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Mapping Mountains: New York City and Beyond 04 Don of the Dirtbags: Yvon Chouinard 07  The Urban Ape: Timmy O'Neill 10 Living Legend: Lynn Hill 12 Dispatches from Patagonia: Kate Rutherford & Mikey Schaefer 14 Renaissance Man: Jeff Johnson

Spring / summer 2013

take one and pass it on


customer service

choose your adventure

trad climbing This spring, Patagonia opened its first climbing-specific store since the early days of the company. Located in New York City's Meatpacking district, this retail haven carries everything needed for bouldering to technical climbing, including Patagonia’s exclusive new parka that features EncapsilTM technology. The shop itself was built with the environment in mind, using reclaimed materials from buildings in and around NYC. But the best feature of the store? The staff, a knowledgeable crew that will help with everything you need to know about climbing in New York and beyond. Below, we talk to a few of them. Portraits: Tim Davis

Photo: Wikipedia user Burtonpe

“The Gunks stole my heart the first time I saw them: It was a combination of climbs; the aesthetics of the traprock; and the Mountain Brauhaus has really big beers.” - Alex Gumpel, C limber and environmental point person, Patagonia Meatpacking

Alex Gumpel

David Hopkins

Colin Pile

Floor Leader / Environmental Point Person

Assistant Manager

Store Manager

Where are you from? NYC, about five blocks from the UWS Patagonia. One thing your coworkers don't yet know about you? I’m not overly fond of heights. Favorite thing about the new alpine store? It’s not so often that you find a staff with so much knowledge and passion for the mountains. Too often those people are selfishly spending all their time out in the backcountry (laughs). Favorite Patagonia item you own? Probably my bright blue and green Piton Hybrid Hoody. I spent two weeks living in it, in the Cascades, in August, so we had a chance to bond. First climb? My first real outdoor climb was Psycho Crack at Peterskill on top-rope; first lead was Belly Roll at the Trapps. What sets East Coast climbing apart from other spots? East Coast climbing can be a formidable opponent—when I’m flailing up an old sandbagged route with modern pro and sticky rubber—but it's also a source of pride to be joining such a venerable lineage. The majesty of East Coast climbing comes not from the height of our mountains but from the depth of our history. What's one nonessential you bring with you on every trip? I hope to bring the eyes of a naturalist everywhere I go. For me, climbing is all about exploring places people cannot otherwise go; whether that is 30 feet off the ground at your local crag, or 14,000 feet up on some remote mountain. Too many people are in it only for the physical challenge. Also a monster deli sandwich.... Do you have an environmental cause you’re passionate about? I spent my college years studying conservation biology, so I am a firm believer that anyone who enjoys the outdoors for recreational purposes has a responsibility to provide for its ecological health and preservation. Any climbing tips for beginners? Climbing never gets easier: the numbers assigned to the routes you do just get bigger; it’s always a labor of love. What mountain is on your climbing wish list? Short term I am planning a trip to climb the Grand Teton, after that? Olympus Mons.

Where are you from? Bakersfield, CA. One thing your coworkers don't yet know about you? They know most everything, as I tend to over share. Favorite thing about the new alpine store? The location. It is a great mix of local folks and travelers.  Favorite Patagonia item you own? My Nano Puff® Hoody. It gets me through cold bike commutes in the city and trips to Mt. Washington. First climb? My first climbs were in Costa Rica. A country not known for climbing; but I met a group of Canadian and British climbers that started a camp up in the mountains for local groups, and I started to help out.  What sets East Coast climbing apart from other spots? The ice. I have only been a few times, and it has been great. Wet and cold. The east coast has that in the bag.  What's one nonessential you bring with you on every trip? Music.  Local heroes we should give props to? The MPHC community is a local hero. They have been super-welcoming of our staff and do a lot to promote the sport.  What mountain is on your climbing wish list? My Dad did Mt. Whitney when he was younger. It is more for sentimental reasons but I would love to do it with him before I get too old.  Do you have an environmental cause you’re passionate about? I would like to see the city keep moving in the right direction by making itself more livable and reducing the amount of waste it produces.  Any climbing tips for beginners? Make friends. What I have learned I have learned from friends who wanted to spend the day outside. Oh, and read Freedom of the Hills.

Where are you from? Born in Montana, grew up in Maine. Who’d have thought I would end up in NYC? Favorite thing about the new alpine store? The integration of Patagonia’s climbing heritage into something so new and unique. It is really cool to look back at the achievements and firsts that have come out of this company, but this store proves we’re not resting on any laurels. We’re using this space to highlight the newest and most exciting products that Patagonia is currently making for cutting-edge alpine climbing. Favorite Patagonia item you own? An old version of our Alpine Guide Pants. They’ve been the perfect pant for so many situations: rock climbs, ice climbs, a trip in the North Cascades, skiing, a trip to Argentina. I stuck a crampon through the cuff this winter but otherwise they’re as good as they were day one. First climb? Mt. Katahdin, in Baxter State Park, Maine – that’s more of a scramble though. My first time on a technical climb with gear was on top rope at Peterskill, in Minnewaska State Park. Best local spot to climb? Since we just got out of ice season, and since I’m already looking forward to next winter, I really like the ice climbs in the Stony Clove area of the Catskills. For rock climbing, the Gunks are the obvious choice—it’s a world class destination that’s a day-trip from NYC. What sets East Coast climbing apart from other spots? I’d have to say the seasons. Growing up in Maine with perfect summers and wonderfully snowy winters led to my appreciation of all four seasons. Summer and fall at the Gunks, or further upstate, winter ice climbs in the Catskills, Adirondacks or New Hampshire. Spring can be anything from heading north in search of lateseason ice, or finding a patch of sunny, south-facing rock, where the temperature feels much warmer than it really is. Local heroes we should give props to? Any of the local climbing guides upstate in the Gunks and Catskills. They’re out there climbing with beginners like I was because of their love for the sport, no other reason. Any climbing tips for beginners?: If your climbing partners are also good friends, you’ll enjoy yourself so much more, no matter where you are or how hard a route you’re climbing.

Patagonia Meatpacking, 414 W 14th Street, NYC, 212.929.6512


Photo: François Lebeau (

“New York City: arguably the most famous urban metropolis in the world. It is definitely not the first place that springs to mind when you think about awesome bouldering. However, hidden away in the parks of the city are some of the most amazing boulder problems and rock formations on the East Coast. Whether you're wobbling up V0 or crushing V12, this place has something for everyone!” - Gareth Leah, Author, NYC Bouldering Guide

Indoor Climbing

Photo: Brooklyn Boulders (

"We are New York City’s only fully dedicated rock climbing gym, providing a fun and challenging climbing experience for people of all ages and levels. With 22,000 square feet of climbing surface and a skilled setting staff, we offer our own climbing curriculum as well as our BKB Fit program with daily yoga classes and slacklining." - Lance Pinn, Owner, Brooklyn Boulders


Yvon Chouinard ate cat food for an entire summer, Lynn Hill tackled gender stereotypes, Jeff Johnson hustled as a flight attendant, and Timmy O'Neill rallied disabled heroes up unthinkable heights. These inspiring athletes all have one thing in common—they've stopped at nothing to pursue their true passion: climbing. In their nonlinear paths to the top, they've broken rules, been in the position to make the rules, then broken them all over again to innovate the field. "Auto racing, bull fighting, and mountain climbing are the only real sports… all others are games." - Ernest Hemingway

As Lynn Hill says we do it to “have more fun.” We do it to be a part of something larger—that awe inspiring feeling of being in nature, grounded (and by grounded we mean clinging on by two fingertips at 2,000 ft) to Earth. We also do it to connect with others, relying on a trusted crew to help us ascend peaks and then journey back down them. It's in that spirit of community and connection to the outdoors that we created this publication. Whether you boulder, sport climb, lead trad rock or ice, prefer high alpine routes, or just like being in nature, we hope you enjoy this publication as much as we enjoyed traveling down the unmarked path to create it. And if not, looks like you've got your toilet paper alternative when you're stuck in the middle of nowhere.

mapping mountains

New York 1

New York City

new hampshire 8

40°75´22˝ N  73°98´54˝ W Classic Route: The Flake Type: Boulder, 12 feet Consensus: V0-1 2

Shawangunks: “The Gunks”*

44°00´58˝ N  71°24´06˝ W Classic Route: Yellow Matter Custard Type: Sport Consensus: 5.13a 9

41°73´74˝ N  74°18´67˝ W Classic Route: Horseman (The Trapps) Type: Trad, 2 pitches,120 feet Consensus: 5.5 3

The Catskills

Cathedral Ledge

near tHE gunks

13 0

100 km

Eat and drink


1 Mountain Brauhaus


Corner Route 299 & Route 44-55


2 The Bakery


13 N Front Street

44°06´40˝ N  71°16´63˝ W Classic Route: The Prow Type: Trad, 6 pitches, 350 feet, Grade III Consensus: 5.11d 10

41°78´82˝ N  74°09´48˝ W Classic Route: Asbestos Wall Type: Ice, 1 pitch, 40 feet Consensus: WI2-3 4

Kancamagus Crags

* Ten things to do 12

3 Rock Da Pasta 62 Main Street

Waterville Valley

Shop for gear

4 Rock and Snow

43°91´80˝ N  71°58´52˝ W Classic Route: Resident Evil Type: Trad, Sport, 90 feet Consensus: 5.10+

44 Main Street

11 3 2


Adirondacks: “The Dacks”


44°26´88˝ N  74°34´45˝ W Classic Route: Chouinard’s Gully Type: Ice, 2 pitches, 300 feet, Grade II Consensus: WI3

5 6


Central CT Traprock

1000 Mountain Rest Road

Massachusetts 11

41°61´76˝ N  72°82´37˝ W Classic Route: Thor’s Hammer Type: Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 80 feet Consensus: 5.9

New jersey 6

Delaware Water Gap (Mt. Tammany)


40°91´99˝ N  74°74´93˝ W Classic Route: 5.7 (Main Wall, Right) Type: Trad, TR Consensus: 5.7

81 Huguenot Street

trad / TR


8 Awosting Falls,

Minnewaska State Park

Route 44/55, five miles west of the intersection with Route 299

new paltz, ny

6 10


Smugglers' Notch 44°34´22˝″N 72°46´34˝″W Classic Route: Ragnarock Type: Ice, 3 pitches, 400 feet, Grade I1 Consensus: WI4+

Historic District


44°45´07˝ N  72°03´46˝″W Classic Route: Last Gentleman Type: Ice, 4 pitches, 500 feet, Grade IV Consensus: WI5 13

Allamuchy State Park

Lake Willoughby


7 Huguenot Street,


42°24´33˝ N  71°03´41˝ W Classic Route: Yellow Knight Type: TR, 1 pitch, 25 feet Consensus: 5.10

40°96´93˝ N  75°11´13˝ W Classic Route: The Rib Type: Trad, 2 pitches Consensus: 5.3 7


Quincy Quarries


7 Terwilliger Lane

6 Mohonk Mountain House

7 1


Super 8 of New Paltz

8 1 0

1 km

7 2 43

9 Mohonk Preserve 3197 State Route 55



Split Rock Swimming Hole

At the end of RT 299, turn west on RT 44/55, go over the mountain. Take a right at 2nd road (Clove Road, 2 miles from RT 299 intersection). Keep right, after the bridges, parking area will be on the left.


don of the dirtbags

Photos from top left: The “natural man� with his rack of Hexentrics and Stopper clean climbing chocks, 1973. Photo: Tom Frost, Selling Chouinard climbing hardware, Camp 4, Yosemite, CA, circa 1960s. Photo: Patagonia Archives; The Ventura Shop Employees Tom, Doreen, Tony, Dennis, Terry, Yvon, Merl, and Davey, 1966. Photo: Tom Frost, At the Tin Shed, Ventura, CA, 2010. Photo: Tim Davis; Opposite: Shooting line at Lago Fagnano, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Photo: Doug Tompkins. Overleaf: Where the inspiration for the label came from: Mt. Fitzroy peaks in Patagonia. Photo: Barbara Rowell, Vintage Patagonia logo. Photo: Terri Lane.


a very condensed history of climbing

1492: First recorded rock ascent, Mt. Aiguille, France



Yvon Chouinard has been wearing the same flannel shirt for 20 years. 1695: First time ropes were used to climb rocks


1786: First Ascent of Mt. Blanc, beginning the "Modern Era" in alpinism


1864: The start of the “Golden Age” of climbing

1875: First ascent of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park

1900 1910: The first steel caribiner is created, the piton takes on its modern form and rapelling is developed 1922: The first recorded deaths on Everest occur when seven Sherpa porters die in an avalanche

1950 1938: North face of the Eiger is climbed in three days by an Austrian-German expedition amid political turmoil 1953: First summit of Mt. Everest by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, Sherpa from India

The 74-year-old conservationist, out-of-the-box thinker, athlete and craftsman is also anti-consumerism, always pushing Patagonia, the company he founded, to find solutions to the global environmental crisis. On the following pages, we asked Chouinard what he thinks his legacy will be—turns out he "couldn't really care less." But we speculate it will be measured not by what he's encouraged us to do more of (be in nature, be personally responsible, simplify) but by what he hopes we'll do less of (buying, spending, polluting). In short, Chouinard wants us to stop being consumers and start being thoughtful global citizens. What do you think makes a good company? Responsibility. During this last recession our company has experienced the highest growth it's ever had. I think it's because during a recession people stop being silly, they stop buying stuff that will go out of fashion in a year or two. If they think it'll last a long time, they'll buy better quality things they need rather than things they just want, and that's the kind of stuff we're making. So our business is really strong. With the Millennial generation, they really appreciate what we're trying to do to cause the least amount of harm in making our product. The Millenial generation has had some environmental education. They know what the problems are, they know we're destroying this planet, they want to do something about it. And they want to support the companies that are doing something about it. In fact, we're trying to tell our customers: Think twice before you buy a product from us. Do you really need it or are you just bored and want to buy something? Then we're taking responsibility for our product forever. If it breaks down, we promise to fix it. We’re going to come out with little booklets and videos showing people how to repair their Patagonia stuff themselves and when you're finally either tired of the product or you've outgrown it or whatever, we're going to help you get rid of it. We're doing deals with eBay that you can sell it. And we're going to start selling used Patagonia stuff in our stores. Then when the product is finally finished, give it back to us, and we'll make more product from it. So it forces us to make things that don't wear out, but it also forces us to design a product so it can be recycled. How has Patagonia's mission statement evolved over the years? At first we were all interested in making the best products—that’s the first part of our mission statement. Then as we got concerned about the state of the planet,

we added on “cause no unnecessary harm.” And as we got more depressed or concerned about the world, we added on a third part, which is influencing other companies to use our business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. That’s what I really think about: Leading by example, not just talking about what we’re doing. Do you still remain optimistic or is that hard to do? I’m not optimistic at all. I’m a total pessimist. I’ve been around long enough, traveled around enough, and been around a lot of smart people to know that we’re losing. In every single category, we’re losing. I don’t know if you listened to President Obama's [inaugural] speech but he mentioned the environment for two minutes, maybe? He’s concerned with all the symptoms of our problems and not the causes. In the States, I think saving the planet was number 19 on peoples’ priorities, and now I hear its number four again. Number one is personal security. We have a nation of… scary people. Look at all these conservatives that want to arm the whole country. They want to be able to walk in restaurants with their guns and that’s because they’re cowards. The problem is like [environmentalist] David Brower said, 'There's no business to be done on a dead planet.' Well, there’s nothing to be done on this dead planet. And that’s what’s happening. So yeah, I’m a total pessimist. But, I’m a happy person. I’ve accepted the fact that there’s a beginning and end to everything. All species are born, evolve, and then die off. We’re going through the sixth great extinction and the large mammals are going first and, you know what – we’re large mammals! Every empire collapses. The American empire is probably on its way to collapse now. Nature doesn’t like empires. It doesn’t like accumulation in one place, it doesn’t like monoculture. It’s always

trying to make diverse species. It wants to spread everything out. And we’re constantly trying to hold everything in. Is there anything we as individuals can do in the meantime? Well, the reason why we won’t face up to our problems with the environment is that we are the problem. It’s not the corporations out there, it’s not the governments, it’s us. We’re the ones telling the corporations to make more stuff, and make it as cheap and as disposable as possible. We’re not citizens anymore. We’re consumers. That’s what we’re called. It’s just like being an alcoholic and being in denial that you’re an alcoholic. We’re in denial that each and every one of us is the problem. And until we face up to that, nothing’s going to happen. So, there’s a movement for simplifying your life: Purchase less stuff, own a few things that are very high quality that last a long time, and that are multifunctional. Do you have your own personal ethos around food? Are there certain things that you won't eat? Absolutely. I haven't bought any beef from a store for probably four years. If somebody serves me beef at a house, I'll eat it. I don't want to be an asshole (laughs). My family here eats mostly wild game and sustainable fish, if there actually is sustainable fish. I won't eat anything that's genetically modified. I try to eat all organic vegetables. When you were younger, you famously ate canned cat food to get through a summer on a budget, right? Yeah. I ate a lot of it. It wasn't very good. But it was better than dog food.

What's the oldest Patagonia item of clothing you own? Let's put it this way—I don't own any new stuff. I'm not a consumer, even with my own stuff. I've got all these flannel shirts that go back almost 20 years. We started a little website, that asks our customers to write in what their favorite Patagonia product is and a story to go with it. We've got one coming up where a guy got bitten by a shark. The shark bit through his surfboard and through him. He got I don't know how many stitches, and ruined his wetsuit. So we heard about it, we gave him a new wetsuit. And then a local beer company heard about it, and they gave him a lifetime supply of beer. So he got a new wetsuit and a lifetime supply of beer (laughs). How did Cerro Fitz Roy in Patagonia become your logo? You remember those trips for a long time. The way people do trips now, they take, a week, they go to Europe—you don't remember those trips very much. Or you go surfing in Indo for a week. But if you had to go over land or take a boat it's really different. That trip [to Cerro Fitz Roy] lasted six months and in that time there were a lot of adventures on the way. From sleeping on the ground in Guatemala and waking up to a gun to our heads—there was so much going on. It became a really important trip in my life. At the time I was thinking about starting this clothing company, and I wanted to make clothes for the conditions we found down there, which are like hurricane force winds and the evening with its orange look and its lenticular clouds. I thought, ‘This, this is what I want to make clothes for, I want to make clothes for Cape Horn and Patagonia.’ I came up with the idea for the logo. At the time, Patagonia was like Timbuktu, which is this mystical place. Everybody kind of knew where it was, but didn't really. We put Patagonia on the map, now everybody knows where it is, everybody goes down there. The name Patagonia has been really good because it can be pronounced in every language. I mean, try and get the Japanese to pronounce Lululemon (laughs). Is there any climb that you've done in your lifetime that you're most proud of? I did a route on El Capitan with my friend T. M. Herbert that took us nine or 10 days. It was the first time that any of us had done a route on El Capitan with just two people and push, no fixed ropes or anything, and it was quite an achievement. And very difficult. That’s probably my best climb.



1964: First indoor wall created at Leeds University, UK

1965: Yvon Chouinard and T.M. Herbert make the first ascent (aka black squiggly line above) of The Muir Wall, El Capitan

1970 1973: Patagonia is incorporated as a company; an abandoned slaughterhouse in Ventura become offices, warehouse and a mountain shop 1975: Junko Tabei becomes the first woman to summit Mt. Everest

Were you scared at any point? Well, yeah, we got to the top with no food, no water, and very little equipment. It was pretty thin. Was there a climb that has defeated you? Oh, yeah, I've backed off quite a few climbs. But there are climbs I've never attempted that I wish I had done, particularly in the Alps. I used to climb in the Alps a lot. You know, like the north face of the Eiger, I wish I had done that climb. To me it's kind of personified everything that I really like about climbing. I have regrets about that, but as far as the failure, I don't look back very much. I don't look forward very much. I'm kind of grounded. In fact, I have a hard time remembering failures. Kind of washed them off. Have you climbed much around the East Coast/New York area? I think some of the best rock climbing in the world is in the Shawangunks, near New Paltz. And then I climbed in up around the Adirondacks. I climbed in New Hampshire. Was that part of the incentive to open a store in New York? Not necessarily. We've opened a climbing store and we're opening a surf store. It's a general trend that we're trying to put more focus on individual sports that we make stuff for, instead of just being a general clothing store. We're trying to add more focus to things. A lot of people that climb and do outdoor activities that talk about this connection to nature and kind of transcending something greater than themselves. Is that how you felt when you started getting into this and do you still feel that way? Yeah, sure. I mean, that's the reason— especially for young people—that they do those things. They want to push their limits, to see what they're made out of. That's why a lot of these guys are paddling into giant waves. They're out to see what they're made of, and I think it's pretty cool. One of the things I really believed in is the idea of simplicity, that life should always be moving towards more simplicity rather than more complexity. And when I see somebody, you know, riding a finless surfboard and surfing better than 99% of the surfers out there, I think, ‘This is fantastic. This is the way to go.’ We’ve gone from tow-in surfing to now paddling into those same waves. And that's the direction we should be going, rather than more toward technology. In the ‘70s there was the saying, ‘He who dies with the most toys wins.’ That's wrong, it's the opposite. You want to replace all that gear with knowledge and experience. And so in sports I'd love to see the people who are simplifying their sport. I've done like six routes on El Capitan in Yosemite—and some of those routes that

took us 10 days to climb are now being soloed with no rope by guys in their gym shorts. And they're back down before lunch. I think that's absolutely fantastic. Glad they're not my kids, but that's the direction we should always go. Are the processes easier now? How have we gotten to this point? Well, we all want to cheat. In climbing, there are so many ways to cheat. You can do a route that's been done 50 times and all you've got to do is follow the chalk marks that tell you exactly where to put your hands and feet. I can't stand to do a route like that because I can't stand to have people tell me what to do. I want to figure it out myself. I look at people climbing Everest—there's a guy back in Austria that gives them a weather report every day that basically tells them to go or not go. It's hundreds of ladders in place, thousands of feet of fixed ropes, sherpas in front pulling and another one behind pushing. In surfing there are very few ways to cheat. Tow-in surfing was one way to cheat, but that's passé now. So I think it's the purest sport there is, and the most difficult too. I don't know of any other sport that's more difficult than surfing. Surfing's more difficult than climbing? Oh yeah, much more. I know a lot of world-class climbers that are unbelievable athletes and they try surfing—they try it seriously—but after you're about 20 years old it's almost impossible to get very good at it. You have to start really young. When you started surfing you said that you welcomed people coming in the water because there was no one out there. Now that’s not the case. It was the same thing with climbing too. I'm pretty lucky. I lived in the golden age of a lot of sports from kayaking in America; to spear-fishing back in the ‘50s, when we had to make all our gear; telemark skiing; and climbing and surfing. I started surfing in ‘54 or something, and I really enjoyed it in those days, because you're discovering new things every time you go out, new techniques, and new equipment. Are you pretty involved with Patagonia’s ambassadors, selecting who they are? No, not at all. I don't want anything to do personally with ambassadors. Some of the sports that we make stuff for, like climbing and big wave surfing, are dangerous sports. I don't want to go to a big-wave surfer and say, ‘Look, the more photographs we get of you on covers riding a big wave, the more you get paid,’ which encourages them to stick their necks out more and more. It’s the same with climbing. I don't believe that anybody should be a professional in climbing or surfing. Those are passionate, personal sports.

You should ride big waves for personal reasons, not so that you can get on the cover of a magazine. Then, a lot of these people become really good friends. I surf with the Malloys all the time. We all have property at Hollister Ranch, and we go on trips together and stuff, but at some point they're going to get long in the teeth like I am, and you're going to have to say to them, ‘Oh, gee, you know, we're going to replace you with a younger surfer who's on the tour and, you know, tough shit.’ Or, go to a woman surfer and say, ‘You know, this new ambassador looks a lot better in bikinis than you do, so you're out of here.’ I don't want to have to be in the position to do that. So was it your idea to start to have ambassadors? Well, it was. And the reason we wanted them is that we wanted their expertise in helping us in our designs, not to promote the brand or anything, but to help us in the designs. So we picked our ambassadors according to how much feedback they could give us, not how famous they were. What do you consider is your biggest environmental accomplishment? We're working on a sustainability index for apparel and footware, kind of like organic standards for foods. We’re working on it with a coalition made up of about 60 large companies, like JCPenney and Kohl's and Nike and the Gap and Levis and Wal-Mart. Right now when you go buy clothing from a company, you have no idea how the product was made. Within a few years, you'll be able to walk into a department store and there'll be five brands of jeans; each one will have a number on it that will tell you how responsibly—or irresponsibly—they were made. It will include whether the fiber is organic cotton or industrially grown cotton, it will include biodiversity, the working conditions at factories—everything. And it's going to have a grade so if it's important for the consumer to cause the least amount of harm, they'll have the information to be able to do that. That has potential to change the world. The same index that we're developing can be also used for buying a lawnmower or any product. What kind of environmental work are you doing now that you're passionate about? Our next big campaign in our catalogs and websites is to imagine an economy that doesn't destroy the planet. It's the hardest thing we've ever tried to talk about. Everything you talk about kind of leads to a dead end. We don't want to be wishywashy, we just talk about the symptoms of what's wrong with society. If you look at the causes you'll realize we're doing absolutely nothing to solve the causes,

and it's pretty easy to get depressed about it. Especially because I just had my first grandchild. She's going to still be alive at the end of this century, and by then there's going to be a five-foot sea-level rise. That's what they're predicting now. Every month there's a new study about climate change that is grimmer than the one before. So things are happening so much faster than we even predicted. How would you help your granddaughter to be optimistic about the situation? I don't think being optimistic does any good, like sticking your head in the sand. I think what's important is to raise a grandchild so they have a life with nature. You protect what you love, and if you love nature then you'll want to protect it. And that's one of the problems that we have, this nature deficit disorder. We have gang kids in New York City that are afraid to go to Central Park because of the squirrels there (laughs). They're so divorced from nature. So the best thing I can do is make sure she has a life as much in the outdoors as possible. Your family is French-Canadian. What role has that played, if any, in your life? I think it played a lot. I lived in Maine until I was seven years old and spoke only French. Then suddenly I'm doing a Grapes of Wrath trip across the country—six of us, and everything we own in one automobile, moving to California. Immediately I was put in public school where everybody spoke English, I'm the shortest kid in school and couldn't speak English and I’ve got a chip on my shoulder, always in fights and finally running away from school. What it did was it put me on a different path than other kids. After school I'd be down on the river bottom in LA, gathering crawdads and frogs to bring home to eat instead of playing football or baseball or something like that. Those kinds of early experiences either kill you or make you stronger. Thankfully they made me stronger. And also in business it's made me enjoy breaking the rules and making them work. That's the enjoyable part of business that I really like. The other parts I don't care much for, but I love breaking the rules (laughs). Do you still consider yourself a dirtbag? Well, if you saw my lifestyle, yeah, you'd probably agree. I drive old cars, all my Patagonia clothes are years and years old, I hardly have anything new. I try to lead a very simple life. I am not a consumer of anything. And I much prefer sleeping on somebody's floor than in a motel room. So, yeah, I fit the profile, alright. What would you like your legacy to be? You know, I couldn't really care less about my legacy.

1978: Cams are produced for the first time, allowing parallel cracks to be protected

1980 1980: First modern “sticky rubber” climbing shoes on the market

1985: Patagonia donates 10% of annual profits toward preservation and restoration of the natural environment


1993: Lynn Hill makes the first free climbing ascent of The Nose Route of El Capitan, the most coveted goal in the world of rock climbing

1996: Patagonia stops using conventionally grown cotton, adopting 100% organic cotton for all cotton products

2000 2001: American Erik Weihenmayer becomes the first blind person to reach the top of Mt. Everest

2008: The Olympic torch is carried by climbers to the “roof of the world,” reaching the 29,035 foot summit of Mt. Everest 2010: Alex Honnold, widely consid- ered this generation's best, most prolific big wall climbers, is awarded the "Golden Piton" for his achievements

2011: Patagonia’s “Don’t Buy This Jacket” ad runs on Black Friday in New York Times 2012: Sport climbing is granted permission to compete for entry to the Olympic Games in 2020


the urban ape

eight knots to know

Figure Eight Knot If you are a beginner climber and can only remember one knot, let it be this one.

Prusik Knot Tying a Prusik Knot will enable you to ascend a rope or haul up a load.

European Death Knot This is the bend least likely to get stuck. Two ropes enter the knot at the same point and pass over an obstruction relatively easily.

Square (Reef) Knot There have probably been more lives lost as a result of using a Square Knot as a bend than from the failure of any other half dozen knots combined.

Double Fisherman’s Knot The Double Fisherman’s Knot involves tying two Fisherman’s Knots. This is commonly used to tie the ends of two ropes of different diameters.

Sirens are blaring on the other end of the phone five minutes into our call with Timmy O'Neill. The Philadelphia-born, Coloradobased climber, comedian, storyteller and Patagonia ambassador is getting pulled over. For a man notorious for scaling the Brooklyn Bridge, the Chicago Tribune Tower, and The Nose in a record-breaking three hours and 24 minutes, his reputation for literally living on the edge proceeds him, so a run in with the cops wasn't much of a surprise. Fortunately it was just a minor traffic infraction, and he was off without a hitch. We suspect they hadn't heard his nickname the "Urban Ape," earned for scaling so many unconventional structures, “The first thing is: Don’t climb the Brooklyn Bridge. And the second thing is: Don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness,” he advised. O'Neill speaks rapidly, turning everything into a fluid metaphor but with the kind of clarity one could only call upon high atop a quiet mountain. A conversation with him is like a grand, unintentional pep talk, and after you're done, being a better person seems like the next logical step. That's especially true after learning about Paradox Sports, the nonprofit he began after his brother was paralyzed in a climbing accident. Following the accident, the two successfully climbed Devil's

Tower in Wyoming. "We were unsure of the outcome. But we were not looking for certainty, we were looking for adventure," O'Neill remembers. Eventually, after also working with Iraq War veterans, O'Neill was determined to help the adaptive community experience the outdoors on a regular basis. “It’s about creating a deep connection with wilderness: the natural, external wilderness, and the intellectual internal wilderness,” he explains. “We say, ‘Just show up and we’ll figure it out.’ It’s not about making it to the summit—it’s about making it to the base and becoming a part of that community that’s congregating at the base.” For the adults, children and families that participate, going on trips with Paradox Sports is often their first time climbing or camping. “What we want our participants to say is: ‘I’m a big part of my life. I’m in the driver’s seat of my life. I’m trying to make the right decisions that bring me well-being in body, mind, spirit.’”

Considered to be one of the best and most secure, a Single Loop Knot can be tied in the middle of a rope when you don’t have access to the ends.

If empowering disabled athletes weren't enough, he's also an ophthalmic technician, assisting ophthalmologists with collecting data and measurements to allow the correct diagnosis and treatment of eye diseases and other eye problems. He's done this in Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kathmandu. “Its the coolest stuff I get to do,” he says, brightening. “I get to be hands-on with a population that has true need, providing them the opportunity to be free, participants in their community.”

Alpine Butterfly Bend

“The more I give away in my Karmic boomerang, the more that tool comes back to me charged with potential,” O'Neill expounds of his commitment to service. But if this all sounds like serious work, it’s also what keeps him going, and its what brings him closer to the edge—and to minor run ins with the police—than most. “I believe in going to bed hungry, I believe in getting up tired, I believe in seeking out truth in the most inhospitable places. This is my quest. I call it elective suffering,” he states. “I’m going to decide to be afraid, cold, hungry, wet, alone; all of these things that are counterintuitive and in a way countercultural and unconventional; but what I have found is that they provide me with the ability to feel very attached and alive. That’s the paradox.”

Top three photos by: Jeff Johnson, Timmy and Aron Ralston, Yosemite, CA, 2006; Timmy cycling to his next climb, NYC, 2012, Keith Malloy and Timmy in the Black Cave, two-thirds up the North American Wall, El Capitan, Yosemite, CA, 2007, above left photo: Tim Davis, Timmy scaling an un-named building, NYC, 2013.

Alpine Butterfly Knot

A reliable bend used to join two ropes of roughly similar size and can be untied even after being heavily loaded.

Zeppelin Bend A very reliable bend with very little tendency to slip or bind and is exceptionally secure and shake-resistant in all materials.


south america

Climbing takes teamwork, especially when it comes to documenting the adventure. The images here capture that moment when climber and photographer are aligned; with light, landscape, and emotion acting as collaborators for the perfect shot.



Mikey Schaefer

Josh Huckaby

Equipment Sony NEX-6 16–50mm 3.5–5.6

Equipment 2 x Sleeping bags 1 x Jetboil 12 lbs of food 2 x Headlamps 2 x Helmets 2 x Climbing harness 2 x Climbing shoes 2 x Approach shoes 2 x Ice tools 2 x Crampons 1 x 60m 9.8mm rope 1 x 60m 6mm rope 2 x Black Diamond Camalots 1 x Stoppers 7 Pitons LOTS of clothes! (I could keep going...)

Shooting in the alpine regions, especially Patagonia, is actually really easy. The light is almost always good, the scenery is epic, and the emotion is always real. Though there are few non-ideal variables, which include multi-day approaches, heavy packs, falling ice and rock, stuck ropes, horrible weather and freezing hands. Thankfully I love all of that. - Mikey Schaefer

Patagonia 41°48´36.54˝ s 68°54´22.57˝ W

not a country in South America, despite what you may think (or were we the last to know?) Patagonia is actually a region located at the southern end of South America, shared by Argentina and Chile, spanning nearly 260,000 square miles.


north america



Chris Burkard

Jeff Johnson

Equipment Nikon D300s 17–50mm f2.8

Equipment 1 x Crash pad 1 x Metolius chalk bag 1 x La Sportiva shoes 1 x Patagonia jeans 1 x Patagonia merino wool shirt

Joshua Tree is known for its amazing evening glow. As the sun sets over the inland valley, it casts a warm light across the red granite. Rarely do I pull out a camera when climbing, as it has always been a refuge from my work as a photographer. But sometimes when everything comes together I can't help it. Here, Jeff Johnson was working on a classic boulder—a classic Lynn Hill problem—that has become a test piece for JTree bouldering, known for its non-existent holds and stemming technique. Shooting bouldering is so much different than any other form of climbing: it's more intimate. - Chris Burkard

joshua tree national park, ca 33°47´18 ˝ N 115°53´54˝ W


Living Legend

Before the masses even knew about climbing, Detroit-born Lynn Hill was a pioneer. She revolutionized the way people ascended mountains, and the notion of who could go up and down them, demanding equal pay and treatment for females in the field. With a background in gymnastics, her graceful style is that of a dancer gliding up surfaces unthinkable by most men or women. She was the first to freeclimb The Nose on El Capitan in under 24 hours, and at 52, she's still inspiring us to tackle any challenge, vertical or otherwise.

Photos by: Russ Raffa, from top left True Grit; Kansas City; Graveyard Shift, McCarthy Wall,1983.


The East Coast: I love the directness and diversity of the East Coast. I think because the weather's not as nice, people spend more time indoors and have developed a different way of relating to each other.

Uphill battles: Though things have improved significantly for women, I would say that we still struggle with the same issues. In some ways, we may have even lost ground compared to when I was a kid. Today women are expected to have a job or career and take care of the children and household duties, yet we are still paid significantly less than men. According to recent statistics, a woman only makes 70% of what a man makes in the same job. As a climber, I had to fight for equal prize money for things like the Survival of the Fittest competition. Men were getting $15,000 for prize money; we were getting $5,000. I said, “Wait a minute. This is not fair.” So we got together and told the producer and he said, “We can't change the prize money this year but we promise to raise the prize money for the women next year.” They did increase the prize money the following year, but the women still made less than the men because we competed in fewer events. becoming an ambassador. After I free climbed The Nose I ended up getting more sponsorships, which I didn't expect. I was thrust into the limelight and it was at this point that I assumed the role of “ambassador.” I like that term a lot better than “sponsored athlete”—I think the word ambassador implies a certain responsibility to communicate the essential values related to climbing culture, as well as the preservation of the natural environment. I really enjoy my role as ambassador because I believe in helping to educate and inspire others in a positive way. It’s important to remind young kids to follow their passions and dreams rather than following the trend toward consumerism and conformism.” That's really in essence what my image stands for: non-conventional, outside the box thinking and the importance of following our passions in life.

On “stuff”: Climbers of my generation seemed to be more interested in having the freedom to go rock climbing, as opposed to spending most of their time working. We preferred living on less money so that we could spend more time having fun. But the modern climber has a lot more need for “stuff” than we ever did. You see fancy SUVs, people constantly using their iPhones, and sometimes they even use a GPS to get directions to the route they want to climb. Today it's totally different than when I first started climbing. Trusting your instincts: When attempting a difficult climb on-sight, I try to maintain a calm and confident state of mind. I trust my sense of intuition instead of second-guessing my first instincts. If I’m feeling nervous or insecure, I’m more likely to be distracted by negative thoughts during crucial moments of difficulty. If I think to myself, “Oh, this feels hard , I might fall here!” I’m more likely to fall. The bigger the wall, the more likely something will go wrong, so I try to not to panic if something unexpected happens. I call this the mental shift, which means instead of going into panic-mode, I simply acknowledge the distraction and shift my focus to finding the best solution. Developing these mental skills requires a lot of practice. Climbing the Nose in 23 hours: I wouldn't say that I knew that I could do it, but I was confident that if I prepared myself properly and tried my hardest, I would find a way to realize my vision. My objective was simply to free climb the entire route from the ground to the top without a fall, in the same style as I would on a single-pitch rock climb. Though I did end up falling on the Changing Corners pitch located about 2,500 feet off the ground, I was happy to have free climbed this pitch on my third try of the day, and to succeed in making the first all-free ascent of The Nose in one day. Eleven years later, Tommy Caldwell free climbed The Nose with Beth Rodden in a four day effort, and then only two-days later, he raised the bar to a whole new level by free climbing The Nose and the Free Rider (another route on El Capitan)!

Climbing’s rise to fame: I started climbing 38 years ago, in 1975 at the age of 14. I wasn’t old enough to drive a car so I tagged along with my older sister, her boyfriend, and my brother. In the early days climbers used pitons for protection since there were no removable climbing devices. Even though the routes were not as difficult, they were more dangerous because they didn’t place as much protection in the rock and the hemp ropes they used were not as strong or elastic as the nylon ropes we use today. By the time I started climbing, the equipment and style of climbing had evolved. I learned to use removable protection devices such as Chouinard stoppers and hexes, which helped me develop the skills necessary for traditional style climbing. The introduction of spring-loaded camming devices didn’t happen until several years later. The Internet didn't exist back then either and climbing wasn’t a mainstream sport at all. When I first started, I never even saw a picture of a rock climber. the gunks: Growing up in California, I had heard about the Gunks from a few friends and I had seen a couple of magazine articles featuring climbers such as Henry Barber, Steve Wunsch and John Bragg, who were pushing the standards of the day on the East C oast. On my first trip to the Gunks, I fell in love with the place! I was twenty-two-years-old and about halfway through my studies in college. I chose to finish my degree in Biology at the University of New Paltz, since I figured I could get a job in a health related field. I never thought it would be possible to make a living as a rock climber. New Paltz was an ideal place to live because I could balance my time between school, climbing, and working as a rock climbing guide during the summer. I was excited to live in a completely different environment and culture. The Gunks turned out to be an important period in my evolution as a climber since the quartzite rock is quite different than the granite or sandstone formations I was used to climbing on is California. I moved to New Paltz in 1983. During that period, the style and approach to free climbing was pretty adventurous since we were pushing new routes on difficult and poorly protected faces. We adhered to traditional style ethics, which meant that we started from the ground, without previewing the route from above. We didn’t place any bolts, and we didn’t “hangdog” (hang on the rope in order to practice the moves). A lot of times we thought we could find protection on our new routes, because we’d see a little incipient crack that looked like it might provide this. But often times we were wrong and there weren’t many opportunities to place protection in the rock. We learned to remain calm and either keep climbing up, or down climb if possible. Often times we had no choice but to keep climbing since it was more difficult to climb down. As a result, I did some of my scariest leads in the Gunks. Shortly thereafter, a new style and approach to free climbing had evolved, which is now referred to as “sport climbing.”

Women in climbing: Things have evolved a lot in a relatively short period of time. You'd think it would have gone faster since the women's suffrage moment began over a hundred years ago! I'm 52 now, and I grew up during the 60s, which was a relatively liberal period. I never really identified with the traditional interpretation of how a woman should behave or perform. In fact, I’ve never believed in any type of discrimination based on gender, race, or other such limiting stereotypes. As a girl I liked to climb trees and I enjoyed engaging in physical activities that most people would not consider normal for a “girl.” I was called a “tomboy,” a title that I didn’t really appreciate. Though there are many strong women climbers today, climbing is still a male-dominated sport. Most people expect men to be the leaders and capable of doing harder routes than women— especially since climbing involves so much upper body strength. When I was about twenty-years-old, I made the following comment in an interview for a TV show called, Real People: “A woman may feel that she doesn't have to perform as well as a man, but that's not true for me. I push myself as far as I can. I don't really think about social implications of being a ‘female rock climber.’ A woman can become very good at a sport if she dedicates herself to it.” Collaboration vs. individuality: Contrary to what some people might think, climbing requires a team effort. In my formative days as a climber in California, I was part of a group known as the “Stonemasters.” I found a similar group pushing the level of free climbing in the Gunks. My friends knew which routes had been done and where there were potential new routes to try. They would say, “Hey, this climb over here hasn't been done, let's check it out.” So we worked together as a team and established many new routes. One person would go up, and if they fell off, they would be lowered back down to the ground, leaving the rope in place for the next person. This approach, called “yoyo” style, allowed us to work together and share in the process of establishing new routes on poorly protected faces. I wasn’t particularly looking for death-defying challenges, but sometimes it just ended up that way. And it was exciting, you know? Outdoor vs Indoor: Climbing in a gym doesn’t offer the same satisfaction as climbing outside. The movement may be similar in some ways, but climbing outside on natural rock is much more inspiring and aesthetically pleasing. Instead of following colored sequences on plastic holds, I follow the subtle shapes and forms of the rock. Over time, I’ve learned how to interpret the forms of the rock and create an efficient flow of movement, how to place natural protection, and how to be self-reliant. Climbing has become much more popular, more accessible, and the equipment has evolved so much that many climbers take their own safety for granted. Just because a person can climb at a high lever in the gym, doesn’t mean they can climb safely outside. There have been numerous accidents due to climbers not knowing how to anticipate the potential dangers in the immediate situation. Climbing is not like ping-pong. If you make a mistake, and you don't double-check your safety system, it could cost you your life. I climb indoors as a means of maintaining my strength and fluidity of movement so that I can have a more enjoyable experience when I do get a chance to climb outside. Climbing gyms also provide a unique social environment for climbers, which can be a lot of fun! But I still love to climb outside most of all. It seems that with all of the demands of modern life, many people don’t take enough time to simply hang out and enjoy the peace and beauty of nature. Just being outside can be therapeutic since it allows me a chance to connect with myself, my friends, and with the natural environment.

Climbing The Nose: Lynn's First Free Climb, 1994

Summit Overhangs

Changing Corners

Camp V1

Glowering Spot Camp V

Great Roof

Camp 1V

Boot Flake

Texas Flake

Jardine Traverse

Dolt Tower

Stove Legs Crack System

Sickle Ledge

Third-class climbing to start of first pitch


Pioneering Mountains: Our Favorite Climbers

Dispatches from Patagonia:

The soaring granite walls of Patagonia have captivated alpinists since the 1930s, when a team of Italian mountain guides led the first legitimate attempt on Cerro Fitz Roy. Today, Patagonia ambassadors Mikey Schaefer and Kate Rutherford are among a small cadre of climbers who devote much of their effort and imagination to finding new routes on the endlessly challenging spires outside El Chalten. Newly engaged and recently returned to the Pacific Northwest, Mikey and Kate shared a few words about their latest season in Patagonia.


Sir Edmund Hillary Made the first ascent of Mt. Everest along with Tenzing Norgay

Text: Malcolm Johnson Photos: Kate Rutherford and Mikey Schaefer


Junko Tabei The first woman to reach the peak of Mt. Everest

Patagonia used to live in the imagination as this incredibly wild, remote place. It still is that, but do you think the feel or perception of Patagonian climbing has changed? Mikey: Without a doubt. The biggest single change is reliable weather forecasting. That's allowed people to climb much bigger objectives when they have a good idea of how long the weather is going to be stable. With these larger successes also comes more media to the area— which then encourages more climbers to come.


Reinhold Messner The first person to climb all eightthousanders: the 14 independent mountains on Earth that are more than 26,247 feet high above sea level

Kate: It's still an incredibly wild place. The spires have become easier to access, with forecasting, topos and a paved road to El Chalten, but there's still a vast distance between town—with Internet and good wine—and the summit of any of those peaks. Anyone who tells you different is wrong. If anything, I think the imagination of climbers will be more stimulated by the increase in connectivity—it gives them access to good inspiration.


Jerzy Kukuczka One of the best high-altitude climbers in history. He ascended all 14 eightthousanders in under eight years, a shorter time than any climber before or since Photo: Cerro Torre covered in snow and ice after a long period of poor weather.


Of the routes you completed this year, which stood out the most?

Kate, what about your climb of the North Pillar with Madaleine Sorkin?

Mikey: Over the last six seasons, I've been really drawn to the Fitz Roy group and never attempted anything on the Torres. But with the weather and conditions being so good this year, it was impossible to resist the chance to go climb Cerro Torre. At the end of the season, a weather window appeared and along with Josh Huckaby we made our way out to the Ragni Route on the West Face. The Ragni is probably most sought-after alpine climb in the world, and now I totally understand why—it’s nearly perfect up there. It was just hard enough to be really engaging for me, but not hard enough to make me never want to go climbing again.

Kate: Fitz Roy has been the biggest goal of my life for the last 10 years, so it was extra special to share the climb with a longtime partner who'd never been to Patagonia before. Madaleine and I have done a lot of big, long routes together, but this was the biggest yet. The Mate, Poro y Todo lo Demas route was extremely beautiful and well suited to our love of crack climbing. It was interesting for me being the veteran in those mountains— I felt huge responsibility to get Madaleine and I up and down safely. Though there were moments of fun, ease and laughter, the enormity of the mountain was almost too overwhelming at the time. But after we'd come down, it provided us with a sense that we could do anything.

Kate: This was a banner year, totally over the top with Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy, but I was also very excited to climb Aguja Mermoz via the Red Pillar route. It was the last summit for me in "the Fitz skyline," the seven peaks we stare at from town. Photo: Self portrait halfway period across the tyrolean traverse above the Rio Fitz Roy on the approach to the Torre Valley.

And Mikey, what about your Manos y Mas Manos traverse? Mikey: I'm always on the lookout for ignored or underappreciated objectives, and the north reaches of the Torre massif—Aguja Cat, Quatro Dedos, Atchachila and Pachamama—are extremely ignored. A couple of the summits had only been reached once prior. For me, that's a huge flag saying, "Come climb me." And that's what Josh Huckaby and I went and did. We spent three and a half days traversing seven different summits, climbing somewhere around 45 pitches and making close to 50 rappels in the process. The position and the climbing were just amazing—it's hard to believe that those peaks see so little traffic. Photo: Madaleine Sorkin and Kate on the brilliant, sunny summit of Aguja Fitz Roy with the Patagonian Ice Cap in the background. 7pm, January 14 2013, Patagonia, Argentina.

What are your next goals in the mountains? Mikey: Thankfully, we don't have any big mountain plans for a while. We're both happy to keep the climbing pretty safe and simple. We might go on a short trip to the Bugaboos in August with friends. My next big trip is to San Lorenzo in Patagonia this fall, which will be a full-on expedition with Josh Wharton and Bryan Gilmore. Kate: We're pretty motivated to sport-climb well this summer—we hope it will help us to be stronger in the mountains, and it's a relaxing way to stay fit and recover for the next huge endeavor. I also have an exciting vertical science expedition to Mozambique this fall—it's a collaboration with climbers and scientists to explore undocumented species on a never-before-climbed granite big wall. And then we'll be back in Patagonia next winter.

What are the things you appreciate most about having a partner who climbs? And what's the secret to still getting along after being awake and moving for 40 hours? Mikey: I know I can trust Kate, more than anyone else, to look out for me, and she'll do everything within her ability to keep me safe. That's always a partner's goal, but when you're climbing with your significant other that trust is elevated to another level. We don't really have a secret—I think at hour 40 everyone just needs to do what's required of them, stay focused and nothing more. There isn't enough energy left to not get along. Kate: Mikey and I are pretty lucky in our relationship. We might be better at climbing and traveling together than we are at anything else. Being able to understand each other's passion is a gift, and we can share that time together. And 40 hours is nothing! But really, it's important to always be nice to each other and to keep each other safe after sleepless nights. If that's your intention, it's really not that hard.

Photo: Kate racks up all the required gear for a trip up Fitz Roy. Photo: On the summit of Cerro Torre after climbing the Ragni route on the west face.

9,000 M


renaissance man

The top 10 highest mountains 8,900 M


Mount Everest

First Ascent 1953

8,800 M

8,700 M



First Ascent 1954


Kangchenjunga First Ascent 1955



First Ascent 1956 Photos from top: Climbing Coarse and Buggy in Joshua Tree, CA, circa 2011. Photo: Chris Burkard; Skating the Christmas Tree ramp, Walnut Creek, CA, circa 1985. Photo: Matt Charlot; Backdoor Pipeline, North Shore, Oahu, Hawaii, circa 1996. Photo: Jeff Johnson collection.

He's a “wind spirited dirtbag who has a hard time sitting at his desk,” Jeff Johnson's colleague at Patagonia informed us after unsuccessfully trying to track him down over the phone. Turns out the surfer, climber, writer and photographer is still a free soul despite taking a 9-to-5 with the company over 10 years ago. But that, along with an ambition to portray the heart of a sport through stunning visuals is what makes this California native so magnetic. He learned to surf by way of skating; how to climb via surfing; and how to write and take photos simply through determination. Before taking a “full-time job” with Patagonia you were living in Hawaii. I moved to Hawaii after high school in the late 1980s; that changed everything for me. I lived on the North Shore of Oahu for about 15 years. I was a lifeguard in ’93, and I landed a job as a flight attendant for an international airline because it was kind of firemen hours, where you only work a few days a month. That allowed me to travel all over the place and surf. So throughout the whole 1990s, I was basically juggling both my flight attendant job and my lifeguard job. I worked like five to 10 days a month, for 12 years or something. The ocean was the ultimate environment to work in; and the lifeguard crew on Oahu were some of the best individuals I’d ever met. When you’re a lifeguard, you post up at a tower and you’re there for eight hours a day. You get to know every little nook and cranny of the coast, all the different types of swells, and the personalities of each break and the people. How did you transition to writing and photography? I was a terrible student in school. I don’t even think I read an entire book until after I graduated from high school. I had a teacher in my last few years of high school who was really inspiring. She actually sent me a box of books in Hawaii.

The first book that really changed my life was Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. She also turned me on to Cormac McCarthy, who is one of my favorite authors now. I later got into Bukowski and Paul Bowles. She also sent me a journal that I started writing in. Those are the perfect pastimes when you’re traveling: writing and reading. One day I went with a friend, Petey Johnson, who used to do a little bit of writing for Surfing Magazine, to interview this guy, Eric Haas. Afterward, Petey goes, "Why don't you write the article?" I really went head first into it. I thought it would be a good piece for Surfer’s Journal, my favorite magazine, so I flew to California, went to their office and hand-delivered it. My Dad taught me that if you really want to do something, you have to make an impression and differentiate yourself from other people. He told me about this kid—my dad’s a general contractor—this kid pestered him so bad, that he finally hired him and the kid did a shitty job. But the kid pestered him so bad again, that he hired him again. So [Surfer’s Journal] called me and said they were publishing it. That really changed things for me—to get published in my favorite magazine. I also started documenting these little adventures I’d go on with my friends. I eventually got a real camera and very long

story, short, Surfer’s Journal published my first photos; then Patagonia starting publishing my photos. This was in early 2000. When you’re shooting any kind of action sport, how do you know when you got the shot? Is it just a feeling? You see it coming together. The light changes in a certain way and the climbers are positioned and everything comes together, and you go, ‘Oh my god.’ You almost want to go down right then and go and process it, but you’re stuck hoping you’ve got it. Were you doing much climbing before you made 180 Degrees South? I started climbing late in life too, probably in my mid 30s. I think, like 34, maybe, and I’m 44 now. So I had been climbing for about five or six years by the time we made 180 Degrees South. What was the feeling you got when you first saw Mountain of Storms? Oh, that was crazy. A friend of mine, Amy Kumler, was working for Patagonia. I was visiting Chris Malloy and his family in Ventura. And she handed me the tape and said, ‘Hey you should show Chris this; you’re gonna really trip out on this.’ It had been sitting in the Patagonia vault (this is in 2001, I think, maybe even ’99) for 30 years and no one was supposed to see it outside of [the company]. I brought it to Chris’s family’s house and we plopped it into the VCR. Right when it started, we just looked at each other and went, ‘Holy shit, what the hell is going on here?’ We knew right away that we were sitting on something really important. This was before Yvon started Patagonia, Doug Tompkins had just began making tents under the label The North Face and it was before he did all the conservation down in Chile. Yvon did this trip and came back and named his company, Patagonia. Doug would go back down there



First Ascent 1955

20 years later, and start buying up land to develop into park lands. So we knew this was the trip that kind of set them on their path. We immediately wanted to either take that trip or do something in the spirit of that trip. A lot of the film and what you do in general is working with collaborators and friends like the Malloys. For you, is climbing is about learning to trust these collaborators that you’re with? Totally. When you’re climbing, you’re totally relying on your partner for your safety, so trust is a huge thing. It’s really hard to find partners that want to climb a lot. There are always people available, but they could be strangers and that’s always a little dodgy to me because you don’t know whom you’re climbing with. It’s really important for me to be with people that I like. A lot of climbing is a lot of down time and hanging out. You’ve got to get along. Are there tips that you would recommend for people just starting to climb? I was really fortunate to learn from really great climbers, and the reason why they’re so great is because they’re really safe. I vowed when I first started, to create good habits and not break them— because that can cost you your life. That’s the most important thing: to create good habits and never deviate from them. And don’t get too caught up in grades. I think it’s better to climb with great technique and style rather than to just climb a hard grade. It just makes it more enjoyable. So you want to climb a 5.13, or you want to boulder V11 or something like that, but your climbing experience will be better without focusing on the grade. You can see people just throwing themselves at this thing. Yeah, maybe they pulled it off, but it looked horrible and it didn’t seem like they were enjoying it.

8,400 M

8,300 M


8,200 M

Cho Oyu

First Ascent 1954


Dhaulagiri I First Ascent 1960

8,163m 8,126m


First Ascent 1956

Nanga Parbat First Ascent 1953


Annapurna I

First Ascent 1950

8,000 M


Light as a feather Weighs 18 ounces (510 grams)

retail therapy


Insanely water repellent Shell fabric is an ultralight 10-denier Pertex Endurance nylon ripstop with a polyurethane dry coat

No frostbite here Single drawcord provides a small draft collar of down around the face, creating a microclimate to keep exposed skin warm. Double-baffle wind flap behind the zipper completely seals out cold and wind

Jeff Johnson gives The Vertical a thumbs up. Photo: Chris Burkard

colophon Publisher: The Usual × Patagonia Editor: Yasha Wallin

Super warm Made from proprietary, plasmatreated, water-repellent EncapsilTM‚ 1000-fill-power down

Perfectly tailored 100% independently baffled and differentially cut without a single shortcut or "cheat" where a seam has been sewn through

Cozy hands Exterior hand pockets are independently insulated to retain warmth even when open, and the high positioning keeps them away from the harness line

Limited edition Each parka comes with a numbered label inside

More than just technically superior It's a "work of art," says Lee Turlington, vice president of global product

Don't get twisted A unique pull-system at the hem allows for drawcord adjustment inside or out, eliminating harness entanglement

Designed for burly alpinists Unparalleled in warmth for its weight, with the highestperforming down technology available anywhere

Creative Director / Designer: Emily Anderson Contributors / Photographers: Chris Burkard, Matt Charlot, Glen Denny, Tom Frost, Jeff Johnson, Malcolm Johnson, Paul Murphy, Russ Raffa, Barbara Rowell, Sandy Stewart, Doug Tompkins Extra Special Thanks: Shelby Meade and the team at Fresh and Clean Media, Vickie Achee, Alex Gumpel, Joy Lewis, Colin Pile Special Thanks: Kristen Bell, Chris Burkard, Rodrigo Cid, Graham Ezzy, Glenn Glasser, Carolina Gonzalez, Chris Hamilton, Stefan Knecht, Lizzy Nastro, Abe Wallin Copy Editors / Proofreaders: Theodore Bouloukos, Madhu Miller Front-cover image: Sentinel 2, Paul Murphy The Vertical Spring / Summer 2013 Manhattan / Montauk, NY

Patagonia ambassador Dylan Johnson keeps things running smoothly during an ascent of the north face of Mt. Temple, Canada. Photo: Mikey Schaefer

Proudly printed locally in New York at Linco Printing

Available later this summer at and Patagonia Boulder / NYC Meatpacking retail stores

© 2013 The Usual The entire contents of The Vertical are © copyrighted and may not be reproduced, either in whole or in part, without written permission from The Usual.

contributors Chasing the American Dream, UK native Emily Anderson now splits her time between New York City and Montauk. With over 10 years of experience in the art world and advertising, she's worked for NASCAR, Lightning Bolt, Coca-Cola, King + Grove Hotels, Mike D, and others. As a creative director her experience includes everything from editorial design, television, websites, mobile apps, and PSAs about rosacea, emphysema, and sperm.

Chris Burkard is currently staff photographer for Surfer Magazine. Along with his editorial contributions, Chris has created a coffee table book, The California Surf Project, and he continues to travel the world seeking to experience the most remote, rugged and untouched destinations that exist. Chris lives in Arroyo Grande, CA, with his wife, Breanne and new baby.

Yasha Wallin is a New York City-based writer and editor, and GOOD Magazine's creativity curator ( She’s written about art, fashion, travel, bagels and young Hollywood for numerous publications, including Art in America, Flaunt, Guardian UK, Heeb, Interview Magazine, Paper Magazine, and Surface. Twitter @Ywallin

Writer Malcolm Johnson spends most of time chasing waves near his home on Vancouver Island. He's a very amateur climber but loves to tinker with some of the boulder problems hidden away in the British Columbia woods. Twitter and Instagram @Malcolmrjohnson

connect with us For year-round entertainment, follow us on Twitter/Instagram/Facebook @TheUsualMontauk Check out our site for interviews and images, new and old:

A Northern Ireland native, photographer Paul Murphy now lives and works in London. Murphy began as a still-life photographer, later moving into the world of advertising, where clients include Volkswagen, Nikon, Heineken, Hewlett Packard, The Guardian, Virgin Atlantic, and Western Union, among others. Paul’s work has been celebrated in the UK, US, Europe and beyond. Murphy won the Royal Academy of Arts London Rose Award; and recently had a solo exhibition at Flowers Gallery, London.

or everything we thought about while making The Vertical.

Profile for The Usual

The Vertical  

The Vertical – a special publication created in collaboration with Patagonia and the team behind The Usual, that explores Patagonia’s rich c...

The Vertical  

The Vertical – a special publication created in collaboration with Patagonia and the team behind The Usual, that explores Patagonia’s rich c...


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