From: Greeley, Colorado
Age: 38 feats: More than 120 first descents in more than three dozen countries, from Pakistan to Papua New Guinea.
Most terrifying expedition: During an attempt to kayak the Lukuga River in Congo in 2010, Stookesberry's kayaking partner, Hendrik Coetzee, was attacked and eaten by a crocodile; Stookesberry edited the footage from the expedition into the award-winning film Kadoma.
The talent that keeps him alive: "Stubbornness. For some fucked-up reason, I'm able to stay with the suffering, to deal with the foot-rot, frostbite and keep going until I hit the sweet spot I came there for."
The explorers he admires: "The kayakers on the fringes, like the Klema brothers, who are doing big routes in Patagonia and putting down in treacherous swells and winds. That's the soul of my sport, that push for exploration at the end of the road."