Yvon Chouinard
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 1 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.”

Yvon Chouinard, downtime during American Express commercial day, Tin Shed, Ventura CA, February 2010