Nathanael Asaro - Exploring Mt. Mansfield From Sunset To Nightfall

Nathanael Asaro

Hello! Who are you and where are your hiking roots?

My name is Nathanael Asaro and I grew up in Northern Vermont. I grew up in a geodesic dome in Greensboro Bend, VT while helping my parents build our next house, a timber frame home in Craftsbury, VT.

The dome I grew up in, now abandoned. I shot this photo in summer 2019.The dome I grew up in, now abandoned. I shot this photo in summer 2019.

My passion for spending time in nature began at a young age when I would explore the woods around the dome in Greensboro. The surrounding land was very remote and wild. We often saw moose, bears, coyotes, and other animals in our yard or on the class four road up to our house.

Around age seven, I started snowboarding and by age eleven I was hiking to the top of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak to ride backcountry lines. I now live 15 minutes from Mt. Mansfield and spend time on the mountain over 100 days a year in all seasons. Snowboarding is my favorite way to spend time in the mountains. I love the fact that you get to ride down after you hike up. 

It wasn’t until I was around 20 that I started hiking and backpacking during the Summer and Fall seasons. In 2016 my girlfriend Hannah and I took a 6 week road trip around the U.S. camping and hiking at more than 12 national parks and living out of a subaru and 4 person tent.

A photo I shot of my friend Ralph Kucharek on Mt. Mansfield last Winter.A photo I shot of my friend Ralph Kucharek on Mt. Mansfield last Winter.

I made a photo book of our travels for my final project to complete my bachelors of fine art in photography. Photography played a huge role in motivating me to explore new places. I started my photography career by photographing landscapes, but evolved my work to include outdoor lifestyle, products and action sports photography. 

Every day that I can spend outside in nature is a good day. I feel like being isolated in the wilderness recharges my batteries and helps keep my mind at ease. I am lucky enough to make a living off of taking photos outside. I take images for a number of companies and license my work to many outlets that afford me to keep doing what I love.

Around age seven, I started snowboarding and by age eleven I was hiking to the top of Mt. Mansfield, Vermont’s highest peak to ride backcountry lines.

During the Winter I spend a lot of time with a group of friends that share my passions for snowboarding, hiking and being in nature. During the Summer and Fall I spend a lot more time alone during the week working on projects, but usually spend time hiking or canoeing with my girlfriend and friends on the weekend.  

What’s your Story From The Mountain?

Last Winter (2019) I had an amazing experience snowshoeing across Mt. Mansfield with my snowboard and camera gear on my back followed by a run down the mountain lit by headlamp.

It had just snowed the day before and I was planning to go to a viewpoint that I wanted to get night photo from. The hike across the ridge was about 2 miles across the alpine zone of Mt. Mansfield.

I packed up my camera bag with my Nikon D850, three lens, a tripod, some water and a few hand warmers to keep my phone warm because the temperature was around 5 fahrenheit. I was going alone and planning on being on top of mountain after sunset.

I arrived at the resort around 3:30pm and took the chair lift to the starting point of my hike.  I put on my snowshoes and strapped my snowboard to my backpack. The conditions were perfect, no wind and clear skies. I started my trek across the open ridge painted with patches of rock and snow.

The beauty of the late day light and fresh snow across the mountains and landscape that surround me gave me a feeling of happiness that only nature can make me feel. 

As I reached my destination the sun was starting to set. I found a nice view of the highest point of the mountain called the chin and took photos until the sun set over Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks to the west.  Now I had to wait for the stars to come out and it was getting cold I had to snowshoe around to stay warm and kill a bit of time before I could see the stars.

In these moments of extreme isolation in the dark I felt safe. Maybe it's because I have been on this mountain for over 20 years now. The feeling definitely stuck with me and gave me an even deeper appreciation for the power of nature and how we as humans are so small in comparison to everything that surrounds us.


After a while I started to get cold and decided that I had to try and take the photo and head down the mountain. I took off my snowshoes and attached them to the outside of my backpack. Headed to the drop in point and followed a river bed down into the notch riding through knee deep powder with my headlamp guiding the way.

I want people to know me for my photography and my love of wilderness. I hope to inspire people to have a greater respect for nature and get outside.

I didn't get the milky way over the chin like I had hoped for, but ended up getting a bunch of images I liked from that adventure.  Some people might call me crazy, but these moments on the mountain are what I live for. 

Through hiking/climbing, have you learned anything about yourself or nature you’d like to pass on to others?

I want people to know me for my photography and my love of wilderness. I hope to inspire people to have a greater respect for nature and get outside.

I am always growing and learning from my experiences.. I never stop pushing myself. I’ve learned patience is key with all aspects of what I do and it helps me get through difficult situations. 

What’s your favorite item in your pack?

I always carry my Nikon D850 and three lenses everywhere I go.  My bag has water, a few bars, an emergency blanket. It all depends on what activity I am doing, I pack differently for different situations and seasons. 

Do you have any advice for other hikers who are just starting out?

The thing I love about hiking is that it’s free and accessible. My best advice for people starting out is to have good footwear and always bring water. I try to start with shorter hikes and slowly work my way up to more difficult hikes and backpacking trips. This way my boots are broken in and my body is in better shape for the longer days.  

I like to spend time in the sauna to recover in the winter after a day of hiking and snowboarding. Rest is always the best for your body after a long hike, just staying off your feet, sleeping and eating healthy is my best advice. 

What have been the most influential hiking books, podcasts, or people?

I gain inspiration from a lot of different places. People that come to mind on instagram are @itsreuben & @cole_barash to name a couple.

When I am traveling I usually listen to music which is another big influence on my photography. I listen to Pink Floyd a lot and I feel like the mood fits with being out in a vast wilderness. I like all kinds of music it just depends on my mood. 

Where’s your next adventure?

For my next big adventure I will be traveling to Mt. Baker in Washington or the Lake Tahoe area to snowboard and splitboard. There is a lot more terrain and snow in these places compared to Vermont. The terrain is a lot more open and vast and there are more lines to be had. I plan on going sometime in February. 

I am hoping to time my trip with some fresh snow and meet up with a few friends out there. If conditions are right I would love to do some splitboarding/hiking to get out in the mountains and away from the resort.

While I’m out there I plan on taking a lot of photos of the mountains and snowboarding. Mt. Baker is an iconic place for snowboarding and riding powder. It’s always been a place I’ve been planning to visit, so this trip is a big deal for me. 

Where can others learn more about you?

Follow me daily adventures on instagram: @nathanaelasaro

My website is for a look at my commercial and person portfolio.

Follow and like my page on facebook  Nathanael Asaro Photography

My latest photo book 4393’ about snowboarding in the Vermont backcountry is available for purchase here

You find me exploring the green mountains of Vermont and beyond throughout the seasons.

Want to share your Story From The Mountain?

Hey, I'm Greg Kamradt, the founder of Terra Mano.

We interview awesome hikers/mountaineers/climbers/photographers and share the stories behind their ambition. By sharing these stories, we want to help others become inspired to reach their goals.

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