journals > Team > Lonnie Kauk: Magic Line Climbing Pants
Lonnie Kauk: Magic Line Climbing Pants

Upon the release of Lonnie Kosuko Kauk’s new 686 x Magic Line pants we got him on the phone as he was gazing at Eastern Sierra backcountry lines off his porch. Lonnie splits his time between his birthplace of Yosemite and June Lake. Two of the best places in the world to be if you’re a climber or snowboarder. Of which Lonnie is both. And though he prefers to follow his passions in the shadows - whether there is a camera on him or not - he is one of the most talented at each pursuit. In a recent interview Travis Rice named Lonnie as the most underrated snowboarder of all time and he is equally as talented (and happy to be out of the spotlight) in his pursuit of climbing. Lonnie is one of those rare magical humans that has mastered the art of going up and going down.

As an Ahwahnechee descendent in the Yosemite Valley, Lonnie’s elders raised him discover his purpose in the mountains and to share it with the people. That’s exactly what he is doing with Magic Line. As he says, he’s found his Magic Line, now it’s about helping others find there’s. Whatever it may be.

As we discussed they are perfect for climbing and for not climbing. Lonnie likes to mix the technical with the steezy and helped us create something he’s comfortable wearing around town or for a sending session in the Buttermilks. We caught up on his rediscovered love for the board, being inspired from the Yosemite glory days, his plans for Magic Line, and more…

686: This winter been crazy, what's been going on?

Lonnie K. Kauk: Been taking a break from climbing, which is nice to switch it up. I have this other side of myself that is being a part of the winter. While doing Magic Line the climb, that's all I could think about doing. So now that I've done that, and we've made the brand, and made the collaboration with you guys at 686, and then to finally come full circle and start snowboarding again, it's this vibe that's so cool. Being in that climb was such a meditation, I was involved with it so much. Now I feel like I'm set free to be creative and to be with a brand like you guys is perfect because we represent the same thing. It's like what Mike West (686 Founder) said about it being about the people and the community, not the whole industry. That was the coolest thing I've ever heard. To be in this position right now, anything is possible. All we need is a camera to go do it. It’s the coolest place to be. So free to pick out the right line - and be careful - so you're sitting there in the summertime going, "Man that snow was amazing." Or even when you get older, you're like, "Dude, I'm good. I killed it, man."

686: Let's touch on your pants. Your previous pants were a colorway that you chose, where these Magic Line ones were designed more to your specifics. What does the all-white colorway mean to you?

Lonnie K. Kauk: So with the colors, it's cool because my first red Everywhere Magic Line pants were inspired by my dad (Ron Kauk) back when he did this climb called Astroman around 1978. He was always wearing these red pants. And the whole Stonemaster crew from Yosemite and John Bachar always used to wear these white painter pants. Now here we are in the future and I wanted to model off what they did too. It's perfect to have those white pants, because it represents that Bachar style. I always like to honor the guys that came first because if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be this far.

686: What was it about the white painter pants that those guys liked back in the day?

Lonnie K. Kauk: They just went to the thrift store and seen some white pants, and they're like, "Hey, these are pretty good." And started rocking them. They were so original that they made it look cool, you know what I mean? It wasn't fabricated, it was just going on a treasure hunt like, "I need some pants." And then they go out and get all these iconic photos and it turns into history. When my dad did Astroman with the red pants, that was the biggest free climb in the world at the time. And you figure those red pants, they might've just been random ones? But that's what's so cool, is to have that history. People can remember when they have their climbing pants on that it’s the same color that John Bachar wore. Or the same color that Ron Kauk wore. And then, oh, here's Lonnie and that he loves all black. So, you can get the black ones. We got all that vibe there with them. I think it's perfect, especially for people that are starting to climb if they investigated it and they solved that little puzzle. And then add the key features where if we're going on a big wall, we got extra pockets, and we got places to stuff snacks or whatever you need. Then to have the little bolt to make sure it's on point, because you know, in snowboarding you can wear these real big pants, but climbing… you don't want tight pants, but you want something that you can really move in. These pants are perfect because you can wear them and feel cool and you can climb in them and it works. So, it eliminates all that. Before I thought there's no way I'd be wearing my climbing pants around town. Some other guys, they wear their climbing gear everywhere. I was not into that. I like to just wear what I like, so now it's cool.

686: With the white pants if you’ve been climbing all day you won’t see the chalk on you when you walk into the city - is that an added benefit? Any other color pants and you’re just covered in chalk and everyone is glaring at you.

Lonnie K. Kauk: Yeah that's an added benefit for sure. And it's going to look super good because they pop so loud. And then how I made the cuffs at the bottom, anytime you point your leg when you're climbing, it just falls on your ankle a little bit and then it hangs so good in photos. I love that. I used to hate it when my pants would bunch up a little bit, my legs down, I'm like, dude, that's such a sick photo, but my pants! I'd lost a point on that picture because the cuff wasn't perfect. But these and the Everywhere pants, the one that we made first, it's perfect. And then these with the added features like the strings at the cuff where you can pull them up because in the summer climbing sometimes it's warm. So depending on how you are, because everybody's different, maybe people sweat a little bit more or it's just hot. I would do that before, I'd roll them up, or cinch them and I'd pull them up like that too. I mean Alex Honnold in Free Solo, he cut them with scissors so he could see his foot placement properly. You could see it in the video. He cut those because he wanted to see his feet, which makes sense in a sketchy situation. With these pants we gave the option to have them all the way down or maybe you like to pull them up and see your feet.

686: Then I guess the webbing waist belt helps keep your pants up without the bulk of a belt if you're wearing a harness?

Lonnie K. Kauk: Yeah, if you're wearing a harness sometimes you don't have a belt. Even a shoestring helps too because otherwise as you're moving the harness kind of comes up and it's not cool. And then we have a belt, you can tighten it a little and then do your harness belt, and then it just stays on point. The best part is when everything is just together. Your shoes are perfect. Your pants are perfect. You got your chalk bag perfect. I'm so crazy about it that I can't have my chalk bag belt ride up, it has to be perfect. Because otherwise it's an eyesore. I'm just like that, it’s funny. I like to be on point… the mold is finally made and you're ready to kill it and this is how you're going to do it and this is how you're going to look doing it.

686: And then I guess the black colorway goes with your ‘man in black’?

Lonnie K. Kauk: Yeah. The man in black I guess was spurred by… what did Johnny Cash say? He was talking about how he wore black for the guys that were down and out? He's trying to bring him up. You know what I mean? Kind of like that. And even my girlfriend too she asks me, "What do I wear?" Answer is always, "Black." She goes, "You're lucky you just wear the same uniform like every day." I’m like, "Well, I got my lightning bolt. I got my black jacket, my black pants, my black and white Nikes." And I even have super black jetted out cowboy boots. They're banging.

686: Let's talk about the message behind Magic Line?

Lonnie K. Kauk: So basically, I would ask, “What's your Magic Line?” Whatever inspires you. I don't care if you climb 5.0 or it doesn't matter what it is. It's whatever drives you, whatever makes you get up in the morning. Whatever inspires you totally and completely. Hopefully one day we'll be able to get people to tell their story because I’m already sharing mine, so it's not about me no more. It's about others and what drives them. I went through so much to do the Magic Line climb. Every emotion, every feeling you could have. Frustrated and happy and sad and stoked. And then in the end straight up ecstasy. For sure. Walking around with that and then creating a brand, I believe that energy is with it. And wherever it goes and whoever it's with, it's there with you because there are a lot of vibes going up there. Doing that climb for four years straight, basically. Then just think about the times when I didn't do it. I laid there every single night going through that climb in my head over and over again and then have to leave it and go train all summer and then come back with a fresh mind and a good partner and a good partnership. And what did it, I was ready, but I needed somebody to meet me there. And what's hard sometimes is that you'll get to a place in life, and you'll see who shows up and who doesn't. And the ones that show up are the ones to stick with and make it happen.

This land acknowledgment is a recognition of the original inhabitants of the Eastern Sierra. It is intended as a show of respect for the Paiute (Nuumu), Shoshone (Newe) and Timbisha peoples that have inhabited (and continue to inhabit) the Eastern Sierra for over ten thousand years. These lands we now recreate upon are called Payahuunadu or Panawe by the Nuumu and Newe peoples.

Written by: SAYER
Magic Line Climbing Pant
Regular price $69.99
Regular price $119.95 Sale price $69.99
Magic Line Climbing Pant
Regular price $69.99
Regular price $119.95 Sale price $69.99
magic line climbing pant