In the summer of 1968, three men – climber and surfer Yvon Chouinard, climber and skier Doug Tompkins, and champion skier Dick Dorworth – set off from California in an old van to surf, ski and climb their way down to the southern end of Argentina. Their ultimate goal was to climb the legendary mountain in Patagonia, Cerro Fitz Roy, summited only once previously. Told Endless Summer style, the DVD “Mountain of Storms” (screengrabs above and below), is the documentary of the road trip that changed their lives and inspired Chouinard to found the company Patagonia.
The more recent documentary 180° SOUTH, tells Chouinard’s story through the journey of the next generation of surfer, climber, adventurer Jeff Johnson, who attempted to retrace the epic 1968 trip of his heroes. Interwoven throughout the documentary is beautiful footage from that original trip, discovered by Johnson himself, that captures these men as they explore untouched mountains and unsurfed coastline on their 5000 mile expedition. Johnson happened upon the footage in 1990 and spent the next ten years of his life planning how to follow their footsteps. Each scene echoes back and forth between Jeff’s modern day adventure and conversations between Chouinard and Tompkins reliving their journey.
Johnson’s own trip was an epic journey of its own (screengrabs below), simply told and directed by world class surfer and environmentalist, Keith Malloy. To quote Chouniard himself. “It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong”. Both DVD’s and a beautiful accompanying coffee table book, 180° South: Conquerors of the Useless, with words and images not seen in the film, are all produced by and available at Patagonia.