Ron Skelton/68th Birthday/Crack-a-Go-Go


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Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 4, 2009 - 11:25pm PT
Most climbers who frequent The Valley know or know of Ron Skelton, a long time Valley climber who lives in El Portal. Today is his 68th birthday. As he has done many times, he spent part of his birthday at The Cookie. His normal "birthday lead" is Crack-a-Go-Go. Today we met up there, in perfect weather. He hasn't done this lead on his birthday for the last two years, since it was only in January, 2008 that he finished chemotherapy (successfully, with no signs of any cancer returning).

I'm awfully pleased to say that Ron fired it, perfectly, on lead, although he was a little nervous. Two years ago I seriously wondered whether he'd ever be able to get on it again. This was a great day.

Several locals who are Ron's friends were there getting in some laps and wishing him on. After Crack-a-Go-Go he finished with a TR lap on Red Zinger (or as he calls it Red Zingers, 'cause more than one finger usually gets gummed up).

A few photos:

Two other notes: Ron has huge hands and boulderers might think that chalk bag he's toting is one of their "buckets." No, just a custom made bag that lets the whole hand in at once. And, of course the jeans. He almost always climbs in 'em.

Lynne Leichtfuss

Social climber
valley center, ca
Feb 4, 2009 - 11:28pm PT
Cheers to Yo Guy, looking fit and looking great klimbing. A HUGE Happy Birthday to YOU and MANY MORE. : DDD Lynne

Social climber
No Ut
Feb 4, 2009 - 11:31pm PT
Here's to you, Ron. Way to keep on keepin' on!


Social climber
wuz real!
Feb 4, 2009 - 11:42pm PT
Happy birthday Ron!
Also I think Mike Friedrichs (50th!) birthday might be today, or tomorrow, so unimaginable high greetings, Mike (Mike you know how much I have to thank you for and celebrate you on ) wish you a happy birthday also Happy Birthday Royal Robbins, (pretty sure he, was a climber)! And happy 37th wedding Anniversary to Teri and Chasbro! Without Chazbro would I have ever gone climbing the first time? Let alone, as a pre teen climb with the Stettner Broa?

Back on topic, Happy birthday Mr Skelton! Don't know you, but but I thought Crack 'o' no-pro. was scary problematic, back when I was in my first spring for things like that.. Hat's off and all the best.

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Feb 4, 2009 - 11:59pm PT
real nice Brad. worthy post for sure.

Look at the Ron guy fly up that thing. You'd think he was a member of an elite british climbing club or sumpthing. ;)

HBD Ron!
Double D

Feb 5, 2009 - 12:14am PT
That's way impressive! I hope I can get that good when I grow up.

Happy birthday to ya Ron.


Social climber
El Portal
Feb 5, 2009 - 12:17am PT
Happy Birthday Ron!
You're a super climber and one heck of a nice guy.

May the coming year find you stronger, happier, and healthier than
you ever imagined. Keep on crankin Ron!

Jo Whitford

Trad climber
SF Bay Area
Feb 5, 2009 - 12:30am PT
68? No way! 58, more like it. Could Brad be wrong on that?

Happy Birthday Ron! You are an inspiration. -- From Mei and Erik

Trad climber
Twain Harte, California
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 5, 2009 - 12:36am PT
No, it's 68 years old. Born in 1941. I started climbing with him when he was 48 and I was 28. And now I'm the one who's 48.

right here, right now
Feb 5, 2009 - 12:45am PT
Very cool!
Sweet photo sequence too.
I remember you Skelton: Happy Birthday!!!
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Feb 5, 2009 - 12:50am PT
Happy birthday Ron,
"may you stay forever young"

chica from chico, I don't claim to be a daisy
Feb 5, 2009 - 01:10am PT
Wow, he looks great... Many moons ago he fixed my car.. Happy Birthday to the El Portal mechanic.

Hey, What's the name of his B & B ?

Trad climber
Vacaville Ca,
Feb 5, 2009 - 01:37am PT
Happy B-day Ron.

That guy's a human guidebook of route beta. Why just last Sunday he stopped me when I was heading up to the Orangutan Arch and convinced me I'd need more wide pro. I was racked up with a bunch of small stuff and nothing over 2 1/2in.

Holy sh#t was he right. Dispite having admitted not being on the thing in over 20 years, he sure was still able to give me blow by blow directions for the whole route. He didn't know about the colony of ants nesting in the thing though.

Hats off to you Ron, see ya at the Cookies.

Social climber
Feb 5, 2009 - 02:54am PT
hey there mtnyoung, say, thanks for the great share about you buddy of many years...

say, ron--

happy birthday to you, as you make an old dream come true...
and up you head, under the wide sky, so blue...

reclaiming your health...
and life's new and richer wealth...

may you have more enjoyable successess, each day...
to match this joy, on this, your birthday...

*say, i have a treasured pic of my brother on crack-a-go-go, and now, i will keep a copy of you, climbing there, as well, on my computer... as this is a "tropy" day...

god bless, and warmly, so...

Truckee, CA
Feb 5, 2009 - 08:40am PT
Wow, great photos!

Happy Birthday Ron! Wishing you all the best, you are an inspiration!

Captain...or Skully

Social climber
North of the Owyhees
Feb 5, 2009 - 08:42am PT
Good shtuff, there, Mr. Skelton.
Woohoo, 68 & crankin'........That's the Shizz!!!

Barcelona, Spain
Feb 5, 2009 - 09:05am PT
Right on! Ron's my new hero.

Trad climber
Golden, CO
Feb 5, 2009 - 09:11am PT
Love to hear of old dudes still crankin'
Peter Haan

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Feb 5, 2009 - 09:56am PT
I am floored by this thread for Christ's sake! Being 60 myself, I really have to say Ron Skelton is a paragon. I did the 2nd free ascent of Crack-a-go-go in 74 and know how hard and how continuous that lead is. It might even be 5.11D and if not it is a sandbag 5.11C at any rate. And it does have two distinct cruxes, the lower one photographed here and a second one a bit further up that is 5.11b. Ron has a great body for climbing as well! He will be climbing forever.

Happy birthday is an understatement!!!

best to you Peter Haan.
Roger Breedlove

Cleveland Heights, Ohio
Feb 5, 2009 - 10:35am PT
Impressive fun.

Happy birthday, Ron.

And, I went to the gym last weekend! Oh well. Hope springs eternal. So, I have a few years to get in shape. Come one, Peter, let's set a date? The 40th anniversary?

Since you have done it, you can lead.
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