254 - January 2007

254 - January 2007

Ivo Ninov charges up the Machine Head Wall during the first sub-24-hour (just barely) ascent of Native Son (VI 5.9 A4), El Capitan, Yosemite. Photo: John Dickey


Todd Skinner 1958–2006 — LOSS OF A LEGENDOn October 23, the climbing world suffered a tremendous blow when Todd Skinner, the iconic big-wall free-climbing pioneer, fell to his death on Yosemite’s Leaning Tower. What went wrong that day?By Matt Samet

THE LIFE AND CLIMBS OF TODD SKINNERTodd Skinner was more than just the sum of his climbs — he was a “friend to all who came as friends,” according to one of his good friends. Here, a longtime partner celebrates Skinner’s legacy, on and off the rock.By Steve Bechtel

SLAB HAPPYBlurring the distinction between scrambling and rock climbing, Boulder’s gently reclined Flatirons are a moderate multi-pitch paradise where even long runouts don’t seem so bad on the friendly sandstone.By Bill Wright • Photos by Andrew Burr

SPEED DEMONSHow the hell do they do that? Take a visual sprint up El Cap with two of the Valley’s big-wall masters as they speed climb Native Son, a full-bore A4 nailing route.By Jonathan Thesenga • Photos by John Dickey


EDITORIAL UninsuredRecent spinal-cord injuries to well-known climbers remind us that health insurance, though expensive, is a critical necessity. But, how do we afford it when most of us can barely save enough cash for a new rope or rock shoes?LETTERSThe re-subscription blues, a climber finds enlightenment during his battle with cancer, important insight into the use of the SUM, and more fussing and fighting about stick-clipsHOT FLASHESCho Oyu sees a proud solo ascent and a senseless murder; Michael Reardon free solos the eight-pitch Sea of Tranquility (5.11+) at the Needles, CA; Meru Central’s Shark’s Fin direttissima finally goes … or does it?; Will Gadd becomes a Yamabushi at “the Yam”; Angie Payne escapes the grips of the The Vice (V10) in a day; and much more …OFF THE WALLTrophy homes with custom climbing walls — is this the next big thing? Plus, a blast from the past, with Jerry Moffatt; obsessed climber bags Colorado’s 741 highest peaks at the tender age of 39; manpris: back in style (Mon dieu!); and why soap trumps dirtbag deodorantCLASSIC CLIMBSWith a little route-finding cunning and plenty of slab savvy, you, too, can take a Walk on the Wild Side (5.7+) up this three-pitch mega-route in Joshua Tree.BY CEDAR WRIGHT • PHOTOS BY GREG EPPERSONRoadKillA blown digit, sudden blindness, abject poverty, and Red River Gorge spring breakers gone wild — welcome to a season in hellBY WHITNEY BOLANDGALLERYPsychedelic climbing in Cali, tufa pimping in Spain, following in the footsteps (and handholds) of Robbins on America’s first 5.9, and a gnarly ice drip busts loose — with the climber attachedTECH TIPSSport: Outta ammo? Reload those guns by redpoint restingMixed: Mixed mastery — leashless-tool tricks for winter warriorsEQUIPMENTHigh-value hangs: 11 super-versatile harnesses for all-around useJUST OUTGear up for winter with equipment from La Sportiva, CAMP, Black Diamond, Mammut, and MSRGEAR YOU NEEDCome one, come all, to the greatest show on ice: the Grade V, 2,300-foot Polar Circus in CanadaBy Dave Sheldon10 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT … Bishop, California, the East Side climber’s mecca and new seat of America’s bouldering renaissance