#SharedSecrets: Episode 20

The Secret Fear Men Don't Talk About with Jimmy Chin


Anyone watching “Meru,” the documentary film depicting professional mountaineer Jimmy Chin’s ascent of ascent of the complicated, dangerous peak of the same name, would be forgiven for assuming that Jimmy is fearless. The film shows Jimmy and his close friends hanging perilously from near-vertical rock walls in an effort to summit the 21,000-foot Himalayan peak. And did I mention that they’re doing so in sub-zero temperatures?

But as Jimmy confesses in this episode of Shared Secrets, he has a secret fear common to most men—a fear that is rarely spoken of, especially among athletes and other cultures that prize stoicism and strength.

In the episode, Jimmy and I chat about fear and vulnerability; authenticity and humility in the age of social media; and the calculus of risk versus reward when planning potentially dangerous mountaineering expeditions. Jimmy also shares the story of how he had to rebel against the expectations of his Chinese-immigrant parents to find a career that felt authentic to him.

More about Jimmy: Jimmy Chin is a documentary filmmaker and a 14-year veteran of The North Face Athlete Team. He has worked with some of the greatest adventurers, climbers and skiers in the world, documenting everything from first ascents of unclimbed alpine towers to ski descents of Himalayan high peaks. He is one of the few people to have ever successfully climbed and skied Everest from the summit. Jimmy shoots for a wide range of commercial and editorial clients, including The North Face and National Geographic. He has been awarded the Rowell Award for his excellence and breadth in adventure photography, recognized by National Geographic as an Emerging Explorer and has won awards for his advertising photography from APA.