Todd Skinner dies on Leaning Tower.


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Oct 24, 2006 - 03:38am PT
Really sorry to hear about this, my condolences to everyone involved. Todd was and will continue to be an inspiration to many. Very sad news.

Dario Piana
Wild Bill

Oct 24, 2006 - 03:50am PT
This is a tragedy. Heard it may have been equipment failure. Stay tuned for info on some sort of family fund for his kids.
Peace and prayers to Amy and the kids. I know Todd was at times divisive in the climbing world, but it's nice to see people acknowledging his positive influence and boundless energy.

Last night, in despair, I went to
and read the comments from all sorts of folks who had experienced one of Todd's motivational speeches. It reminded me of Todd's ability to speak to the core of what makes us tick.

And oh, the stories he had, always told with a glint in his eye. I have often quoted some funny Todd-ism to my non-climbing friends: "It's like my cowboy buddy Todd says, . . ."

I was quite the gumby climber when we met back in the late '80's, but Todd didn't care. We were in remote northern Spain, and were both happy to have someone to climb with and swap stories with.

The things I remember most is that Todd *is* (I still can't say "was") a multi-faceted character with a deep trust and love for humanity. He was an optimist, believing that anything could be done and anyone could do it. I'd be hard pressed to recall him saying a bad word about anyone, even his detractors, who were happy to bash his climbing style, his clothes, methods, etc.

A true original is gone, RIP my friend.

    Bill McMahon

Trad climber
Oct 24, 2006 - 03:58am PT
rest in peace todd.

condolences to the family and friends.

i met todd at devils tower, this past july and though our encounter was brief, i will remember is energy and enthusiam forever.

thanks for all the best crack in mn!

Patrick Sawyer

Originally California now Ireland
Oct 24, 2006 - 06:35am PT
Condolences to his family and friends as well.

RIP Todd

Big Wall climber
Hong Kong & Wales
Oct 24, 2006 - 06:58am PT
Very sorry to hear this. My condolences to all who loved and knew him.

Sport climber
St. Louis
Oct 24, 2006 - 07:10am PT
Such sad news for all. Words are so inadequate.

Trad climber
Denver, Colorado
Oct 24, 2006 - 07:43am PT
I loved that story of him trying to free City Park and finding that maliciously placed grease in the crack to thwart him. Sorry to hear this news.

Truckee, CA
Oct 24, 2006 - 07:45am PT
My heart goes out to Amy and his kids, and his many, many friends.

Todd was the ultimate ambassador for the sport, infecting thousands of people with his psyched up friendly energy. He came out to help me with the grand opening of CityRock, I know he made personal contact and a great impression with each of the over 600 people in the room. I stayed at his rented house in El Paso a couple of times, always sharing space with other interesting guests. When I stayed at the house he built out at Hueco, it was classic Todd, giant living room gathering space, and all these small dorm rooms so every guest was comfortable.

As one of the earliest adopters of sport climbing tactics and the sponsorship scene, many took potshots at him, but I never heard him lose his own positivity in the face of others negativity. Then he took his sport climbing fitness onward to climb remote walls that most climbers only see in their dreams.

I can't believe we have to write the word "was"...


East Coast US
Oct 24, 2006 - 08:16am PT
I met him once [1991?] and didn't know who he was at the time. I commented to my climbing partner at the time that "that guy was the most psyched person I've ever met."

I'm so sorry to hear this news.

Trad climber
New York, NY
Oct 24, 2006 - 08:23am PT
I never met Todd, but of course have read about some of his stuff. Sorry for the loss his family and friends are suffering.

Trad climber
Oct 24, 2006 - 08:35am PT
I really feel it in my gut. What an ironman and an icon. It just makes me sad.

Trad climber
Joshua Tree
Oct 24, 2006 - 08:55am PT
Very sad. Todd was always super inspirational to those around him.

In 1993 I was traveling around Colorado and Wyoming with a friend of mine who happened to also know Todd. When we hit Sinks and Wild Iris he invited him (and me) to stay with him. Although Todd and his wife Amy didn't know me, they welcomed me into their home and allowed me to shower, cook, hang-out, use their woodie and campout in front of their house for over two weeks. While my climbing ability was way less than Todd's level, he was always very encouraging and supportive both on the crags and in the woodie.

The only bummer part was that I made a quick trip home and when I got back to Lander, my friend had disappeared as he had been recruited by Todd to help him on his Direct NW Face of Half Dome project after Paul Piana and others dropped out.

My prayers go out to Amy and all his family.
can't say

Social climber
Pasadena CA
Oct 24, 2006 - 09:01am PT
My condolences and sympathies go out to his friends and family.

Trad climber
love the eastern sierras
Oct 24, 2006 - 09:04am PT
Silver Salute goes out to you Todd RIP

Trad climber
Someplace F*#ked!
Oct 24, 2006 - 09:10am PT
Wow, I was hoping it was a bad hoax. Very sad to hear it's true, never met Todd but I have a vivid image of him in my head wearing brightly colored lycra and a bandana. He was one of the most prolific climbers of the early 90s when I started climbing.
I think you can almost feel his energy coming through everyones posts - energy like that doesn't just go away.

Condolences to all - and I know it's been said, but Werner, thanks for what you do.
raymond phule

Oct 24, 2006 - 09:16am PT
Very sad news.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Oct 24, 2006 - 09:23am PT
Headed out to Red Rocks today but wanted to make sure I posted before dropping out of touch.

Met Todd with Galen and crew at the Base of his Free Half Dome project, and several times afterwards. Russ said it well, He had a ton of energy, friendliness and goodwill. Good qualities to be around. Funny too!

Last corresponded with him was during that whole "Leaning Tower Bolt Chopping" controversy where I thought he had a pretty wise attitude about it. I'm honored that he bought a generous amount of my photography for his cabin outside Yosemite.

Condolences to those who will miss him. That's so sad.

As for Todd missing out on old age and cutting right to the next great adventure. I'll reserve judgement and wish him Godspeed.



Trad climber
Oct 24, 2006 - 09:30am PT
I'll never forget sharing part of an afternoon with Todd at Veadawoo in the late 80's. He and Amy were out for the first time after his near fatal accident at the top of the Salathe, and were bolting what would become a 13b ("Silver Salute"). He was actually soliciting my opinion on where I thought the bolts ought to go. How many climbers of his calibre would do that? Simply one of the most simultaneously talented and positive climbers I have ever met. I just can't believe he is gone. My heartfelt appreciation to Werner for being there to carry out such a difficult task. What a huge loss to the climbing community. And my deepest condolences to his family and close friends.

Tom Patterson

Trad climber
Oct 24, 2006 - 09:47am PT
I'm so sad to hear this. I met Todd and Paul at Sinks not long after they freed the Sally Rae. My partner was leading and he was dissing on Skammer and Peon, saying they had cheated and lied. I was playing devil's advocate, saying I was giving them the benefit of the doubt. So Todd and Paul heard this and started quizzing me on why I'd give the benefit of the doubt. Being the good belayer I am, I kept eyes on my leader and didn't know who I was talking to till my buddy went off belay. It was a good laugh and Todd really got a kick out of it. He invited us to his house for dinner, we camped there and did a woodie session the next day. They gave a copy of their Sally Rae topo. They were very good, polite and highly motivated people and they thoroughly enjoyed talking about everything, not just climbing. Thanks for your mojo, master.

Edit: Sitting here thinking - I think it was the AAC meeting where Todd and Paul presented their Salathe slide show. Anyway, they took the stage dressed as cowboys with six guns blazing yelling: (imagine this in cowboy drawl) "Skinner and Piana free climb the Salathe!" Now some of us nearly busted a gut but there were people in the audience that were not amused by this display. What a hoot. There were Vally regulars that absolutely detested them for the Salathe. I wonder how many still believe they lied? Hey Todd, I still believe.
Off White

Tenino, WA
Oct 24, 2006 - 10:01am PT
Oh, that sucks. Over the years I've run into Todd all over the place, and his boundless enthusiasm was always a kick in the pants. I remember years ago in the Gunks (my one day ever in the Gunks) we were laughing and joking about running into each other out there and this older fellow came walking down the trail. When Todd stopped to ask the guy how it went, he broke into a huge smile and described how psyched he was to have led his first 5.6. Todd's pleasure at the man's success and stoke were so obvious, waving his hands in the air and talking about other moderates to put on the tick list. Far from being a standoffish "magazine climber," he really empathized with the feelings climbing brings and understood that pushing your own personal limits was the same thing no matter what grade you were climbing.

At the 1986 spring Beanfest near Tucson I had the pleasure of being the first Beanmaster to ever successfully bean Todd. At past Beanfests he'd always managed to disappear when the evening devolved to that point where the drunken mob lurched about, smearing a dab of refried beans on everyone's forehead with a thunderous "hear, hear" and much swilling of tequila (think of Ash Wednesday in a more genial and depraved world) Perhaps Todd was ritual impaired, or group actions made him as nervous as individuals made him excitable? Anyhow, I sidled up to Todd, bean pot behind my back, while an assistant approached from the other side. Todd, who had been deep in the telling of some tale, got a wild look when I calmly intoned, "Todd, the time has come." His eyes darted from side to side, and I'd swear he licked his lips, but his shoulders sagged slightly as he realized he'd been well and truly snared. I thought he submitted to the beanediction rather gracefully, and we moved on to deal with the rest of the raucous horde.

Hear, Hear! It makes me very sad that I'll never see his goofy grin again.
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