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Team Clif Bar Blog
Apr 1, 2013
Learning to Fly by Steph Davis

Steph Davis is a long time Team CLIF Bar family member and a superstar in the climbing community. She’s ascended some of the world’s most awe-inspiring peaks and was the first woman to free climb the Salathé Wall in Yosemite and to free solo the Longs Peak Diamond. Following a time of great transition and change a number of years ago, Steph suddenly found herself without a partner, a career, a source of income…or a purpose.

In the company of only her beloved dog Fletch, Davis sets off on a search for a new identity, and discovers skydiving. Though falling out of an airplane is completely antithetical to the climber’s control she’d practiced for so long, Davis turns each daring jump into an opportunity to fly, first as a skydiver, then as a BASE jumper, and finds herself indelibly changed.

We at CLIF could not be more proud to continue to support Steph in her pursuits throughout life. From climbing and flying to teaching and sharing, Steph is a ray of light and shares an incredible way of  giddily playing her way along the path of this amazing journey. We are excited to help share the arrival of Steph’s newest book, Learning to Fly, and look forward to seeing her soar in all that is to come.

Below Steph shares a bit of the story first person.

Learning to Fly is a memoir about adventure, transformation, fear, love, letting go and quite simply, learning how to fly.  For half my life, my world revolved around climbing.  I dropped out of law school to live in a truck with my dog and migrated from one climbing area to another, from Yosemite to the Arctic Circle.  I became a professional climber and eventually married my longtime climbing partner.  It was a life of pure adventure, and nothing about it was safe. When my marriage and my career unraveled simultaneously, I found myself slipping into a downward spiral of anxiety, fear and loss of faith as my world fell apart around me.

A longtime believer in the concept of “joy at sudden disappointment,” I was frustratingly unable to apply my spiritual beliefs to what was actually happening in my life.  More disturbingly, I lost the ability to simply trust.  Climbing became an intensely solo and bizarrely emotionless experience, without a rope and without a partner, a practice of ultimate self-reliance with death consequence.  In an effort to feel something, I plunged into free fall, learning to skydive from airplanes.  I discovered a new community of unconventional personalities and immersed myself in wingsuit flight and base jumping, traveling from Boulder, Colorado to the Eiger.  My beloved dog Fletch got older and passed on, I grew from a beginner skydiver to a competent base jumper, rediscovered my joy in climbing and unexpectedly found new love–learning once again that letting go is the meaning of life.

If you’re drawn to explore the inner world of self or you’re curious about the wild places and wild characters of climbing/skydiving/base jumping, or if you’ve ever truly loved a dog, I hope this story will have meaning for you.  If it does, I hope you’ll let me know!

~Steph Davis

Learning to Fly will be released on April 2, 2013.  You can order at:

You can hear Steph speak about Learning to Fly here at CLIF Bar HQ (date and time tba) and get your copy signed this April in Moab, Salt Lake City, Boulder or Denver:

You can also check out Steph’s first book, High Infatuation: “High Infatuation is partly a history of growing up in the climbing world, partly a book of adventure tales, but mostly an effort to figure out how things fit together. To me, climbing’s always been about a lot more than just climbing.”

Posted by: 
B Cole
Climbing, Other Sports
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