In climbing I do things that I enjoy and want to do not the ones that are currently in fashion.
Muriel Sarkany
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Mick Fowler, b. 1956, Great Britain
Dean Potter, b. 1972, USA
Steph Davis, b. 1973, USA
Wojciech „Voytek” Kurtyka, b. 1947, Poland
Wolfgang Güllich 1960-1992, Germany

Todd Skinner, 1958-2006, USA

I would disagree with any statement that would imply that we are approaching any limit. In five years there will be climbs so hard that no one today is dreaming of them. 5.10, 5.11 and 5.12 are passé – they might be as well 5.8. The goal is far beyond. (Interview, 1985)

Aid climbing is not a valid ascent in our eyes and is little different from a helicopter ascent of a peak. One move of aid means total failure on the wall.




Wet Lycra Nightmare V 5.13d, Leaning Tower, Yosemite, first ascent, with Jim Hewett


True at First Light VI 5.13a, east face of Poi, Ndoto Mountains, Kenya, first free ascent, with Steve Bechtel, Scott Milton, and Paul Piana, outstanding face climbing, mostly in 5.11 range, with a few 5.12 pitches and 5.13 crux sections on pitch 6 and 20


War and Poetry (VI 5.12c), Ulamertorsuaq, Greenland, first ascent, with Steve Bechtel, Mike Lilygren, Peter Mallamo and Paul Piana,  mainly natural protection, the belays were equipped for a rappel descent


Harmattan Rodeo (VI 5.13c), Le Main de Fatima, Mali, first ascent, with Andy de Klerk, Ed February, Bill Hatcher, Scott Milton, Paul Piana.


Cowboy Direct VII 5.13a, 33 pitches, Nameless Tower,  Pakistan, first ascent, with Jeff Bechtel, Mike Lilygren, and Bobby Model, second free route on the face, spent 60 days on the wall, combined the first part of the Yugoslav Route with 300 meters of new climbing and 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.

We were met on the top by beautiful women, who gave us a candy and lemonade as payment to be in our summit photo. We laughed loudly, kissed women we had never met before, lamented not having pistols to shoot in the air and generally acted as Cowboys ought to do after completing the first free of the most difficult Big Wall in the world!

Todd Skinner

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Todd Skinner 1958-2006
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