last of the great salmon and polar bears, and the end of cold, free-flowing rivers. The Zen philosopher part of me says that the value of the climbs I’ve made, the business I’ve grown, and the fish I’ve caught and released was in the doing. I accept that the only sure thing is change.

In thinking back on the snow and ice climbs I’ve done, I realize that many of them no longer exist.

Adapted from Some Stories: Adventures from the Edge of Business and Sport (available April 2019). A version of this essay appeared in Planet Ice: A Climate for Change by James Martin, Braided River, 2009. Doug Tompkins on Hell’s Lum, Scotland. The best photo I’ve ever taken. Malinda, the art teacher, says it’s all about a series of rounded shapes. Y V O N C H O U I N A R D

A blueprint for Chouinard’s seventh hammer, which featured a heavier head and brought back four pick teeth from a 1968 design.

However We Liked A S T O L D B Y K AT S U TA K A “J U M B O ” Y O K O YA M A

From January to February 2018, my family—my wife, Chihiro, our sons, Yoh (5) and Kan (3), and myself— went on a long climbing trip to Patagonia, Argentina. We stayed in El Chaltén, right at the base of Mount Fitz Roy. This was my sixth visit and I believe the best climbing projects lay quietly along the skyline of Mount Fitz Roy, which I admire as the most beautiful mountain in the world. I don’t get tired of coming here for the climbing, but the biggest reason I brought my family was to show our kids the Fitz Roy skyline, which I can’t help but just adore. There are bouldering areas and sport climbing at the back of town, so we can still climb even when the weather isn’t favorable in the mountains. This is the place worth a 48-plus-hour trip from the other side of the globe. In between my trips into the mountains, I took my family out to the alpine. We camped and we climbed any rocks that were around, however we liked. “However we liked” was the key—we were free from thinking about existing routes or grades and just climbed using our own senses. It was fun to try whatever line we found ourselves. The kids played in the streams around the rocks and found the nuts that grew abundantly there. We’d brought art supplies so we could draw as if we were great painters in front of majestic Fitz Roy. We spent six nights in the mountains, sometimes simply camped under a ledge without tents. I think it was the wildest experience for our boys. I’m not sure how this experience will contribute to their growth, but I hope this trip will give them a sense of ownership as decision makers: They have the liberty to make their wide-open world whatever they may choose.

Right: As they approach Laguna Capri, Yoshimi Ito, Yoh and Jumbo try to hold on to their hats. It wouldn’t be Patagonia without wind. Next: Three-year-old Kan files a complaint about the accommodations on the first night of camping at Laguna Capri. A L L P H O T O S : M A S A Z U M I S AT O


I hope this trip will give them a sense of ownership as decision makers.

Above: Kan knocks out a few TR laps on Vescho Wall, a little cliff just outside the town of El Chaltén. When ambition flows organically, with no concern for grades or “significance,” Jumbo says, the joy of climbing follows. And not just for kids. Right: “Crash pad” has more than one meaning. After an excursion to Piedras Blancas, Kan naps while getting a lift from Chihiro. Opposite: The last river crossing coming back from Piedras Blancas makes one small step for Dad, one giant leap for Yoh. Next: Yoh, Kan and Yoshimi Ito capture a bit of the color of the Fitz Roy skyline. Easy, empty time can quickly fill a day in the mountains.




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Recycled Wool We incorporate many materials to make our clothing and gear, and all of them, including wool and polyester, cost the environment. The production of wool requires vast amounts of land for grazing sheep; using polyester cleaves us to the petroleum industry when what we really want to do is move away from it. Our Woolie Fleece collection marks a shift toward more natural and recycled materials in lieu of petroleum-based fabrics. Some of the processes we use to make it are as old as wool clothing itself. For example, the practice of recycling wool dates back hundreds of years when, after wool sweaters had been worn threadbare, they were shredded and converted into blankets. Blending recycled wool fibers with polyester fibers, on the other hand, is a newer process, and we’re pleased with the results: a soft, warm fabric blend that insulates even in wet conditions. The Woolie Fleece collection harkens back to early Patagonia fleece designs and meets the same standard: soft-wearing pieces that are tough as nails and classic enough never to go out of style.

Men’s Woolie Fleece Reversible Jacket $229.00 I 26925 XXS-XXL I Regular fit I 530 g (18.7 oz) see full collection online




Soft, Supple, Silent Silent Down Jacket To stand stock-still in a frozen February forest and not be cold: This was the unwritten mission for this jacket, which has handwarmer pockets to keep fingers from going numb and a drawcord hem to seal out drafts. We tried several combinations of loft using 700-fill-power Recycled Down insulation paired with 70% recycled polyester shell fabric. When we hit on the right mix, we noticed that the smooth, refined surface of the shell was, happily, quiet as deep snow, with little of the “swish-swash” rustle of a typical sleeve brushing against itself. After that, naming our Silent Down Jacket was a no-brainer. Imported.


Recycled Down is a mix of 600- or 700-fill-power goose and duck down reclaimed from cushions, bedding and other used items that can’t be resold. It is hypoallergenic and performs identically to virgin down. There was already a market in Europe for recycled down and feathers, but it took some time before we found partners who were able to meet our standards. Still, the legwork paid off. Both the collector and the processor we partner with now are family-owned and share our values for uncompromising quality and performance. Our demand for high-quality Recycled Down has already led to an increase in supply. As other apparel companies follow suit, we expect to see down recycling in even more countries, which will reduce discards and expand and add value to the recycling stream.

Women’s Silent Down Jacket $249.00 I 27935 XS-XL I Regular fit I 570 g (20.1 oz) men’s available online




Fine, Soft, Rare, Recycled Recycled Cashmere Sweaters Finer, lighter and more insulating than most other wools, cashmere is an ideal fiber for soft, breathable layering. All of our Recycled Cashmere styles provide a versatility that spans a wide range of conditions and settings, from formal to freewheeling. Imported.


Recycled Cashmere Luxurious and naturally insulating, cashmere wool offers premium next-to-skin softness. But the demand for virgin cashmere is linked to desertification of the Mongolian grasslands, with more cashmere goats being raised than the land can handle. We saw this as an opportunity to incorporate this valuable fiber into our line, but with a much lower ecological impact than virgin cashmere. For Patagonia recycled cashmere, European garment factories (primarily in Italy) provide cashmere scraps, which are then carefully sorted and selected for maximum quality, and separated according to color. They’re shredded and spun with 5% virgin wool for strength, and the resulting fiber is knitted into our Recycled Cashmere styles.

Women’s Recycled Cashmere Cardigan $229.00 I 50725 I XS-XL I Slim fit Women’s Recycled Cashmere Crew $199.00 I 50720 I XS-XL I Regular fit Women’s Recycled Cashmere Hoody $279.00 I 50730 I XS-XL I Slim fit Men’s Recycled Cashmere 1/4-Zip Sweater $249.00 I 50600 I XS-XXL I Regular fit Men’s Recycled Cashmere Crewneck Sweater $199.00 I 50525 I XS-XXL I Regular fit

Next: Returning from a wolf photography expedition in the Yukon, Ava Cairns-Locke cuddles up in a pile of warm sleeping bags with a slightly tamer canine named Luke Skywalker. Dezadeash Lake, beneath the St. Elias Mountains, Canada. P E T E R M AT H E R





Lessons from the River Within 24 hours of noon on September 17, in any given year, spring chinook salmon arrive on gravel bars in front of my home to spawn. The females dig their redds, the males fertilize the eggs, and then both breathe their last. I’ve watched this event for 48 consecutive years on the middle reach of the McKenzie River in western Oregon. Each year I wait for the reassurance they bring, that even though things abstract and concrete are looking bad everywhere in the world, these fish are carrying on. If the salmon don’t arrive by the evening of the 17th, I walk down through the woods to stand in the dark and listen for them. I know most all the sounds this river makes, and there is no other sound like their caudal fins breaking the surface of the water as they mill. If I hear them, then I know things are good for this particular strain of salmon for at least another three years. If I don’t hear them, I toss and turn through a sleepless night and go down to look first thing in the morning. They always arrive. I’ve never had to wait more than a few hours. Much of what I know about integrity, constancy, power and nobility I’ve learned from this river, just as I’ve learned the opposite of these things—impotency, fecklessness, imprisonment—by walking across the dam on Blue River, a tributary of the McKenzie, and by standing on Cougar Dam on the river’s South Fork, another tributary. I stare at the reservoirs from the tops of these dams and see the stillness of the impoundments. The absence of freedom there.

I couldn’t say that I knew the McKenzie after my first year here. I had to nearly drown in it once, trying to swim across from bank to bank one day and dangerously misjudging the strength of the river’s flow. I had to watch a black bear wade through a patch of redds, biting through the spines of the adults. I had to come into the habit of walking its stony bed upstream and downstream, in daylight and at midnight, bracing myself with a hiker’s pole and calculating each slippery step, the water vibrating the pole in my hand like a bowstring and breaking hard over my thighs. I had to see how the surface of the river changed during a rainstorm, with the peening rain filling in the troughs and hammering down the crests. I had to become more than just acquainted with the phenomenon. I had to study beaver felling alders in its back eddies, great blue herons stab-fishing its shallows and lunging otters snatching its cutthroat trout. I had to understand the violet-green swallow swooping through rising hatches, and the ouzel flying blind through a waterfall. I had to watch elk swimming in the river at dusk. But still, I can’t say I know it. As I showed continuing interest in the McKenzie over the years, the river opened up for me. I began to feel toward it as I would a person. I learned that it had emotions and moods as subtle as any animal’s. And I learned that, in some strange way, the river had become a part of me. When I was away traveling I missed it, the way you miss a close friend.


Only with our patient attention will a river open itself up to us. The McKenzie rushes through the Willamette National Forest, Oregon. C H R I S T I A N H E E B


The first river I developed any strong feeling for was a stretch of the Snake that winds through Jackson Hole. In 1965 I was working a summer there in Wyoming, wrangling horses and packing people into the Teton Wilderness. Some afternoons when I was free I volunteered as a swamper on float trips, eager to get a feeling for the undulation of that water. Since then I’ve been able to float the Middle Fork of the Salmon in Idaho, the Colorado through the Grand Canyon, the upper Yukon in Alaska and the Green in Utah, gaining from them experience with more formidable water. I’ve since seen rivers far from home, like the Urubamba in Peru, perhaps the wildest river, in terms of its miles of continuous commotion, that I’ve ever stood before.

In the boreal summer of 1979, I was camped on the upper Utukok River, on the north slope of the Brooks Range in western Alaska. A wolf pack denning in a cutbank there interested my friend Bob Stephenson, a wolf biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and me. We’d set up our tent on a rise on the opposite side of the river, about 500 yards away. During the week we spent there, we not only saw no person except the bush pilot who brought us in, but also no evidence of anything from the man-made world. A tundra grizzly had torn up a ground squirrel’s burrow 20 yards from the tent just before we arrived. We watched wolves hunting every day. We saw gyrfalcons, snow buntings, horned larks and jaegers on their nests. One night,

intimate with the McKenzie’s low- and highwater stages, its winter colors, its harlequin ducks, its log jams, and aerial plankton (tens of thousands of spiders “balloon drifting” in summer on breezes above the river)—to know that without this river I’m less. Listening to osprey strike the river, watching common mergansers shooting past me at 60 miles an hour, a foot off the water, hearing the surging wind roiling the leaves of black cottonwoods close around me, I become whole again. Many people, I have to think, have wilder and more inspiring stories to tell than I do about illuminating and staggering moments spent with a wild river. I have to believe, though, that we all share equally a love for the great range of expression this particular

You can select living creatures like rivers, if you choose, and take your stand with them. And I visited some way-far-off rivers like the Onyx, a name that brings a wrinkled brow to every river rat I’ve ever mentioned it to. The Onyx, Antarctica’s largest river, flows for only a few months in the austral summer, from the base of the Wright Lower Glacier in the Wright Valley to perennially frozen Lake Vanda. During a week I spent there once, at New Zealand’s Vanda Station on the shore of the lake, I decided to hike a few miles of the river’s north bank, wishing keenly all the while that I had a kayak. The Onyx is about 30 feet across and a foot deep, and it runs flat. A little bit of experience with the Onyx, though, helps you grasp the breadth of meaning behind the term “wild river.” The designation includes everything from the virtually unrunnable, like the Urubamba, to pristine but tame rivers, like the Onyx. I’ve also spent time in the thrall of another, singular type of wild river—ones that are perfectly runnable but that have gone, in my lifetime, from being virtually unknown to being popular destinations.


30 or so caribou crossed the river in front of us at a run, throwing up great sheets of water—diamonds backlit by a late-night sun. When Bob died last year, we held a memorial service for him in Fairbanks, and I caught up with a retired biologist I’d known at the department who told me that commercial float trips now take people regularly down the Utukok. It’s certainly a wild river, providing an unforgettable experience for adventurers, some of whom have become river activists as a result. To my way of thinking, however, the Utukok is not so wild now as it was when we were camped there 40 years ago, when the country, for as far as you could see, belonged to the animals. Home from some trip and back here on the banks of the McKenzie, I always feel that I’ve come back together again as a person. In spring, when I notice the first few flowers blooming in the riparian zone—trillium, yellow violet, purple grouse flower, deer’s head orchid—I’m aware of similar changes in myself. I’ve lived here long enough now—

kind of being offers us, whether we’re with it in the moment or must call up remembered feelings from former encounters. And, of course, today we all share a fate with them, during these days of the Sixth Extinction; and we know how late it is in human history to finally be thinking about protecting rivers. We’re only just now getting started with it. Congress passed the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act in 1968, 50 years ago this year. The bill was designed to protect eight different rivers from development—among them, the Middle Fork of the Clearwater in Idaho, the Eleven Point in Missouri and the Middle Fork of the Feather in California. In 1988, after another 27 rivers had slowly been incorporated into the system, Oregon passed an omnibus river bill that added another 40 rivers, including the McKenzie, each one with designated stretches of “wild,” “scenic” and “recreational” water, and each one of these sections subject to increasingly stricter levels of management. Today, there are 208 wild and scenic rivers across

As integral to the river as water itself, the spring chinook salmon—threatened and dwindling in number—are a harbinger of the health of the McKenzie, and in turn, our own. M O R G A N B O N D

40 states—12,743 miles of protected river water. It’s a paltry sum, actually, less than a quarter of 1 percent of the nation’s river miles. But each year our understanding of the nature of this kind of planetary lifeblood grows deeper. As more land trusts come into being, like the McKenzie River Trust here, the number of champions and custodians grows larger. Over the years, I’ve learned much about the McKenzie that is obvious and much that is subtle. On this waterway that supplies the city of Eugene with virtually all of its drinking water, for example, state and federal agencies have cooperated to protect bull trout and to restore the spring chinook salmon run on the upper South Fork of the river. And for subtlety, I would offer you obsidian tools buried in the river’s riparian zone, evidence I’ve found of the very early presence of people here, some of it from before the days of the historic occupants, the Kalapuya and Molalla, tribes who traveled to the upper McKenzie in the summer

to gather a great profusion of berries— blackberries, salmonberries, huckleberries, elderberries, osoberries and thimbleberries (all of which remain a priority today for local residents and others to gather). The goal for most of us on the McKenzie today is not simply to protect the physical river from miscreants by implementing various layers of necessary regulation from ridgeline to ridgeline, but to revitalize and protect the entire community associated with the river. To help all who are interested understand that this river began its life long before human beings arrived, and that the wildness it offers us all can still be accessed, engaged and offered to our children. We’re living today, of course, in a time of true political, social and environmental upheaval and growing threat. You can select living creatures like rivers, if you choose, and take your stand with them to ensure your own future and the future of other beings. It’s a good place to be with your friends and your family, as the growing shadows blanket our skies.

On September 17, 2018, I will go down to the river and wait. I will watch for sunlight gleaming on the salmon’s caudal fins, standing proud of the surface of the water in the river’s shallows. I will smell them on the evening air and watch the males converge on the females, shouldering each other out of the way. And I will concentrate on this thought: If I do not help them to keep doing this, my days too are numbered.


Lopez is the author of Arctic Dreams, which won the National Book Award, and over a dozen other works of fiction and nonfiction. He writes regularly for Harper’s, Outside and numerous other journals, and is now at work on an autobiography.


Bruce Hill 1946–2017 You can’t talk about the forests and rivers my dad saved without talking about the trees he’s cut down and the fish he’s caught. In my earliest memories he came home covered in machine grease, with sawdust in his beard, smelling like diesel and freshly cut wood. He and my mom met in San Francisco in 1969 and soon moved to Ketchikan, Alaska, where they worked in the pulp mill for five years. I remember him talking about the behemoth Sitka spruce they’d quarter with a giant band saw just so they could fit those ancient trees into the chipper. They bought 50 acres in northern British Columbia, where my sister and I were born and raised. Dad ran a small sawmill and logging operation. We lived in the country because my parents wanted to bring us up close to nature and community. Weekends were about fishing, hiking, swimming, camping, hunting, sailing and baseball tournaments. They formed the Dirt Road Boogie Band with some close friends, jamming on Friday nights and playing local dances. Dad played bass and Mom played keyboard. Those were good times. But Dad got tired of cutting down trees, and my mom wanted a bigger community where she could flourish as a musician and music teacher. And they wanted more opportunities for us kids. About a year before moving west to the mountain town of Terrace, my dad went sailing with some friends BY A ARON AND JULIA HILL Bruce would always plan multiday brainstorming rendezvous set somewhere stunningly beautiful, knowing the surroundings would put great emphasis on just how important it was to fight for these places. Here, he holds court in the Kowesas River Estuary, British Columbia. S T E V E P E R I H

along the British Columbia coast. They came upon a crew hanging ribbons for logging roads in the mind-blowingly beautiful Kitlope River, which they later learned was the largest unlogged temperate rainforest watershed left on the planet. Old-growth forests with glacier-capped granite peaks rising out of emerald green water. Yvon Chouinard described the grandeur as “six Yosemites, end to end.” Dad banded together with the Haisla Nation, and many other allies, in an all-out campaign to get the Kitlope protected. They won. That’s when the dam broke, and Dad became a deadly effective conservation activist for the last 27 years of his life. He worked as a fishing guide, while working to save the Kitlope and to end overfishing of wild steelhead and salmon on the Skeena River. He soon gave up on killing fish for a living and became a full-time conservation ass-kicker. From then on, you could find his fingerprints on every major conservation victory in northwestern British Columbia: the ban on fish farms, killing coal-bed methane

in Skeena headwaters, and vanquishing the Northern Gateway pipelines, to name a few. In every battle, Dad’s clear thinking, vision and unstoppable passion were his superpowers. And so was his history as a logger and fisherman. No opponent could accuse him of being out of touch with the plight of workers or indigenous communities. He could bring folks together because he understood in his guts that the loggers and fishers want clean water and abundant fish and wildlife for their families just as much as indigenous people and environmentalists. And he knew how to bring all those folks together to fight—and win. In his final years, witnessing the malignant growth of hyperpartisan politics, social media echo chambers and democratic decay, Dad was adamant that it was more impor­ tant than ever to find common ground with our fellow citizens and to band together in defense of our homes. He often said, “It’s not about you.” He showed us that it’s about all of us. And if we keep living that lesson, good things will happen.

Aaron Hill, Executive Director, Watershed Watch Salmon Society, Victoria, British Columbia Julia Hill, Operations Manager, SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, Terrace, British Columbia

Left: Bruce and his partner in crime, Gerald Amos, gear up at the Kitamaat Village dock before a trip down the Douglas Channel in British Columbia. This duo bobbed around the North on an old Wahl boat, Suncrest, wreaking havoc on the plans of environmental rule-benders. S T E V E P E R I H Opposite: A grand piece of British Columbia’s Skeena River making its lovely twists and turns. C A R R C L I F T O N Next: “For all its beauty, the Kitlope River is also a heavy place, a place of serious force, a place that will quickly dwarf all human capacity, change all plans, sink all boats, thwart helicopters, flood out camps and wash away hubris in a flash,” says photographer Sam Beebe. “Long live Bruce Hill. Long live the Kitlope. And long live the people of the Kitlope.” Kitlope River, British Columbia. S A M B E E B E

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WORN WEAR What you wear reflects what’s important to you. This winter, keep an eye out for Uncle Dave, the new Worn Wear repair trailer. We can help you keep beloved duds in play so you don’t have to buy new ones. Keeping your clothes longer is one of the best things you can do for the environment. PHOTO: KERN DUCOTE

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