On July 13, the climbing world lost a great one: Michael Reardon, 42, the accomplished free soloist from Oak Park, California. Reardon met with a freak accident at the headland of Dohilla, on the island of Valentia off the southwest coast of Ireland. The ocean conjured a rogue wave, and the wave took Michael while he stood just feet above the water.
“I’ve never been a middle-of-the-road kind of guy. It is too easy and causes complacency. You’re never wrong when you’re in the middle, but you’re never right.” In the last five years, Michael Reardon went big with ropeless free climbing — routes up to 5.13b in difficulty, some 900 feet high, some done as onsight first ascents. He was without peer in the free-soloing realm today, and his 2005 onsight solo of the Needles' Romantic Warrior (V 5.12b) and 2006 onsight-solo first ascent of the nearby arête Shikata Ga Nai (sandbag 5.11+, 800 feet), have left a high mark not likely to be equaled for some time.
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