Patagonia supports employees with paid leave to care for themselves or an immediate family member. We do it because it’s the right thing to do for employees and their families–and because it’s good for our business. But this kind of support is far too uncommon in the United States, where just 13 percent of workers have access to paid family and medical leave. We’re the only industrialized country without a law that gives workers paid leave when serious family or medical needs arise.
It’s 2002. Dan Malloy, the youngest of the Malloy brothers, is surfing in a contest at Sunset Beach on Oʻahu. He is 25 years old and upholding a foundation built by his two older brothers, which has made him the most hopeful of the Malloy clan to excel in the competitive surfing world. But it’s been a slow road. Although he is arguably one of the best “free” surfers in the world, his rankings on the pro tour show otherwise.
For his brothers, there aren’t many expectations to fill. They know how difficult it is to do well at Sunset Beach, an arena notorious for big, funky, irregular surf. Regardless, the day is sunny, the water an opaque turquoise blue, and the waves are big—the size of telephone poles. Dan, trying to match his freakish, natural ability with the nuances of contest surfing, is more discerning than ever with his wave selection. Just before the end of his heat he catches a set wave. He makes the long drop, fading confidently back toward the towering whitewater, turns at the bottom, and pulls up into a giant tube ride. Dan disappears for a time that seems to stand still, and emerges out on the face. The crowd of spectators erupts. He can hear the hoots and crackling applause as he paddles in toward the beach.
“We started the trip without much of a purpose,” writes Fil Corbitt. “We wanted to be pushed around. Wanted to find something we didn’t know we were looking for. We wanted to take some small chance and see where we landed. And see which side was facing up.”
But how do you find that kind of serendipity when you only have a week? Fil created a game. Each morning, he and his friend would wake up and roll a single dice. A one meant go north. 2 = east, 3 = south, 4 = west, 5 = stay put and 6 meant to cross the nearest state border. The only rule? No backtracking.
In early 2014, I spent some time exploring the coastline around southern Chile looking for waves and generally just checking out a place that I had always wanted to visit. I ended up heading as far south as Chiloe which is the first island on the coast of where Patagonia starts. It had been a really slow start to the season for waves and so I found myself with my brother Phil and close friend Chris looking for other entertainment while we waited for swell.
We had got talking to an English lady called Kate up the coast and she mentioned Cochamó. She told us about these crazy waterslides and pristine rivers, epic campgrounds and insane granite climbing faces. The place sounded so amazing we had to go and check it out for ourselves.
Above: Horses cruised around the campgrounds the whole time giving the place an even wilder feeling than it already has. All photos by Patch Wilson
Every year, we look back on the year that was—and every year, we’re deeply thankful for your support of our mission and your willingness to stand for nature in all its fullness and beauty. May the peace and joy of the holiday season be with you and your loved ones, and here’s to a bright New Year ahead.
Inner glow meets outer glow in the Alaska Range. Photo: Norio Matsumoto
It is with heavy hearts that we share news of the passing of two Patagonia climbing ambassadors, Kei Taniguchi and Kenshi Imai, in two separate incidents.
Kei Taniguchi passed away on December 22 at Mount Kurodake in Hokkaido, Japan. Our deepest condolences and best wishes go out to her family and friends. She was 43 years old.
Taniguchi climbed Mount Everest in 2007 and was the first woman to win the Piolet d’Or in 2009 for the first ascent of the southwest face of Kamet (7756m, India) in alpine style with Kazuya Hiraide. She became friends with many Patagonia ambassadors and employees around the world after joining our ambassador program in 2013. Her numerous adventures, ability to climb into the unknown and willingness to thoroughly pursue what she loved, always with a smile, gave us a lot of courage and strength. She has our deepest respect and gratitude, and will be missed dearly.
In the days since our friend and mentor Doug Tompkins lost his life in a kayaking incident, we have experienced an outpouring of condolences from thousands of people around the world. The sense of loss from people who never knew Doug, but did know his work, is palpable.
A few days ago, at the headquarters of Tompkins Conservation in the Chilean town of Puerto Varas, we had a service for Doug attended by people from up and down the country and Argentina. Kris, his wife, opened the ceremony and spoke in Spanish of her boundless love for Doug, their love of wildness and their deep commitment to the protection of wilderness and wildlife, and their work to save, then donate, two million acres of land to the people of Chile and Argentina—and to all of us. She spoke with dignity and power, with a force that welled from a place inside her. She gave everything to each sentence and paragraph. Drained, she paused, breathed, and with each breath the power would rebuild until she continued with an even more profound power that none of us had seen before.
Above: Doug Tompkins, Rick Ridgeway, Yvon Chouinard on the summit of Cerro Kristine in 2008. Photo: Conservacion Patagonica Archives
God told Steve Wescott to walk from the Space Needle to Times Square, NYC, with a goat named LeeRoy, to raise $200,000 for an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. Or at least that’s the elevator pitch. In truth, when Steve started out of Seattle in 2011, it had much less to do with God, and much more to do with running away from himself and the mistakes he had made as a Christian rock star and sex-and-love-aholic. You probably don’t want to listen to this one with your kids.
Ken Yager is a man who understands the value of volunteerism. He approaches his work with the belief, creativity and passionate toil of a big wall climber. It’s an apt metaphor as he’s climbed El Capitan dozens of times. Along with his wife Schree and two children, he lives in El Portal, located three and half miles down the road from the Arch Rock entrance station to Yosemite National Park. And as the founder and cardiovascular system of the Yosemite Climbing Association, he is a leader of ideas and action.
The Yosemite Climbing Association represents an international community of climbers who are also activists, dreamers and doers. Core to the Yosemite Climbing Association’s mission is the preservation of the artifacts and lore of every age of Yosemite climbing history. Through Ken’s sharp eye, ear and hand, the collection covers a critical portrayal and understanding of the importance and scope of Yosemite’s impact on global climbing.
Above: Ken Yager and Lynn Hill at the Facelift sign-in table. Lynn was one of 1,467 unique volunteers who participated in this year's trash-cleaning event. Yosemite National Park, California. All photos by Steve Rathbun / Courtesy of Yosemite Facelift