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Bren Whelan14 Jul 2007
Just Heard this on the news:
This news is just coming out this morning on the Irish news
Man missing after Kerry cliff fall
From ireland.com19:52Friday, 13th July, 2007
Lifeboats and the Irish Coastguard helicopter are searching for a missing American climber who fell about 70 feet into the sea off Valentia Island on the Kerry Coast this evening.
They've named the climber as Micheal Reardon....American soloist :
A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport said that two American men had been climbing cliffs at Wireless Point at around 5.15pm.
They had just completed their climb and removed their gear to go walking when one of them "slipped on kelp".
"He fell about 70 feet into the water," the spokeswoman said.
The second man raised the alarm and the Valentia lifeboat was launched to search for the man who fell.
The lifeboat and the Shannon-based search and rescue helicopter, coastguard and cliff rescue units are all continuing the search this evening.
A MAJOR search and rescue operation was underway off the Co Kerry coast last night after a world-famous rock climber fell from a cliff and plunged into the sea.
Michael Reardon, an American in his early 30s, is considered to be one of the leading free solo climbers in the world.
Such extreme climbers shun equipment such as ropes and crampons and instead use only their hands and boots to scale rock faces hundreds of feet high.
He arrived in the country around two weeks ago as part of a tourism promotion and is understood to have been helping promote adventure holidays in Ireland to American and European tourists.
He had been staying in Killarney and was visiting Valentia Island with two friends when the accident occurred shortly after 5pm yesterday.
Mr Reardon had been walking along the top of a cliff at Dohilla when he slipped on some heavy kelp and was unable to regain his footing. He plunged some 75ft into the sea below. The alarm was raised by his fellow climbers.
A large air and sea search was quickly underway with three local fishing vessels assisting the Valentia lifeboat and Knightstown Coastguard. The Shannon-based Sea King Coastguard helicopter, which is equipped with infra-red cameras, was also scrambled to scan the coastline.
On land, members of the Kerry Mountain Rescue and local hill-walking clubs scanned the shore assisted by around 20 local people.
However, by late last night, there was still no sign of the talented climber. Rescuers said visibility was good and they were due to continue the search until the light faded late last night. The spot where Mr Reardon fell is located just underneath the Valentia Coastguard station and is popular with climbing enthusiasts.
Just two months ago in the United States, Mr Reardon completed some of the most difficult climbs in The Rockies. He has also done some of the most challenging descents around the world. Fellow rock climbers said last night that "his whole life revolves around climbing".
His face has featured on the front covers of more American and European climbing magazines than any other climber since Chris Bonnington, the English mountaineer and Everest climber.
i've been meaning to climb in ireland for years. I'll get round to it one day
Bren Whelan14 Jul 2007
Please show some respect for a fellow climber lads!
The search is still taking place at the moment with no news updates. The tide was going out at the time of the fall, with a strong sea...last time a spokesman was on air he said, Michael was strong and fit, but with the power of the turning tide...If I hear anymore I'll update you guys.
In reply to Bren Whelan: Oh no. Sounds very bad, but let's hope for the best. From what I've heard of Michael - his love for climbing and his philososophy of pushing the limits - this accident would deprive the climbing community of a considerable talent.
Search continues for missing climber
Saturday, 14 July 2007 16:02
A search is taking place off the south west coast for the American rock climber, Michael Reardon, who was swept out to sea yesterday evening.
Navy divers are hoping to dive at Valentia later today after an initial safety assessment.
Mr Reardon, who was 36, was due to return to the United States today. He had been in Ireland for the past month along with a photographer who was taking pictures of him climbing for an American magazine.
Con Moriarty, whose house Mr Reardon was staying in, said the famous climber was just standing on a ledge, west of Valentia Coast Guard Station when he was hit by a wave and then slipped.
He had completed a short climb just before he was struck by a wave. The alarm was raised shortly after 5pm yesterday. Mr Moriarty said he was unable to get himself out of the sea.
Mr Reardon's wife Marci and his 13-year-old daughter are on their way to Ireland and are set to arrive here tomorrow morning.
Mr Reardon is understood to be one of the leading free solo climbers in the world. The term applies to climbers who do not use equipment to scale great heights.
Sorry to hear this news, I am sure it will become clearer with time.
As to the waves, myself,Chris Jackson and John Fleming found this crag in the early 90s. We did about 30 new routes in the first 2 weeks, however we could not understand why there was no loose rock on the ledges.
We asked the man at the wireless station if he had ever seen other climber, he said we were the first he had seen, however it all made sense when he told us that the winter waves broke right over the top of the crag. Sweeping it clean. This crag is similar to Pembroke in height.
Bren Whelan14 Jul 2007
In reply to bill briggs: Cheers for that insight Bill. On the Irish TV tonight they showed footage of the area, as you say it had an odd swept clean look about. The weather is due to turn bad here tomorrow, with off shore winds on the way. Hopefully, they find Michael quickly...
I've been trying to figure out what to say in rememberance of Michael. Since I will most likely be seeing his friends and family tomorrow or soon after. For many reading this it is just another abstract posting about someone they never met. Well instead of making abstracted and detached anonymous comment, what would you like me to tell them - on your behalf?
Personally, I don't know what to say, just a bit shocked really.
Stalky15 Jul 2007
In reply to Dominic Green: Just tell them that you'll be there to support them in anyway that they need. Anything else will come across as bull.
That he died doing something he loved will be of no consequence at the moment.
There's no reason why this sort of random death should be any more horrible in the case of a climber who took risks elsewhere others wouldn't take, but somehow the irony makes it so.
I was watching the Dambusters earlier tonight. At the end Barnes Wallis says if he'd know fifty-six men were going to be killed on the mission he'd never have invented the bomb, and Gibson consoles him by saying that if they'd known they weren't going to come back they'd have gone anyway. Rather a toe-curling scene, but thought-provoking anyway, especially when one then logs on and reads something like this.
Tragic irony of climber swept out to sea by freak wave
THE devastated photographer friend of world-famous rock climber Michael Reardon, who was swept away by a freak wave while standing on a flat ledge along the coast of Kerry, has spoken of the tragic irony of the incident.
"The sad irony of it was that Michael wasn't climbing at the time. He was standing about a metre away from the sea on a flat ledge, which was only about three feet over the Atlantic, when a rogue wave came and knocked him over," said Con Moriarty.
"It buckled his knees so he fell onto his back and slid down an algae ledge and into the surf where he was unable to get back again. He was carried by a current and was last seen a few hundred metres out, shouting and waving."
Mr Reardon, an American in his early 30s and one of the world's leading free solo climbers, was staying with Mr Moriarty at the foot of the Macgillycuddy's Reeks, Co Kerry, during a month-long visit to the area, designed to promote Irish adventure holidays to the US market.
"We were to have dinner later that night," the stunned photographer explained. "He was anxious to taste some malt whiskey before he went home. He was here for a month and due to go home yesterday."
Mr Reardon is part of a group of extreme climbers who shun equipment such as ropes and crampons and instead use only their hands and boots to scale rock faces hundreds of feet high.
Mr Reardon's wife Marcy and daughter Nicky, 13, are due to arrive in Ireland today to wait for word on the outcome of the massive sea and air rescue operation.
".....The search continues but Michael is presumed lost. In order to honour Michael and his great love of climbing here in Ireland, a memorial gathering of his family and friends will take place next Tuesday 17/07 at 4pm. This gathering will take place at the Fogher Cliffs, adjacent to the Coast Guard Station, where Michael was taken from us. All are welcome to attend."
> Micheal is a vibrant, larger than life character, who lived more in 36 years than most live in 90.
> I'm sorry for his family's loss. After their period of coping with grief I hope they move on with gusto and verve. I'm sure Mikey's already having an amazing time on the greatest adventure of all.
I enjoyed the time I spent bouldering with Michael in Joshua Tree. His enthusiasm was infectious and he will indeed be missed.
In reply to Dominic Green:
There's absolutely nothing you can say to remotely ease their pain at a time like this, but I would like to think that the sincere sympathies of the Climbing Community here in Ireland are extended to those who held him dear. Such a tragic waste of an inspiring spirit.
In reply to Bren Whelan: Met him at the crag in the Burren last weekend. Was a thoroughly nice chap. Contrary to alot of the hype i'd read about him prior to now. Shame the climbing community has lost another great character. My feelings go out to his family & friends at this time.
In reply to plaz:
A recent news report - Mike's wife and child are now in Ireland:
The wife and teenage daughter of the world-famous American climber who was swept out to sea off the Kerry coast are clinging to hope that he is still alive.
Michael Reardon's wife, Marci and their daughter, Nicki (13) arrived in Ireland from Los Angeles at lunchtime yesterday and went straight to the cliff where he was last seen.
There they met with rescue personnel involved in the search and watched as efforts to find the climber continued.
Marci and Nicki are said to be hopeful that Michael is still alive as he is a particularly strong swimmer and a superbly fit man.
A vigil is to be held for his safe return tomorrow in Valentia. The family were accompanied yesterday by Kerry mountaineer, Con Moriarty, a close friend of the missing man.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the photographer who was with Mr Reardon when he fell into the sea tried to throw him a rope. Visual contact was also maintained with Mr Reardon for some moments and he also responded to calls.
The photographer then ran to alert the local lifeboat which was immediately launched.
He's not the first nor sadly the last climber of note to be taken by the Sea.
IIRC, John Cunningham (of 50/s 60's Creagh Dhu fame) was swept out to sea from Gogarth in the 70's, and Damian Cook lost his life when DWS in Majorca a few years ago. On each occasion it was a rogue wave or current that was the cause rather than the climb or the fall.
I thought I would post Michael's last blog entry on Acopa's website. Acopa is John Bachar's shoe company that sponsored Reardon. The Steve referenced is Steve Karafa, Bachar's partner in Acopa who was a good friend of Reardon's and was killed in a car accident last year.
One Last Look...
Michael Reardon on Oct 24, 2006
The sun kisses my cheek and warms my back as I sink my hands into the cool granite crack. A fog bank from the evening before dissipates into the valley below. It has been a year since I touched this stone. No one climbs at the Needles this time of year and I have the place to myself. Thirty feet up and a wave of comfort washes over my bones, allowing the memories to come in. In the last twelve months climbing has brought me to a handful of countries, allowed me to hang out with legends, and meet hundreds of people, many of whom I now call my friends. Climbing also kept me from my daughter’s dance, stopped me from holding my wife every night, and had me too far away to help my friends when one of our own died. The life of a climber is a glorious adventure, but the painstaking details of daily life get lost in the process. However, there are memories… Five pitches in and the rhythm takes hold, opening the gates within my mind. A crimp in my right hand sends me to last winter as I watched in awe as Bachar spent fifteen minutes milking the same size hold that is now cramping my fingertips after thirty seconds. Two more pitches and my left hand wraps around a sloper, moist with the morning dew like the chilly pint shared with Henry that prompted a trip to England. My foot refuses to stick to a smear and I’m with Mark in Ireland working a limestone project. Grabbing a rail, I allow my feet to swing about like Maddaloni did off a wooden beam in Canada. A sharp crystal punctures my skin like a fishhook, and suddenly I freeze. A mile below the fog has moved on, revealing the Kern River and I flash to a picture of Steve fishing a lazy curve in the river. My eyes sting from the watery salt the memory incurs. I find a ledge and let the emotions pour out. Death has that effect on people. Another memory, from a long night of whiskey and fun brings an eruption of laughter and it’s finally time to move on. Climbing, like memories, is not about living in the past, but enjoying the present with anticipation for the future. I give the ledge one last look, then, like the memory attached to it, move to the next hold and the adventures that lay ahead.
ROCK climber Michael Reardon pushed himself to the limit of his abilities, but ships were never meant to remain in harbours.
Tribute was paid to the fearless way the solo climber lived his life, at a moving ceremony on the cliff-top overlooking his last dramatic climb on Valentia Island, Co Kerry yesterday.
Up to 150 people gathered in sunshine to pay their respects to the 35-year-old American who was washed out to sea on Friday, after scaling the cliff-face twice.
A hundred feet below, Navy and Garda sub-aqua teams scoured the sea-bed for any trace of the man renowned among climbers and mountaineers for his daring exploits without ropes or safety equipment.
A traditional lament on harp and tin whistle opened the ceremony attended by the missing man's wife Marci, their 13-year-old daughter Nicki, close friends, members of the rescue services, the gardai, local people and well-known figures from the sporting and climbing worlds.
These included the mountain-running champion John Lenihan and Kerry football great and island native Mick O'Connell.
Father Kevin McNamara, a curate attached to Killarney parish, led the prayers. Michael Reardon "wouldn't hurt a rock by putting a claw into it", in order to preserve it for future generations, he said.
He had left a mark that would never be forgotten. He had pushed things to the limit. A ship was safe when in harbour, but that was not what ships were for, the priest said.
West Kerry GP and poet Micheal Fanning read two of his poems: 'I run with the winds and moods', which he dedicated to Mr Reardon's daughter, and 'Odysseus', a poem about daring people and those waiting for them, dedicated to Marci Reardon.
Among many contributors, Mr Reardon's friend and mountaineer Con Moriarty, with whom he stayed while in Kerry, said people had gathered to honour "a beautiful man" and a "truly extraordinary" climber. "I saw him as an artist," he added.
Towards the end of the ceremony, Nicki, tearful throughout the hour-long ceremony, spoke briefly of her father who was "louder" than most people and larger than life.
Flowers were brought to the scene along with a plaque made of local Valentia slate. A haunting rendition on the bagpipes of the Blasket island elegy 'Port na bPucai', an air said to echo the journey of the departing soul, ended the ceremony.
Those on the cliff waved to the divers on the boats below.
Mr Moriarty asked for prayers that the ongoing search would bring closure for Mr Reardon's friends and family.
In reply to Bren Whelan: Michaels writing resonates closely with what we all feel at points in climbing - that feeling of the present experience separated from external distractions. It's a real loss to us all that such a talent of both climbing and writing has gone. Sincere condolences to all who knew him, most of us will never now have that chance.
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