Kris Tompkins was born and raised on a ranch in southern California. At age 15, Tompkins met and befriended rock climbing legend and equipment manufacturer Yvon Chouinard; he gave her a summer job working for Chouinard Equipment, his climbing gear company. She ended up working full time for what became Patagonia, Inc. In 1993, Kris retired from Patagonia, married Doug Tompkins, and moved to southern Chile. Together, the couple bought and conserved over 2 million acres of wilderness in Chile and Argentina, focusing on park creation with the goal of preserving biodiversity.