I was emailing with Paul Piana yesterday, and he wished me a Happy Salathé Day! 25 years ago, he and Todd Skinner made history. Here is how he described it in an interview with NPR
"Mr. PIANA: Well, it made a big splash in the climbing world, actually. It was something that the climbing world hadn't considered as possible. And in some ways, parts of our minds didn't consider it possible either, but we believed it just enough to continue trying. And we tried and we tried and we tried. And most of those tries we failed. We only succeeded on one of the tries. And I can remember being a rope length from the summit with Todd, when we knew we really had it done, we'd succeeded, and how much fun that was. I can't imagine giving so much physical and mental effort to succeed on something as ridiculous as climbing a big rock wall with anybody but Todd."
Free climbing thousands of vertical feet like that.....I cannot imagine the giddy feeling these to men must have felt as they finished something so bold.
The climbers of today continue to break records, climb new lines, and create rad new challenges for themselves, but without a doubt, Paul and Todd were an unforgeable team that opened the minds of many to what might be possible. Thanks to both of them for dreaming big and going on to live out those dream!
If you are interested in seeing some great photos of that trip. There is a collection of Bill Hatchers work on Todds website. Click Here for the Link