Explorer Spotlight: Kenton Steryous

Name: Kenton Steryous | Age: 40 | Location: Roanoke, VA.

What’s your day job? 

Director of Sales for ADTRAN, Inc., a technology manufacturer

What are your favorite things to do outside?

Climbing! Then hiking, backpacking, fly fishing, hunting with my bird dog, and any chance I get to spend outdoor time with my kids! Oh, and tennis!

What first drew you to the outdoors?

My first real memories of outdoor type activities are of my father taking us kids hiking in Cloudland Canyon in Georgia. And then after that it would have been seeing beautiful images from all over that motivated me to want to see and do all those things captured in the images. So hats off to all the great adventure photographers out there!

What’s your favorite hometown adventure? ...and, almost as important, where’s your favorite spot to get a beer after?

Climbing at my local gym - The River Rock. And literally next door is the Wasena City Tap Room and Grill. Do you know how hard it is to climb as the smells of their wood fire grill come meandering through?

What’s your essential gear that never gets left at home?

Depends on the activity, however one piece of gear that goes with me regardless of the activity is the Patagonia Houdini jacket. Packs up super small and gives just enough protection if you get caught in weather.

What’s your favorite trail snack?

Honestly, I’m a little lazy when it comes to making snacks, so it’s usually just a CLIF Bar.

Any go-to soundtracks when you’re hitting the road?

Haha, I’m actually a classically trained violinist, so I tend to lean towards Beethoven and Tchaikovsky. I know….booooring.

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened while you were adventuring? And/ or funniest? 

Scary often follows stupid, not always, but in my case it did certainly on one occasion. When I was a teenager, some friends and I hiked back in to a 70 ft. waterfall. Someone got the bright idea of climbing up the waterfall, and at that time I really didn’t have a whole lot of outdoor experience to make a good decision. We weren’t climbers, we didn’t have ropes or harnesses. But it looked so easy, so why not? I got to within 10 feet of the top, and all of a sudden I knew I wasn’t going to make it. This intense fear set in, and within seconds I lost my grip on the slippery rocks and fell. All the way. Bouncing off the rocks on my way down. To this day, I can’t explain how I survived. At a minimum, I should have broken several bones, but inexplicably I got up and walked away.

Who’s your number one adventure partner-in-crime? Who inspires you?

My wife. We have four children, so our time alone on adventures doesn’t happen as often as we’d like, but when it does it’s special!

What are your top destinations for adventure travel?

Yosemite is simply a magical place. A place that does something to your soul whether it’s your first visit or twentieth.

What's on the top of your must-do adventure list right now?

Banff and Pataonia

Show us your most memorable photo, and tell us about it!

It was my 40th birthday, and my wife and I were going up to Glacier Point for sunrise to shoot her on Overhanging Rock. We got up there and I noticed someone highlining. I quickly jumped out there and started to take pictures. Then I looked around me, and right next to me also taking pictures was someone who looked familiar. “Are you Chris Burkard?” “Yes.” “No way!” “Yes way.” I couldn’t believe it. Chris was one of the primary motivations for me getting into adventure photography. He was shooting Ryan Robinson for a Mountain Hardware add. I really had no idea what the right protocol was, so I just asked if he minded me shooting the scene also. And being a stand up guy he said “Sure thing.” By far the most memorable morning behind the camera for me. And this is one of the pictures that I got that morning…I felt very lucky.

And last but not least…What’s your personal motto?

It sounds so cliché, but it would have to be “Never quit!” Once I set my sights on a goal or objective, it’s inconceivable to me to stop short of achieving that goal.

Published: November 23, 2016

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