Todd Skinner dies on Leaning Tower.


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Torino, Italy
Oct 24, 2006 - 05:58pm PT
Living in Italy I've never met Todd, of course, but I've always found the many anecdotes surrounding his climbs both funny and inspirational. I've always thought him a great climber and a great character, and I must say that it was good to see someone who sounded like a down-to-earth guy climbing all these super-lines and making all those exploits. Which makes his death even more sad and injust.

My thoughts (and those of the Italian climbing community) to his family and friends

Trad climber
somewhere past the 1st pitch
Oct 24, 2006 - 06:07pm PT
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Looking on my cube wall as I write this I have a photo taken from Climbing mag this year of a picture of Todd climbing on the Leaning Tower. I hung this photo because I thought that it was a really great shot of a guy pulling some CRAZY moves. The sport of climbing will miss him.

Sport climber
Oct 24, 2006 - 06:22pm PT
Hey all,

This is Todd and Amy's niece, Becca. I too am a climber and I absolutely loved climbing with my uncle. He was a guy to look up to and he was a role model and always happy. He took me climbing for the first time this summer to a place that I had never been before. Not sure what the name was but he taught me how to use a gri-gri i think its called. We are all in denial and disbelief because to me, Todd was invincible. You all rock for posting these things about him. It is sort of like a therapy. To a question asked a few posts ago, yes the 28th was his birthday. Thank you SO much guys for posting these stories. We all love hearing them.
RIP Uncle Todd.

Becca Skinner

Mountain climber
Bay Area, CA
Oct 24, 2006 - 06:47pm PT
Very sad to hear this news. My thoughts go out to all those left behind, his loved ones, his climbing partners. I wish you all peace.

Trad climber
Sittin' on the dock by the bay...
Oct 24, 2006 - 06:48pm PT
Todd Skinner was the first name I knew in climbing. When I was a kid and climbing was just a cool curiosity to me, a friend I was visiting showed me one of the early Masters of Stone videos. I don't remember exactly what he did that was so amazing, but even seeing it only once, and not even touching real rock again for almost ten years, his name in particular stuck with me. I never did meet him, but he was the earliest and biggest inspiration in a pursuit that has added so much to my life.

My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

VCD, Todd.


Praha,Ceská republika
Oct 24, 2006 - 06:55pm PT
Video of Todd speaking of his trip to free climb The Great Trango Tower, to a crowd, at one of his many motivational speeches.

Oct 24, 2006 - 07:04pm PT

From the Prophet, Kahlil Gibran

'Than Almitra spoke, saying, "We would ask now of Death."

And he said:

You would know the secret of death.

But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond;

And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring.

Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.

Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour.

Is the sheered not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king?

Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?

For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun?

And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?

Only when you drink form the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.'

Heartfelt condolences to the Skinner family, friends and the climbing community.

--Met Todd way back in '87, gracious, always stoked, and genuinely interested in what others were doing, an excellent example of decency and humility in light of many accomplishments. Very sad, Todd will be missed.



Mountain climber
Oct 24, 2006 - 07:08pm PT
So sad. Hard to believe.
My thoughts go out to Todd's family and friends. Seems like I've had to make these kinds of posts too many times this year. I hope this is the last for a while.Please, everyone be safe.
Bubba Ho-Tep

Oct 24, 2006 - 07:15pm PT
Wow. Such sad news.

I first met Todd in the later 80's at the trade show in Las Vegas. Despite having just met me, he gave me several pairs of shoes to go try out. Shortly thereafter, I ran into him again in Eldorado Canyon. We were both working on Desdischado at the time and I was having very limited success. He took the time to talk me through some of the moves and gave me the trick beta for others. His energy and dedication got me further up the route than I had ever been before.

He will be sadly missed by the climbing community. My condolences to Amy and the rest of the family.

Oct 24, 2006 - 07:15pm PT
The grin, the twinkle in the eye. The love for an adventure, no matter what its form or how small. Every day, every act was an adventure in living. The love of life and deep committment to friendships. The passion for his chosen path in life.

I'm so sorry for his family and his friends. And I'm sorry for all of you who never got to cross paths with Todd. He wasn't the most talented climber ever, but he was certainly one of the most determined. But he wasn't really about climbing. He was about the possibilities of life. I always thought that if I was ever in a bind with someone, I hoped it would be Todd. Always an optomist, never one to quit.

Every time I saw him after we hadn't seen each other for a while, it was always the same request: "Well, tell us a story!" I have dozens of them involving Todd, and I will cherish them forever.

Oct 24, 2006 - 07:21pm PT
This is incredibly sad news. I've known Todd and Amy for a quite a few years and use to stay at their house in Lander, though I haven't seen Amy for awhile. Every post here speaks to Todd's energy, enthusiasm and kindness - all true, in spades. Also, as was pointed out in multiple posts, it didn't matter whether you were a 5.2 or a 5.14 climber, Todd encouraged and motivated everyone. Having personally spent quite a bit of time around Todd I understood his sincerity and enthusiasm, and I found myself occasionally defending him against some of his critics, most of whom had never met him.

My condolences and prayers to Amy, the kids, and the rest of the family.

Not to be a total bummer, but I haven't seen anything on SuperTopo regarding Eric Brand - he died of a heart attack a few weeks back.

Paul Gagner

Trad climber
Sacramento, CA
Oct 24, 2006 - 07:47pm PT
Becca, nice post.
Be strong. Be good. Be safe.
Get through this sad event and enjoy the sport. Loss is just that, loss. It is difficult and sad, but I can promise life gets better.

As the posts about Todd show, its all about getting out and living with everything your soul can offer.

I wish strength to you and your family.


Sport climber
Mount Nebbiolo, Colorado
Oct 24, 2006 - 07:52pm PT
It just breaks my heart to hear this tragic news. Deepest sympathies from Jana and I to our friend Amy, to the kids, to the Skinner and Whistler families and all who knew and loved will be sorely missed my friend.

rick thompson
jeff leads

Sport climber
Oct 24, 2006 - 07:59pm PT
Todd was a great friend, brother, husband, and Father. There are no sorrows on Earth that heaven cannot heal.

jeff leads

Oct 24, 2006 - 08:16pm PT
Todd visited Kansas City for a slide show decades ago with a giant cowboy side-kick. He asked for a place to workout and at that time my house had the only decent climbing gym. He came over to get a pump and when he was done he asked if he could crash instead of going to their hotel. I was honored to be able to open my home to him. He was so friendly and easy to talk to. The one thing I remembered was that I noticed he had very small feet! He said I could crash at his place if I got to the area. Unfortunately, I never did.

Condolences to his family.

Sport climber
Lander, WY
Oct 24, 2006 - 08:30pm PT
We heard the news about Todd a few hours ago and our hearts go out to you, Amy and Hannah, Jake and Sarah, and to Jim. Amy, we are deeply saddened for you and your family. Not knowing the best way to respond, we've decided to post a message here since Steve says you are checking it. We will be there on Saturday to mourn with you and show our support. We are so so sorry. Words cannot describe.

Holly and Scott Copeland

Social climber
Oct 24, 2006 - 08:37pm PT
this is so sad and tragic, our condolences to Amy ,the children and family.
Catherine Cullinane and Renny Jackson

Oct 24, 2006 - 09:32pm PT
I first met Todd in the late 80's after going to one of his salathe slide shows in Denver. My wife was at the slide show with me and knew Todd from growing up near him in Wyoming, so he invited the two of us out for dinner and drinks afterwards. I can honestly say that it was the single most inspirational night of my life. The opportunity to have dinner with Todd and Paul and have all that positive energy focused on me was truly an enriching experience. My wife and I ran into Todd three or four more times over the years and he always remembered us and had a story to tell or beta to give. I watched Todd effortlessly solo a 50 foot 5.12c pitch then come over and be super psyched that my wife had just climbed a 5.10 on top rope! His enthusiasm and positive energy encouraged me to work harder and have more fun with everything in my life, not just climbing, but relationships and work and just living. He was an incredible person and one of my true heros.

I am very sad for his family and close friends, my heart felt sympathy is with you.


Trad climber
Humboldt, CA
Oct 24, 2006 - 09:43pm PT
This just doesn't seem possible..
Heart felt sympathy and prayers to his family, friends, and our climbing community. He touched so many...
mark miller

Social climber
Oct 24, 2006 - 09:51pm PT
I had also met Todd at a "Free climbing the Salathe" slide show, at the real Ken's mountaineering on Edison in Sparks. My freind who had talked me into going to the show asked Todd ( he knew Todd better then I through other Bro's) if he could use his gear for working on the grand Illlusion, ( this was a different time folks 80's, tights route wars, funky hair..) and Mr. Skinner without hesitation said no problem. It still blows me away today.... I've been 85% up the Salathe and to free climb some of those pitches, Mr. Skinner was obviously a visionary. My sincerest condolences to his wife Amy and family.

This Forum has not been the easiest on Todd in the past for his visions of free climbing the absurd, but the writing of history will hopefully show Mr. Todd Skinner in his true Light....Our climbing community will be worse for his lose.
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