He was born October 12, 1973 and he is an Academy Award-winning American professional rock climber, photographer, film director and one of the most famous instagram influencers.

Together with his wife, E. Chai Vasarhelyi , he directed Free Solo .

Jimmy Chin Biography

He was born and raised in Mankato, Minnesota, and is a graduate of Wayland Academy. Both parents are from China, his father was born in Wenzhou and his mother was born in Harbin. His both worked as librarians.

After college, he became a climbing garbage bag, despite his parents’ disapproval of him. He accidentally discovered the photograph when he borrowed his sleeping climbing partner’s camera to take a photo. They sold the image  and this launched his career as a photographer. 

His parents escaped from mainland China to Taiwan during the Chinese Communist Revolution . 

They then moved to Minnesota, where he grew up. He participated in martial arts and competitive swimming. He attended Carleton College . 

Regarding the height, he measures 1.70 m. The weight of him is 75 kg. The weight value can be changed at any time. 

Jimmy Chin Career

He learned photography by borrowing a partner’s camera to click a photo. The photo was sold for around $500.

He has organized and led numerous climbing, ski touring and exploration expeditions to China, Pakistan, Nepal, Greenland, Tanzania, Chad, Mali, South Africa, Borneo, India and Argentina. 

His achievements include climbing and skiing Mount Everest from the top, making the first ascents of great walls and alpine towers in Pakistan’s Karakoram Mountains and the Garhwal Himalayas in northern India, and crossing the Chang Tang Plateau in northwestern India. Tibet on foot

His work has appeared in numerous publications, including National Geographic , Outside , and Men’s Journal . He collaborated with his wife, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi , to direct the documentaries Meru and Free Solo , the latter of which won an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the 91st Academy Awards . 

Early in his career, he organized several climbing expeditions to the Karakoram Mountains of Pakistan . He signed an endorsement deal with The North Face in 2001. 

In 2002, he was asked to join a National Geographic expedition to make an unsupported crossing of Tibet’s remote Chang Tang Plateau with Galen Rowell , Rick Ridgeway , and Conrad Anker . The expedition was featured in National Geographic ‘s April 2003 issue and is documented in Rick Ridgeway’s book The Big Open .

In 2003, he headed up Everest with Stephen Koch . They attempted the direct north face via the Japanese Couloir to the Hornbein Couloir alpine style, avoiding supplemental oxygen, fixed ropes and campsites. They were unsuccessful and both were nearly killed in an avalanche.

In May 2004, he climbed Everest with David Breashears and Ed Viesturs while filming for Working Title on a feature project with Stephen Daldry .

He later accompanied Ed Viesturs to Annapurna in 2005. Viesturs successfully climbed Annapurna and ended his quest to climb all the world’s 8,000-meter peaks without oxygen. He photographed the expedition, and the story appeared in the September 2005 issue of Men’s Journal .

In October 2006,  he made his first successful American ski descent of Mount Everest with Kit and Rob DesLauriers. They skied from the top and are the only people to have skied the South East Ridge route.

In May 2007, he joined the Altitude Everest Expedition as an expedition climber and photographer in an attempt to retrace George Mallory and Sandy Irvine’s fateful last trek up the North Face of Everest.

In April 2011, he survived a class of four avalanche in the Grand Tetons, his home range. 

In 2011, him, Conrad Anker and Renan Ozturk made the first ascent of the Shark’s Fin route at Meru Central in the Garhwal Himalayas in India. They had attempted the same climb in 2008, but were forced to turn around 100 meters from the top.  His climbing film, Meru , was released in 2015. 

Jimmy Chin Filmography

He began to record in 2003 with the help of Rick Ridgeway. He was director of photography for the National Geographic TV special Deadly Fashion . 

He later was working with David Breashears and they was photographing Ed Viesturs climbing to the top of Mount Everest. He worked as cinematographer with Chris Malloy of Woodshed films on the feature documentary 180 South .

In 2010, he founded the commercial production company Camp 4 Collective with Tim Kemple and Renan Ozturk. He sold the company to his partners in 2014.

He collaborated with his wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi to produce and direct the documentary feature film Meru , about his rise in 2011. It premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, winning the US Audience Documentary Award.

Alex Honnold and him began climbing together in 2009, but it wasn’t until 2015 that Honnold chose him and his wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi to film their El Capitan climb. 

On June 3, 2017, he led a crew that filmed Alex Honnold on the first ropeless ascent of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. Collaborating again with Vasarhelyi, they produced and directed the documentary feature film Free Solo .

Free Solo won the People’s Choice Award: Documentaries at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, the 2018 BAFTA Award for Best Documentary, and the 2018 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature . 

Jimmy Chin Philanthropy

He has worked with charities and campaigns in support of environmental rights. He has taught masterclasses for Rowell International Campaign for Tibet to support Tibetan wildlife and culture. He has also partnered with the American Alpine Club to create an intentional grief resource. 

His work with The Access Fund supports the rights of national monuments. He is also a member of the Conservation Alliance, which offers photography services in support of charities.

There are times when it feels like he is reusing material from his archives , but the intention here isn’t just to satisfy the core fan base, but to entertain a more mainstream audience that won’t know or care. 

Plus, the stories are instant classics; human dramas that keep you in suspense and stimulate your own thirst for adventure. Not because athletes seem fearless or invulnerable, but because you see them as survivors. 

They are not social media avatars. They are unvarnished human beings, pissed off and inches from death. And yet, they come out touched but not defeated by what they have been through.

“They live with deep intention,” he says. “That’s the other thing that I think people don’t necessarily understand about these athletes. They live with the deepest intention because their life is at stake in what they do. They must decide every day and every moment to pursue it.”

Jimmy Chin Notable Rises

Jimmy Chin Climbing
  • Mount Kinabalu, FA V 5.12 A2, Borneo
  • Meru-Sharks Fin, ascent primer by East Face VI 5.10 A4 M7, India
  • Mount Everest, South Col Route, Nepal
  • Kaga Pomori, FA IV; 5.11R South Face, Mali, Africa
  • Chiru Mustagh, primary ascent Southeast Ridge, 21.000 pies, Xinjiang, China
  • Free only from Grand Traverse, Grand Teton National Park, 12 hour car to car
  • Tahir Tower, FA VII 5.11 A3, Kondus Valley, Karakoram, Pakistan
  • 15 day climbs to El Capitan
  • Native Son, VI 5.9 A4, Pacific Ocean Wall, VI 5.10, A3 +
  • Beatrice Tower, FA VII 5.10+ A3 +, Charakusa Valley, Karakoram, Pakistan
  • Fathi Brakk, FA VI 5.10+ A3 WI4, Charakusa Valley, Karakoram, Pakistan

Jimmy Chin Ski Touring
  • Mount Everest, South Pillar Route, America’s first ski descent
  • Tai Yang Peak, first ski ascent and descent, Xinjiang, China
  • Chang Zheng Peak (22,800ft), First Ski Descent, Central Rongbuk, Tibet
  • 12 Grand Teton ski runs
  • Ski Tour and Downhill Grand Teton, Middle Teton and South Teton 10-Hour Car-to-Car
  • Denali, West Buttress, Rescue Gully
Jimmy Chin Publications
  • Climbing , September 2011 – Cover photo and article about climbing the towers of Ennedi in Chad, Africa
  • Outside , April 2011: Cover photo and article “The Rainmaker”, about his career as a climber and photographer 
  • National Geographic , May 2011: cover photo and article on Yosemite climbers
  • Climbing , March 2012: Cover photo by Ivo Ninov on the Pacific Ocean wall, El Capitan, Yosemite National Park
  • Alpinist , May 2012: “The City and the Sword” article on the first ascent of Shark Fin
  • Men’s Journal , May 2012 – “Climbing Mount Impossible” article on the most sought after and coveted first ascent in the Himalayas.
  • Sunset , October 2018: “The High Life” cover photo and article, about his upbringing, his spouse, his life, and his achievements as a climber and filmmaker.
Jimmy Chin Filmography
  • Reel Rock 7 (2012)
  • Meru (2015)
  • Free Solo (2018)
  • Untitled Thai Cave Rescue Documentary (TV Movie)

Jimmy Chin Personal Life

On May 26, 2013, he married film director and producer

They have two children, Marina who was born in 2013 and James who was born in 2015.

Jimmy Chin Net Worth

As a professional climber, photographer and influencer he earns an impressive amount. In January 2021, he had a staggering net worth of $1 million.

Also, it adds most of the money by climbing as well as brand endorsement such as The North Face. 

Oscar-winning professional climber, photographer and filmmaker he has gained a huge fanbase.

He has worked with charities and campaigns in support of environmental rights. He has also partnered with the American Alpine Club to create an intentional bereavement resource. He was a great personality.

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