Friday, May 16, 2008

High Infatuation by Steph Davis

I read High Infatuation as a way to gain some inspiration to keep me rock climbing and also to get some insight into the sport. Steph Davis is one of the top female climbers in the world and has accomplished several firsts for women in the sport so I was excited to get her book and read about her experiences. When I bought the book I had expected it to be more of a memoir, but I have to say I was really pleased with the essay format.

High Infatuation is a collection of journal entries, photos and published articles by Davis as she finished difficult climbs through the years. While I probably would have preferred the essays to be in chronological order, or at least given more background so we understood where she was at the time and where she was coming from, I don't think it was necessary. Once I got to the end of the book I could see why she ordered it the way she did. If I had to read six essays about Patagonia in a row, I may have ended up getting bored with the book. Each of her quests was amazing to read about, with the last one (the Salathe wall in Yosemite) being my favorite. Her attempt of the Salathe in Yosemite was a difficult climb for her and it made me realize that even the pros still have challenges when it comes to climbing (that's why they're still climbing, right?).

The photos in the book really helped me to understand better what she was talking about. They also made me want to get out and climb right away. Unfortunately my climbing partner has a bruised rib so we haven't been out in a few weeks, but hopefully we'll get out there before the weather gets too much warmer (it was 103 here yesterday!). This book definitely inspired me as much as I hoped it would ... but it also made me realize how much I still have to learn about rock climbing. There are about ten techniques I have written down that I have to go look up now and beg someone to teach me about. But then I just have to remind myself that Steph Davis has been climbing for more than 15 years and I feel a little better about my novice climbing skills.

In the book I also loved the short clips she included. There was one about running that was only about two paragraphs long, but it was a beautiful image of running and why it feels so great. If you're a climber and want some inspiration (and tons of words you may not have heard before), then I'd recommend checking out this book. Also, if you've never heard of Steph Davis, you can check out her Web site or this video of her base jumping and talking about why she loves being in the wild. The video was featured by Timex's "Return to the Outdoors" series, you can check out some of the other videos here, and also enter to win an outdoor adventure vacation.

1 comment:

Heather Johnson said...

Great review - thanks. I'm not much of an outdoor enthusiast myself ... camping is great, but more than that is to much for me! But I do enjoy reading about other people's adventures from time to time. If you're looking for another entertaining sports-related read, check out Swimming to Antarctica by Lynne Cox. I picked it up from the library randomly and REALLY enjoyed it.