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.
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!
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!
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.
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!"
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.
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.