I meet Todd Skinner on the rock. You should be more surprised to learn I'm a climber, then I would meet him there.
In the early 1990's, I geared up and headed to the Wichita Mountans in southwest Oklahoma, to enjoy the outdoors and test myself against nature. I learned it's hard to defy the law of gravity. Rock is hard and rock climbers are very independent and territorial. Unless you crazy, you climb with a partner. I have few friends and so I often found myself repelling down the mountain taking pictures almost more then climbing up. On one notable trip, I came across a small group of climbers leading routes on Mt. Scott. I watch for a while and then moved on. As I was leaving one of them noticed I was alone and ask where my partner was. I told him my only partner was my ten year old son but he wasn't with me today. He ask what routes I like to climb. I pointed to a crack on the wall and I told him I didn't get to climb much because my son was so much smaller then I was. He invited me to climb with them. I introduced myself and he told me his name was Todd. That was was a very enjoyable day. I learned later who he was.
I think this story describes Todd very well. He was an atypical climber and person in lots of ways. Unlike most climbers he was very social. He was one of those people that just lifted your sprites just to be around.
He gave a talk at my local climbing supply store about his climbs in Yosemite and the next day spent some time climbing in Chandler Park in Tulsa Oklahoma. I took my Nathan to meet him.
Todd died this week doing what he love, Climbing in Yosemite. Details of the accident are incomplete at this time, but it appears that he and his partner Jim Hewitt were working on a free route on the 1,200-foot monolith. Information on the accident will follow as we receive it. Todd and Jim were rappelling the route "Jesus Built My Hot Rod" and were several hundred feet above the base when the accident occurred.
Todd lived in Lander, Wyoming and is survived by his wife Amy, son Jake, and daughters Hannah and Sarah.
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