Yvon Chouinard Net Worth 2022 – Salary, Income, Earnings

Yvon Chouinard Net Worth 

Yvon Chouinard has an estimated net worth of $2 billion. Yvon Chouinard is a successful Mountaineer and entrepreneur. He is an American pioneer of big wall climbing especially in Yosemite National Park and mountaineering equipment entrepreneur (founder of Patagonia ), who is also known for his innovations in this area. He earns most of his income from his business ventures. 

Patagonia, based in Ventura, California, was founded by Yvon Chouinard. Chouinard does not have his own office at Patagonia’s headquarters in California. The company has had no private offices since 1984. Chouinard’s clothing business took off in the 1970s when he imported rugby shirts from England and sold them to climbers. Patagonia has set aside 1% of sales since 1985 to fund grassroots environmental groups in the United States and around the world. In 2015, revenue reached $750 million.

To calculate the net worth of Yvon Chouinard, subtract all his liabilities from his total assets. Investments, savings, cash deposits, and any equity he has in a house, car, or other similar asset are included in the total assets. All debts, such as personal loans and mortgages, are included in total liabilities.

Here’s the breakdown of his net worth:

Name: Yvon Chouinard
Net Worth: $2 Billion
Monthly Salary: $3 Million
Annual Income: $50 Million
Source of Wealth: Entrepreneur, Mountaineer

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Early Life

Chouinard came from a French-Canadian family that moved to Maine. His father, born in Quebec, worked in a variety of professions.

In 1946, the family moved to Burbank, California, where Chouinard practised diving for abalones and climbing the coast near Malibu and observed nests as a member of the Southern California Falcon Club.

In 1955 he drove to Wyoming in his own Ford to climb, in the San Fernando Valley (Stoney Point) and at Tahquitz he was attracted to the walls of the Yosemite Valley. Large quantities of belay and locomotion hooks were needed for the Big Walls.

After graduating from high school in 1956, he began buying blacksmith tools to make climbing gear made of harder steel than the European rock hooks (pitons), mainly to cut costs. Soon he was selling those, too – but business was slow.

Yosemite Rock Climber to Leading Alpinist

Chouinard was one of the leading activists in the big-wall climbing scene in Yosemite in the late 1950s and early 1960s. In 1960, he was involved in the second ascent of The Nose on El Capitan.

His first ascents included the North American Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley in 1964 with Royal Robbins (a childhood friend who was an early Sierra Club member), Tom Frost (an aircraft engineer who was a part-time business partner), Chuck Pratt, without the use of fixed ropes, and the Muir Wall on El Capitan in 1965 with TM Herbert.

In 1961 he began to apply the techniques and style of the Yosemite Big Wall climbers (for whom he was one of the most vocal advocates) outside the Canadian Rockies and made several first ascents.

In 1968 he opened a new route (California Route) on the third ascent of Cerro Fitzroy in Patagonia. with Doug Tompkins (they surfed along the South American coast).

Chouinard travels the world surfing, fly fishing, kayaking and skiing and has not yet given up climbing (2007). He has been married since 1971 to Malinda Pennoyer, whom he met in Yosemite, where the then art student had a summer job.

Chouinard is the father of two children.

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Mountaineering Equipment Business

In 1970, Chouinard Equipment was the largest mountaineering equipment company in the United States. The main product was rock hooks, which in his eyes spoiled the climbing routes, so he stopped production in 1972.

Also around 1970, while climbing in Scotland, he realized the benefits of rugby shirts for climbing and subsequently founded the outdoor clothing company Patagonia, which by 2006 employed 1300 people in the U.S. and whose sales grew from $20 million in the mid-1980s to $100 million in 1990 and $267 million in 2006.

In between, there was a slump in lawsuits (all for rather minor incidents, but justified by inadequate warnings, e.g., on climbing ropes) against his mountaineering gear company that nearly brought it to the brink of bankruptcy – there was eventually an employee buyout and a Salt Lake City branch.

Chouinard donates one percent of Patagonia’s sales to environmental activists – he founded his own One Percent for the Planet initiative, which by 2006 had already been joined by 400 companies.

An avid surfer himself, he also allows his employees to work free time accordingly. He had to lay off a fifth of his workforce after a slump in the 1991 recession interrupted a long-term period of growth of 30 to 50 percent a year.

This led to a return to ecological values and slow growth, according to his own words also the result of his frugal lifestyle as an extreme sportsman, who should also take to heart the motto never to exceed his limits and above all to recognize these limits clearly.

Thus, in 1996, the company switched to organically grown cotton for ecological reasons.

Yvon Chouinard Quotes

“How you climb a mountain is more important than reaching the top.”


“Real adventure is defined best as a journey from which you may not come back alive, and certainly not as the same person.”


“If you want to understand the entrepreneur, study the juvenile delinquent. The delinquent is saying with his actions, “This sucks. I’m going to do my own thing.”


“The goal of climbing big, dangerous mountains should be to attain some sort of spiritual and personal growth, but this won’t happen if you compromise away the entire process.”


“At Patagonia, making a profit is not the goal because the Zen master would say profits happen ‘when you do everything else right’.”


“Everything we personally own that’s made, sold, shipped, stored, cleaned, and ultimately thrown away does some environmental harm every step of the way, harm that we’re either directly responsible for or is done on our behalf.”


“I don’t really believe that humans are evil; it is just that we are not very intelligent animals. No animal is so stupid as to foul its only nest, except humans.”

View our larger collection of Yvon Chouinard quotes.

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