The Pole

Ear to the ground
“At last! Something’s finally going on in Mancos.”
– Mancos resident reacting to the Weber Fire and pre-evacuation alert

Getting vertical
Known for his climbing and “dirtbag living” exploits, the Telegraph’s own frequent contributor, Luke Mehall, has reached a new height. Next week, Mehall will be releasing Climbing out of Bed, his first book, on Independence Day, July 4. The book will be initially released as an e-book on Kindle, followed by the printed version.

Mehall describes his debut as a collection of rock climbing and mountain town stories, written over the last 13 years. He says the muses of his pieces are the people who make up the rock climbing and mountain town culture.

Originally from Illinois, Mehall moved to Colorado in 1999 to attend Western State College, in Gunnison. He describes himself as “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 world of the rock climbing, which soon became his passion.

The essays that make up the book run the gamut from friendship, hitchhiking, couch surfing, buildering (climbing buildings), road tripping, dumpster diving, extended camping, dirtbag living, love, loss, wanderlust, and Zen dishwashing.

Mehall lived in the Gunnison Valley for 11 years before moving to Durango a few years back. A freelance writer, house-sitter and outdoor adventurer, he is also the publisher of The Climbing Zine, an independent rock climbing publication. In addition to this fine publication, his work has appeared in Crested Butte Magazine, Rock and Ice, Climbing, Mountain Gazette,, and Patagonia’s blog, “The Cleanest Line.”

George Sibley, author of Dragons in Paradise and senior correspondent at the Mountain Gazette, says of Mehall, “I don’t know anyone who writes with more enthusiasm, joy and honesty 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.”

Johnny fever
He’s baaaaaack. But hurry. A super secret confidential report has it that Johnny Depp will be riding back into the area next week July 3 for a one-day shooting in Moab. We’re not going to give away any top-secret location except to say it involves a certain river that flows through the area. Which could be a good thing, as temps in the desert town are forecast to break the century mark.

Alas, don’t expect another Depparrazzi free-for-all or sightings at McStiffs. Sources say he will only be hanging in town for a day.