Chris Vultaggio, professional photographer and Mountainsmith Ambassador is shown climbing an over-hanging, blocky route.

Photographer

Hails from: Boston, Massachusetts

Go to destination?  Moab UT. Rad towers, sweet splitters, world class MTB, amazing hikes, and a lot of adventure at your fingertips.

What inspires you? It sounds simple, but the answer would be light. Most folks are wowed at technology and all wonders manmade; natural light is often overlooked but is one of the most incredible forces out there. When I teach, I relate studying light as a big-wave surfer would study the ocean before paddling out – don’t pick up your camera and start spraying the scene with your motor-drive, take a few minutes to actually watch what the light is doing before committing to your viewfinder.

What is your favorite aspect of photography? It’s a question I am often asked – and my answer is photography gives me the chance to express myself creatively in the natural world, all while facing unique challenges with each assignment. Whether thousands of feet off the ground, as part of a Secret Service Presidential contingent on foreign soil, in my quiet studio or in a venue with tens of thousands, I’m always forced to think on my feet, firing both the creative and calculating sides of the brain at once to get the shot.

Photography has brought me to some wild places and introduced me to some awesome people, all while creating unforgettable memories that I get to take home. Ironically, it’s the ones in my brain that matter the most – not the ones burned to film.

One day I am managing a 13-person crew, the next I could be hanging from the open door of a helicopter; doing something different every day keeps the fire stoked to pick up the camera every morning.

Favorite Mountainsmith product:Hands down the Borealis AT. Once I got my hands on that pack it has changed my ease of access for shooting out in the environment. I could never understand why I could hump 50lbs of climbing gear with no problem, but a lighter load of camera equipment would be shifting and put me off-kilter at every step. The Borealis AT changed that the moment I slipped it on.

Its modular components, quick gear access, and tight-fit make it the only pack I’ll trust with my cameras. Not to mention it takes abuse and is sharp enough to wear to corporate gigs.

Just got my hands on the mountainlight – looking forward to giving it a test run in the Bugaboos next month.

What activities do you participate in? Rock Climbing, Mountaineering, Ice Climbing, Former DH MTB racer, Freeride Mountain Biking, Trail Running, Hiking, Yoga, & Volunteer EMT

Favorite adventure? So far being part of the US Ama Dablam expedition in 2012. We didn’t summit – but we met the mountain on our own terms (no Sherpa support beyond basecamp) and I learned a ton, probably more about myself than about mountaineering. During that trip I had the highest highs and lowest lows of my life, all in the grand arena of the globe’s tallest peaks. Nothing quite like freesoloing 5.6 wearing boots with a 40lb pack at 19,000 feet…

Dream adventure? This isn’t as much about the destination as it would be about my team. I’ve had the incredible fortune to have some amazing adventure partners in my life, as well as mentors that pushed me to develop as a climber. Having all of them together on an expedition would be enough for it to be a dream trip. For that trip to be in a place like the Trangos or Patagonia would be even more spectacular.

I think it was Elizabeth Hawley who during our Kathmandu expedition interview said “You come to the Himalaya to climb, but what you’ll remember the most are the people.”

If you had a superpower, what would it be? I’d have a tail, hands down.

What non-survival-essential item do you bring while out exploring?  A guitar goes a long way when not backpacking, otherwise I’d say it is a well-worn copy of some Ed Abbey book.

Do you own a dog? No dog but I do have a pretty sweet Bonsai Tree – her name is Glory.

What’s playing on your iPod right now?” Medeski Martin and Wood’s “The Dropper”

Other sponsors: Petzl, 661, Superfeet

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