Todd Skinner dies on Leaning Tower.


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Tony Bird

Northridge, CA
Oct 23, 2011 - 11:23am PT

i interviewed todd by telephone once for an article i did on the organ mountains in new mexico, a place he was drawn to, but had trouble getting belayers back up there. his climbing in africa was inspirational--thanks for bumping this thread.

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Oct 23, 2011 - 12:36pm PT
My daughter is going to be 22 this week on their shared birthday. Every year I'm reminded of my old climbing and college buddy, the poingency of his passing and the continuity of Natalie growing up. They met a few times when she was really little, but I don't think we made the connection of the birthday while he was alive, or at least never had occasion to talk about it.
Cheers and vibes Amy.

Jay Anderson

Trad climber
Ridgway, CO
Oct 23, 2011 - 01:04pm PT
I had the good fortune of meeting Todd at the Cookie back when he was working on the Stigma. He was very kind and positive to my then seventeen year old self. A good sincere man.

Nice to see his family is doing well.

Good thoughts to all.

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Oct 23, 2011 - 01:26pm PT
What a beautiful legacy!

(Has it already been five years? Feels like yesterday.)

Trad climber
The Illuminati -- S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Division
Oct 23, 2011 - 01:30pm PT


Oct 23, 2011 - 02:59pm PT
I had the good fortune to spend part of a climbing day with Todd, he had been in St. Louis for a slide presentation and we invited him to Jackson Falls. I witnessed some great on-sighting as well as some down rating. I especially remember his on-sight of "Viking Blood" 5.12c quite impressive. I have a North Face poster from that show of him and Paul hanging by my woody. I'm proud to have met him, my very best to Amy and his children.
mike m

Trad climber
black hills
Oct 23, 2011 - 05:16pm PT
The first time I spent any time on ST was after Todd had died. I read everyone of the thousand + posts. He had climbed quite a bit in the Hills and we looked up to Todd and Paul immensely. They had freed the Salathe shortly before I had started climbing, and I could not believe that small town people could do such great feats. We hung with Pete Delenoy quite a bit and many of my friends ended up meeting Todd here or there. Never heard a bad word about him from anyone that knew him around here. It blew me away that they putting up routes at the Tower left and right in the 80's and early 90's. So sorry that he couldn't continue to old age, but to his family and friends know that he touched many people that you have never met still do to this day.

Trad climber
Oct 23, 2011 - 07:16pm PT
wow, nice to see the smiles.

thanks and best


Trad climber
fort garland, colo
Oct 24, 2011 - 06:56pm PT
Todd was a total inspiration for me from our first meeeting in' 81 to the last time i saw him. Always energetic, smiling and ready to go !

The best hit list ever when we me at the Tower for the V-- so good.

My fondest memory was the wood stove in the VW camper, along with the Suzuki's plowed car..................

Oct 24, 2011 - 07:42pm PT
My friends and I were camped in Upper Pines beside Todd when he was working on freeing the Salathe. He was gracious enough to come over and indulge some canucks with his infectious smile and good vibes.

Gym climber
Oct 24, 2011 - 07:56pm PT
I'm still groovin' on Todd's infectious energy. From when he pulled up and grabbed the camp next to mine in JTree (Hey, want an orange?) to the time I ran into him in Skardu (Wow, I gotta travel to Pakistan to see you, eh Kelly!).

No, you can't forget that energy.

Although, that woodie in the living room in El Paso was Sick Minded!

Social climber
Oct 24, 2011 - 10:41pm PT
hey there say, amy... thank you for sharing this lovely picture and the memoires, with us all...

god bless to you, this eve...

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Oct 24, 2011 - 11:55pm PT
My climbing partner and I were having dinner at the restaurant a few miles east of Devil's Tower when one of the patrons, a local rancher, came over.

"I have some fence mending that needs to be done on my ranch. I can offer you a side of beef. You interested?"


It turns out that, since we were dressed in our white climbers pants, the rancher assumed, correctly, that we were climbers. The only climbers he knew were Todd Skinner and his buddies who, in the early to mid 80's lived in a teepee on his property and did odd jobs to make ends meet. That was Todd! He was one of a kind!
nick d

Trad climber
Oct 25, 2011 - 01:04am PT
You do know he was a real live cowboy, right? He even rodeo'd professionally for a short while.

I loved that guy. We both came from the same kind of small redneck towns.
I met him at Hueco Tanks just when everybody from El Paso was starting to hate on him for his sport climber tactics. I didn't really dig the tactics, but you couldn't spend any time with him and not end up loving him.

I really miss ya Todd. God bless.

Trad climber
Mountain View, CA
Oct 25, 2011 - 03:02am PT
Yup! We spent some time at the Tower together in the late 80's. We met because one morning, Tower local Carl Coy took my partner and I up the Direct Southwest(5.11b), hoping that us Eldorado Canyon climbers would get our butts spanked trying to climb a crack. What Carl didn't know was that my partner and I cut our teeth in Yosemite. We both floated the route without any problems.

When we got down to the parking lot, Todd came up to me and asked, "are you the guy with the white painters pants who just did Direct Southwest? Man. You were styling!"

That was Todd.

Trad climber
San Diego
Oct 25, 2011 - 08:15pm PT
I have to agree with Nick D. I didn't like some of the things Todd did, but he was a hell of a nice guy. Todd opened his house in Lander to climbers, sport or trad, beginner or cutting edge. I spent many a winter night crashed in the gym at Todd's in the early days of development at Sinks canyon.

Sad to see a good friend gone.

Oct 25, 2011 - 09:34pm PT
I didn't really dig the tactics
who cares what you dig?

Trad climber
Oct 25, 2011 - 09:38pm PT
I knew Todd well out at Hueco in the early 80's. His enthusiasm was so infectious! He was always ready to loan out gear if you needed it, and was genuinely excited about other's successes, no matter how modest. I saw him for the last time the year he died, as I was passing through Lander on my way to the Tetons. I was standing in the McDonalds parking lot and he recognized me as he drove by. He turned around and we caught up for awhile. I still miss his grin and that laugh.
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