Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Climbing Out of Bed, July 4th Release

Climbing Out of Bed, the first book from Luke Mehall, will be released on Wednesday, July 4th. It will be initially released as an e-book on Kindle, followed by the printed version. Climbing Out of Bed is a collection of rock climbing and mountain town stories, written over the last 13 years.

The muses of Mehall’s pieces are the people who make up the rock climbing and mountain town culture. Originally hailing from Illinois, Mehall moved to Colorado in 1999 to attend Western State College, in Gunnison. He describes the experience as being a lost soul who floated to the mountains, and then discovered his true self. Many of the stories in Climbing Out of Bed are coming of age tales, especially when the author embarks into the unknown of the rock climbing world.

There are 25 pieces in Climbing Out of Bed, and topics for essays include: friendship, hitchhiking, couch surfing, buildering (climbing buildings), road tripping, dumpster diving, extended camping experiences, dirtbag living, love, loss, wanderlust, and Zen dishwashing

 Mehall lived in the Gunnison Valley, Colorado for 11 years, and now resides in Durango, Colorado, where he is a freelance writer. He is also the publisher of The Climbing Zine, an independent rock climbing publication. His work has been published in Crested Butte Magazine, Rock and Ice, Climbing, Mountain Gazette, foxsports.com, and Patagonia’s blog, The Cleanest Line. He also worked at his alma mater, Western State College of Colorado, for three years, as the assistant director of public relations and communications.

George Sibley, author of Dragons in Paradise and senior correspondent to the Mountain Gazette, says that Mehall’s writing makes him think of Jack Kerouac, on a good day. “I don’t know anyone who writes with more enthusiasm, joy and honest about a life that ranges from pearl diving in restaurant kitchen sinks all winter, to climbing the big walls and spires of North America all summer and fall,” Sibley said.

More information about Climbing Out of Bed can be found at www.climbingzine.com. It will be available on Amazon’s Kindle on Wed., July 4th. The author can be contacted at lukemehall@gmail.com

Monday, June 25, 2012

Summer Dreams

Does anyone have that thing they just have to do, or nothing else in life will be right? I have a few of those, and one, for sure, is writing. Lately I’ve been doing more editing and formatting than writing, and I’m missing that good old loving feeling of putting words down onto the canvas.

As for what I’ve been doing, I’ve been working hard to get my first book, Climbing Out of Bed, ready for publication on the Fourth of July. It’s going to be released as an e-book first, on Kindle, and it’s going to be published with a variety of photographs as well. In the past I’ve only published the words on Kindle, but the people have been asking for images, and I want to deliver. As I’m figuring out the formatting for publishing photos, I’ve been experimenting with Volume 3 and 4 of The Climbing Zine. The deluxe photo version of Volume 3 was released on Kindle this afternoon, and later this week I’ll release Volume 4, with photos.

This smoky, hot summer has been full of dreams, ones that come true, and ones that drive me wild as they are dreamt up. Durango is surrounded by various wildfires, and the smoke makes for intense red colors at sunset. My friend Tim tells me the fire season will change as more and more lightning happens. So, who knows what will happen in Colorado this hot summer.

I just know this summer I’ll write from the heart, I’ll follow dreams and see where they lead, regardless of what else I have to experience and see for them to unfold.

Climbing, as always, is a driving force. Like the Wu-Tang song C.R.E.A.M. (cash rules everything around me), climbing rules everything around me. It is that force for clarity, strength, confidence, and willingness to suffer to live out a dream. I continue to use climbing as a metaphor for life.

Summer unfolds as it does, and summer is often the greatest time to live in the moment. People come out of the woodwork in the summer, here in Durango the people, especially the beautiful women, are out, everywhere, and they motivate me. Their presence motivates me, drives me wild, drives me to write, read, love, climb, dance, in wild celebration of this precious existence we all share… 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Climbing Out of Bed Photographs

Here's some photos from my upcoming, debut, book, Climbing Out of Bed. Much thanks to the dope photographers who took some of these shots. Climbing Out of Bed will drop as an e-book via Kinde, on Wednesday, July 4th.

Electric Lighting (5.7) Hartman Rocks, Gunnison, Colorado. photo by Mike Brenneman

photo by Braden Gunem. www.bradengunem.com 

El Potrero Chico, Hidalgo, Mexico

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dose of Prose and Flows

Writing is the hardest and easiest thing in the world
though never at the same time

My best words I don't put on Twitter
My best words are forgotten
In a whisper
to her
and then she forgot em
and she forgot me
but love is never forgotten

Monday, June 18, 2012

Climbing Out of Bed Dropping on Freedom Day

I'm proud to announce my first book, Climbing Out of Bed will be released on the Fourth of July. It will be released as an e-book first, followed by the print version. Here's a look at the cover, with design by Lisa Slagle, and photo by Braden Gunem.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Colorado Karma

This story appears in this week's Durango Telegraph. 

photo by Steve Eginoire
Though he is from a remote corner of Nepal, Karma Bhotia feels right at home here in Durango. Bhotia, owner of the downtown restaurant Himilayan Kitchen and the adjoining retail space, Dreams of Tibet, has followed his dreams and his heart to the mountains of Colorado.

In a story that unfolds like a classic novel, Bhotia, who is 46 years old, was raised in the Mount Makalu region, located in northeastern Nepal. He was the third man from his village to graduate from high school, and his wife, Jyamu, was the first woman. During his childhood he also studied as a Buddhist monk. One of 12 children, his family hoped he would become a teacher, but his dreams were to pursue photography and the mountains.

“My dreams were bigger than what my family thought,” he said.

Mountain guiding ended up being his ticket to pursue his dreams, and for 15 years, he led clients to peaks all over India, Nepal and Tibet. Even though the work was dangerous, he enjoyed it immensely.

“It was the greatest time of my life,” he said. “It never felt like work, it felt like I was on vacation.”

During his guiding years, he summited Mount Choyu, the sixth tallest peak in the world, and he also guided on Mount Everest. Starting as a porter, and then as a sherpa, he worked his way up to the position of sirdar, which meant he was in charge of expeditions up to 34 clients and 280 porters. He said the greatest challenges were fighting with the weather, and the variety of personalities of his clients, who were mostly European. Despite a deep love for his work, he did witness a fair share of tragedies.

 “Anything can happen in the mountains, and many people lost their lives,” he said. “My family was always hoping that I would return and that someday I would quit my job (as a mountain guide).”

One thing that Bhotia learned while working in remote corners of Nepal and Tibet was the uses of herbs and spices from the region’s people.

“People in these small villages were very creative with growing their own herbs and spices,” he said.

Sadly Bhotia, who is of Tibetan descent, was unable to continue guiding in Tibet because of the police presence there. He was detained on one occasion without a reason, and no longer felt comfortable working there.

“When I was detained they did not give me a reason, but maybe it was because they thought I was a spy for the Dali Lama. In Tibet you can go to jail for simply having a picture of him,” he shared. “The Chinese want to destroy Tibetan culture.”

Through some contacts he made mountain guiding, Bhotia moved to Austria for a while, where he worked as a cook and did some climbing. There, he enjoyed ice climbing, and was able to work on his English. He also met Austrian Heinrich Harrer, author of Seven Years of Tibet, who at the time was building a Buddhist monastery.

In 2000 Bhotia made his first visit to the United States with plans to present slideshows of his photography and possibly attract some clients for mountain guiding. Serendipitously, he ended up in Pasadena, Calif., and discovered that the Nepali restaurants there were not true to the essence of what the food should taste like. He ended up buying a restaurant called the Tibet Nepal House.

His restaurant flourished, and though he missed mountain guiding, the business was safer than climbing Himalayan peaks. However, he does note some similarities to the food business and mountain climbing.

“It is a big responsibility to run a restaurant,” Bhotia reflected. “The customer is blindly trusting you. Food can heal you or make you sick.”

With the success of the Tibet Nepal House, Bhotia was motivated to open up another location, and found his way to Durango in 2007. It was love at first sight.

“We arrived at night, and checked into a hotel,” he said. “Then in the morning, wow, I saw the river, the mountains and then downtown.”

The quaint downtown of Durango reminded him of some places in Europe he had visited, and it was an easy decision to open a restaurant here. Shortly after in 2007, he opened the Himalayan Kitchen.

“It is a perfect place, maybe God meant us to be here,” Bhotia said.

In 2010 he opened Dreams of Tibet, located next door to the Himalayan Kitchen. The store sells Tibetan artifacts and imports from Nepal and India, like jewelry and clothing. It is his way of trying to protect Tibetan culture.

Bhotia is still interested in photography, and his work graces the walls of the Himalayan Kitchen. Two of his sons, Wang and Kejok, attend Fort Lewis College, the oldest, Nima, lives in Pasadena.

Bhotia loves the Durango community, which he describes as the nicest people of all three continents he’s been to.

“I am trying to reach everybody’s heart,” he said. “Durango is very special to me.”

His philosophy is to stay busy, which he manages to do with his two businesses. He still travels back to Nepal to visit family and purchase items for Dreams of Tibet and spices for the Himalayan Kitchen. He hopes to give back more to Nepal, with dreams of building an American style school there, funded by sales of his photography.

In other words, Bhotia has no plans of slowing down anytime soon.

“There is a saying, 'free time is the devil’s time,' if you’re busy you always focus on positive things,” he said. “I am always thinking positively.”

With what little free time he does have, Bhotia enjoys hiking in the mountains with his family and taking photos. He says he feels at home within the mountains.

As for mountain guiding, he does miss it and reflects fondly on his years helping others reach the summits of Himalayan peaks. This holds especially true in the fall, the season he traditionally guided in.  

“In the autumn, my imagination always goes to the mountains,” he said

Luke Mehall is the publisher of The Climbing Zine

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Thoughts At The End Of A Writing Day

Some days of writing are like the finest drug in the world, matched with the finest meditation, with the reward of knowing you’ll provide meditation for others. Other days writing is the total mindfuck, but you still get it done, put in the work, hanging in, hanging on, just to live and breathe and eat and love and write again another day.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Fire, Burning Desire

I’ve finally got a working computer again, and I’m stoked to get back in the writing zone; my life is incomplete without writing, in many ways. The first benefit is the meditation and head space I receive from writing, the second is that writing is my profession, how I feed myself; writing is my life, what I have to offer the world.
Officially it is still spring, but in Durango it feels like summer. It feels like a hot summer is on the way, we’ve already had fires popping up near town. This is my first summer in Durango, and something feels burning inside of me, a burning desire to experience life to the fullest, and manifest some dreams of mine.

I once heard someone say that the most common rhyme in music was fire and desire. After I heard that said, I’ve heard that rhyme all the time. And once a fire is in your heart and soul, there is a desire for it to grow.

My personal fire right now is on many fronts: the desire to become the best climber I can be, the dream to manifest my goal of becoming a successful writer, and that search for love, or as Johnny Cash says it better “flesh and blood needs flesh and blood.”

 Since I’ve last blogged I also have taken a job, a part time gig at my favorite Mexican restaurant in town, called Zia Taqueria. It feels good to be working in a kitchen again, and I’ve realized how much I missed that type of work. Many of my coworkers are Mexican, and I’m stoked to work on my Spanish. Plus there’s just something about the Latino spirit that moves me, the work environment there is really enjoyable.

I love climbing so much, more and more every day, and currently I’ve got a goal in mind, which usually helps me dedicate my energy to a dream. The goal is to do a Birthday Challenge in the next couple of weeks. My birthday is in December, which is a terrible time of year to do a proper rock climbing Birthday Challenge, plus the older one gets, the more difficult the challenge becomes. Recently I was talking with a climbing partner of mine, Badger, and we realized our birthdays are a mere three days apart. We are also only a year apart in age, he’s like a “brother from another Mother”. So, we decided we would do a mid-year challenge. Today will be our first training session at the local Golf Wall, as we build up to doing 34 pitches in day. So psyched!

I can’t overstate how much fire is building is my heart and soul right now, it’s almost a little overwhelming. I feel it leading to living my dreams, which is what the essence of being human is about, right? Please comment below to tell me what you are feeling, what wildfires are brewing in your heart, and what storms are starting to release thunderous bolts of lighting in your world.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Climbing Zine Now on Gunny Love

The Climbing Zine is now part of a new website called Gunny Love. Started by Mallory Logan and Delaney Keating, this innovative site is a marketplace for Gunnison Valley related projects, making it easy to shop locally, when you're not in the G-Spot! Check it out!




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