Steph Davis

American rock climber

Stephanie "Steph" Davis (born 1973) is an American rock climber, BASE jumper, and wingsuit flyer.

Davis in 2010


  • I started eating vegan purely for health/athletic reasons originally. But as the years have gone by, I care very much about trying to cause as little harm to other creatures as possible. I really love animals and respect them very much, and I don’t want to see them hurt or forced into unnatural lives. I’m not so much out to change the world, as to change myself, but I would love to see all the people taking care of all living creatures, humans included. Wouldn’t that be something? With being vegan and avoiding animal products of any kind, my policy has always been to just do the best I can. No one’s perfect, but we can’t let that stop us from trying to be better, right?
  • It's funny how many times in life I've found myself rolling full steam ahead toward something I was sure I'd never do. Whatever might happen in life, whether I liked it or didn't like it, I could know one thing for sure: it would change. There was absolute certainty in uncertainty, in some ways an enormous comfort.
    • Learning to Fly: A Memoir of Hanging On and Letting Go (New York: Touchstone, 2015), pp. 83-84.
  • I’ve been vegan for 10 years now, and there’s nothing in my life that hasn’t become better as a result. … To perform my sports and to stay alive in high risk environments, I need to be at top level athletic fitness. I also need to be highly attuned to the natural environment, and able to listen to myself and any outside messages. I have found that eating a vegan diet gives me optimum physical and mental awareness. … A vegan diet keeps consumer dollars out of the marketplace that supports factory farming, which I believe to be evil.
  • I like all styles of climbing for different things. I like the focus and the solitude of solo climbing. … The best jumper is the one who never gets hurt. Find that person and try to be like him/her. … Adventure is when you aren't sure what's going to happen.

High Infatuation: A Climber's Guide to Love and Gravity (2007)

Seattle: The Mountaineers Books, ISBN 1-59485-065-8. On Google Books.
  • As with the other difficult moments in my life, those experiences reinforced the fact that I climb for myself and no one else. Sometimes the distinctions get blurred, and it's easy to get sucked into other people's realities. In the end, climbing is what I love, my own expression of joy. Everything else is just noise.
  • I wonder sometimes why climbers embrace climbing so ecstatically, with a passion that feels spiritual, even religious. For years, I never questioned this deep love. I simply realized that I had been looking for something for a long time and had somehow miraculously found it before I even knew it was missing. Now, when I consider the mainstream Western culture that produced me, I see there is something seriously missing for a lot of people. An altered experience of reality is fundamental to a spiritual worldview. Perhaps that is what climbers glimpse—sometimes in the mountains, sometimes when reaching deep within to push past physical limits. Many of us have never felt it before, and we will give anything to get closer to it in the only way we know how.
  • I often hear people call climbing a selfish, egocentric pursuit. I consider this idea a lot. On the surface, as a sport or activity, this may be true. But for most soul climbers, climbing has never been merely about athletics. Climbing has shown me how to look beyond myself and my own desires. It has taught me how to be a part of a community, rather than living in a narrow world of my own making. I have learned, painfully, how to accept help from others. I have learned that my powerful emotions can be my greatest strength, as well as my greatest weakness. Physically and intellectually, climbing has tugged me into the larger world, beyond my own culture and comfort zone. Above all, climbing has shown me the existence of forces beyond the seen world. It has taught me to ponder the meaning of reality. It has shown me that I am small.
  • In the last few months, surrounding myself with true friends and their positive energy, I am unfolding, emerging renewed. Climbing, I touch rock and feel the rush of infatuation. In a way, it feels like being reborn. I will always push hard. At times, I will be caught by inspiration, and when that happens I will never give up. That's who I am. But what I know now is that climbing is more than that. I'm more than that. So much has happened, but in some ways nothing has changed. Climbing, simply and joyfully, is the way I love the world.
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