How To Deal With Gnarly Climbing Weather?

Hey Steph,
I’d like to begin with saying congratulations on a wonderful and inspiring career. I have only been climbing for a year and a half, spending most of my young life running, but now I find myself unable to stop climbing and am almost obsessed with improving and learning as much as I can on both sport and trad. Your book and listening to you speak in Phoenix played a significant role in kick starting my love of climbing, so thank you for writing such a terrific and honest book and for being a great role model.

I am writing in regards about climbing and bad weather.

After being shut down many times and having failed climbing trips thanks to rain, fierce winds and even snow, I am beginning to see how frustrating climbing can be when you cannot do it all the time. My boyfriend and I have literally driven to different states on occasions in search of good climbing weather, often still disappointed. I guess my question is, how do you deal with the frustration of bad weather shutting you down? What is your solution? Do you take it as a sign to learn patience and acceptance or do you push through it because sometimes you just REALLY want to climb?

Thanks for your time!

Dear Jess,
First of all, I’m sorry I have taken so long to answer your letter! Today I had plans to go to Indian Creek and climb with friends, and it is outrageously windy in Moab. Too windy to jump, or anything! So I feel some inspiration on this topic 🙂 As a runner, you are almost never shut down by weather or conditions. It’s one of the many great things about running, and it makes me appreciate it even more. It seems like every outside sport has some limitation, which is part of the beauty of it. I know I love skate skiing even more, because I can’t do it for most of the year. Over time, I have observed that all of my favorite activities have some unique quality which the others don’t have, and I really savor that thing when doing each. Being subject to the greater movements of the natural world is part of what makes climbing so magical, I think.
I used to get super frustrated when I was shut down for climbing by weather. A few seasons in Patagonia cured that 😉 It’s funny, because it can be the same or worse for base jumping, because wind conditions are so important. I think it’s even more strong when you have discovered a new passion for a sport, and find that weather is stopping you from doing it as much as you want to (i.e., 24/7, all day every day!).

My advice to you, is to go with the flow! If the weather is keeping you from climbing, take advantage of it to do yoga, lift weights at the gym, go running, or catch up on work projects so your time is all free when the weather is good again. Or just enjoy the heck out of it, and hang out at your favorite coffee shop, or cuddle up with your favorite dog and a good book 🙂 I know for myself, I have a hard time stopping. Sometimes I think forced rest days are actually a good thing, and probably do me even more good than training days!

And to all you treasure hunters here is your 9th Clue: Go to and upload a photo of you in the air. Email a screen shot of the successful completion screen & full name to to receive your next clue. And the Key is O.

I hope your spring season is full of perfect weather, perfect temps, and perfect conditions!
🙂 Steph

  • Wait, it’s not supposed to be snowing and raining while climbing?

  • Steph Davis

    Okay, that made me laugh!! 🙂


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