Tragic Irony of Michael Reardon

Michael Reardon was someone who was known for constantly pushing the envelope when it came to ropeless climbing.  He logged thousands upon thousands of feet of freesolo climbing that could have been classified as insanity if not for his grace and skill at pushing the limits of what is possible when climbing with no safety margin.  These are the sorts of things that make his death so tragically ironic:

“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.”

Here is a bit more information that gives a clearer picture of how Reardon came to be perched on the ledge that he was swept from:

Michael Reardon, 33, had climbed down more than 600ft (180m) of the sheer Fogher Cliffs on Valentia Island without using ropes or harnesses. As a photographer took pictures of the jubilant solo free climber perching on a rock ledge a few feet from the swollen Atlantic Ocean a powerful wave engulfed him.


“Michael was on a real high after the climb. He was about 10ft above the sea and he let go and had his hands out, celebrating, to say he had completed the climb of his life. But then a rogue wave just came in.

“The wave hit him on the knees and he lost his balance and slipped on the algae. He was shouting for help but there was nothing Damon could do.”

Thoughts and prayers are with his young daughter and Wife.

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