Bren Whelan broke the news this morning on the UKClimbing.com forums that the US climber, Michael Reardon, well-known for his solo ascents was missing off Valentia Island on the Kerry Coast, Ireland (see the thread here) .
Ireland's RTE, link, reports on Saturday, 14 July 2007 22:24:
"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."
Michael was a flamboyant character, very Hollywood in nature, indeed he was involved in the film industry with several mainstream film credits to his name as well as several climbing videos. He was a very passionate climber, with a pinch of hype, that did attract some criticism. He achieved important alpine ascents in California's Sierra Nevada significantly the formidable Palisade Traverse in under 24 hrs and a solo of Romantic Warrior a multi-pitch 5.12 (E5) in the celestial Needles of California, and mammoth solo days at Joshua Tree, CA, and in England and Ireland.
You can read more about Michael Reardon at www.freesoloist.com,