Michael Reardon (climber)

Climber Profile: Michael Reardon
Name: Michael Reardon

Michael Reardon Free Solo 1.jpg

Birth: 1965-5-1, Quonset Point, Rhode Island, USA[1]
Death: 2007-7-13, Valentia Island, County Kerry, Ireland[1]
Type of Climber: Free Solo
Notable Solo Ascents: Equinox (5.12c/d) at Joshua Tree National Park, CA
EBGBs (5.10d) at Joshua Tree National Park, CA
Ghetto Blaster (5.13b) at Malibu Creek State Park, CA
Urban Struggle (5.12b) at Malibu Creek State Park
Lateralus (5.14a) at Malibu Creek State Park
Pirate at Suicide Rocks, CA
Notable On-Sight Solo Ascents: Outrage (5.13a) at Boney Bluffs in the Santa Monica Mountains, CA
Romantic Warrior (V 5.12b) at Needles, CA
Sea of Tranquility (V 5.11d, A0) at Needles, CA
214 routes in England including Neon Dust (5.13b/c) at Froggatt
Palisade Traverse (VI 5.9) in 22 hours (the previous ascent took 12 days) in the Sierra Mountain Range, CA
Notable First Ascents Solos: More than 150, including:
Waiting for Guntess (5.13a) at Malibu Creek State Park, CA
Shikata Ga Nai (V5.12) at Needles, CA
MRSR (5.12a) at Joshua Tree National Park, CA
Rainy Days (5.12d) at Ailladie, Ireland
Favorite Climb: The Vampire (III 5.11) at Tahquitz, CA
Sponsors: Metolius Climbing
Nemo Equipment
Leki Poles

Michael Reardon was a professional American Free Solo Climber, filmmaker, motivational speaker and writer. Reardon perished after being swept to sea by a rogue wave, shortly after climbing a sea cliff in County Kerry, Ireland[1].


General information

Michael Reardon was one of only a few professional Free Solo climbers. He traveled the world looking for the next ultimate solo climb, giving motivational speeches and presenting slideshows.

Reardon was known for leaving mementos for those who follow him. Examples include plastic tigers attached to bolts and over-sized panties in summit registers.

He lived with his wife Marci and daughter Nikki in Oak Park, California.

Climbing History

Reardon started climbing as a child on the boulders in his grandfather’s backyard. Together with his cousins, both his climbing skills and his interest in climbing were challenged and developed. Bouldering in a backyard turned to 3-day hikes in the Appalachian Mountains, and then to ridgerunning in the Rocky Mountains. Reardon eventually found himself in California where his climbing skills were fostered even further.

Reardon’s first formal climb was at Tahquitz, CA on a 1,000-foot route called Whodunit (5.9), with a “crusty old climber.” As the story goes, halfway up the route, the crusty handed Michael some gear and told him, “You’ll use these when you’re scared.”

After the successful ascent, the pair had enough time to climb a 500 foot 5.7. Reardon had now officially caught the climbing bug. Because he didn’t have any friends to climb with, or any gear of his own, Reardon was forced to start climbing without ropes. He returned to the 5.7 climb, and soon found himself at the top, without having to rely on any ropes.

Scholastic History

Reardon attended the University of California at Los Angeles, graduating with B.S. degrees in Philosophy and Political Science, then later graduated from the Pepperdine University School of Law with a Juris Doctor Degree.

Professional History

Reardon acted as the Head of Business Affairs for Harvey Entertainment, then as a Partner/the Head of Production of Black Sky Entertainment. At the time of his death, he owned Jumprunner Productions, a video production company that produced several documentaries about notable rock climbers.

Reported Missing in Ireland

At 5pm IST on July 13, 2007, Reardon was reported missing after he was hit by a rogue wave and swept out to sea, shortly after climbing down the 600 ft (180m) Fogher Cliff (Lat 51.9236; Long -10.3556) just west of Valentia Coast Guard Station in County Kerry, Ireland.[1][2] A coastal search was immediately undertaken by the nearby Coast Guard lifeboat, a rescue helicopter, cliff rescue teams and local people, who searched unsuccessfully [3]. His body was never recovered.

Notable Achievements

  • Equinox (5.12c/d) and EBGBs (5.10d), Joshua Tree National Park, CA, USA
  • 1,000 individual solos in 30 days and 100 first ascent solos up to 5.12 at Joshua Tree National Park, CA
  • Ghetto Blaster (5.13b) and “Urban Struggle” (5.12b) at Malibu Creek, CA
  • Pirate at Suicide Rocks, CA
  • Onsight solo of Outrage (5.13a) at Boney Bluffs
  • Onsight solo of Romantic Warrior (V 5.12b) which National Geographic gave Michael "Adventurer of the Year for in 2005, Sea of Tranquility (V 5.11d, A0) and the first ascent solo of Shikata Ga Nai (V 5.12) at the Needles, CA
  • Onsight solo of 214 routes in England including Neon Dust (5.13b/c)
  • Onsight solo of 240 routes in Ireland including the first ascent of Rainy Days (5.12+) at Ailladie
  • The first solo of the Palisade Traverse (VI 5.9) in 22 hours (the previous ascent took 12 days) in the Sierra Mountain Range, USA


· Metolius Climbing
· Acopa
· Nemo Equipment
· Leki Poles
· Jetboil
· Livity Outernational WWW.LiViTY.Org

Media Appearances

· The New York Times
· National Geographic
· Climbing Magazine
· NBC World of Adventure Sports
· The “Climb On” video series
· Film: “Return to Sender”
· Film: “No Strings Attached”

Related Companies

· Damon Corso – Photographer
· Mark Niles – Photographer
· Jumprunner Productions – Production Company
· Petrala – Production Company
· Westlake Marketing Works – Marketing Company

Photo gallery


  1. ^ a b c Michael Reardon (Obituary, The Independent) Accessed 2009-5-20

External links

The Official Michael Reardon Website - http://www.freesoloist.com
Michael's MySpace - http://www.myspace.com/freesoloist
In Memory of Michael Reardon - http://euroclimbing.com/?p=437
Michael Reardon circuit video at Stony Point, CA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TO2Hrp7cYI
Michael Reardon circuit video at Malibu Creek, CA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E89t8qI1tH8
Michael Reardon circuit video at Joshua Tree, CA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dojDFsoZ0ms
Michael Reardon circuit video at The Needles, CA - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1S25J99Wmgc
Michael Reardon video at Dalkey, Ireland - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aa-WFmpTde8


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