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  • MoonDeluxe Large Pad by MoonDeluxe Large Pad
Xtra 26 October 2006 - 15:00:00 Posted by Freak      

Free Climbing Pioneer Todd Skinner dies in Yosemite

On Monday the 23rd of October, US free-climbing pioneer Todd Skinner died while rappelling fixed lines during an attempt to free climb a route on Leaning Tower in Yosemite Valley (USA).

Todd Skinner Salathe Wall - El Capitan
Todd Skinner on the Salathe Wall
ph: Bill Hatcher

From the first investigations it seems that Todd death was caused by a broken belay loop on his harness. Friends of Skinner said he had ordered several new harnesses but they hadn’t yet arrived in the mail. On Monday’s climb, Hewett said the belay loop snapped while Skinner was hanging in midair underneath an overhanging ledge.
Full details on the San Francisco Chronicle.

In the early 80's Todd Skinner was one of the first American climbers to break with trad style and use European-born sport climbing tactics to create free climbs.

Skinner also made hundreds of first ascents up to 5.14 grade in many climbing regions all over the world and was one of the first American climbers to take part in climbing competitions in 1986 (World-Speed Climbing Championships in Soviet Georgia) and 1987 . He was the major activist in Hueco Tanks (eg. Gunfighter 5.13b in 1984, When Legends Die 5.13a/b in 1987)), Wild Iris and Mount Rushmore.

Todd Skinner
Todd Skinner
ph: Gallen Rowell

In 1988, Todd Skinner and Paul Piana came to Yosemite Valley with the hope of free climbing the Salathe's face. By using modern day climbing techniques they realized that another new age in climbing was emerging, and were ready to meet the challenge. Standing on the shoulders of the early Yosemite pioneers, Skinner and Piana became the first to free climb El Capitan Salathe Wall and usher in a new dawn of climbing. presents Todd Skinner as the most diversely accomplished rock climber of this generation. His achievements have been documented in film and magazines in 12 languages. He has accomplished more than 300 first ascents in 26 countries around the world and has established new climbs at the highest level of difficulty.
He relishes the challenge of all aspects of rock climbing, from Bouldering to Himalayan peaks, but most of all dreams about Big Walls that may be free climbed in all corners of the globe.

Todd's climbing highlights include:
» the first free ascent of the Salathe Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park
» the first free ascent of the north face of Mt. Hooker in the Wind River Range
» the first free ascent of The Great Canadian Knife in the Cirque of the Unclimbables in the Yukon Territories
» the first free ascent of the Northwest Direct Route on Half Dome, Yosemite National Park
» the first free ascent of the East Face of Trango Tower in Pakistan's Karakoram Himalayas (the first grade 7 free climb in the world)
» the first free ascent of a new route on Kaga Pamari, Hand of Fatima Group, Mali West Africa
» the first free ascent of a new route, War and Poetry, on Ulamertorsuaq, in the Cape Farewell region of Greenland
» the First free ascent of the East Face of Poi, Ndoto Mtns of Northern Kenya.

Skinner's accomplishments have been covered by periodicals including National Geographic (cover feature on Nameless Tower 4/96 and article on Vietnam 12/97), Life Magazine, Outside Magazine, USA Today, Climbing, and Rock and Ice - and the premier issue of National Geographic Adventure, April 1999.

His expeditions to Pakistan, Vietnam, Mali, Greenland have been featured on the Outdoor Life Channel.


A Memorial Fund has been established for his wife and three young children. To donate please send contributions to:

Todd Skinner Memorial Fund

Skinner Memorial Fund
c/o Atlantic City Federal Credit Union
704 W. Main Street
Lander, WY 82520
Phone: 307-332-5151


Other articles about Todd Skinner:
» Broken Harness Likely Caused Skinner's Death
» Todd Skinner Killed in Yosemite
» Todd Skinner 1958-2006
» Todd Skinner

Sources:,,, and




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