Rick Ridgeway is a pioneer in more ways than one. Not only does he have a number of mountaineering records to his name, including the first U.S. ascent of K2, but over the years he’s also been one of the most prominent and innovative businessmen in the outdoor industry.
Since 2005 he’s been VP of Environmental Affairs at Patagonia where he’s been the driving force behind some of their groundbreaking campaigns, including that famous advert that said: ‘Don’t Buy this Jacket’, and also Worn Wear, which he established to encourage people to repair their kit rather than replace it.
At the time of writing, Patagonia have just sent a big message to President Trump following his decision to slash the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase National Monuments in Utah. In large white writing against a black backdrop on the homepage of their website are the words: ‘The President Stole Our Land’. There are reports that they’re planning on suing him.
On the basis of what Ridgeway had to say to us back in October at Kendal Mountain Festival, this reaction from Patagonia comes as no surprise. He talked to us about his early years as a mountaineer, what he considers his greatest achievement in business, what direction he wants to take Patagonia and of course, how he feels about Trump.
“K2, in terms of the tenacity required, was my hardest climb. At the end of the two-month period on the peak, we were out of just about all our supplies and up on the high camp, on that last ditch push to the top, if there was any food left it was literally crumbs in the wrappers of the candy bars that remained – without exaggeration. I remember getting back down to the second highest camp, and rummaging through the garbage.