"The dwarf reaches upwards willing his hands to close on rock after rock as he scales the barren cliff side. He reaches up and without thinking begins to pull himself up. Suddenly scree and rocks tumble down and he loses a handhold on one of the rocks. With willpower alone he reaches upward and grasps the edge of a tree root pulling him to safety."
Skill challenges are best used when the outcome is along a single line, or when a DM wants to fast forward through what could be an arduous storytelling experience. The reason they are not good to use in all situations is that they almost completely randomize what can be a very dynamic and interesting storytelling mechanic.
Here is how to use a skill conduit contest to make the process seem more dynamic while still giving the characters options and choices and plenty of roleplaying opportunities.