Ep. 13: Jimmy Chin – Finding Your Path

By Cory Richard + Chris Jerard

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Joining the podcast from his home in Jackson, WY, Jimmy Chin sits down with CJ and Cory to discuss origins, family, loss, risk, community, creative inspirations, the need for wild places and how it is that he is able to make the people around him feel so good. 

Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” In the world of Adventure, no one has demonstrated, with more success,  the ability to move beyond sharing stories of peak action and platitudes to storytelling that makes people feel, like Jimmy Chin.

His photography and films Meru and Free Solo have made millions feel inspired, hopeful and transformed into new perspectives on what is possible. On a personal level, those who know him and work with him, will tell you the same thing. Jimmy is a photographer, Academy Award-winning filmmaker, and mountain sports athlete known for his ability to capture extraordinary imagery while climbing and skiing in extremely high-risk environments. He began his professional career in 1999, and his talents were quickly recognized by top expedition leaders and outdoor brands. In 2002, he secured a breakthrough assignment to be the cinematographer for a high-profile National Geographic–sponsored trek across Tibet’s Chang Tang Plateau. In 2006, he was part of the first American team to ski off the summit of Mount Everest. His film Free Solo, which he co-directed with his partner and wife E. Chai Vasarhelyi, won an Oscar for Best Documentary Film in 2019. A longtime member of The North Face Athlete Team, he has joined dozens of exploratory expeditions and completed first ascents around the globe, working with the best adventure athletes in the world. He lives in New York City and Jackson, Wyoming.This is an extraordinary conversation with a special person.
We drill down with Jimmy into his origins. His childhood and family experience and how they shaped him into the man he is today. Why he still rushes to get his work done so he can run out the door and get into the mountains like a kid finishing his homework. How the wilderness has shaped him. We talk about his mentors, his identity as a climber even in the midst of the Hollywood shuffle his Oscar-winning campaign for Free Solo, the moments of gratitude and clarity in peak moments, his priorities, how he measures taking risks as a father.

“I truly believe that the intention of creating  positive change is so important to the collective consciousness. When you have a group of people who have the intention, capacity, intelligence and talent to actualize those intentions,  then you have something really powerful.” – Jimmy Chin 

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