UKC

Michael Reardon - Eye witness report

© Damon Corso
Matt Samet, Editor of Climbing magazine, UKClimbing.com's USA news associate sent us the following report, with a photograph of Michael by Damon Corso. Photo here

Michael Reardon, 36, the accomplished free soloist based out of Oak Park, California, went missing off the southwestern coast of Ireland around 5 p.m. Friday. He had just completed a climb near the Valentia Marine Radio Station, on the small island of Valentia, when a rogue wave took him into the sea. He did not fall 70 feet from the cliff top, or while climbing, as earlier reports had indicated. This is a report from his friend, the photographer Damon Corso, who was there at the time:

“It was just another day of climbing on Atlantic sea cliffs in Ireland with Mike (Reardon). We had arrived on Valentia Island in a slight fog and drizzle. Mike took me around the bottom of Wireless Point to an inlet merely 15 feet above the roaring Atlantic, a situation we were now used to. We arrived at a spot he had climbed at alone two weeks prior. Mike up and downed two different climbs while I shot photos trying to combine him and the raw force of the waves crashing all around us. He finished the two climbs and was waiting, on an-algae covered platform, for the big swells to pass by so that he could walk back over to me on the opposite side of the inlet. A rogue wave came into the inlet and curved rightwards as it crashed into Mike. He tried to stabilize himself on the platform but the water was too powerful and sucked him in. The current pulled Mike out 150-plus meters in mere seconds. I ran up the hill to the Valentia Coast Guard station a mile away. Mike was still conscious in the water when I left him. The Coast Guard arrived on the scene no more than 15 minutes after the incident. Mike was nowhere to be seen at this point. Twelve volunteer rescue boats, the Coast Guard Lifeboat and Chopper were on the scene that evening.”

Rescue services worked until dark on Friday. And on Saturday, more Coast Guard boats and divers from the Naval Service combed the area, with searchers on foot looking along the shore. A helicopter with an infrared scanner searched on Friday and Saturday as well. Reardon had not been found as of Sunday, when it was reported that the search was scaling back.

Matt Samet, a friend of Michael's has just flown to Ireland to attend a memorial gathering of his family and friends that will take place this 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.

www.climbing.com


This post has been read 3,883 times

Return to Latest News

Support UKC

As climbers we strive to make UKClimbing the kind of website we would love to visit, with the most up-to-date news, diverse and interesting articles, comprehensive gear reviews, breathtaking photographs and a vast and useful logbook system. As a result, an incredible community has formed around the site - we’ve provided the framework but it’s you who make the website what it is today. If you appreciate the content we offer then you can help us by becoming an official UKC Supporter. This can be a one-off single annual payment or a more substantial payment paid monthly or yearly which includes full access to Rockfax Digital and discounts on Rockfax print publications.

If you appreciate UKClimbing then please help us by becoming a UKC Supporter.

UKC Supporter

  • Support the website we all know and love
  • Access to a year's subscription to Rockfax Digital.
  • Plus 30% off Rockfax guidebooks
  • Plus Show your support UKC porter badge on your profile and forum posts
UKC/UKH/Rockfax logo

16 Jul, 2007
Tragic and such a sorry tale. DWS is fun when it all goes well but a very sober reminder to take care out there. It’s hard to say words in this situation, but sincere Condolences to all. Si
Loading Notifications...
Facebook Twitter Copy Email LinkedIn Pinterest