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Climbing Stories

Ken Etzel
Colin Haley on Chaltén 2015-2016
Photo: Colin Haley
Colin Haley on Chaltén 2015-2016
Colin Haley

My previous Patagonia climbing season, climbing last year mostly with Marc-André Leclerc and Alex Honnold, had been my most successful yet. Among a bunch of other activity was the first ascent of the Travesía del Oso Buda, the first repeat and direct variation to El Arca de los Vientos, and a nearly complete, one-day Torre…

14 min Read
Power of the Possible: Climbing with Polio in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Photo: Timmy O’Neill
Power of the Possible: Climbing with Polio in the Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Timmy O’Neill

My work with adaptive athletes began when my brother Sean was injured almost 25 years ago. He’s paralyzed from the waist down and lives life from a wheelchair where he more than rolls with it, he thrives. Ever since we topped out on El Capitan for the first time in 2005—that’s 3,000 feet of vertical…

7 min Read
Colin Haley on Following Fred Beckey into the Mountains
Photo: Fred Beckey Collection
Colin Haley on Following Fred Beckey into the Mountains
Colin Haley

The musings of a dirtbag’s disciple.

5 min Read
Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey
Photo: Fred Beckey Archive
Dirtbag: The Legend of Fred Beckey
Dave O’Leske

A portrait of the man who made more first ascents than any other North American climber, wrote beautiful and meticulous mountain guides of the wild areas he loved, and defined the “dirtbag” archetype in a way that no one else ever has or could.

4 min Read
Sonnie Trotter on Climbing the Totem Pole in Tasmania
Photo: Cameron Maier
Sonnie Trotter on Climbing the Totem Pole in Tasmania
Sonnie Trotter

“Great climb, eh?” said a voice from up and over my right shoulder. “Yeah,” I replied, while clipping the anchor on After Midnight one of Mount Wellington’s most prized pitches and no giveaway at 24 (or 5.11d in Yosemite terms), “incredible, actually.” “Where you from?” the voice asked. “Canada!” I said. I looked up to…

8 min Read
Excerpt from “American Climber” by Luke Mehall
Photo: Keith Brett
Excerpt from “American Climber” by Luke Mehall
Luke Mehall

After El Capitan, my desire for wall climbing diminished. Perhaps it was growing older, or perhaps it was just my surroundings. The Black Canyon was no longer an hour away. Yosemite was no longer in my waking dreams every day. Durango was so close to the desert, and thus the desert became all that mattered…

7 min Read
Announcing the 2015 Copp-Dash Inspire Award Recipients
Announcing the 2015 Copp-Dash Inspire Award Recipients
Announcing the 2015 Copp-Dash Inspire Award Recipients

The Copp-Dash Inspire Award, sponsored by Black Diamond Equipment, La Sportiva, Mountain Hardwear and Patagonia (with additional in-kind support from Adventure Film Festival, the American Alpine Club, Jonny Copp Foundation and Sender Films), announced the 2015 winners of the climbing grant established in memory of American climbers Jonny Copp and Micah Dash who were killed…

2 min Read
Majka Burhardt on Being Asked about Mothering and Climbing
Photo: Peter Doucette
Majka Burhardt on Being Asked about Mothering and Climbing
Majka Burhardt

Dear Kaz and Irenna, Today you are 10-months old. This week, the last of winter’s snow left our garden, and the final crocus patch bloomed and closed just in time to escape your attempts to eat its purple petals. I spent our first winter together pulling you behind me in a tandem sled that gave…

4 min Read
Excerpt from Allen Steck’s “A Mountaineer’s Life” on the First Ascent of Hummingbird Ridge
This distant view of the Hummingbird Ridge shows the immensity of the climb, starting at the rocky cliffs at lower right to the summit three and a half miles away and some 13,000 feet higher. Photo: Roy Johnson Jr.
Excerpt from Allen Steck’s “A Mountaineer’s Life” on the First Ascent of Hummingbird Ridge
Allen Steck

In honor of the release of A Mountaineer’s Life by Allen Steck, Patagonia Books is pleased to share this excerpt from chapter eight.  Camp II was a desperate and fearful place. We spent seven days there in severe weather. We could not leave the tents without going onto the fixed lines; the weakened cornice behind us…

6 min Read
Remembering Hayden Kennedy and Inge Perkins
Remembering Hayden Kennedy and Inge Perkins
Remembering Hayden Kennedy and Inge Perkins
Yvon Chouinard

We are so sad to learn of the deaths of Hayden Kennedy and Inge Perkins. Malinda and I knew Hayden all his years. His parents, Michael and Julie Kennedy, are good friends who passed on to their son their love of climbing and skiing, and their ethics. The family also shared, in the presence of…

1 min Read
The Memory Lessons: Luca Krajnc’s First Free Ascent of Spomin
Photo: Marko Prezelj
The Memory Lessons: Luca Krajnc’s First Free Ascent of Spomin
Luka Krajnc

When I was ten years old, I was a hyperactive kid who had problems staying focused for a long period of time. One day I was sitting in class at primary school, listening to a subject that didn’t really interest me. Bored, I started playing with the scissors that I found in my school bag.…

7 min Read
The Vida Patagonia: Our Ambassadors’ Stories
The Vida Patagonia: Our Ambassadors’ Stories
The Vida Patagonia: Our Ambassadors’ Stories
Rolando Garibotti

Rolo and a handful of stoked Patagonia ambassadors and friends will be sharing images and stories of their adventures throughout the Patagonia climbing season. Follow along at patagonia.com/vidapatagonia. If you’re planning to make a climbing trip to the area, tag your photos with #VidaPatagonia to appear on the page. The peaks of the Chaltén Massif…

7 min Read
A Chaotic Big-Wall Trip to Patagonia
A Chaotic Big-Wall Trip to Patagonia
A Chaotic Big-Wall Trip to Patagonia
Austin Siadak

The pig squeals and groans in protest as I wrestle it back onto my sweaty body. I groan even louder. Seventy pounds of ropes, cams, pins, beaks, portaledges, tents, food, fuel and everything else for a month-long big-wall expedition bulge from my haul bag, digging deep into my spine. I’ve already carried two of these…

5 min Read
The Dream – A Journey of the Spirit with Mugs Stump
The Dream – A Journey of the Spirit with Mugs Stump
The Dream – A Journey of the Spirit with Mugs Stump
Michael Kennedy

Editor's note: Exactly two years ago The Cleanest Line was born, and today we have a post that embodies two of the reasons why we started blogging: to share inspiring stories and pertinent news. The recipients of the 2009 Mugs Stump Award were announced at the Ouray Ice Festival in mid-January. Hit the jump to…

30 min Read
Climbing New Routes in the Fitz Roy Range with Kate Rutherford and Mikey Schaefer
Climbing New Routes in the Fitz Roy Range with Kate Rutherford and Mikey Schaefer
Climbing New Routes in the Fitz Roy Range with Kate Rutherford and Mikey Schaefer

The boxes had started to stack up around my desk, but they weren’t addressed to me. “c/o Kate Rutherford” was acquiring quite a stash of stuff, and when she and Mikey Schaefer finally rolled up in their basecamp-on-wheels to Patagonia HQ one sunny Southern California morning, all the pieces started to fall into place. Mikey’s…

6 min Read
Backyard Adventures: Ice Climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park
Backyard Adventures: Ice Climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park
Backyard Adventures: Ice Climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park

Gather 'round the virtual campfire friends. It's time for another Backyard Adventure from The Cleanest Line masses. This time, reader Doug Shepherd has a story to share about ice climbing near his home in Colorado: I have been climbing in Rocky Mountain National Park since I moved to Colorado five years ago, slowly gaining the…

5 min Read
Colin Haley Solos Supercanaleta
Colin Haley Solos Supercanaleta
Colin Haley Solos Supercanaleta

Last week Colin Haley (24) soloed Supercanaleta on Patagonia's Fit Roy massif. This burly effort comes less than a year after he and fellow Patagonia ambassador Rolando Garibotti completed the incredible Torre Traverse. Here's Colin's take on the solo climb: One of the reasons why my trips to Patagonia have always been among my most…

10 min Read
Backyard Adventures: An Active Imagination in Sinks Canyon
Backyard Adventures: An Active Imagination in Sinks Canyon
Backyard Adventures: An Active Imagination in Sinks Canyon

Editor's note: Our Backyard Adventures series kicks off today and first up is Dave Anderson from Wyoming who proves that a vivid imagination can be your best partner on an outing close to home. Gone are the mornings spent lounging on the tailgate of my rusted-out truck, eating last night's leftover pasta with my only…

6 min Read
Lynn Hill Sends Chablanke
Lynn Hill Sends Chablanke
Lynn Hill Sends Chablanke

Climbing video site Momentum Video Magazine (MVM) recently posted a video of Patagonia ambassador Lynn Hill, sending the V11/12 boulder problem Chablanke in Hueco Tanks, Texas. There isn't an easy way to point you to the exact video, but it's worth the effort to locate if you want to see Lynn climb this very difficult…

2 min Read
Sonnie Trotter Repeats Rhapsody in Scotland
Sonnie Trotter Repeats Rhapsody in Scotland
Sonnie Trotter Repeats Rhapsody in Scotland
Patagonia

We received some stellar news from Patagonia ambassador Sonnie Trotter this morning: Well, I don’t have much time right now, but I just wanted to say thanks to all ya’ll over there in Ventura, working hard to spread the Patagonia name, product and love. Yesterday I sent the original Rhapsody, the world’s first E11 (5.14b/c…

2 min Read
There’s a Moose Loose Aboot This Hoose: An Ambassador Letter
There’s a Moose Loose Aboot This Hoose: An Ambassador Letter
There’s a Moose Loose Aboot This Hoose: An Ambassador Letter
Patagonia

We found this e-mail from one of our European climbing ambassadors, Matt Helliker, in our inbox recently. Matt writes: Sorry for the group email, but I’m not long off the mountain and just wanted to give some info, on the Alaska trip. Myself along with Jon Bracey have climbed a new route on the East…

4 min Read
Lynn Hill’s Yosemite Trip to Speak at AMGA
Lynn Hill’s Yosemite Trip to Speak at AMGA
Lynn Hill’s Yosemite Trip to Speak at AMGA
Lynn Hill

I just arrived home from a brief but pleasant trip to Yosemite Valley, where I was invited to give a presentation at the AMGA (American Mountain Guides Association) annual meeting. The fall colors were splendid and the climbing temperatures ideal. It was a coming home of sorts, I met up with my old friends, Mari…

4 min Read
Zoe Hart Climbs Early Season Ice
Zoe Hart Climbs Early Season Ice
Zoe Hart Climbs Early Season Ice
Zoe Hart

The fall begins to bring grey weather, and we endorphin junkies and fresh-air addicts begin to get itchy. Trapped indoors as the rock gets desperately cold on the finger tips, the sun begins to hibernate, and there is not enough snow to strap toys to our feet. So we start pulling on plastic or hanging…

3 min Read
Steve House’s K6 Attempt Update: Airfare and Intervals
Steve House’s K6 Attempt Update: Airfare and Intervals
Steve House’s K6 Attempt Update: Airfare and Intervals
Steve House

You’re truly committed once you buy the plane ticket. And Friday (5/18) I bought my ticket for this summer’s expedition to K6 in north-eastern Pakistan and my mental state instantly changed. Commitment always precipitates realizations. I have a lot of things I want to do before I go; not the least of which is to…

5 min Read
Beyond and Back: Liz Clark and Belinda Baggs
Beyond and Back: Liz Clark and Belinda Baggs
Beyond and Back: Liz Clark and Belinda Baggs
Jeff Johnson

by Jeff Johnson Editor's note: We're stoked to introduce a new feature on The Cleanest Line from Bend to Baja author/photographer Jeff Johnson. Jeff's work has appeared in The Surfer’s Journal, Surfer’s Path, Alpinist, Surfing, Surfer and the Patagonia catalog. When we don't have him chained to a desk at Pat. HQ in Ventura, Jeff…

3 min Read
Steve House Summits Emperor Face, an 11-Year Dream
Steve House Summits Emperor Face, an 11-Year Dream
Steve House Summits Emperor Face, an 11-Year Dream
Steve House

April 1996: We had a hundred acres to plant – Ponderosa Pine, Doug Fir, and Blue Spruce – but the nursery kept claiming that the seedlings were buried underneath persistent snow. I was cooling my heels in LaGrande, Oregon, waiting for the work to begin when the call came. It was Joe Josephson, inviting me…

5 min Read
Doing the Work
Doing the Work
Doing the Work
Josh Wharton

Not totally relating to some forms of climate activism, Josh Wharton found his own way to contribute.

5 min Read
Tread Lightly
Tread Lightly
Tread Lightly
Emmeline Wang

Finding the intersection of identity, stewardship and rock climbing.

6 min Read
Road Trip to an Unfamiliar Place
Road Trip to an Unfamiliar Place
Road Trip to an Unfamiliar Place
Brittany Leavitt

A climber interviews five women on a climbing trip to Bishop and Las Vegas.

23 min Read
Girl Crush
Girl Crush
Girl Crush
Natasha Woodworth

On designing our women’s climbing pants.

4 min Read
Zoe Hart Becomes Fourth American Woman to Earn IFMGA Mountain Guide Credential
Zoe Hart Becomes Fourth American Woman to Earn IFMGA Mountain Guide Credential
Zoe Hart Becomes Fourth American Woman to Earn IFMGA Mountain Guide Credential
Steve House

A big CONGRATULATIONS goes out to Patagonia Ambassador Zoe Hart who just passed her Ski Mountaineering Guide’s exam to earn her IFMGA mountain guide credential! This makes Zoe the fourth American woman to earn her IFMGA, or International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations, status. This is the highest level of credential available by a professional…

2 min Read
Lynn Hill on Setting Realistic Goals
Lynn Hill on Setting Realistic Goals
Lynn Hill on Setting Realistic Goals
Lynn Hill

I’ve found that the process of setting goals and the accompanying list of tasks “to do” in order to accomplish the goal, is essential in reinforcing my intents and purposes. Virtually every motivation guidebook includes at least one chapter about the proper organization of one’s tasks and goals. It is usually suggested that it is…

2 min Read
Lynn Hill on Muscular Balance
Lynn Hill on Muscular Balance
Lynn Hill on Muscular Balance
Lynn Hill

Overuse injuries in climbing are prevalent these days, especially for ambitious newcomers and people who simply have a hard time listening to their bodies. I know that most athletes are aware of the basic principles of preventative medicine but sometimes we tend to disregard them at the most crucial times. The following post is mostly…

3 min Read
Lynn Hill on Breathing and Energy Flow
Lynn Hill on Breathing and Energy Flow
Lynn Hill on Breathing and Energy Flow
Lynn Hill

Over the last several years, many forms of yoga and eastern practices have been adopted into our culture. There is much more awareness about the benefits of meditation, maintaining good posture, and conscious breathing in our practice. Breathing is one of the few bodily functions that can be controlled both consciously and unconsciously. Conscious attention…

3 min Read
Lynn Hill Attends the Petzl Roctrip
Lynn Hill Attends the Petzl Roctrip
Lynn Hill Attends the Petzl Roctrip
Lynn Hill

The Petzl RocTrip event in the Red River Gorge this past weekend was certainly “eventful”. This year Petzl joined forces with the RRGCC (Red River Gorge Climbers Coalition) annual fundraiser called, Roctober Fest to help raise money to buy a large section of cliffs in the Red River Gorge area. With contributions from Petzl, generous…

4 min Read
Lynn Hill on the Cover of Outside Magazine
Lynn Hill on the Cover of Outside Magazine
Lynn Hill on the Cover of Outside Magazine
Lynn Hill

The other day while having coffee at Vics, the neighborhood café, a few people came up to me and said they liked the cover shot of Outside Magazine this month. This month’s gate-cover photo shows Lance Armstrong, Ben Harper, Amanda Beard, and Kelly Slater on the front page, and on the foldout page you see…

2 min Read
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