Eighteen years ago, Steph Davis abandoned law school to commit to a life she loved – climbing the world’s most difficult routes. And since then, she has climbed hard cracks in the Moab desert and made the first climbing ascents the Artic – at times, free-soloing at a fierce 5.11+ grade. She was the first woman to free-climb the Salathe Wall, on El Cap, and to climb Torre Egger in Patagonia. Steph has soloed routes on Colorado’s Long’s Peak – the Diamond – a thousand foot vertical granite wall at 14,000 feet - several times. She’s also a base jumper, a wing-suit pilot, a blogger, and the author of two books, "High Infatuation: a Climber's Guide to Love and Gravity" and most recently, "Learning To Fly" - and she somehow remains humble about it all. Here’s what she shared with _Practice on the art of remaining focused and the need to be always fully aware…
Before a jump, I like to take my time and sit still for a little while, rather than giving into the feelings of adrenaline and intensity and rushing right off.
I listen to the wind, breathe and imagine the jump.
I am always ready to walk down from a base jump if things aren’t right.
Sometimes, it’s wind conditions.
Sometimes, I just don’t feel like jumping.
Spending a lot of time alone is really important for me to get an understanding of where I’m at and where I need to be.
The important thing is to stay in touch with how you feel and work hard to stay clear of outside energy when you’re in intense situations.
I think the biggest mistake people make is in trying to push fear away completely and cover it with confidence that may be misplaced.
To develop mental toughness? I think, as with everything, first it needs to be a goal, something you prioritize. After that, practice and repetition is the key.
Climbing is led by both the mind and the body - and I think that’s why it’s so all-consuming.
I began doing yoga about ten years ago. I’ve always been kind of inflexible, so I started yoga to work on that. After that I got interested in the philosophy and then in meditation.
I do some yoga every morning when I wake up--even if it’s only a sun salutation.
I like having the anchor...
My mental stamina? I know that this is the part of climbing that has always appealed to me the most. I believe that doing high-risk activities is kind of a shortcut to meditation.
You have no choice but to focus completely.
My focus right now is in staying aware of every second of life.
And appreciating it.
Here's Steph's moving tribute to her late husband and the beauty of life, FLYING...
To hear more from Steph, you can find her on her website www.highinfatuation.com.