Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Steve Jobs: One time American dirtbag who co-founded the world's most valuable company

I just finished reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson, a wonderful book. Jobs, a co-founder of Apple, passed away this year, and I didn't know much about him before he died, other than the fact that he was the pioneer of the ipod. This book brought Jobs to life, and now I am fascinated with the man, who was a hippie child of California and the early 1970s. I plan to do a review of the book, which I'll post up on the blog. In the meantime here is a very inspiring speech from Jobs at the Stanford commencement in 2005, the best commencement address I've ever heard. (A close second to my dear friend, Greg Petty's address at Western State College of Colorado in the same year.) I wish we had that one on film.

Click here to watch the speech.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Great American Dirtbag

“The world has enough for man’s need, but not enough for man’s greed.”

Where do we look for hope, for America, the planet, for the human race? The dirtbags. They have usually descended from the Middle Class, where they had enough material-wise where their bodies could be content, but not their souls. Their souls were driven to live, so much, in fact that they gave up all conventional Middle Class ways of survival. Instead embracing another way, the way of the dirtbag. A way, if the entire world lived in this fashion, we could be saved. We could be saved because the spirits of mankind could be fed. When the spirit is fed greed disappears, and without greed there is enough for everyone on the planet.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Of Writing, Computers, Horse Shit and Haters

Yesterday I was mucking horse shit. For those of ya’ll out there unfamiliar with this practice, it basically means I was shoveling poop out of a corral. It’s an odd job I do about once a week for a nice woman I met through a house sitting gig. As I was working I had a couple thoughts I wanted to share up on my blog here today.

First off, I was marinating over a couple responses towards my last blog post, a book review, which you can see below. On Saturday I received a most pleasant email from a woman who works at Mountaineers Books, the publisher of the book I reviewed. She expressed thanks for the review, and even noted that it was one of the best she’d read all year. I was beaming from the email, and even forwarded it to my Mom and Dad.

The second response was a random comment from an anonymous reader, who said my review was decent, but my grammar sucked and I needed to hire an editor. Immediately I was pissed off, and wished I knew who made the comment. I’ve had a few people hate on my writing online before though, and I brushed it off and continued my session in the coffee shop that afternoon. There are quite a few internet haters out there these days, and as I become more and more successful I’m likely to only get hated on more and more. A reality of this world we’re living in. If the person who made the comment is reading this, I’d like to invite you to find something else to read, this one is for the dreamers and the lovers.

So there I was all up in some horse shit. The activity isn’t the best form of making a buck, but it isn’t the worst either; it allows my brain to think and process. I’ve been a dishwasher in restaurants for 17 years now, and one thing I’ve learned is that while doing a simple mundane job the mind floats and a higher level of consciousness can be obtained.
I thought about something a professor of mine, Tyler Sage, said a while back in an Extended Studies English course at Western State, in Gunnison. He said (in different words of course) that the personal computer has highly influenced the modern writer in a profound way; so much that we really don’t know how deep it has affected the psyche of today’s writers. I personally can’t imagine not having a computer to write; I do 98 % of my writing on this laptop I’m typing away my thoughts this winter morning.

Then I thought about the internet hater who left the anonymous comment, where does this person get the nerve to say something negative about my writing when they are a user reading something at no charge to them? Quickly I switched my thoughts up to the kind email I received the day before, and realized a friendly email from a credible source is much more valuable than an anonymous comment from a hater. Focusing on positivity over negativity is a key attribute to a successful artist.

And this is where I’m at a crossroads, finding success in my writing. I believe it will happen someday, and in some regards I have found success. I’ve been published in some major magazines, and I’m so close to having my book finished that I can taste it. Financial success has alluded me though, hence the mucking of horse shit, and dishwashing.

However this is where an artist builds character, (that’s what I’m telling myself anyways) committing to the path, and doing whatever it takes to achieve the dream. The lovers and supporters over the years have instilled me with the confidence that I will be able to do this, and the haters give me the fuel. So with that said, happy holidays to all, and if you’re a dreamer, an artist, like yours truly, I encourage you to stay on the path. There’s something great just down the road, even if there’s some horse shit (or haters) to shovel out of the way.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Forget Me Not by Jennifer Lowe-Anker....New Book Review Column for The Climbing Zine

This is a sneak peak into the new column for The Climbing Zine. Volume 4 will be out within a month. Enjoy.

What We’re Reading
Forget Me Not by Jennifer Lowe-Anker
Reviewed by Luke Mehall

“The best climber is the one having the most fun.”
-Alex Lowe

This is a new column for The Climbing Zine, and a space we’ll use each issue to review a climbing related book, new or old, for our readers. For this issue the book is Forget Me Not, written by Jennifer Lowe-Anker, and published in 2008 by The Mountaineers Books.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a book review, generally I find the process unsatisfying, like writing a term paper in college. So I guess this is more of a contemplation on Forget Me Not, a book I enjoyed immensely, and one that truly moved me.

The book begins like a small campfire, inviting but not overwhelming. Then eventually it grows into something blazing, which fixated me, and I was unable to step away from it. It is her story of love with the late, great climber Alex Lowe, their journeys in climbing and raising a family, and his tragic death in an avalanche in the Himalaya. Following this is a great mourning, and the tale of the new love that was borne with her current husband, and world class climber himself, Conrad Anker, who was with Alex Lowe when he died. Conrad and Alex were also best friends.

Alex and Jennifer’s first days of love were probably somewhat similar to many climbing couples, yet vastly different than most young lovers. They travelled the world together, visiting various climbing locales in the United States and abroad. They climbed together, and suffered the woes of travelling as well. One of Jennifer’s greatest skills as a writer is her brutal honestly, while she graces Forget Me Not with beautiful prose, her honest words sink deep into the reader’s psyche.

She writes of Alex’s legendary drive for climbing, boundless energy, and pure enthusiasm, while also reflecting on his moodiness and gloom when he could not expend that energy. She writes of the joys of life, and the sorrow of death; both which Jennifer has fully experienced in her own existence. Interesting in its own right, is Jennifer’s path towards becoming an artist; she is a talented painter, and her work graces the cover of the book.

In these pages are the journeys we all experience as humans, but especially climbers who want to have it all, the freedom of travel and climbing, as well as the foundation of a home and a family. There are lessons to be learned in Forget Me Not that climbers and non-climbers alike won’t easily forget.

Eventually Jennifer’s own climbing is halted with Motherhood, and she no longer has the drive to take risks on major climbs. Alex however continued to explore the world as a guide and professional climber, to Yosemite, Denali, K2, Everest, Antarctica, the Himalaya, Baffin Island, the Great Trango Tower, Kyrgyzstan and beyond, all while Jennifer took care of their three sons, Max, Sam and Isaac.

One part of this book that made it especially enjoyable is Jennifer’s use of Alex’s various letters he would write her, words of love when they were close and afar. If Alex would have lived long enough to getting around to writing a book it would have been beautiful and intriguing; he was someone who had a way with words. Reading his words reminds me the importance of telling someone you love them in print. Thank you for that Alex Lowe.

There are many other elements of Forget Me Not that make this book worth reading: Jennifer’s trust in her intuitive sense, her ability to put the frailty of life in words, reflection on the first days where the internet and climbing came together, and a Mother’s thoughts on risk and climbing.

Eventually the book goes to a very sad place, we as a reader know it’s coming, and the way Jennifer writes made my entire psyche fixated in the pages of Forget Me Not. I absolutely could not put it down, surely the measure of a great book. I was relieved to read about the love she found with her current husband, Conrad Anker, and the love they share as a family with Max, Sam and Isaac. She writes beautifully near the end of the book, “it is love that seems to soothe the anguish wrought by love lost.”

It’s been two days since I was engulfed in the final pages of Forget Me Not. That night left me feeling sad. The next morning though, I awoke, to the sun, another beginning, and a more enhanced realization of the preciousness of life. Forget Me Not is truly unforgettable.

Luke Mehall is currently in the final processes of finishing his first book, titled “Climbing Out of Bed”, which should be released sometime in 2012.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Freedom Mobile Story in the Winter Crested Butte Magazine: Roll on Freedom

Below is a story I wrote about my car, The Freedom Mobile, which was published in the most recent issue of Crested Butte Magazine. Below is the draft I submitted, surely just a bit different than the finished product. Hope ya'll enjoy, and be sure to pick up a copy of the CB Mag. when you're in the Gunnison Valley. A link to the online version can be found below.

Our vehicles make statements about our lifestyles, and here in Crested Butte we have quite the diversity in modes of transportation. From the high class Hummer SUVs to the old Subaru station wagon that checks in well over 200,000 miles, the car we drive can be a dead giveaway to the activities we pursue. I often wonder what strangers think of my car, an old 1988 Mazda that is spray painted red, white and blue, most commonly known as the Freedom Mobile.

Ever since I saw the classic 1969 American road movie Easy Rider with Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson, I’ve wanted to paint a vehicle in the colors of our country. I’ve always sensed that us mountain folk are living out our own version of the American Dream up here in the Gunnison Valley, and my car is representative of our unique culture. Adding to the mystique, I also wanted to feature the OM symbol, to show that the east and west can come together, and to show that although I am a proud American, who has been heavily influenced by the ancient, Indian-based art of yoga.

Reactions to the Freedom Mobile have been mostly positive since I graffiti-ed it up with my friend and artist, Nathan Kubes, three years ago. I can count on children smiling and pointing at it, supportive nods from people on townies crossing Elk Ave., and my fellow climbers saying, “I love your car” at various locales across the west. The most predictable response, however, is from hitchhikers; as I slow down to pull over. Their response, with a glimmer of hope in their eyes, is something to the effect of, “I knew you were going to pick me up.”

I’m proud to drive a vehicle that elicits such a response. It took some time to get to this level of pride though. The very next day after we first painted the car, I was pulled over by the police, saying something about my headlights not working properly. I thought they were, and wondered if I’d just set myself up for getting pulled over all the time. It took some time getting used to driving a car that attracted such attention.

A couple months later I had a first date, at the Almont bar of all places. (The woman was living in Crested Butte, and I was living in Gunny; a good mid-way meeting point I thought.) I had the usual butterflies of a first date, and as I walked out to get in my car for the drive I wished to the heavens that I hadn’t painted my car in such an outlandish manner, so I could just present myself in somewhat of a normal way. She ended up loving The Freedom Mobile though, and I learned an important lesson that our inner freak is usually a beautiful thing, and we should not hide it; if someone is a kindred spirit they’ll love what is inside you.

Something I did in the Freedom Mobile, that I never dreamed would happen, was taking it on a major rock climbing road trip, across the Western United States. It all went down like this. I’d just lost my full time with benefits job in Gunnison, with the downturn in the economy, and recently broken up with the first woman I’d ever been in love with. I needed to get out of the valley, and I’d made plans to move down south, to Durango for a fresh start. In the interim my friend Dave and I would make a month long road trip. It would be one of those coming of age trips to do something exciting, and forget about the trials and tribulations of the past.

At the last minute Dave’s truck broke down, and now the trip relied on the Freedom Mobile. With nothing to lose I decided to take Freedom on the trip. We drove to Red Rocks in Las Vegas, Nevada down to Joshua Tree, California, up to Yosemite, to Vegas again, and finally down to Durango. There were many moments of pure bliss, and the country’s reception of the Freedom Mobile was incredible. At one moment, driving in southern Utah a woman sitting shotgun in an old truck, with oxygen hooked up to her nose, pulled up next to us, and gave the biggest grin I’d ever seen, and two thumbs up. Later that same day, pulling into a gas station in the Middle of Nowhere, Utah, some good ol’ boy mechanics were staring us down. We were slightly defensive until they started talking, “Nice car, it looks like something Evil Knievel would drive.”

Durango ended up embracing the Freedom Mobile, and there are more spray painted cars there per capita than any other place in Colorado I’ve been. Work ended up being scarce in Durango, as it is many places in our country these days, and when the spring ended, I found myself returning to this sacred valley for the summer.

The Freedom Mobile made its first appearance in Crested Butte’s Fourth of July parade, and somehow I managed 16 of my closest friends to spell out The Freedom Mobile in body paint across their stomachs and chests. The wildest incident though came later, in the fall, as the deadline for this piece was approaching.

I’d teamed up my friend, Braden Gunem, to do a photo shoot for this article. He rigged up a camera on the front of my car, with all sorts of lighting inside; including a small rag in a bottle he wanted to light on fire to add a wild touch to the photos. While we were keeping our eyes peeled for the police to make sure they didn’t see our shenanigans, I looked up to the last rays of daylight to see a major townie takeover headed our way. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the Brick Oven Pizzeria’s softball team, dressed complete with their signature red, yellow and green tank tops, and hairnets on their townies; thirty of them, followed by a police officer.

As we watched it all go down, wondering what was going to happen, the police officer ended up escorting the Rasta Hairnet townie takeover down Elk Ave. Only in Crested Butte! With the police busy escorting the wild Brick Oven crew, we commenced with our unorthodox photo shoot.

I never know what’s around the corner for the Freedom Mobile, and I like it like that. It’s headed back down to Durango for the winter, so it won’t be rolling the streets of Crested Butte when the snow falls. The spirit of Crested Butte lives in the Freedom Mobile, wherever it may go though. Let freedom ring!

Crested Butte Magazine online

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Giving Thanks for Wildness and Humanity

My life has been full of celebration lately. First there was Thanksgiving, my personal favorite holiday, and then my 33rd birthday was yesterday. For Thanksgiving our crew always goes out to climb and camp in Indian Creek, Utah, located just next to the southern edge of Canyonlands National Park.

I’m obsessed with climbing at The Creek. I’ll climb the fine sandstone cracks there till I am bloody and exhausted, and when I return home back to Durango in my mind I’m already planning when I can return next. However, it’s not just the climbing with our Thanksgiving celebration. It’s about friends, costumes, games, good food, the fire, and being in nature.

Out in nature, out at The Creek, amongst the countless red rock sandstone cliffs, the birds, the cottonwood trees, the bunny rabbits, the deer; something out there provokes a shift in the mental and physical realm. There’s no cell phone service out there, no interweb, Indian Creek evokes a time before this time. I like it like that, and I hope that it remains a place without phone service; most of us are attached to this technology more than we should be. That said, I heard a new cell phone tower was installed near the Abajo mountains, and in certain places one can send text messages easier than before. Still, it’s primarily out of sight, and out of mind.

Out in nature, with the blue sky above, the sun shining on us as we bask at the sandstone cliffs, I often contemplate the state of the world. I am more positive about humanity than I was when I was a college student, but I am also more complacent. I’ve realized that I am not going to change the world; I can only be a part of something that changes the world.

A question that’s entered my mind recently is what is the problem with mankind? Some might say it is numbers. More and more of us are on this planet, demanding resources, and polluting this sacred ball of rock in the sky more each day. Personally what I’ve been thinking, one of the major problems in the United States is just a simple lack of happiness. Why are people so obsessed with money? Why is success quantified with material possessions? Why do people that have so much still want more?

I’d like to think that my tribe of climbers is a happy group of people. On paper many of us might be lower class (I know I am), but in happiness we are millionaires. Sunshine provides more happiness to me than money could ever have. Would the world be a better place if society lived as climbers do: seeking just the right amount of resources to simply pursue what makes us happy?

That’s a big one, but those are the thoughts that go through my head when I’m out in the wild. I’m grateful that I could travel out to Indian Creek and be with my source of inspiration and celebration: nature and a tribe of people that find happiness through the simple activity that is rock climbing.

P.S. I recently wrote an article about the climbers' advocacy group Friends of Indian Creek for the Durango Telegraph. Click here to read the article.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Mountain Gazette Editorial, Defending Durango

This is an editorial I wrote and sent off to the Gazette. Hopefully they'll publish it, they get so many submissions it's a really difficult magazine to get published in. I guess that means its a good one!

Wait, don't pee on our fire!

John: After reading the fine article “When in doubt pee on the fire” by Jen Jackson, I had a few thoughts on that flame of eccentricity burning out in Durango that she was referring to. See I just moved to Durango within the year, and felt the call to defend, or at least comment on what I’ve seen there. (I should add Jen’s piece kept me happily occupied as I waited in line at the Durango post office one afternoon.)

I rolled into Durango after living in Gunnison-Crested Butte, Colorado for over a decade. Like many a mountain town residents the surroundings of an area are essential to my enjoyment of the place, as well as the culture of the people. In Crested Butte they have both; great rocks, trails, and mountains as well as frequent townie takeovers (a naked one caused quite a stir this summer I hear), costumed themed sporting events nearly every weekend (chainless bike race down Kebler Pass anyone?), and characters that just wouldn’t quite make it anywhere else besides a funky little mountain town.

With this ingrained in my soul, I wondered if I could love Durango in a similar way? I rolled into town waving my freak flag high, with my 220,000 mile spray painted red, white and blue Freedom Mobile Mazda MX 6. Much to my delight Durango seems to have more graffiti-ed cars per capita than anywhere else I’ve been in Colorado. “Oh, I’ve seen this car around”, is always an ice breaker when I meet new people out and about. One guy I met from Durango out at Indian Creek described my car as immediate probable cause, but well that’s Utah, and fortunately Colorado honors freedom more than Utah. (Really, a state that tries to bust people for bringing beer across a border? It’s 2011 people.)

Where do we look for companionship and camaraderie in a new town? We look for those that share our interests. I look to the climbers. One couple I’ve met is incredibly resourceful, and maybe a bit eccentric. They grow plenty of their own food, and even resole their own climbing shoes. The guy fixes his own vehicles (he’s also the new Freedom Mobile mechanic), and the woman knits all sorts of things, most notably a breast shaped pillow (really impressive you have to see it to believe it) and a penis shaped mini-hat, which sits on top of a mini-Christmas tree (year round).

There are others I haven’t met yet, only heard about, for example, a woman who goes on epic hikes across the Colorado Trail foraging for food along the way. There’s the woman I see all around whom always carries hula hoops (must be for sale?). Then you have the 23 Feet crew who embarked from Durango to make a film about “people living simply in order to pursue their passion for the great outdoors”. Check that one out (there’s a review in the last issue of MG).

There’s funky bikes, funky cars, this town has some funk as far as I can tell. On Halloween the funk was confirmed, though I didn’t necessarily agree with the winners of the costume contest at Carvers. Four men dressed as Mennonites beat out the two sexy robot girls (sexy girls should always win over creepy dudes). The best costume of the night though, one I saw while cruising the streets of downtown was a trio of guys dress as the Jabbawockeez dance crew. Challenged to prove their skills, they did, with some dope break dancing.

Anywho, I gotta go now, with some deadlines to attend to. Just thought I’d represent my new hood.

Sincerely Yours,
Luke Mehall
Durango, CO

Friday, November 18, 2011

Colorado Girls

I think this is hilarious! A play on Katy Perry's California Gurls. Nicely done, note you may want to watch Katy Perry's video first to "get it", or watch the video with someone from the Denver area, as there are a couple of jokes that are pretty specific to that hood, such as the "buckle up cuz this shit ain't steady" and the American Furniture Warehouse part :)

Click here to watch it

Monday, November 14, 2011

Indian Creek November Action

Had a nice little excursion out to Indian Creek last week, and had a good time in the desert with my dogs, a dog, and some new friends. Here's the best photos I got over the course of the four days, with some captions, I don't have my guidebook in front of me at the moment because I left it with some friends out there, so forgive me for a lack of description on climbs. Enjoy!

Dave A. eyeing out the splitter Dentist's Chair, while Amber is on Broken Tooth to the left.

T-Bird on Incisor, a short but tricky 5.11 offwidth.

Asha chilling at the Creek. I'm watching this dog for a few weeks, and she's awesome!

Getting a little artistic, Bridger Jacks and the South Six Shooter in the background.

T-Bird leading Catnap, a stout 5.10 on the Cat Wall.

Yours truly on Wildcat, a 5.11 finger crack on the Cat Wall.

Jonathan S. on an unnamed offwidth on the Power Wall.

Jonathan again on the Power Wall, not sure of the name of this one, a short line that is mostly thin hands and ends up with fingers.

Another unnamed climb on the Power Wall.

Dear Indian Creek, we love you and we'll be back!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Old Man Winter and Writing

“You could have been anywhere on the internet right now, but you’re here, and I appreciate that.”

I have several writing projects in the works, and I've got a great space to write here in Durango, out in the hills, with little distraction. The ground is covered in snow, and old man winter is in the house. This is typically the most productive time of year for me, writing wise, as long as I don't get the blues; which really doesn't happen to me here in Durango, it's just too mild of a winter for the dark side winter to really get to me.

When I really get into the writing zone I typically start as many writing projects as possible, I think it is the so called ADD of my mind (ADD is a term I've never liked, but I won't rant here) to start multiple projects at the same time, and then focus on whatever one I like when the time is right; or when I have a deadline.

Those are just some random thoughts, what I'm really thinking about this morning is making it, as in making it as a writer; supporting myself with the pen. I've done it before, professionally, when I worked in public relations in higher education, but that was writing for someone else, creating stories for an institution, telling their story. Now I'm trying to make it with pure honesty, my own words, my own stories.

Trying to make it, on my own, has been directly tied to the economy, and I imagine there are thousands and thousands of other artists out there who lost their 9-5 jobs with the downturn, and are now focused more on their art. That’s exactly what happened to me, my job was cut as the government gave less to the college I was working for, and I was one of the victims.

Economically that may have been one of the worst things that could of happened to me as my thirties started, but artistically and spiritually it was the best thing that could have happened. Now, a year later after being laid off I have my first book, “Climbing Out of Bed” nearly done, and it’s so, very close to publication. I don’t think I would be so close if I was still slaving away in the 9-5 world.

For this blog, as I really delve into my writing this winter, I’m going to use it as a forum for more than just climbing, as I don’t only write about climbing, and also because The Climbing Zine is finally going to have its own website, and thus I won’t have to use lukemehall.blogspot.com for the zine’s main page. (Look for The Climbing Zine website to drop within the next month or two.) I’ll probably change the name of this blog, as I have many times before, but the address will remain the same.

So, welcome old man winter, and to all of the artists out there, putting your 10,000 hours in, for the love, keep your head up, stay positive, and create. After all, what else is there to do with your life?

Here's a couple photos I took yesterday during a snowy bouldering session in Durango at Turtle Lake. We had seven people out yesterday, and I'm relieved that so many folks here are willing to climb in the snow, because I plan on doing that all winter long baby!

Heather and Tim, psyched on winter bouldering!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Appreciation for Townies

As the snow falls here in Durango, Colorado I'm thinking about townie bikes; my friend and photographer Braden Gunem asked me to write a short piece about townies in Crested Butte, Colorado for a project he's working on. This is what I came up with, and some townie photos.

There could be more comfortable places for a townie to end up than this town way up in the Rocky Mountains, but none of those destinations probably value or appreciate the townie as much as Crested Butte, Colorado. Like their owners they migrated from all across the United States, maybe not for an easier life, but a more interesting one; a life in the mountains.

Maybe they did not even know they were called “townies” before they arrived, strapped to the top of a Subaru, with a destination for a new existence. And they probably didn’t know they would spend winters covered in snow, winters that seemed to last forever, like they would never get their chance to shine again.

Then the day comes, the snow melts away, it is the townies time. Someday around April 20th, the townie takeover is organized. Only the locals are here now, and all the townies awaken from their slumber. No longer a forgotten piece from a past life, they are the stars of the spring, summer and fall; everyone must have a townie in this town.

Some of the lucky ones will be decorated, and improved; some refuse to sit out the winter and beg to be maintained and adapted with snow tires, and fenders. Others, even luckier, will be obsessed over, preparing them for a 24 hour townie race; fully adorned with lights, even a stereo, as if they were about to take off from the coolest place for a townie in America, into the stars.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Climbing Out of Bed, Update on the Book

I'm closer than ever to completing one of my life's goals, publishing a book. Most of the material is done, and now I'm figuring out the best way to publish the book to get it in as many hands as possible. (please comment below if you have some thoughts). It's looking like I will publish it as an e-book, as well as a regular old book. I've been getting advice from editors, friends and complete strangers, and as I reach out to the world, the world is embracing and helping me achieve my dream.

The dream, living the dream, these are words we climbers throw out, and the incredible thing about it, is that we often get to achieve our dreams. We get to climb into the clouds, and touch that divine source of inspiration and spirituality, whatever you may want to call it. This source of energy is the source that has compelled me to write.

My book "Climbing Out of Bed" should be available before the holiday season. Though I've been constantly rewriting, reworking and editing, several themes have emerged, reflective of the life I've been living the last twelve years out here in the Rockies: rock climbing, mountain town culture, couch surfing, hitchhiking, buildering, road tripping, friendship, humor and love.

Keep it touch, and again please let me know if you have any suggestions for publishing.


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Climbing Out of Bed Cover Shot

I've chosen this shot by Braden Gunem for the cover of my upcoming book, "Climbing Out of Bed". (I am currently on the hunt for the right publisher.) One of the photos from this shoot will also appear in the Winter 2011-12 Crested Butte Magazine with an article on The Freedom Mobile.

Braden is one talented and creative dude, check out some more of his photography at www.bradengunem.com.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Onsight Weather

Climbing's leader in weather forecasting: T-Drizzle. Here is the first installment from Timmy Foulkes TV, courtesy of the Stokelab. Reporting from Indian Creek, Utah.

Click here to watch the video via the lab

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Spiderman Buildering Video

Check out this buildering video of the human spiderman in Malaysia. His third attempt to beat the cops!

Click here to watch the footage via Stokelab.com

Friday, September 23, 2011

Black Canyon Stoke

Just made a post over at the Stokelab with some recent Black Canyon photos, from Movable Stoned Voyage (IV, 5.10). Hope they get ya stoked! Check it out: Black Canyon Stoke.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hartmans Climber Cleanup

Keith Brett climbing @ Hartman Rocks, Gunnison, Colorado

Paint balls, broken glass and pallet remains, oh my! The 7th annual Hartmans Climber Cleanup will take place this Thursday, September 22, starting at 3:00 p.m. We will meet up at the Buddha’s Belly area, and clean for a few hours. The event is organized by The Western State College Climbing Club.

Following the cleanup there will be barbeque for volunteers at The Wanderlust Hostel at 6:00 p.m. The hostel is located at 221 N. Boulevard in Gunnison.

For more information contact Spenser Li at spenser.li17@gmail.com or (240) 889-8725 or Luke Mehall at lmehall@yahoo.com or (970) 376-3116.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Stokelab and Heather Robinson, The Balance

For the past two months I've been working for the Stokelab, a web site and online magazine that features solely inspiring, stoke-worthy content. This video of Heather Robinson is perhaps one of the most inspiring climbing videos I've posted up there. So smooth and so humble, just wanted to share it up on my bloggy-blog here!

Click here to watch it on Stokelab

Monday, September 12, 2011

Climbing Zine -- Print Version

Our latest and greatest zine is now available in print version to anyone and everyone. Simply send an email to me at lmehall@yahoo.com. Copies are $10 and payment can be received via Paypal.

The zine can also be purchased at various locations in Colorado: in Crested Butte at Townie Books, in Gunnison at The Firebrand Delicatessen and in Durango at Pine Needle Mountaineering and Backcountry Experience.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

6th annual Butte Bouldering Bonanza

Hey ya'll, we're two weeks out from the Butte Bouldering Bonanza, Crested Butte's only bouldering/climbing event of the year. We're doing it right again with a BBQ, costume contest, dance-off, slacklines, climbing comp, and for the first time ever, a townie takeover. Here's the press release, hope ya'll can make it!

The Butte Bouldering Bonanza (BBB) will celebrate its sixth year this September. This will be the first Bonanza hosted in the fall, to take advantage of the awesome changing colors.

Take the challenge on Saturday, September 10th to climb as many boulder problems as possible on the unforgiving Skyland boulders in Crested Butte from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Or, just come up to enjoy the fun, positive atmosphere for free. Held by the WSC Climbing Club with United State Forest Service permit.

Registration will take place the day of, from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the 4-way stop, in front of the Crested Butte Chamber of Commerce building. Entry fee is $10. Free to spectators and casual climbers. There will be recreation, intermediate and advanced categories.

Spectators and casual climbers are not only welcome, they are essential to the vibe of the event. A shuttle will run from 8 a.m to 9 a.m. from the 4-way stop to the boulders for everyone, free of charge. Better yet, bring a bike and join the first-ever Bonanza townie takeover up to the boulders. The townie takeover will blast off from the 4-way at 9:00 a.m.

The WSC Sustainability Coalition will be hosting a barbecue at the main hang-out area at the boulders with local food, some from the WSC Community Garden. We'll also have a slack line, a dance off, and a costume contest!

Access to this area is very sensitive. Parking is not allowed in the Skyland residential area. The best way to access the boulders is from the east end of Elk Avenue in Crested Butte on mountain bike or by foot. Follow the road as it turns to dirt through the McCormick Ranch for about a mile until the junction of Tony's Trail (on the left). Note dogs are not allowed on this trail. Follow up Tony's Trail to the Upper Loop, where you take a right. The boulders are all located off the Upper Loop trail.

Funky costumes are highly encouraged for the Butte Bouldering Bonanza.

For more information contact Spenser Li at spenser.li17@gmail.com or (240) 889-8725 or Luke Mehall at lmehall@yahoo.com or (970) 376-3116.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Blast from the Past, Underwear Model Story

This is a piece I found while cleaning out an old thumb drive. I totally forgot about my dream to become an underwear model until I stumbled over it. Anyways, I submitted it to Patagonia, but they didn't ever publish it. Maybe I'll resubmit. Hope you like it, it's quite different than anything I've ever wrote.

The Underwear Story (You can rename the story)
By Luke Mehall
March, 2008

My dream job would be being an underwear model. A friend helped me figure this out one day after I’d just purchased some new undies, and we were looking at the models on the packaging.

“What a job that would be, wearing underwear for a living.”

“You could do it,” she answered. “And since you’re a climber you could model for Patagonia.”

A quick check of the Patagonia catalog showed that they didn’t use the same advertising technique that we imagined, (my visual image was Victoria Secret style for the female models).

Winter. Salt Lake City, Utah. I’m on a date. Her house: throwback, psychedelic, complete with record player, Polaroid camera, and a little fireplace we sat next to and talked. She’s the intuitive type, the kind of girl who references her dreams often, and talks of love and living in harmony with the planet.

In her room later she’s showing me energy stones, and waxing poetic. For some reason I mention that I’m going to the Patagonia outlet store in the morning for a sale.

Then she begins to tell me about a dream she had. The focus of the dream: me just wearing a fire red pair of underwear.

The next morning my friend Sara and I are up at the crack of dawn, waiting in line behind a hundred or so shoppers as the line pours out winding around the store.

Later, waiting in line to check out, we’re behind a hundred and fifty or so people, and there’s a box of underwear. I tell Sara about the dream. She looks in and sees a fire red pair, tosses it into my bag, and says, “Maybe you’ll get lucky.”

The following night, I’m taking off my clothes. Clear sky, the stars above and mountains blanketed in snow. Sara and I are at the Midway hot springs. The scene is strange; Lynyrd Skynyrd blasts out of a trailer-truck. A fellow, who appears to be on some sort of crack, is doing flips in the 110 degree water. A fog emits from the springs and I can’t identify my surroundings other than the Skynyrd and the people in the springs. It feels like the beginning of a horror movie.

The idea of kicking back in the hot springs doesn’t seem relaxing anymore. Still there is hot springs to be soaked in. I strip down, almost all the way down to what else, my new red underwear. Was this the scene that my ladyfriend imagined? In my new underwear I then slipped into the heat and the weirdness of the hot springs.

I never got to hang out with the young psycadelic woman again, but I think of her every time I wear my red undies. I feel like I would feel comfortable in them in many different situations, and after the odd hot springs experience being in front of a camera would be pretty chill. So Patagonia if you have an opening for some underwear models, give me a call.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Rest Days are the Best Days

I heard this phrase from a climber in Joshua Tree one time, and I like it!

The older I get the more balanced I feel with climbing. We climbers tend to be really fiendish and obsessive, and I think its important to remember how awesome it is just to be alive. Anywho, here are some photos of rest day activities, from this summer.

Picking raspberries, always a good time. Shaun Matusawicz stockin' up in Spring Creek Canyon for his famous muffins.

Mountain biking, always a popular rest day activity. This is Greg Pettys on the road up to the 401 trail in Crested Butte.

Of course, writing and reflection is one of the best rest day activities. Write it all down before you forget is something a wise man once told me. Often I'll go back to my journal entries to revisit the past, whether its a crush on a new woman, or recalling a breakthrough climb.

Chillin at a lake is always awesome when you're worked! Here's my boys Ben Johnson and Al Smith III hiking up to Long Lake in Crested Butte.

Can't beat boomers, or a parade for a rest day activity. This is from the Fourth of July parade in Crested Butte.

Ha Ha Ha...You know what I want!

Partying always fun for a rest day, just don't hit it too hard, especially in Sin City!

And on that note, I'm going bouldering! uuuuuhhhhhhhh

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Chillin' at the Stokelab

For the last three weeks I've been engaged in about the coolest gig ever: posting material for Stokelab.com.

The Stokelab is the brainchild of Mike Horn and Justin Cash, and the sole purpose of the lab is to provide positive, inspiring content. There is a magazine (see issue number three, pages 76-84 for my piece on the dishwashing/climber life in Joshua Tree) videos, product reviews, Q and A's and photo essays over at the lab.

Today I posted a video about Dean Potter from the folks at Prana called Falling to Fly.

Earlier this week I also posted a video of the first ascent of Supercrack, worth a watch if merely to see what they were using for protection (hexes) back in the day, in the desert.

If you make it over, I hope ya'll enjoy your trip to the lab! Cheers, Luke

Visit the Stokelab



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