An original post on a well-known climbing forum, SuperTopo.com, on March 9 at 9:17 p.m. PST claiming Patagonia "unceremoniously sh#t canned the rock climbing ambassadors" could not have been further from the truth. In actuality, only three climbing ambassadors are leaving. Dean Potter and his wife Steph Davis/Potter are parting ways with Patagonia. Additionally, Katie Brown is leaving the ambassador fold.
SNEWS® was told that Patagonia and the Potters mutually decided not to renew their ambassador contract for the 2007 fiscal year. Jen Rapp, Patagonia's director of public relations, told SNEWS®, "We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors and we thank them for our years of partnership."
Rapp added, "Patagonia is looking forward to continued collaboration and product testing, design and marketing with the other athletes as we have for many years."
Patagonia's ambassador athletes are also spokespeople and field representatives for the brand in numerous outdoor sports, including rock and alpine climbing, men's and women's surfing, paddling, Nordic and alpine skiing, snowboarding and trail running.
SNEWS® View: How brave of SuperTopo.com poster "hirigger" to wait until late evening on Friday to post what he or she had to know would obviously be an inflammatory statement: "Yesterday Patagonia unceremoniously sh#t canned the rock climbing ambassadors...you know, the ones being touted as the soul of the sport in the new Yosemite spring catalog we all received last week. looks like they got their use out of them... Ron kauk, Lynn Hill, Dean Potter, Steph Davis, Katie Brown and others-GONE." No chance for Patagonia to respond or for anyone to actually be able to check the facts. In short order, there were 142 posts to the forum, many ripping Patagonia for something the company had not done. And this underscores a very key difference between responsible journalism and irresponsible rumor mongering -- fact-checking. Hirigger should be embarrassed and, if anyone knows who he or she is, made a public example of for being, well, an (you fill in the blank):____________. If you want to send an email, the profile says it should go to firstname.lastname@example.org. As for the Potters and Patagonia parting ways, no surprise there. Dean wrote the epitaph to his ambassador contract when he decided it would be a good idea to poach Delicate Arch in Utah's Arches National Park.