Founder of Patagonia, avid climber, flyfisher, surfer – 2007
Chouinard is best known as the founder of Patagonia, but he also helped invent the removable piton, a metal spike hammered into rocks and used to secure ropes, a landmark invention in the evolution of climbing.
He donates one percent of his sales, about $2.5 million per year, to protect and restore the environment. He is a skilled climber, surfer and flyfisher who parlayed his passion into Chouinard Equipment, which quickly became the largest supplier of climbing equipment in America.
In turn, he expanded the specialty outdoor clothing line and created Patagonia, which over 30 years has become one of the most successful and the most copied outdoor businesses in the world.
Memorable quote: “Most businessmen are corpses in suits.”