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Rick Ridgeway        

Environmentalist, Mountaineer, Expedition Author, Former VP of Environmental Initiatives & Special Projects at Patagonia

Rick Ridgeway is a mountaineer, environmentalist, author, and filmmaker. He served as the VP of Environmental Affairs and, later, VP of Public Engagement at Patagonia from 2005 until his retirement in 2020. He had a significant role in the company’s mission to cause no unnecessary harm and use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. He was instrumental in launching several environmental and sustainability initiatives, such as Freedom to Roam, in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund to protect wildlife cores and corridors.

Before joining Patagonia, Ridgeway was the founding Chairman of The Sustainable Apparel Coalition and he developed the Higg Index. He also had a successful business career, including being a retained consultant for the Kelty Pack Company and launching Adventure Photo & Film, a leading stock photo and film agency. As part of the original Seven Summits expeditions in the early '80s, Ridgeway explored little-known regions around the world and made significant contributions to mountaineering.

Recognized as one of the world's foremost mountaineers, Ridgeway was part of the 1978 team that were the first Americans to summit K2. He has authored seven books, including "A Life Lived Wild: Adventures at the Edge of the Map," which received the National Outdoor Book Awards in 2022, and "The Last Step: The American Ascent of K2." His work has also appeared in publications such as Outside, National Geographic Magazine, and Harvard Business Review. As a filmmaker, he has produced and directed numerous adventure films, including co-producing "180° South: Conquerors of the Useless," and has been a recipient of awards such as the Golden Eagle Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and an Emmy for the film "Everest."

Ridgeway's commitment to environmentalism extends beyond his work at Patagonia. He served as a board member of Earth Day Network and the Kiewit Family Foundation, and a member of the World Wildlife Fund National Council and the National Geographic Expeditions Council. His efforts in adventure and environmentalism have earned him prestigious awards such as the Halprin Award for Best Writing from the American Alpine Club, the "Lifetime Achievement in Adventure" award from National Geographic in 2008, and the Explorers Medal from the Explorers Club in 2022.


Questions for: Rick Ridgeway - Aug. 29, 2013
The mountaineer, filmmaker, environmentalist, and head of sustainability at Patagonia searches for new ways to stay green.

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