Jimmy Chin

Alpine Climber

Jimmy’s passion for exploration and photography has taken him on break-through expeditions around the world. Chin has worked with some of the best adventurers, climbers and skiers in the world on their most challenging expeditions.

Climbing, skiing and often enduring death defying situations next to some of the best in the industry, Jimmy shoulders the camera equipment and documents the epic stories.

In 2002, he joined Conrad Anker, author Rick Ridgeway, and the late photographer Galen Rowell for an unsupported 275 mile trek across the largely unexplored northwestern corner of Tibet’s 17,000-foot-high- Chang Tang Plateau while filming for National Geographic. The following year Chin accompanied Stephen Koch to the north face of Everest on his quest to snowboard the Seven Summits.

Chin hit Everest again in 2004, climbing to the summit with Ed Viesturs and David Breashears while juggling two assignments - shooting production stills and video for Universal Films. Viesturs called upon Chin again to accompany and photograph him on his final and successful expedition to Annapurna, Ed’s last summit in his quest to climb all fourteen 8000 meter peaks. In 2006, Jimmy climbed and skied from the summit of Everest while shooting Kit DesLaurier’s historic ski descent of the mountain.

The list of epic journeys goes on. In the last ten years, the Victor, Idaho based Chin has averaged six to eight months a year, on cutting edge expeditions and on assignment, shooting for National Geographic Magazine, Outside Magazine, The North Face, and Timex Corporation, to name a few of his editorial and commercial clients.

Jimmy has been profiled in numerous national publications including National Geographic Magazine, Outside Magazine, People, Men’s Journal and others. He received the Rowell Art of Adventure award for his philanthropic work and excellence and breadth in adventure photography. National Geographic Society has awarded Jimmy two expedition grants and named him one of their inaugural Emerging Explorers. Jimmy’s most recent assignment about the Yosemite climbing culture and cutting edge of climbing was featured as the cover story in National Geographic’s May 2011 issue.

  • Other Activities You Enjoy: Surfing, playing the guitar
  • Favorite Destination for Your Sport: Skiing in Jackson Hole. Climbing in Yosemite and Indian Creek
  • Favorite Movie: The Empire Strikes Back
  • Favorite Magazine: The New Yorker
  • Favorite Moment in Your Sport’s History: Peter Croft soloing Astroman
  • Words to Live By: There is great power in the ability not to use it.
  • Three TNF Items You Always Pack: Zephyr Jacket, Basecamp Duffel, Prism Optimus
  • Cause You’re Most Passionate About: International Campaign for Tibet / Machik
  • Proudest Moment in Your Career: Skiing Mount Everest
  • Favorite Climb: East Face of the Sharks Fin, Mount Meru. (Also my least favorite climb.)
  • Theme Music: Glitch Mob, Ooah, Yo Yo Ma, Ana Sia, Neil Young, Pink Floyd,
  • Favorite Vice at Basecamp: Gummy bears
  • Favorite Trail: Teton Crest Trail
  • Training Nutrition: Lots of steak
  • Favorite Places to Travel: Home


  • Mt. Kinabalu, FA V 5.12 A2, Borneo
  • Meru-Sharks Fin, first ascent of East Face VI 5.10 A4 M7, India
  • Mt. Everest, South Col Route, Nepal
  • Mt. Kilimanjaro, Rongai Route, Tanzania
  • Kaga Pomori, FA IV; 5.11R South Face, Mali, Africa
  • Chiru Mustagh, first ascent Southeast Ridge, 21,000 ft., Xinjiang, China
  • Free solo of the Grand Traverse, Grand Teton National Park, 12 hours car to car
  • Tahir Tower, FA VII 5.11 A3, Kondus Valley, Karakoram, Pakistan
  • 15 one day ascents of 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 510+ A3 WI4, Charakusa Valley, Karakoram, Pakistan

Ski Mountaineering

  • Mt. Everest, South Pillar Route, first American ski descent
  • Tai Yang Peak, first ascent and ski descent, Xinjiang, China
  • Chang Zheng Peak (22,800 ft.), first ski descent, Central Rongbuk, Tibet
  • 12 ski descents of the Grand Teton
  • Ski traverse and descent of the Grand Teton, Middle Teton and South Teton 10 hours car to car
  • Denali, West Buttress, Rescue Gully

Film Highlights

  • “Samsara” (Athlete produced film documenting an attempt on Meru Sharks Fin. Telluride Mountainfilm award winner)
  • “180 South” (Feature Documentary/Woodshed Films)
  • “Lost on Everest” (Feature documentary project with David Breashears for Frontline about the ‘96 Everest tragedy
  • “Traverse of the Chang Tang” (National Geographic Explorer)
  • “On the Edge: Mountaineering with Conrad Anker” (Outdoor Life Network)
  • “Higher Elevation: Kilimanjaro” (ESPN)
  • “Journey to the Hand of Fatima” (RUSH Channel)
  • “Summit on the Summit - Kilimanjaro” (MTV Documentary)
  • “On Assignment” (Featured in National Geographic Short Film)


  • National Geographic and Microsoft Emerging Explorers Grant
  • Galen Rowell Memorial Photography Award
  • Lyman Spitzer Adventure Award: K7 Climbing Expedition
  • Polartec Grant Recipient: K7 Climbing Expedition