Episode 111- Steph Davis and the taking the road a LOT less traveled


Steph Davis is a professional climber and base jumper who lives in Moab, Utah. Steph grew up on the east coast and originally pursued music and literature. Then she moved out to Colorado to get her Masters and briefly pursued a career as a lawyer before climbing pulled her onto a totally different life path. She’s been a professional athlete and has made a living through climbing since 1996 and later skydiving and base jumping. For Steph, climbing is a metaphor for life:  “You have to do what feels right, what lights you up. Do your best always. Conserve. Never waste anything. You can only have what you can carry: choose it carefully, make it last, take care of it. Appreciate what you have for as long as you have it. Be ready to do without it. No matter what happens, deal with it. Adapt, instantly when necessary. Take care of yourself. Try to help. A lot of times you fail, sometimes you succeed. Either way, you’re never the whole reason for it.” Steph speaks professionally about fear, risk and resilience (see her recent TedTalk here) and has witnessed a lot of traumatic accidents, including the death of her husband Mario Richard in a wingsuit base jump accident in the Dolomites. Why do we need risk in our lives? How do we balance the risk and reward? How do we learn to live again after tragedy? What non-physical training can we do to support performance? How can we reduce accidents in airports? This is a fascinating talk with a fascinating person. Enjoy!

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Show Notes:

  • Steph discusses the difficulty of describing what she does for a living…
  • How to make a living as a professional athlete
  • The plusses and negatives of being a minimalist
  • The “dirt bag” lifestyle- let’s not glamorize it too much
  • People who jump off cliffs- they aren’t what you think
  • Walking a completely different path
  • The risk and reward
  • The death of her husband Mario Richard
  • Why do some people pursue such high-risk activities? Is it the escape or something else?
  • Dealing with tragedy
  • Non-physical training
  • Minimize your life!
  • How do we reduce accidents?

Mentioned in this episode:

GEOS, Global Rescue, IMG Signature, Garmin, Base jumping, Wingsuiting, Climbing, Rebecca Rusch, Jody MacDonald, KAVU, Alex Honnold, Jeff Shapiro, Dean Potter, Graham Hunt, Sean Leary, MSR, Ruffwear


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Episode 111- Steph Davis and the taking the road a LOT less traveled

00:00:17 - 00:05:04

Hi there buddy. Welcome to another episode. Cloud base Ma'am just got off the phone with Steph Davis climber based Upper Wing suitor trail runner. She cases it hard out there in the desert she lives in. Moab had a fascinating interesting life. She was a musician pianist and then went to law school and chased a PhD Fergal. While but just fascinating contemplative very cool person. I met her originally added. Garmon ambassador thing couple years ago and I've been wanting to get her on the show because as promised to you or trying to reach out to people that are beyond the kind of paragliding spectrum that we typically talked to so steph does fly than sodas her husband but she's us she's much more interested in climbing rock in in jumping off them so this is a great one that you're going to get lot out of this really enjoy it. We dive pretty deep into just life and adventure. And so now. The year enjoy the show very brief housekeeping with got just got delivered yesterday whole big box of brand new cloud base may trucker hats from Patagonia. So these are very very cool. And I'll have those on the store shortly so if you're looking for school trucker hats have a look on the website. You're in a couple of days. Then I'll have that all live for you and the other one is insurance. We have updated the insurance article for travel and for Axon insurance. Were especially when you're out of. The country were more than one hundred miles away from home. They article on the on the website. When you just put in search term insurance is called unscrambling insurance are covered. Have a look at that. Just updated that come. We're working more closely with GEOS. Who is who is they are the ones that are activated when you hit your SOS on your spot where you're in reach. And so they have very similar coverage to coverage I've been talking about with global rescue It's not quite the same. Global rescues is a little more padded and has a lot more with it. But you could also go the Geo route when you travel and so not just for SOS when you press that button but for Evac insurance repatriation getting your whole and then also some updates with travel insurance with having cops covered and that kind of thing so go check out that article and Ping me on whatever platform you like to use. If you have any questions but let's get into it for now. Please enjoy this conversation worth of very fascinating person. Stephanie this Steph so excited to have you on the podcast I have been pretty myopic. About interviewing a lot of paragliders so excited to interview and talk to you about your wonderful fanciful world of jumping and biking climbing in Also preflight and but free flight in a much more. I guess extreme way than than what we typically talk about. So welcome to the mayhem and thanks for sharing your time. Yes thanks for having me cool and you're in Moab now right I am. Yeah that's my first question is why Mowlam was that. Been Your Center your base. I came through my college sophomore and at the time I was at Fort Collins Colorado State University so I came to Indian creek to climb because Indian creek. You know this huge destination for claiming and didn't really stop in Moab so much but I loved the creek and then when I was out of school and just basically became a climbing. It was the best place that I could think of to be so it became my base at that time. I wasn't really jumping. This was like twenty twenty five years ago something like that but then when I started base jumping as it turns out MOAB is also a world destination for base jumping. I mean really everything. I'm I'm pretty big in the trail running If you like Rivers Sports Mountain biking. It's kind of like those place where you can do all these great activities and it's getting getting a lot of tourism now which is affecting the town and how the town feels but it always has been that kind of small town by two. I've always had such a fast. I went to see you in boulder and so when I was a climber back. I got into climbing back just out of high school and college. It just captured man so I chased it probably way too hard for a while and so we would take these.

00:05:05 - 00:10:04

You know long road trips out MOA for like one day of climbing go all the way back it but I was also a big law am was in am now. A huge fan of Edward Abbey. The way he writes about that place is just such a special area. Have you flown here in the Lascelles? I have it in. That's ridiculous I haven't actually flown in Colorado. I mean I know you're in Utah but You know every time I've gone down that way I always get hung up around version anxiety on and I just don't go I should you know there's a lot of guys are doing flights and girls are doing flights from like Monroe peak down by Monroe and Also like from ends bow and they've landed in Moab you know they've flown all the way across most of in gun to you so I'd love. That would just be such a cool flight but no I haven't I need to. It's pretty cool. I mean a pretty small paragliding community here but people are motivated and people are doing pretty cool stuff up in those cells not doing like ring cost countries out it just having a good time flying around Lewis peak so if you are just passing through it would be a fun thing. And don't you guys have that What do you call it the book? It's like Turkey boogie. Yeah it's Thanksgiving time of year. A lot of base jumpers just kind of like slot to Moab in. It's just his is me and flocking. Hard time calling organized per se. But it's just basically FORMICA. People know that at that time of year a lot of people come to town and you set up that crazy met thing right where you walk out there and then his drop through the slack line people do that so then at the same time. It's funny because a started years ago it was really loosen casual. Emma's Jimmy Maher impact space used to vertigo and they just would have Thanksgiving dinner at their house for like ten or fifteen friends that would come to Moab on. They called it. The Turkey buggy in from there kind of expanded into this just concept where you know a lot of people come and the Slack Line People. Kinda got in on the same thing where they started this big event at the same time of year. So it's just. There's a lot going on at that time. So let's imagine you come over to a party. I'm throwing a party and you come over and there's a bunch of people there that haven't heard your name or don't know you and they ask you. Hey Nice to meet you what do you do? How do you answer that? I always? I was kind of funny. I think partly because I do a lot of different things and partly because it's sort of a weird Career in a way so not one of those easy things or somebody says what do you do when you say oh you know? I'm a nurse you can move on opens this entire can of worms or people are like what does that mean so. Sometimes I'm Kinda like usually late. Well it depends on who you're talking to. Actually it's funny. You say that because I was just the Dentis and the center hygienics goes. What are you and I said. Well I'm actually got and he goes. What does that mean know? You have your mouth open. I'm like real conversation wire cleaning my teeth then finally just said you know. I'm a climber and I do. A lot of marketing was just trying to keep it short because I was playing but you know but again it it just depends because a lot of people that move in our communities. You know everybody knows exactly what that means if you say that you make your living happily but when you get out of these sports communities people just aren't as familiar with that as a job and so and there's different aspects right you know. There is the marketing side. There's being influenced her. I also have my own businesses on different levels so a lot of times. It just depends on who? I'm talking to to what I think that they would relate to your or might find a little more relatable because it's usually because we're having a conversation So I didn't know about your life outside of being an athlete. What are the businesses? I'm why run my own Clinton events in more and I've done that for the last ten years now and so that is my business Always bring my sponsors into it because it's great for them to but it is my business and so it's basically running events okay. So that's like what Rebecca does here with Rebecca's private Idaho with her bike or grabble think. Oh it's probably I would imagine it's about yes.

00:10:04 - 00:15:12

A huge part of her personal success is have is is running these events. Okay Yeah I have to check that out. I didn't know what she was doing. What dog that's cool. So that's okay. If you don't mind me asking how much like how do you divide your athletes side of things and influence their side of things with events in what was it. Sixty Forty S at ninety ten also have gotten into public speaking okay and so it's another. I would call it another arm of my business in so because they're all very different on some level in the all fill different niches for me From a business perspective and kind of personal perspective and so to me the way I see the way I make a living as one side is being an athlete Ambassador Influence. Or however you like to title or whatever the deliverables might imply and then the other side is my clinics and then the other side is public speaking. Okay and do you have a manager doing all this on your own? I don't have a manager that has been sort of a challenge over the last years by far on and so pretty recently. I started working with a friend who is an. He's an agent manager. But since I'm so established and I have created so much of the stock that I'm kind of dealing with on my own. It's a really nice kind of synergy. Where basically if I have something? I don't think I can handle in terms of negotiation or something like I can just pass it off to him. And then if he has something because he has a bunch of other clients that he got him in a full-time if he has something that comes through his carousel. And he's like Oh this would be a great stuff. Then he'll call me so it's really really nice because the problem. I've had in the past looking to potentially work with a manager. Is that typically people want to manage your whole everything for you and I've been doing this really really long time and I have a lot of relationships that I don't think would work if I tried to hand them off to somebody else can and so I've never been able to say. Oh yes you know. Take Control of all my contract summit relationships Just haven't really felt able to do that. So what how going on with Matt is Super Nice? Because it's just a very you know it's kind of like a one by one type thing I always like. I always compare kind of what we do. And you're doing different level. Obviously but for a long time I dated a gallon. Jody McDonald who sit very very talented photographer. And it was really interesting to watch her work because so much of the work was that the computer did not show much. Who's on leave Abol? How much editing like ninety ten of just marketing and getting stuff out there making the contacts and Eddie and just over shooting and always seems backwards to me. It's amazing and I know you know 'cause you think you do almost exactly what do police variations. But it's crazy to me when I think of what I do for work. It's not the sports that I do or the training that I do. If I only did that I don't think I bet that would not lead to me being successful business perspective and that's always the irony because I think sometimes people look at you from the outside. I think Oh look. She gets paid to climate base job. And it's not it's scaring paid garage. Janta exactly and to you know foster relationships and provide services and do all the things that are not going out climbing and jumping part. Yeah Yeah I mean. It's interesting because I'd like to get your take on this. Well I win. Did you figure out that this could be a lifestyle it? Would this kind of just organically happen out of college or was this Something that you're from when you were ten you're like I'm going to be a professional athlete. I did that really do sports as a kid and I wasn't brought up in a family that actually valued athletics at all or outdoor activities. So I grew up the east coast and pretty sheltered suburban lifestyle Professional parents Really believe in education things are great. But there's definitely a lot of a lot of great things I got from my parents just a really strong sense of discipline Serious Work Ethic Being very conservative in your lifestyle by which I mean like living under your means not within your means All these things that have really served me very well in climbing But none of those things were brought into the outdoor realm.

00:15:13 - 00:20:09

So when I started climbing I was eighteen and it was just something I I didn't know anything about it at all Especially in the early nineties moved to Fort Collins was that what kind of was the catalyst which is being in a new place new people. Oh no I started karting and barrel and taken out for a day It was real small so people were desperate to find people acclaimed with the climbing gyms and the media and stuff like that. It was just this kind of weird fringe so I just totally fell in love with it. It was something really different for me. And then precipitated me moving out to Colorado. Because I again. We didn't really have the climbing gym scene back down. So if you want to climb you had to actually go get out where the rocks were and Colorado is making a lot more sense so I transferred to Colorado State University and then did a masters degree there and Kinda. Just got me out the East Coast most your masters in literature fascinating to do a lot of writing. Yeah I do. I especially did a lot on in the last I would say couple decades and when I wrote my second book I that was kind of a big push. 'cause I done such long form stuff in a while with all the blogging and social media and nowadays I feel like I think like a lot of people I a lot by writing is almost feel like it. Sounds like ridiculous to say this but is geared more towards social media format? So I'm not doing anything more form right now. Even my blocking has really dropped off. Recently just is kind of like the first thing to go when I get too busy right. Sure I wanNA talk to the. That's the world that I'm fascinated by an will definitely want to talk more about your business but so when you were but let's just let's get to that point when you were back in Colorado and you got really into climbing. When did it Kinda hit you? Like okay extended literature. I'm going to be a climber. Well okay SORTA starting cloudy in Maryland and I was actually majoring in music at that time. I've been I had been on a musician. My whole life. He said was really serious about it and I was a pianist and I in my mind. I thought that's what I was going to pursue when I started climbing. Everything just kind of blew up and got really derailed because I just wanted to climb so much and so I I quit piano. I quit music and I changed my major to English because I also reading. That's what made sense at the time. I was on scholarship. So I wasn't going into debt for this and then Y- when I when I went out to Fort Collins I I really love school actually and when I got my masters I was a teaching assistant which meant My tuition was being paid and I was teaching writing so I was taking courses to learn how to teach at the same time so it was kind of this really cool Dual experience it really to me. It was so much better than just getting the English degree because I was also learning how to teach so I was enjoying all that time Going to school teaching climbing and it was really great balance of everything and when I graduated Yes the expectations of my family was if you have a masters degree in English you know you're going to do something else. And so I applied to Pete. See Programs I almost went to Salt Lake to get a PhD in American Studies at University of Utah's very close to doing that But instead I just kind of honestly I kind of panicked and I had also been accepted to a bunch of law schools and I spent the summer climbing ss park. I was really happy I was waiting tables. It was great and then I was like oh my gosh I got. I can't just not do anything and so I started school in Boulder Boulder law school after the summer after the master's degree within a week. I just thought you know I can't do this. I gotta go climbing and so I made this pretty big leap and started living in my oldsmobile and climbing and without really a plan became a dirtbag advocate mature. Yeah and so that was kind of what was it was sort of like I was in this nice little fairy tale where I could go to school and I could be respectable and I was teaching.

00:20:09 - 00:25:03

You know everything was great and that was working really well with climbing and then when that was over and I kind of had to move forward in a different plane. It just wasn't letting me climb like I wanted to climb and I had to make that choice and it was. It was real scary. But that's what I did. I imagine your parents were weren't exactly thrilled either. No this was a really hard time for everyone. And if they have they come around they have. I mean first of all my older brother he He's a doctor helps. That helps. Yes good one. He's also a paraglider base jumper. But you know he's he's a lot more he's always stayed on track. Yes so he knew at least wasn't stressful for my parents. It was really tough. I mean it was tough for me to especially in the beginning because again you have to wind the clock this nine hundred ninety five. There is no free cell of the movie. There's no a constant media with extreme sports. There's no climbing going fee Olympics. There's no sponsored climbers making a living. It wasn't like that so being climber meant you had to go the bag and that part was just you? Don't think of yourself as a parent. Part was just really hard to deal. Went on the secondary level the fact that climbing has danger attached to it and it was also pretty quickly getting into this big expedition phase. And so I was going to Pakistan and South America again. We didn't have Internet like we do now. So I would just literally disappear for like two or three months on the year or actually a season and so I wasn't really living anywhere permanent even when I came back in so yeah I think as a parent. It was probably a nightmare especially parents of my priorities for that. My parents priorities tough question but do miss those days. Yeah I do and so many levels. I mean there are really ways in which I don't because I remember very well what it was like to be just hanging out in the back of my truck and then you know it's arresting and it's very boring and you've read all your books in Britain. Generally did your lottery took your shower. And he still got late ten hours till tomorrow and then he though also just thinking like what am I doing with my life I wow I just walked away from my entire life path and I don't know where this goes and that's Kinda scary stressful and we'll ever have a house to live in. I doubt it. I don't have any money. I really don't miss that part of it What I do miss is the reason I did. And the tradeoff was just the absolute focus on what I wanted to be doing in literally. One hundred percent of my life was directed toward climbing and it was also a really nice moment in time where we didn't have cell phones and we didn't have Internet and so every few rest as I would take my calling card go to a pay phone. Call Away Barons or you know or I would send postcards to people so I I miss that piece of life and I think that you know they always say there's no going back because yeah I wouldn't go back to that time a millage right now for many reasons Dot has also gone. Because you can't escape the fact of global connection now you can't just disappear disappear in Patagonia because if you go to your cell phone works and people expect you to answer emails. I think we all Miss Nat. I was asked a question when we were touring with the north unknown. When I was in telluride asked a question by the audience. We did this panel thing Tim O'Neill and stuff and I just flailed in question was basically like how. How do you deal with the fact that you have to be a content provider you have to be doing? Does that take away from the experience? You know when you're going across Alaska and the answer is of course yes. Of course it takes away from the experience. It totally changes it totally. You know you can have a really good attitude about it. But it's it's it's not something I've figured out. It's not something. I figured out that balance between the nineties and now that we all miss because I used to read a lot more books. I just feel like my job now is never done.

00:25:04 - 00:30:03

I just coastal happening. All KINDA gotTa do another instrument. Whatever is just a lot of weight when I when I'm asked what my question here when I'm asked from people you know. Hey like I wanna get into being a sponsored athlete. My answer most of the time is like you know what I think. It's better to just get a job and then go do this stuff decent job you know you like you can be passionate about in that you. Can you know that that allows you enough time off? You can just go climb or do whatever you do without any of that. I don't know I often feel like I work much harder at the content side than I would if I had a job. It's really hard to achieve ballots. Yeah and I think that but I think that's true for a lot of people in life journey. Yeah because it's everything is so nonstop nowadays. I think our culture in this country is very focused on working succeeding just that I think that we are very insecure in this country. Because we don't we don't think that there are systems in place to help us with things like health care or childcare or You know pensions things like that doesn't really exist. So I think that because we have so little feeling security. It's it's really difficult to say. Oh you know now. It's time to stop and I like where I'm at and things are good financially and all the other things because none of us really know what's going to happen at any time an honestly. I almost think it's harder to be a traditional job and dealing with those feelings because when you've lived pretty lean and you know how to be a minimalist and there are things that you prior ties a lot more than maybe more material things you do. How security like? Hey I know how to do that. That's that's a really good point. I mean I think that you know it's it's really a good thing to understand. I mean let's put it this way pretty much. The most joyful I ever was in my life was when I had nothing to lose when you're living at that level. There's not a lot to worry about. Is there well. No I mean we don't don't have responsibility. I'm talking about like the. The comparison would be Alex you know pre free Solo and all of that life was pretty simple. And there's no doubt that life has gotten a little more radical and a little more crazy and I'm sure he struggles with that too what he's able to do with all that fame and everything is fantastic. You know with his foundation and everything else is just terrific. But it's just more complicated. It is but again. I think it's really easy to glamorize the the Cada dirtbag times and again. There is a lot that you know it. Wasn't that fun when you're doing it. It is stressful in many ways and the grass is always greener. Isn't it exactly exactly so I like? I said as much as I think there's wonderful things about it. There's also a lie leaves to be desired. Well good point wind when making the jump. Here hunt literally winded jumping happen and why. I started skydiving. Initially it was in two thousand seven so twenty nine. Nellie thirteen years ago and then you know being a climber living in it was pretty quick that I realized. Hey you know. There's all these close around here. I guess it makes a Lotta Sense. A Lot. More sense to be jumping off cliffs then skydiving all the time. So that's kind which me into base jumping people that are listening to this. Have got to be when they heard your history of being a pianist and Going looking at PHD's and getting into law school and being a writer and then you jump off cliffs. I have often found Most of the people actually that I've met that wing suit. Base job are so contemplative and so often very well educated and I think for many people that haven't done it or that don't know that culture surprised by that. Yeah it's I mean it's kind of it's all really problem solving on some level and it was just like climbing just like. I guess any sort of adventure sport mountain pursued.

00:30:03 - 00:35:04

It's it's so much problem solving mean. Don't you curbing totally? In fact this sport attracts tons of engineers and something that the podcast but also in the in the race. One day I was walking off the mountain with two engineers us so interesting. Yeah because there's so much of the analytical part and I find that part really fun you know obviously I I enjoy being outside I enjoy. I enjoy exercising and Sadat's were. Skydiving is always a little bit problematic for me because I hard time spending my whole day in an airplane. Hangar and sitting in a plane going back to the hangar sitting on the plane for me about its top. I would rather walk up the hill. So that's Kinda where base jumping is great because you get that that kind of error sports analytical problem solving thing you know you get Togo off the hill. Also one of the most sobering in also intense podcast or shows. We've done was way back in the beginning with our friend. The Jeff Shapiro in this was right after Dean. Graham had died and he. You know obviously who's going through a very in. I think at that point he'd lost forty three friends. Now it's quite a few more to wing suiting in base jumping Recently I saw statistic and I tried to pull it up before we started chatting but it had you know like the statistics of jumping but also many other extreme sports like paragliding. Had this one thousand hours or thousand thousand flights they had it. Kinda pared down in some way where paragliding was wasn't great two point nine percent or something but base jumping was almost a hundred. And you've seen this one. No it was. I think it's for you know for people that participate longer than six years and I don't know how to what does that mean as five hundred jumps a year. Does that mean. WanNa you know so I find. That's always the hard thing I mean. Data and statistics are always tricky. But how do you every time you go up? The Hill to jump is something that crosses your mind is something you have to process. Is it something you you have a way that you feel now? This is this something. I can participate in safely having climbed for so long before it started base jumping i. It's it just seems like that's mountains for its. I guess I don't. I don't feel base jumping as particularly this certain compared to like when I go climbing that makes sense because over the years through claiming I lost a lot of friends in the mountains and in climbing accidents Shannon just lifestock as well so I guess by the time I started base jumping. I didn't maybe maybe if I did no sports ever or just had never known anybody who died her and I got into base jumping then maybe it would feel more directly connected like maybe I would think. Oh it's only possible in dire get hurt if you based on but it has. It hasn't been the case my experience do you. Do you have a favorite trail running base jumping? Skydiving climbing is there. Is there something tugging on your heartstrings? More these days well. It's kind of knee. I I've been doing this for a long time now. I started climbing in ninety one. And I've always had this uproot to claiming and sports where there's certain things that I have found that I really like things always stay pretty stable and constant but then I'll just go through phases depending on what I'm most interested in where I am. Season is just who knows why really and so they always Kinda like circle round and round. Like for example. There are a lot of years of climbing climbing and expeditions. There were a lot of years whereas all about Alpine claiming Then for a few years I was all about Al Capp free climbing so so it's kind of neat because I think that's what keeps belong. Jeopardy is the fact that like things always just kind of like change here and there so right now. It's kind of funny because for about nine or ten years I thought my knees were just shot trail running hiking tax and things like that I see L.

00:35:04 - 00:40:04

and I was always having knee pain every time. Iran and hiked in the mountains and I went to the physical therapist last spring and he was like. Oh yeah this is no big deal. Just do these four things like what because I had pretty much let go of Charney on some little. I was doing it but not really and pretty much since then. I am like full-on like GATT running. Yeah it's Super Exciting. So it's like almost a year so so right now. I play. I'm daily and it's just just yeah. I just thought he couldn't anymore. You know so that. That's been super super awesome and I'm pretty focused on climbing in the desert right now free climbing because winter and that's the top season for me to do that and so I'm base jumping. You know a lot less just a couple of times a week right now like maybe three times a week. Which for me is pretty little and not really skydiving. Because it's a winter season but it's really just based on the season do you. Do you base jump now just to kind of stay current just because I enjoy it? Yeah I mean that's always why these jumped and when you you wing suit as well right okay is. Is there one you do more of I would say because we're Amr now in Moab the easy fast I can just go out hike for half an hour? Dua slider off base job boom in our so? That's kind of like a really quick and easy thing so I definitely do more slider off base jumping. There's a couple of wing suit jumps here. That are good. But they're a little more than outing like usually from door to door doing suit up here for me. Like four or five hours is if you could you know through the people that are listening That wanted to get into it what. What's kind of critical advice to to to base jump in wing Sein sitting? Well the sequence is generally use guide. I I do a Lotta skydiving and but the biggest advice that I try to give to. People is especially if you're not coming into it as like if you're coming into it as somebody WHO's at openness. I think you kind of have this mentality already. Were a rescue. Professional Jumpers that come in there firefighters are EMT's paramedics or like military or something Seals they generally have the same mentality but but a lot of people. If you just come in from skydiving you don't have this self sufficiency mentality. And I think that's really important. I when when I go base jumping. I have a kit that I carry. It's really and I. Carry a little fanny. Pack that were front. So it's on my belly when i John and you know obviously always have the enrich many always so I seen enough accidents and been around enough accident that I want to and and this comes from climbing to write. Because doc in the day we did it have satellite devices at all and when you go on the mountains like no matter what happens either. You'RE GONNA have to crawl out of your partner is going to have to carry out as you're going to get out no matter you know. That's what you expect so I think that's a really good mindset to bring into base jumping because I think for a lot of people that only come in through skydiving. They don't realize that. Okay now I'm going into the the mountains and the backcountry and it's different you know it's it's not country socket. I I need to be prepared to deal with myself if something goes wrong or something happens unexpectedly. If you had an actor. When I first started base jumping in my first year I came into it. Pretty quickly from skydiving I. I don't think I did enough. Skydiving I did less than I would recommend to. People done. Like less than two hundred skydives an so. I didn't have great canopy skills and I had to badly endings. I had pretty minor injuries but for me it was really big deal because as a climber you know like if you hurt your pinky. It's like a really no downtime. Take it was a good eye. Opener for me A really good reality check. Because I I don't really feel I can afford to be injured at all and do the things I wanna do. And so yeah it does kind of set me back to really improve my canopy skills and really kind of just get it a little more of like.

00:40:04 - 00:45:01

Hey you know he really got to be smart about this and lucky. Yeah Yeah if you've ever had to any of the actions that you've been kind of close to their good friends of. Is it ever been so just talk disorienting? If he ever had to leave the sport for awhile or is it depends something since two thousand seven. You've you've pursued pretty steadfastly. Well when my husband Mario died and we were on the same wing suit John. You know obviously that that was I mean extremely life altering I spent a long time just trying to figure out how to live really turn without him and how you know what to just had. Yeah just how to live? Basically primary problem and I- sparingly. I guess after like a month or so a pretty severe creating like you know. Don't get out of bed except maybe I couldn't agree being I was like hey I got a focus on like eating food and doing things and I have to go outside and this house because this is the only way you know so. I started forcing myself to go climbing a little bit every day. If I could and I would force myself to go do a short based on just 'cause I just had to make myself do things but but it did really the idea of wing suit base jumping. Felt really you know. It was really hard to think about that and I because that was exactly how he died and I didn't really know how that was gonNA play out initially but after some time I miss flying and so I just bought while I I need to see you know. I need to do this to see how you do it. Basically do you think we get addicted to this stuff in a way because of the escape side of it or because of just being in the moment you know the rest of life gets shed away in a thinking about this when your husband died in? That probably was. There probably wasn't a better way to escape least temporarily from that heaviness. I don't know again as a climber. I started climbing. You know is eighteen. And I'm forty seven now so my entire adult life guts. That's what I've done and all the outdoor sports kind of are the same. You know whether it's running or skiing or base jumping sitting or whatever so it's funny when we have conversations like this because people always ask me these types of questions. It's always I think the the presumption behind the question as it would be normal if you didn't do these sports very conscious decision to do them for me. It's this these are the things I do. It's you know it's like if somebody was having the same conversation with relatives too like exercise you know I would be just kind of scratching my head. Lake. Of course. Of course I agree. The aerated drink water and vegetables. I mean there's just things I do so it's to me. It's again this thing of a well. You know if I would not do these things than how by being a that wouldn't be the status quo. I guess that's not who you are. Yeah yes something. I've been trying to contemplate an answer for decades on. I don't know that I have a very good answer for it. It's it would be. It'd be a life compromise without it for sure and that's always a funny. It's a funny mindset and I don't even I think sometimes we don't even question because most of us have grown up in a society were these things are considered. Maybe like extra or you know not normal or something like that people wouldn't nobody would have this conversation about driving a car. Which is bizarre which is more dangerous and you know it's Kinda like dangerous and there's a lot of negatives attached to it of course there's positive that's why we do it but we would never sit here and you know kind of contemplate like should. I really be driving a car. How would it be? It's like what we consider what our highs mind considers to be normal versus what it doesn't I guess. My mind is the things I do are just kind of.

00:45:02 - 00:50:05

That would be normal. I guess We'll let me ask you this an interesting one because when you know for a few years we had we had films at Banff and they would always premier banff in. My mom always brought my mom because that was her birthday too so that was kind of a birthday present. We always had a blast Mona Bath and she would sit next to me and just take my knee off. When I felt would come up and I was like mom. I'm sitting right here. You know the endings. But you know she's had to put up with this my entire life and she has has a really. She's decades ago she accepted. It was just. This is who you are. I'm curious about how your parents treat it. What you guys talk about Christmas? They're better with it now. I think especially because I have been doing all of these things for so long. And it's you know things have gone well for me. In my life as a person and professionally obviously. It was really hard for my parents as well as me when Mario died. That wasn't that didn't go well but again. These are things we all have to deal with. I think in life is not unique to me doing the sports I do. I think a lot of parents are gonNA have to be faced with all of these things so but I think they`re. I think they're more comfortable with it at this point. I think they still can't let go wishing that I would be maybe more similar to them but I think that's just kind of who they are on some level if you could if you could rewind that clock back to veto ninety five when you're getting out of college units exact same age so these numbers are easy for me. Would you do anything differently? Or but think about why you're thinking about that you know if you could go back and talk to that twenty year old self coming out of college. What advice would you give Steph? The main advice I would give myself would be to not worry as much about the future because I like. I said I had a lot of anxiety about it and that was really hard during that time and I would tell her. Don't worry about it because whatever happens you're gonNA figure it out. I told myself that now I I try to do the same stop worrying. Yeah just having the confidence that you're gonNA figure it out if you can imagine ten years now What do you think you'll regret doing too much of or too little of Cheer much of Gosh. I hate to say this but working content. That's probably not true I. It is nice to have a balanced right. Sure and I think that's what I craved when I was younger. That's what I was lacking was any balance and I. I think I'm pretty thankful that I do have that balance so I think I'm a pretty good place with balance right now in terms of really being able to say okay. This is the time I'm doing this thing. And this is the time doing the and then feel like I got to do all the things you really good. You're you're climbing a trail running. I mean I'm sure it in some aspects you know. Jumping wing. Suiting is is quite physical in terms of the you know certainly in terms of the approach hiking great through the year what non tra I mean. I know you train really hard. But what non training thing has had the most positive impact on on what you do. So I'm looking at. I'm thinking about that. You know like visualization meditation or. Are there things you do? That aren't physical specific to your success. Definitely digitalization is a big thing. That's a good thing I've always done. That and being really organized helps a lot and think I've spent a lot of years. Living in pretty chaotic lifestyle on some levels are we seem to have a lot going on and I have found for myself the more I can kind of. Organize my physical environment and minimize. It got seems to really help me. Focus on things and so in recent years. I've kind of embraced the. I think it used to happen more easily like when I lived in a truck because it was pretty simplistic you know and it was really easy to have everything around me tidy.

00:50:05 - 00:55:02

I didn't really have anything. It was great and then as I kind of went through life and you know started having houses storage things things you know things you need to keep on all of this stuff. I really notice Dr Awhile. And it was kind of getting to me and so I've been really really aggressive in the last few years with minimizing get it continuously making sure. I don't have too much stock in that everything is very you know. I mean not perfectly orderly but at least pretty well organized where I wanted just say. Oh Hey you wanna go to notch peak weekend. We suited grandma couple close than Johnson van. And you can just go do it exactly and and being a lot better about keeping stuff. Minimal and orderly has really noticed that way. I think that's kind of what I was missing about. Being a dirtbag is the fact that it was inherently like that so yeah just trying to be measurable trying to be really orderly because otherwise otherwise it's easy to feel like there's too much going on and then when there's too much going on it's so much harder to focus when you think about jumping when you think about basin wing suiting Over the years is there. Is there some kind of POPs? Out in the wild. That really changed my life. That has made me different. Or I don't know more something you mean that I do it or answer the action experience. You've had while doing it there that you can that. Maybe this just collectively all the jobs or maybe there was one. That just changed you as a person. I mean you know busy answers. The jumped at Murray died on. I'm I'm not the same person I used to be Very different in many ways I think partly because of of how Mario was and who he was. I I really carry this feeling of joy of every moment loving every moment appreciate every moment and then even more so now that he's gone all right. You must have some kind of rules things that you've learned all these years in in seeing accidents how The things you could pass along to jumpers listened to the show would also that are thinking about it. Could maybe divert carnage. Yeah I it's it's funny because there's so many accidents sports. I really feel like I feel like so. Many of them are easily preventable. And I think there are of course. The ones that are preventable. You know stop just happens but a lot of them are just very simple things like checking your equipment. Note your equipment maintaining your equipment conditions. I mean you know that right. Conditions Conditions Conditions My husband now. He had a very bad accident almost exactly one year ago with a speed flyer and he knew he was going on conditions and he's inexperienced jogger experienced pilot and he made the decision to go questionable conditions and Cobb accident and so i. I think that it almost doesn't matter. What your experience level is just having that discipline with yourself and you know how hard that is because you're always somewhere and it's a little marginal you know and sometimes you've done that and it went okay so you think it's okay. I mean you know but really I think if reinforcement for negative decisions definitely because you get lucky and maybe you don't even realize that you've just got lucky. I think it was fine and because we can't see it right so I I feel like if we could just if you would take out all of the equipment issues and the decision making slash conditions issues. We'd be left with allows accidents. Yeah I mean that kind of sounds like a lot of ego there I think. Sometimes it's I think sometimes people people really want to and I feel that I've been there and and it's tough you know but I think the biggest advice I would give to. People is in.

00:55:02 - 00:59:36

This is the advice I give to myself. Is that when it's at all questionable for me at an exit point all questionable for any reason the decision is to walk down and so that takes out that whole thing of Ho. You know. I'm a little bit this or I'm not sure about that. Kind of sit there and you go in circles and then someone else jumps and it turns out. Okay you know that whole thing I just my rule is if there is something that's not. There's enough something that's not right that I'm questioning it too much than the rule is I walked down. If there's doubt there is no doubt. Yeah on some level because you know who cares you go jumping leader. Who Cares break to look great? But that's hard. It's really hard and I know I've done a lot of job sites. Should most his life isn't it? We do a lot of things we're not supposed to. That's what makes it interesting. Exactly last question staff is just such a fun talk. But I know you've you've got some other things you've gotta move off to. If you could solve one thing in the world what would it be a very good question? I saw one thing in the world. It would be people hurting each other to help each other through. Because that's the thing that drives me crazy about this world because I feel like there's so much that we can't control like the nature stuff but we can control the things that we are doing and so I feel like if we get rid of all the people doing bad things and replace it with people helping each other's that would be so great. That would be a terrific start. That'd be terrific Steph. Thank you so much this week got got a little deep there. That's always a good thing and but I appreciate talk new. You're just so fascinating and fun to watch my hope. I get to come watch in person More often here in in the future but thanks for coming on the show. Yeah thanks for having me so if you find the cloud base may valuable you can support it. In a lot of different ways you can give us a rating on itunes or stitcher. However you get your podcast. That goes a long ways to help. Spread the word. You can block them out in on your own website or shared on social media. You can talk about it on the way out to launch with your pilot friends. I know a lot of interesting. Conversations have happened that way and of course you can support US financially. This show does take a lot of time. A lot of editing lot of storage and music all kinds of behind the scenes cost so if you can support US financially all we've ever asked for his buck show and you can do that through a one time donation through paypal or you can set up a service that charges you free show that comes out. We put a new show out every two weeks. So for example. If you did a buck show and every two weeks it'd be about twenty five dollars a year so way cheaper than a magazine subscription and it makes all of this possible do not WanNa Fund this show with advertising sponsors. We get asked about that Pretty frequently but I for a whole bunch of different reasons which I've said many times on the show. I don't want to do that and I don't like to have that stuff at the front of the show. An awesome. Want you to know that these are authentic conversations with real people and these are just our opinions but our opinions are not being skewed by sponsors advertising dollars. That's a pretty toxic business model. So I hope you dig that you can support us if you go to cloud base Ma'am DOT COM. You can find the places to support. You can do it through. Patriot dot com for slash cloud-based Mayem if you WANNA recurring subscription you can also do that. Directly through the website tried to make it really easy. Then that will give you access to all the bonus material a little video cast. We do an extra little nuggets that we find in conversations that don't make it into the main show but we feel like you should hear we don't put any of that behind a paywall if you can't afford to support us than just let me know and I'll set you up with an account. Of course that'll be lifetime in hopefully near being in a position someday to be able to support us. But you'll find that on the website all of you who have supported us or even joined our newsletter or cloud base mayhem merchandise t shirts or hats or anything. You should be all set up. Should have an account and should be able to access on that bonus material. Now thank you so much for listening. I really appreciate your sport. Seon the next show thank you.


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