Over a cup of coffee this morning, I sat down to read the usual news. Paris Hilton is a changed woman, Conrad Black speachless of his conviction, natural resource stocks are climbing. Yah Yah yah. What ripped at my gut was the news of Michael Reardon, rockandice.com and climbing.com.
It was as shocking to me as the tragic death of Todd Skinner. I sincerely hope Mike will turn up safely. I hope with every fibre that he can fall into that “bubble” which he speaks of so pationately about his free soloing exploits and fight to stay on the surface. He is a master of overcoming fear and personal limits and I have hope.
Michael Reardon Missing in Ireland
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 rouge 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.