Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thursday Evening Time Waster

Fire up the laptop, pour a tumbler of single malt, and settle into a comfy chair: You'll be wasting some serious time here. Today Patagonia launched a very cool multimedia site called the Tin Shed. The idea is you're hanging out in the old shed in California where Chouinard Equipment Company—Patagonia's predecessor—got its start, and you're sharing stories and photos with your pals. And this site, slated to be updated quarterly, is packed with good stories.

A few of these videos and slide shows have already been posted on the Internet, but most are fresh. The best I've seen so far is Steve House's 30-minute film from the first ascent of K7 West in Pakistan last summer. But climbers will also find Rolando Garibotti narrating a slide show of the Torre Traverse, historic film of Henry Barber climbing Yosemite Valley's Wheat Thin in 1977, and stories from Sonnie Trotter attempting Rhapsody in Scotland, Brittany Griffith and friends climbing a huge wall in Oman, and Kelly Cordes ranting about the nature of alpinism. There's also a very cool slide show from the Shed when Chouinard Equipment was still producing gear there. As you'd expect from Patagonia, the site is attractive and slickly produced (though the Torre Traverse piece has crashed my browser twice when I tried to open it, so maybe there are still a few kinks to work out). In many ways, this site is doing what Quokka hoped to do for climbing in the go-go days of the Internet in the late ’90s, but without the absurdly high budgets and huge support crews. Oh, what the hell, I'll use the word Patagonia is probably hoping I'll use: These stories are "authentic."

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