Yvon Chouinard, Patagonia's founder, got his start as a climber in 1953 as a 14-year-old. Yvon’s love for climbing grew as he met others who shared his love for the adventure. Chouinard started hanging out at Stoney Point on every weekend in the winter, and at Tahquitz Rock above Palm Springs in the autumn and spring. The only pitons available at that time were made of soft iron, placed once, and then left in the rock. But in Yosemite, multiday ascents required hundreds of placements.
In 1957, he went to a junkyard and bought a used coal-fired forge, a 138-pound anvil, some tongs and hammers, and started teaching himself how to blacksmith. Chouinard made his first pitons from an old harvester blade, before he knew it he was in business, Patagonia was born.
By 1970, Chouinard Equipment had become the largest supplier of climbing hardware in the U.S. It had also become an environmental villain because its gear was damaging the rock. On a winter climbing trip to Scotland in 1970, Chouinard bought a regulation team rugby shirt to wear rock climbing. Overbuilt to withstand the rigors of rugby, it had a collar that would keep the hardware slings from cutting into the neck.
Patagonia began to see clothing as a way to help support the marginally profitable hardware business, and by 1972 they were selling polyurethane rain cagoules and bivouac sacks from Scotland, boiled-wool gloves and mittens from Austria, and hand-knit reversible "schizo" hats from Boulder. Find a whole range of Patagonia clothing right here at The Epicentre.
As well as this fantastic Patagonia brand, here at The Epicentre we have a whole host of other outerwear brands, including Icebreaker. Take a look through what The Epicentre has to offer you today.