Todd Skinner 1958-2006
In 1991 Skinner with Piana and Rowell spent 16 days on the remote Mount Proboscis in Canada’s Logan Mountains (North West Territories) to make the first ascent of The Great Canadian Knife VI 5.13b, 17 pitches.
In 1993, with various partners (Nancy Feagin, Scott Franklin, Steve Schneider) he spent 61 days, from June till August, freeing Direct Northwest Face 5.13 c/d of Half Dome. Skinner was forced to spend 55 days on the first 300m of the 550m face. Just a few crux meters on the fourth pitch held him up for many days. Eleven of the 24 pitches were 5.12 or above, with four of “average” 5.13 and the crux rated at 5.13 c/d.
Two years later with Bobby Model, Mike Lilygren and Jeff Bechtel he established the second free route on the Nameless Tower in Pakistan. They spent 60 days on the wall. Their 33-pitch Cowboy Direct ascended the first part of the Yugoslav Route, then added over 300 meters of new climbing, and finished on the final section of Swiss/Polish route. The climbing was 99 percent in cracks offering numerous pitches of 5.11 and 5.12 and one pitch of 5.13. The nature of the climbing required very few bolts. The route was claimed as the world’s first Grade VII free climb.
In 1999, with Steve Bechtel, Scott Milton and Paul Piana, he made the first ascent of True At First Light (5.13b, 21 pitches) on the East face of Mt. Poi in Kenya. The line offered outstanding face climbing, mostly in 5.11 range, with a few 5.12 pitches and 5.13 crux sections on pitch 6 and pitch 20.
In 2001 Skinner and Piana made a serious attempt to free climb the Dihedral Wall of El Capitan.