Todd Richard Skinner (October 27, 1958 – October 23, 2006) was an American rock climber and expert in big wall climbing. He made the first free ascents of many routes around the world, including his historic first free ascent with Paul Piana in 1988 of the Salathe Wall on El Capitan in Yosemite; it was one of the first-ever big wall climbs at 5.13b (8a), and led to the birth of "free climbing" Yosemite.
Skinner's story was told in Jeff Smoot's 2019 book, Hangdog Days.
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.
Half Dome is a granite dome at the eastern end of Yosemite Valley in Yosemite National Park, California. It is a well-known rock formation in the park, named for its distinct shape. One side is a sheer face while the other three sides are smooth and round, making it appear like a dome cut in half. The granite crest rises more than 4,737 ft (1,444 m) above the valley floor.
El Capitan is a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, on the north side of Yosemite Valley, near its western end. The granite monolith is about 3,000 feet (914 m) from base to summit along its tallest face and is a popular objective for rock climbers.
Alexander Huber, is a German rock climber and mountaineer. He became a professional climber in 1997, and was widely regarded as the world's strongest climber in the late-1990s, and is an important figure in rock climbing history. Huber has set records in several different rock climbing disciplines, including extreme free solos, new hardest sport climbing routes, and bold first free ascents in big wall climbing.
Steve Roper is a noted climber and historian of the Sierra Nevada in the United States. He along with Allen Steck are the founding editors of the Sierra Club journal Ascent.
Tommy Caldwell is an American rock climber who has set records in sport climbing, traditional climbing, and in big-wall climbing. Caldwell made the first free ascents of several major routes on El Capitan in Yosemite National Park.
Royal Robbins was one of the pioneers of American rock climbing. After learning to climb at Tahquitz Rock, he went on to make first ascents of many big wall routes in Yosemite. As an early proponent of boltless, pitonless clean climbing, he, along with Yvon Chouinard, was instrumental in changing the climbing culture of the late 1960s and early 1970s by encouraging the use and preservation of the natural features of the rock. He went on to become a well-known kayaker.
Warren Harding was one of the most accomplished and influential American rock climbers of the 1950s to 1970s. He was the leader of the first team to climb El Capitan, Yosemite Valley, in 1958. The route they climbed, known as The Nose, ascends 2,900 feet (880 m) up the central buttress of what is one of the largest granite monoliths in the world. Harding climbed many other first ascents in Yosemite, some 28 in all, as well as making the first true big-wall ascents in the Sierra Nevada range of California.
Jim Bridwell was an American rock climber and mountaineer, active since 1965, especially in Yosemite Valley, but also in Patagonia and Alaska. He was noted for pushing the standards of both free climbing and big-wall climbing, and later alpine climbing. He wrote numerous articles on climbing for leading sport publications. He was an apprentice to Royal Robbins and Warren Harding (climber). He was the unofficial leader of the Stonemasters.
Thomas Huber is a German climber and mountaineer. He lives in Berchtesgaden with his family. His brother and regular climbing partner is Alexander Huber, and the two are called "Huberbuam" (Huberboys) in the Bavarian dialect; they were the subject of the 2007 film To the Limit. In 2001, Huber won the 10th Piolet d'Or award with Iwan Wolf for their ascent of the direct north pillar of Shivling.
In the history of rock climbing, the three main sub-disciplines: bouldering, single-pitch climbing, and big wall climbing can trace their origins to late 19th-century Europe. Bouldering started in Fontainebleau, and was advanced by Pierre Allain in the 1930s, and John Gill in the 1950s. Big wall climbing started in the Dolomites, and was spread across the Alps in the 1930s by climbers such as Emilio Comici and Riccardo Cassin, and in the 1950s by Walter Bonatti, before reaching Yosemite where it was led in the 1950s to 1970s by climbers such as Royal Robbins. Single-pitch climbing started pre-1900 in both the Lake District and in Saxony, and by the 1970s had spread widely with climbers such as Ron Fawcett (Britain), Bernd Arnold (Germany), Patrick Berhault (France), Ron Kauk and John Bachar (USA),
Beth Rodden is an American rock climber known for her ascents of hard single-pitch traditional climbing routes. She was the youngest woman to climb 5.14a (8b+) and is one of the only women in the world to have redpointed a 5.14c (8c+) traditional climbing graded climb. Rodden and fellow climber Tommy Caldwell were partners from 2000 to 2010, during which time they completed the second free ascent of The Nose. In 2008, Rodden made the first ascent of Meltdown, one of the hardest traditional climbs in the world and the first time in history that a female climber matched the peak of the highest climbing grades.
Stephanie "Steph" Davis is an American rock climber, BASE jumper, and wingsuit flyer. She is one of the world's leading climbers, having completed some of the hardest routes in the world. She has free soloed up to 5.11a (6b+), and was the first woman to summit all the peaks of the Fitzroy Range in Patagonia, the second woman to free climb El Capitan in a day, the first woman to free climb the Salathė Wall on El Capitan, the first woman to free solo The Diamond on Longs Peak in Colorado, and the first woman to summit Torre Egger. Davis was married to fellow climbers and BASE jumpers Dean Potter and Mario Richard, and currently to sky-diving instructor, flyer, and jumper Ian Mitchard. Davis is also a blogger who writes about her interests in climbing, BASE jumping, yoga, and veganism.
The Nose is one of the original technical climbing routes up El Capitan. Once considered impossible to climb, El Capitan is now the standard for big-wall climbing. It is recognized in the historic climbing text Fifty Classic Climbs of North America and considered a classic around the world.
The Salathé Wall is one of the original technical climbing routes up El Capitan, a 3,000-foot (900 m) high granite monolith in Yosemite National Park. The Salathé Wall was named by Yvon Chouinard in honor of John Salathé, a pioneer of rock climbing in Yosemite. The route is recognized in the historic climbing text Fifty Classic Climbs of North America and considered a classic around the world.
Peter Croft is a Canadian rock climber and mountaineer. He has concentrated much of his rock climbing career on big routes in Yosemite National Park, Squamish, British Columbia as well as the High Sierra. He received The American Alpine Club’s Robert & Miriam Underhill Award in 1991.
Thomas "Tom" M. Frost was an American rock climber known for big wall climbing first ascents in Yosemite Valley. He was also a photographer and climbing equipment manufacturer. Frost was born in Hollywood, California, and died in Oakdale, California.
Charles Marshall Pratt was an American rock climber known for big wall climbing first ascents in Yosemite Valley. He was also a long-time climbing instructor and mountain guide with Exum Mountain Guides in the Grand Tetons.
Hazel Findlay is a British traditional climber, sport climber and big wall climber. She was the first female British climber to climb a route graded E9, and a route graded 8c (5.14b). She did the third ascent of the Yosemite traditional route Magic Line 5.14c (8c+). She has free climbed El Capitán four times on four different routes and made many first female ascents on other routes. Climbing magazine gave her their Golden Piton award for traditional climbing in 2013.
Mayan Smith-Gobat is a professional big-wall climber from New Zealand and, as of 2019, held the record for fastest all-female team ascent of El Capitan's The Nose in Yosemite, California at four hours and forty three minutes. Smith-Gobat, along with climbing partner Libby Sauter, completed the climb in October, 2014. Other notable ascents include her 2012 first female ascent (FFA) of Punks in the Gym (5.14a) in the Arapiles climbing region of Australia, and the first all female Half Dome/El Cap link up in Yosemite in 2013.
Brad Gobright was an American rock climber known for free solo climbing.