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Getting into Rock Climbing in 2022

I’ve always loved the mountains. I also can’t get enough of a good view. There is something so majestic and regal about being on a snowy peak with weather happening all around, or on some giant mountain watching the clouds and the winds move. I grew up skiing in Lake Tahoe and fell in love with the cold and snow through those childhood memories of being at the summit of squaw in a blizzard and waking up at 6 to get to the ski area at about 7:30. I have very vivid memories of racing my littlest sister down the mountain.

Climbing seems to be the other half of all of those downhill sports. It is very difficult. Bouldering is especially challenging for me because it forces me to maintain core tension and that requires being thinner. Luckily, I practice lots of yoga so losing weight isn’t a huge deal, but it also forces a fairly strict diet to maintain a high ratio of strength to weight.

Sugar Loaf

Check out this fun video I made of a climb that Ronnie invited me to out in Sugar Loaf along 50 towards South Lake Tahoe.

This winter I have some goals. The first is to lose a bunch of weight. I don’t weigh myself on a scale, so its definitely more of a certain level feeling good. Climbing is obviously much easier when you weigh less.

I am also looking to get into avalanche training and awareness in the high mountains. That means spending some time up in Alaska or Canada. I’d also really like to get that first time of ice climbing in. Being an avid skier, I also will want to learn some back country skiing techniques, but for now I am content to try to be as safe as possible in the level of difficulty that I am in. Tahoe is obviously going to be a great place to learn things this winter; the snowfall is epic right now. I can’t wait to get back into woods that look like the picture to the right.

I took the photo that’s below at the Quarry Trail in Auburn a couple of weeks ago.

Learning Technique at Pipeworks

This year I have been thrilled to start climbing almost daily, a few friends got me going and I’ve been enjoying all the different kinds of climbing on rock. I am loving every second of sports climbing and have led some pretty fun routes, even a 5.10! Its a very difficult sport but about a year in I am starting to feel my fingers develop more strength and my arms are getting used to holding my weight when I am upside down. Bouldering has gotten to be kind of a passion of mine.

The gym I go to is in Sacramento, so normally I just go after work. It makes for a nice way to destress after doing a lot of manual labor. Climbing has totally changed up my workout routines and yoga as well. Ashtanga becomes a lot more useful when climbing because you can create the body tension necessary to do dynamic moves.

There are a few super important muscles used for climbing, mostly in the forearms, but also in the shoulders, core, legs and hips. The digitorum profundus is specifically very useful to strengthen for the grip strength necessary for climbing. That’s why hang boards are so popular, this one muscle group can get extremely strong!

It’s also crazy how important footwork becomes for higher levels of climbing. So I’ve been putting together strength workouts to get back into the best shape that I can to climb some big mountains.

This past year, I did some fun stuff. I got out to Shasta, Cody, Yellowstone, Hiked up Mount Whitney, spend 3 days in Yosemite in the Buena Vista Crest, and got up to Tahoe a lot to hike the Pacific Crest Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from hiking this year, there are most definitely some good ones in there!

The American River

Mount Whitney

Yellowstone

Emerald Pools

Yosemite

Same photo zoomed out

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Buddha in the Shwedagon (Free Yoga Photo) by Elliot Telford

Looking Back to Asia

Remembering 15 Weeks in Asia

I feel very lucky to have gotten through the entire trip throughout Asia without more than a couple of bruises and an empty bank account. India and Thailand were the highlights of the trip and Kathmandu, Nepal and Myanmar both beckon return journeys of significant lengths of time.

The trip began in Mysore India in late January and ended in mid-May flying out of Hanoi, Vietnam. Most of the below photos are from the first three months of the trip in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand… enjoy!

PS: You can click on the photos for enlarged images, they are big

Cast Bronze Shiva for sale by Elliot Telford

Cast Bronze Shiva for sale

Strangers in Dhaka by Elliot Telford
Strangers in Dhaka

A Poor Smile by Elliot Telford
A Big Impoverished Smile

Poverty in Bangladesh by Elliot Telford
Poverty in Bangladesh

Dhaka city street by Elliot Telford
Dhaka city street

Dhaka Bangladesh by Elliot Telford
Dhaka, Bangladesh

Homes in Mysore by Elliot Telford
Homes in Mysore

Village in Dhaka by Elliot Telford
Village in Dhaka

Neighbrohood Alleyway in Mysore by Elliot Telford
Neighbrohood Alleyway in Mysore

Rickshaw in Bandladesh by Elliot Telford
Rickshaw in Bandladesh

Buddha in the Shwedagon by Elliot Telford
Buddha in the Shwedagon

Temple in Nepal by Elliot Telford
Temple in Nepal

Spires of the Shwedagon by Elliot Telford
Spires of the Shwedagon

Kathmandu, Nepal by Elliot Telford
Kathmandu, Nepal

Dhaka Street by Elliot Telford
Dhaka Street

The Shwedagon by Elliot Telford
The Shwedagon

Monks at the Shwedagon Pagoda by Elliot Telford
Monks at the Shwedagon Pagoda

IMG_9552

Mysore Hindu Temple by Elliot Telford
Mysore Hindu Temple

River in Thailand by Elliot Telford
River in Thailand

Street Construction in Mysore by Elliot Telford
Street Construction in Mysore

Alleyway in Mysore by Elliot Telford
Alleyway in Mysore

Gangsters in Kathmandu by Elliot Telford
Gangsters in Kathmandu

Laundry in Mysore by Elliot Telford
Laundry in Mysore

School kids in Kathmandu (pre-earthquake) by Elliot Telford
School kids in Kathmandu (pre-earthquake)

Indian man thinking by Elliot Telford
Indian man thinking

Indian man riding bike by Elliot Telford
Indian man riding bike

The Jois Shala Wall
The Jois Shala Wall (practiced here for 3 months)

Mysore Alleyway by Elliot Telford
Mysore Alleyway

South Indian Construction by Elliot Telford
South Indian Construction

Mysore River by Elliot Telford
Mysore River

Gokulam Coconut Stand by Elliot Telford
Gokulam Coconut Stand

Chakra House in Gokulam by Elliot Telford
Chakra House in Gokulam

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Dhaka, Bangladesh, Children

Nightmare in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka can be a nightmare. It was for me a few days ago when I forgot all of my things except my passport and phone (which I only have for pictures and music) and got lost in the city for a solid 11 hours straight. I thought I was going to have to sleep on the streets.

Have you ever done something really, really stupid, immediately regretted it, then gone on to fix the bad decision for the rest of the day? That was my Saturday. I haven’t prayed hard in a long time, I’ve never begged on the streets, or hard to use my yoga in such a necessary way. The amount of stress going through my system was unbelievable and I’m still moving through a good amount of it.

It started Friday night, when I learned that Biman Bangladesh Airlines cancelled my layover flight to Yangon and expected me to stay in the airport overnight, which is complete bullshit (an unexpected 14 hour layover with no lodging?) Avoid the company if you can, it was an awful position to be in. But luckily, a spanish family living in Dhaka offered me to stay with them instead of a hostel, insisting that it was necessary because of the conditions in Dhaka. After experiencing the brunt of India, I thought ‘ how bad can it be?’ It was awful.

Getting lost started with wanting to go take pictures at 7:30 after doing a little yoga in the morning (I didn’t finish my practice, which is a little weird), then about 5 minutes into my short walk, I was completely lost. I hadn’t taken the time to recognize the buildings around me so I had no landmarks that I was familiar with. I probably walked around and near the building I was staying in for a solid 2 hours before beginning to panic a bit at 9 because my flight was at 12:30 and I like to have 3 hours before my flight. So I started to jog around run a little to try to cover ground faster. I stopped at 11:30, exasperated, realizing the gravity of the situation that I was in. To add to the panic, Dhaka is one of the poorest places on the planet, and lots of my walking around the city involved walking on sandbags to avoid the sewage flooded streets.

I decided to try to see if I had properly remember the address of the family I was staying with and took a rickshaw, since I was on my last resort, even though I couldn’t pay him unless he took me to the right place. He ended up taking me all the way across town in the wrong direction, until I ditched the took-took in traffic because I couldn’t pay (yeah I feel guilty, but I had literally nothing to give the man). I was so dehydrated that my mouth was completely dry and a man offered me water from a used bottle, that I only took one sip of before knowing I couldn’t drink it. I went to a stall and literally begged the vendor for water, which he unexpectedly gave to me.

I began to get completely hopeless wandering the streets, looking for anything that might help me and praying my ass off for some help. Then I met a girl named Anna, from Colorado and I literally begged her for help as well. After seeing how dire my situation was, she agreed to help me and  took me to her school where she taught english, where her friend helped me to look for the apartment on Google street views. After realizing how little I could recognize, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get back by myself. Anna and I spent the next 3 hours roaming the streets, looking for anything that looked familiar. We looked through the areas for what I thought I remembered and then decided to try the different clubs in the city where westerners hang out (because the city is Muslim, there is no drinking allowed in the city). The first club was the international club, but we had no luck there. Then at the second club, around 5pm, we finally found some people who knew the people I was staying with. They made a few calls to figure out where their address was, then they drove me to their house. I will always be so grateful to everyone involved in that trip, and Anna really saved me that day! Something I really did not expect to happen. What a restoration for my faith in humanity!

So that was probably the worst day of my life. It’s so easy to say in retrospect, but the panic and fear that I felt during those first 5 hours will never be forgotten. So be careful if you ever visit Dhaka, the place is not easy to get around in. The city is a maze, the people are always trying to be helpful and will absolutely point you in the wrong direction because they have no idea where you are looking for, and very, very few people speak english.

The only things I had with me were two cameras, so enjoy the photos!

Dhaka Streets_3
Dhaka Streets_4
kids in Dhaka1
Dhaka market
Dhaka Streets_5
people of Dhaka
rickshaw Dhaka
Dhaka Streets_7
swamp in Dhaka
tea stand in Dhaka
kids in field in Dhaka
Dhaka Streets_6
leper in Dhaka
kids in Dhaka2
Dhaka Streets_2
Dhaka Streets_1
child in Dhaka

 

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