Behind the Lens
Read our interview with Jimmy Chin as he memorialized Stephen Kotchs 2004 attempt at skiing Everestplus an exclusive online photo gallery of the event.
How do you get to be a professional adventurer? It's a frequently asked question, and 31-year-old Jimmy Chin has the bona fides to answer. Based in Jackson, Wyoming, he has made newsworthy ascents in the Karakoram, the Himalayas (including Everest), and the tallest sandstone towers in the world, in Mali. A couple of years ago, he joined mountaineer Conrad Anker, the late photographer Galen Rowell, and me on a 275-mile unsupported traverse of a never-explored corner of northwestern Tibet, where each guy had a 250-pound rickshaw strapped (as Jimmy put it) "to our asses." Jimmy proved his strength, not only carting gear at 16,000 feet but capturing the decisive moments with both still and video cameras. But that's the easy part of what you need to be a pro. The more difficult (and important) part is something you're born with, and it makes you the type that other adventurers want on their team: You can't stop smiling, no matter how tough it gets; you never complain, because your glass is always half full and there's nothing to complain about; and your ego is post-Copernicanout there orbiting around with everyone else's, not at the center of anything. And, oh, yeah, I forgotI guess it doesn't hurt if People magazine votes you one of the country's most eligible bachelors.