Todd Richard Skinner (October 27, 1958 – October 23, 2006) was an American free climber. His climbing achievements included the first free ascents of many routes around the world and the world's first free ascent of a grade 7 climb.
Skinner was born in Pinedale, Wyoming, and planned to "take a little while off to climb" after gaining a degree in finance from the University of Wyoming in 1982. Instead, he became a full-time free climber and motivational speaker. In 1990, he settled in Lander, Wyoming, in part because he considered the dolomite cliffs there to be the ultimate training ground for free climbing. He opened the Wild Iris Mountain Sports store in Lander, and encouraged visits by climbers from around the world. He was married with three children.
Todd Skinner was attempting to free climb the "Jesus Built My Hotrod" route up the face of Leaning Tower in Yosemite National Park on October 23, 2006. While rappelling down, he fell 500 feet and died. The cause of death was the failure of the belay loop of his climbing harness. Jim Hewett, a friend of Skinner, had previously observed that the harness appeared worn.
First free ascents
- 1985: The Gunfighter (5.13b), Hueco Tanks, Texas, United States
- 1986: City Park (5.13b), Lower Index Town Wall, Washington, United States
- 1988: The Salathe Wall (VI 5.13b), El Capitan, Yosemite National Park
- 1989: Lizzy Beams Desire (5.14a), Black Hills, South Dakota, United States
- 1990: The Jaded Lady (VI 5.12a), North face of Mt. Hooker, Wind River Range, Wyoming. With Paul Piana, Galen Rowell and Tim Toula.
- 1992: The Great Canadian Knife (VI 5.13b), Cirque of the Unclimbables, Yukon Territories, Canada
- 1993: Northwest Direct Route (VI 5.13d) on Half Dome, Yosemite National Park
- 1995: Cowboy Direct (VII 5.13a) East Face of Trango Tower, Pakistan's Karakoram Himalayas (the first Grade 7 free climb in the world).
- 1998: War and Poetry (VI 5.12c), Ulamertorsuaq, Cape Farewell, of Greenland
- 2000: True at First Light (VI 5.13a), East Face of Poi, Ndoto Mountains, Northern Kenya
- 2004: Wet Lycra Nightmare (V 5.13d), Leaning Tower, Yosemite, California, United States
- Ghiglieri, Michael P. & Farabee, Charles R. "Butch", Jr. (2007). Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite. Flagstaff: Puma Press. p. 368. ISBN 978-0-9700973-6-1.
- Lober, Keith (Oct 30, 2006). "Follow-up On Fatal Climbing Fall" (archived at huecotanks.com). The Morning Report for Monday, October 30, 2006. National Park Service. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
- Burke, Ann Krcik, Sarah Hutchinson, Caitlin. "Todd Skinner, Visionary First Ascentionist - Extreme Connection". extremeconnection.net. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
- "Beyond the Summit: Motivational Lessons from the Mountain Top". www.beyondthesummit.com. Retrieved 2018-03-02.
- Samet, Matt; Steve Bechtel (2007). "Loss of a Legend" (archived at huecotanks.com). Climbing. Skram Media LLC. Retrieved 2008-02-03.
- Rowell, Galen (1991). "Hooker's North Face Free-climbed". American Alpine Journal. Golden, CO, United States: American Alpine Club. 33 (65): 131–139. ISBN 0-930410-46-7.
- Official Website
- Denver Post article on his death
- Obituary, Independent (UK)
- Website for Todd's book Beyond the Summit
- Todd Skinner's climbing biography
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