This segment of the Active Outdoor Vegans series is with professional rock climber, base jumper, wingsuit flyer, and writer, Steph Davis. She is one of the world’s leading
female rock climbers and BASE jumpers, lives a life of simplicity and outdoor adventure, and has been following a plant-based, vegan diet since 2003. She is an exemplary vegan athlete, showing just what one can do on this lifestyle!
What are your favourite outdoor activities?
Climbing, wingsuit base jumping, trail running, skate skiing.
Where do you spend time pursuing these outdoor passions?
I live in Moab, Utah, and I travel around the US to Arizona, Colorado, Montana and California, and around the world to Switzerland, France, Italy and Asia.
What began your love of outdoor adventure? What do you love most about it?
I started climbing 24 years ago. I love being outside and living a very natural lifestyle.
What led you to the vegan/plant-based path? And what motivates you most to continue with the vegan lifestyle?
I started experimenting with nutrition in 2003, trying to figure out what would help me to climb better and have more strength and endurance. My experiments led me to start eating vegan, and I’ve been doing it ever since. I also avoid refined sugar and processed foods of any type. I feel I perform better, feel better and have better health through a plant based, whole foods diet.
Did you experience any changes in athletic performance once going plant-based?
I started to climb better and have more energy.
What is your favourite plant-based meal to have before/after outdoor activity?
For a long day where I need a lot of energy, I like to eat spicy sautéed potato cubes in the morning with scrambled tofu and broccoli or spinach.
What is your favourite plant-based snack to have with you during activity?
Dried fruit and nuts.
You have and continue to accomplish some pretty fantastic athletic feats. What keeps you inspired to seek out new outdoor adventures?
It’s part of my life, and it’s what I love to do.
You’re pretty fond of your four-leggers. Has your relationship towards dogs and other animals changed at all since going vegan?
I believe that animals can smell the difference between people who eat meat or don’t eat meat, and they know I won’t hurt them.
What do you feel is the best part about being vegan?
Eating delicious food and knowing I’m doing the best I can to live what I believe: that no creature should be tortured and that we should not harm living beings by subjecting them to cruel and unusual living situations.
You don’t live a very traditional lifestyle. What made you choose your path and led you realize that this was the life you wanted to live?
I climbed throughout college and also through graduate school. When I finished grad school, I struggled with going down a traditional path or following my passion for climbing. I took the plunge and became a fulltime climber, waitressing to make money for climbing. I’m a very driven and hardworking person, but I’m unable to channel that drive into things that don’t inspire me, so in the end it wasn’t really a choice for me.
What does an ideal day look like for you?
Wake up at home in Moab and have tea and breakfast with my boyfriend Ian and the animals (Cajun and Mao). Go out for a wingsuit base jump with Ian, and then spend the afternoon climbing with Cajun and Ian or other friends. Or…wake up in our van and go out for a wingsuit base jump and/or a climbing adventure in another amazing place. Either way, come back, make dinner, sleep and repeat. 🙂
You seem to enjoy sharing your experiences and helping others. Did this influence your decision to write your books: High Infatuation: A Climber’s Guide to Love and Gravity and Learning to Fly: An Uncommon Memoir of Human Flight, Unexpected Love, and One Amazing Dog?
Yes, I felt a strong need to write both of those books, and that’s why I wrote them. I think writing is how I clarify my own stories for myself, and learn from them and learn to move forward from them. It’s also my hope to help others by sharing the hard experiences as well as the inspiring ones.
What is your most cherished accomplishment so far (athletic or otherwise)?
Having made a sustained and fulfilling career of something that didn’t even exist as a career 24 years ago when I started, and living a free and simple life.
You continue to be an inspiration for the outdoor adventure lifestyle; for following your passion and living authentically; for living compassionately and responsibly; and for sharing what you’ve learned, and helping others to pursue their passions. So, thank you for all that you do!