British Antarctic Survey and Páramo: perfect partners

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has a long and distinguished history of carrying out research and surveys in the Antarctic and its surrounding regions, undertaking the majority of British research on the frozen continent, which it shares with scientists from over thirty countries.

Páramo’s partnership with BAS stretches back to 2008, when we began supplying their scientists with our Aspira Smocks, Aspira Salopettes and Pajaro Jackets. More recently we have supplied BAS with our Grid Baselayers and Torres Activo Jackets, selected by BAS for their unique Parameta® G and Nikwax® Analogy® Insulator fabrics.

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5 Years – 5 Wins

February 2016 marked a return to Patagonia – after a gap of 3 years, the Patagonia Expedition Race, billed as the toughest race on earth, once again took 20 top adventure racing teams to the end of the world. Here, winning team member, Chris Near, looks back to 2013 and his team’s 5th success in 5 races. PatagoniaRace2016-03 We sped on mountain bikes under police escort to the finish line in Punta Arenas. It was surreal – a rapid return to civilisation after 8 days racing through some of the most rugged, remote scenery in the world. When Nick asked if I fancied racing in Patagonia, I didn’t hesitate. Patagonia is mythical – remote, mountainous, with a reputation for rapidly changing weather. That and the reputation that the race is one of the toughest was reason enough for me. Continue reading

Páramo Detox Commitment

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Greenpeace scientists taking samples to test for PFCs — Image: © Christian Breitler, Greenpeace

Páramo is the first Outdoor company to sign up to Greenpeace Detox commitment

Páramo leads the Outdoor Industry with our commitment to exclude hazardous and persistent pollutants from textile production. On 25th January 2016 at the ISPO trade show in Munich, Páramo publicly announced an important commitment to our customers and the planet. As part of the Greenpeace Detox programme, this commitment lays out the basis for excluding hazardous chemicals from production of all Páramo Outdoor products.

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Saving the albatross in comfort

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The endeavours of ocean wanderers like the albatross never cease to amaze us. Perhaps it’s because we humans struggle to endure the mighty seas and freezing temperatures of the southern oceans where these birds thrive. For those who spend any time upon the raucous seas where albatrosses roam, it is a constant reminder of just how frail we are compared with the albatross which have perfected their physiology to cope with the harshest of environments. However, sometimes their adaptation works against them because they are so adept at foraging over vast distances that our presence in their habitat has become a threat to these seabirds.

Longline fisheries use hooks baited with squid, an albatross staple, deployed at intervals on lines that stretch over 60 km long to catch high value fish such as tunas and swordfish. Seabirds, especially albatross, follow the fishing vessels and steal baited hooks before they can sink into the depths. This stolen meal far too often results in the death of the thief, with over 300,000 seabirds killed in longline and trawl fisheries per year, at least 100,000 of which are albatross. However, this unnecessary mortality is easily avoided, by using bycatch mitigation measures like a bird-scaring line to ward off foraging birds, line weighting to sink the hooks faster and setting lines at night when the birds are less active. The hard part is

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convincing the fishing industry that these measures are effective, and necessary. To create that awareness, and generate the uptake of mitigation measures in the worlds’ bycatch hotspots, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and BirdLife International launched the Albatross Task Force. The ATF is a team of bycatch mitigation practitioners who work directly with industry, at sea, on deck, right next to the people setting the hooks. The mission of the ATF is to implement best practice mitigation measures in seabird bycatch hot spots, to reduce the levels of mortality and ultimately to improve the conservation status of these threatened birds. This involves generating links with industry and government, conducting frequent sea trips to test, and improve mitigation and help industry re-adjust their fishing gear and operations to prevent albatross mortality. Our results show that the measures are extremely effective, with seabird bycatch reductions of over 90% possible where mitigation is adopted. These results are only possible by spending the

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necessary time at sea in all conditions, and that is why the ATF uses Páramo directional clothing. Staying warm and dry makes long periods on deck much more comfortable, but the design details are really what make the difference. Adjustable hoods that hold off the worst of the rain without diminishing the view of the wearer are great for performing seabird abundance counts. A range of pockets help store the range of utensils for recording data during hours on deck, and the lightweight and flexible fabrics permit changing the number of layers beneath the top coat as weather demands. Oli Yates, RSPB

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Páramo Sapiens – a winter climbing adventure

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The day dawned clear and cold as we left the car park at Sligachan and took the path towards Sgurr Bhastier through iced up puddles crunching under foot. Following the right side of the Allt Dearg burn, we soon reached the snowed up slopes under the north face. A few days before I had been climbing on the lower buttress and had come across this excellent looking route, but armed only with nuts and a bulldog I decided we were not “hard” enough to attempt pure ice, so reluctantly left, but you know what happens in your mind… … Your only mission is to return before anyone can “steal” that coveted first ascent! Unfortunately, (for him) my friend Murdo has a proper job, so couldn’t do mid-week, so like any conscientious climber I quickly decided to find a new best friend. With conditions this good it proved to be a doddle. Matt and John, better known as Skye Adventure made up the team and what a team… full of fun, always an advantage on the belays climbing as three! All too soon the ice “reared” steep and forbidding above us and after scratching around for a belay and uncoil… (I mean untangling the ropes!) my new compatriots decided it was my lead, said with a smirk (no smirk without fire I always say). In these circumstances it’s best not to show panic, so with a deep intake of breath and a few choice words to myself, I attacked the ice with gusto and waded through thigh deep powder snow to the bottom steepening. Ice screw placed, the tools sank easily into the bomber ice and I was “off” on my adventure. Nothing better than doinking your ice axe in some 5,000 year old foliage hanging on in a hostile terrain! Sweating profusely, mouth dry, I am soon joined by my partners and after a bit of backslapping we ponder what we’ll call this little gem for posterity. Since we had a theme for these cliffs, starting with a route I called “Je Suis Charlet” as it was just after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo. It didn’t take long to settle on “Páramo Sapiens” as a quick perusal of our gear revealed us all to be wearing Páramo jackets and trousers which we all find to be warm and comfortable both climbing and snickering on belays. A quick bite to eat whilst admiring the view and it was time to head back down through the virgin snow, before daylight deserted us. “Páramo Sapiens” IV 4 north face Sgurr Bhastier, Black Cuillins, Isle of Skye

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Páramo Detox commitment

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Páramo’s detailed commitment as part of the Greenpeace Detox Programme:

DATE: 21 01 2016

In line with Páramo‘s long-term sustainability program Páramo recognizes the urgent need for:

  1. eliminating all releases of all hazardous chemicals1
  2. new responsible business models11 and resource stewardship; According to its approach based on prevention2 and the Precautionary Principle3 Páramo is committed to:
    1. zero discharges4 of all hazardous chemicals into the environment
    2. reducing and maintaining complete supply chain priority resource use within equitable and planetary limits associated with the making and using of all products Páramo produces and / or sells5 by no later than 01 January 2020.

    We recognize that to achieve this goal,

    • mechanisms for disclosure and transparency about the hazardous chemicals used in our global supply chains are important and necessary, and should be in line with the ‘Right to Know principle’6.
    • production and consumption business model changes, that revolutionise the design and systems of consumption and living , are required, including a system shift to more comprehensive Extended Producer Responsibility10 that is based on slow, closed loop, resource constrained and non toxic manufacturing.

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Greenpeace Report: PFC pollution is everywhere. Páramo amongst few taking serious action.

Greenpeace’s latest report “Footprints in the Snow” finds that perfluorinated chemical (PFC) pollution is so widespread it can be found in the world’s most remote places. It also names Páramo amongst a very small number of outdoor clothing brands to have eliminated these hazardous chemicals from its production.

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