56 Jimmy Chin Quotes From American Professional Climber

Jimmy Chin is a famous American climber, skier, filmmaker and author.

He’s been with The North Face Athlete Team for two decades and was the first American to ski down Mount Everest in 2006.

His photographic work has appeared in top magazines and earned him the National Geographic “Photographer Award” in 2019.

Chin and his wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi have directed award-winning documentaries like “Free Solo” which set a box office record and won an Oscar.

Jimmy Chin Quotes

Their film “The Rescue” was also critically acclaimed.

Chin’s climbing exploits include pioneering routes across the globe surviving an avalanche and filmmaking since 2003.

He’s also a philanthropist supporting environmental and cultural causes.

In this article, I have made a list of the top quotes by Jimmy Chin.

Best Jimmy Chin Quotes


I’m constantly out of my mind trying to stay in shape. ~ Jimmy Chin.


My favorite off-mountain workout is the long run. It’s great for building endurance and strength. ~ Jimmy Chin.


When I’m home, I still live like I’m traveling. I have nothing in my refrigerator. ~ Jimmy Chin.


Mountains are like the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter who anyone is or what they do. ~ Jimmy Chin.


I’m a filmmaker. I like to ask the questions, make others feel vulnerable. I don’t want to be vulnerable. ~ Jimmy Chin.


As a professional climber, that’s the question you always get: Why, why, why? It’s an ineffable thing; you can’t describe it. ~ Jimmy Chin.

The mainstream audience has a certain picture of what climbing is all about: man conquering mountain. But you can’t conquer a mountain, though it may conquer you. ~ Jimmy Chin.


You are going somewhere. Every day. Every experience you get. You’re moving forward. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I’ve always been interested in working with top athletes, athletes who are pushing the edge and are really progressive in the outdoor space and adventure world. ~ Jimmy Chin.

Taoism taught me to focus on the process and not to be attached to preconceived ideas of what I thought the outcome should be. ~ Jimmy Chin.

When you’re climbing something as challenging as Meru, it’s all about efficiency. Even a decision as small as what to eat for dinner would expend energy you need for making other, more dramatic decisions. ~ Jimmy Chin.

Creativity needs to extend beyond the lens. Find creative ways to showcase your work and get it seen. Straight up tenacity, hard work and determination will always be part of the equation, so get to it. ~ Jimmy Chin.


Meru was the most challenging climb of my life. Not once but twice. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I am always concerned with finding the right spot and the right shot, so sometimes I forget to appreciate the skill of my fellow adventurers, but I am aware of how my life has been changed by my ability with a camera. ~ Jimmy Chin.

Popular Jimmy Chin Quotes

Becoming a parent has changed the risk calculus for me. But it might be age, too, and seeing a lot of friends die in the mountains. Will I take the same risks I took in my 20s? Probably not, but I will always push myself in the mountains. ~ Jimmy Chin.

When I show up in New York, and I look at the skyline, it’s like showing up in a mountain range. My gaze goes toward the most impressive-looking climb. It’s always gone to the top of the World Trade Center. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I like to think that images of people doing amazing things may open people’s eyes to the human potential, to the idea that people can do the extraordinary when they set their minds to it. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I won’t ski in the backcountry the day after a big storm anymore. The mountains are so humbling. As soon as you think you’re on top or crushing it, that’s when you need to be really careful. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I think being a good dad is on the list of things to do. But, I will always ski, climb, surf, and be out in the mountains and oceans. It’s who I am. My goal is to just keep doing it all and enjoying it. ~ Jimmy Chin.


Creating films and photographs through situations that few others could experience is my life’s inspiration. ~ Jimmy Chin.

You learn over years of expeditions that having faith, and putting one foot in front of the other, you do end up pulling off climbs that seem completely impossible. There’s a certain beauty to that. It has an allure. ~ Jimmy Chin.

You can show up at Everest having never really climbed before, because it’s like hiking, basically. You can’t show up on Meru and start up the thing unless you have years and years of experience. Climbing and spending time on the mountains is really the only way you can train. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I used to always judge other people’s mistakes in the mountains. I think a bit differently now. Everybody’s gotten away with a mistake or poor decision out there at one point or another, but sometimes it catches up to you, or sometimes you’re just plain unlucky. ~ Jimmy Chin.

Inspirational Jimmy Chin Quotes

I discovered and fell in love with skiing long before I started to climb. Skiing was really my first calling. As a kid, I grew up skiing in jeans in Minnesota. ~ Jimmy Chin.


I listen to everything while I train. From old school reggae, to classical stuff like Bach, to hip-hop, to rock and roll. ~ Jimmy Chin.

Great images take you on a journey via a single photograph. The depth and layers pull your eye all over the frame, causing you to pick up interesting pieces along the way, ultimately coming to a climax. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I’ve tried to eat little shrubs before. We were on an unsupported 20-plus day traverse, following the migration of endangered antelope across the Chang Tang Plateau. We were like, ‘Oh, this is what they ate; we should try it.’ ~ Jimmy Chin.

It’s hard to take people seriously who say you’re totally irresponsible if you go out and climb mountains when you have kids, because they clearly don’t understand the circumstances. You can’t impose your own acceptance of risk on other people – that’s not fair. ~ Jimmy Chin.

Mentorship is an incredibly huge responsibility. And you need to choose your mentors carefully, just like mentors choose their apprentices carefully. There has to be trust there, on a very deep level. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I try to live intentionally, and the things that move me, I’m going to throw myself at them. I want to see what my potential is. I’m always curious to see what the edge is. ~ Jimmy Chin.

Famous Jimmy Chin Quotes

The way we approached Meru, and the way we approach a lot of these mountains, is with humility. A sense of, ‘Is it going to give us passage?’ Your mental attitude can affect the outcome. ~ Jimmy Chin.

The climbs up the Hand of Fatima, which is 2,000 feet, and Naga Parbat, which is just over 15,000 feet, were spectacular. The Hand of Fatima and the Kaga Tondo, in Mali, is a personal favorite of mine. ~ Jimmy Chin.

Mathematicians have a certain type of mind, and climbers have a certain type of mind, because climbing poses these incredibly interesting problems for them. ~ Jimmy Chin.


A lot of why I climb is for the friendship, the loyalty, and trust, the shared experience of being in that moment. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I feel like I’m doing what I love. If I can get out, shoot, film and climb, and be with my friends and family, I’m happy. It doesn’t take a lot. I don’t need to climb huge mountains. I have a deep connection with wilderness and the environment, and I’m thankful for that. ~ Jimmy Chin.

If you want to train for big mountain endeavors, spend time in big mountains. ~ Jimmy Chin.

You do wonder – when you are at 28,000 feet, the height that aeroplanes cruise at, when you are struggling to draw breath and every limb aches – why do I do this? ~ Jimmy Chin.

The thing that I’ve always believed is that you have to follow your passion, and if climbing is your calling in life and your craft, to not do it is a tragedy. I am always going to encourage my children to follow their passions and dreams, whatever they are. ~ Jimmy Chin.

Great Jimmy Chin Quotes

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

As a professional climber and photographer, I am asked to shoot in a lot of situations with a lot of different people. Sometimes I’m with the hardest, most seasoned alpinists in the world. Sometimes I’m hanging out with celebrities doing a benefit climb. ~ Jimmy Chin.


Climbing is my art; I get so much joy and gratification from it. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I lose anywhere up to 20 pounds on location with adventurers like Conrad Anker or Brady Robinson. So I need to replace that lost weight and muscle by training hard when I am back in the States between jobs. And as I get older, it is far more important for me to be doing this and taking my conditioning seriously. ~ Jimmy Chin.

So many diseases and illnesses have fundamental roots in the lack of clean water. Resolving the clean water crisis would mitigate a lot of problems. ~ Jimmy Chin.

Fear is always there; it’s a survival instinct. You just need to know how to manage it. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I like the idea of infinite human potential, and a lot of my photography and filmmaking has been focused on that. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I loved going to the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial in Taipei to watch all the old Chinese people doing tai chi and practicing kung fu. The monument was made of white marble, and it was beautiful. Sometimes my dad and I would practice with them. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I really believe that, as human beings, we have an innate need to explore, to see what’s around the corner. ~ Jimmy Chin.

There’s intense personal gratification in finding a mountain and becoming inspired by the aesthetics of an unclimbed line on that mountain, especially if that line has been tried by a lot of people who couldn’t do it, and you get to set yourself up against the history of it. ~ Jimmy Chin.

The two great risks are risking too much but also risking too little. That’s for each person to decide. For me, not risking anything is worse than death. By far. ~ Jimmy Chin.

People who aren’t in that space will be like ‘So how was your trip?’ and you don’t even go into it. ‘I guess it was pretty good.’ And then you talk to other people who have been there and they know exactly why your eyes are glazed over. ~ Jimmy Chin.

Wise Jimmy Chin Quotes

I’ve hidden behind the camera my whole life because I much, much, much prefer shooting. Being behind the camera is my safe space, and it’s my creative space, too. ~ Jimmy Chin.

On climbs, there is a general way we manage fear. We look at things objectively, separating out perceived risk from real risk. You can really bring down the level of fear by knowing the real risks and setting aside the others. You also know that panicking just makes things worse. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I grew up studying martial arts, playing violin, swimming competitively, so I already had athletic focus, discipline and training. When I brought that to climbing, I became passionate. ~ Jimmy Chin.

People say, ‘Are you insane?’ But the most successful climbers are the most calculating, with the most refined sense of risk. They’re hyper-conscious of safety. They’re the least insane people I know. ~ Jimmy Chin.

I grew up looking at National Geographic. I always wondered who was taking the photos and how. ~ Jimmy Chin.

The best alpinists are the ones with the worst memories. ~ Jimmy Chin.

So these were the 56 inspiring Jimmy Chin quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes, sayings and facts, then you can also read my other posts on Arnold Palmer quotes and Barry Sanders quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar