Professional Climber and BASE Jumper Steph Davis Shares Her Best Tips for Training and Getting Better

Climber Steph Davis
Photo credit: Scotty Rogers

My name is Steph Davis, professional climber and BASE jumper. I live in Moab, Utah. I love climbing, wingsuit flying, BASE jumping, peak bagging, and playing with vegan recipes. I’m a sponsored athlete and a speaker. I started climbing in college, and I started BASE jumping 10 years ago after I learned to skydive.

Why are your sports important for you?

I’ve been climbing and adventuring for over half my life so it’s hard to separate climbing from my life at this point. Climbing and jumping have taught me a lot about discipline, failure, personal responsibility, and risk management. I think all creatures belong outside, and humans are no different.

How do you train and become better at your sports?

I train for rock climbing by using a hangboard, a campus board, and my backyard climbing wall. I train for wingsuit BASE through skydiving, BASE jumping daily on short, non-wingsuit BASE jumps, and hiking in the mountains near Moab with weight in my pack (the same weight as my BASE gear).

Base Jumper Steph Davis
Photo credit: @ianmitchard

What are the hardest parts of your sports?

I think the hardest part is maintaining my fitness level for multiple disciplines that require very different strengths–it’s a lot of juggling. Biggest danger in my sports is injury or death.

My family was very unsupportive when I started climbing, so I was completely on my own. In many ways, it was very hard, but it always made me understand that I was truly and deeply committed to climbing and that no one was going to hand anything to me and that I had to take care of myself.

Base Jumper Steph Davis

How do you eat and sleep?

I’m vegan, and I avoid eating any processed foods and sugar. Sleep is incredibly important: I need at least 8 hours a night, and I prefer 10 or more when possible. I use CW Hemp Everyday Plus hemp oil at night, along with magnesium powder, and I also sleep with ear plugs, and a humidifier if I’m at home in Moab. For supplements, every morning I take CW Simply Hemp, B vitamins, magnesium, creatine, eleuthero, a probiotic and iron + vitamin C.

How do you handle injuries and recovery?

I’ve never been hurt climbing. In my first year of BASE jumping, a decade ago, I got a couple of minor injuries from bad parachute landings. Since then, thankfully, I haven’t had any injuries.

Climber Steph Davis

What is your best advice people new to climbing and wingsuit base jumping?

I often see new climbers using oversized and clunky climbing shoes, under the reasoning that these are “beginner shoes” and they are beginners. Everyone should use good and well-fitting climbing shoes, because it makes it easier to use your feet, so I recommend choosing a top of the line climbing shoe as your first pair, and spending a lot of time understanding the right fit when buying it.

With wingsuit BASE jumping, nowadays I’m seeing a lot of people who have high skydiving wingsuit skills wanting to rush right into BASE jumping, because they are so comfortable flying the suit in a skydiving environment. Even if you’re a super skilled skydiver, I think you should spend a lot of time learning to BASE jump through the traditional steps before rushing right into wingsuit BASE jumping.

And for experienced ones, don’t be afraid to evolve.

Base Jumper Steph Davis
Photo credit: @ianmitchard

How do you balance normal life with your sports?

I find myself pretty busy all the time, between keeping a household going, being in a relationship, having a dog and a cat, managing my business and juggling sponsorship commitments, travel and training. Sometimes I have to let something take a back seat for a month because I’m focusing on the other things.

What kind of climbing and wingsuit base jumping shoes and clothes do you use?

For technical clothing, I wear Mammut clothing with a little bit of Kavu in the mix. For mountain boots and trail running shoes, I use Mammut: for climbing shoes and approach shoes I use Evolv. I have a LOT of shoes–I use different models and sizes of climbing shoes for different things, and I use lots of different shoes and boots for hiking and BASE jumping. For BASE jumping, I prefer to wear a hightop shoe or light boot.

Climber Steph Davis

What has been your best sport purchase below $100?

This has a pretty funny name: Panic by KONG and I don’t leave the ground without it if I’m sport climbing — I’m 5’5″ and often the people who put bolts in the rock for sport climbing are much taller, so this stiff quickdraw lets me reach up and clip if I’m in a spot where the bolt is just out of my reach. I love this thing and it has saved me a lot of frustration and fear on bolted routes!

What other favorite gear do you have?

Climber Steph Davis

What will the future bring?

I just bought an ultralight paraglider, which weighs 5 pounds (versus 18 pounds for my wingsuit BASE gear), and I’m interested in learning to fly it off peaks as a descent tool.

Visit Steph Davis on her website and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter


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