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  1. #1
    Bottom Tier Superhero Iceaxe's Avatar
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    Michael Reardon, rock climber is swept away by rogue wave

    Michael Reardon, 42; free solo rock climber is swept away by rogue wave
    By Dennis McLellan, Times Staff Writer
    July 19, 2007

    Michael Reardon, a world renowned Southern California free solo rock climber who scaled towering cliff faces without a rope, was presumed dead after a rogue wave swept him into the sea Friday on an island off the southwest coast of Ireland.

    The 42-year-old Oak Park, Calif.-based Reardon, known as a free soloist for scaling cliffs equipped only with sticky rubber-soled shoes and a chalk bag to keep his hands dry, had just finished two successful cliff climbs on the small island of Valentia when he disappeared into the sea.

    "It was just another day of climbing on Atlantic sea cliffs in Ireland with Mike," photographer Damon Corso said in a first-person account on http://www.climbing.com . "Mike took me around the bottom of Wireless Point to an inlet merely 15 feet above the roaring Atlantic."

    After Reardon finished his two cliff climbs, Corso said, he "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 rogue 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 no more than 15 minutes after Reardon was swept out to sea, Corso said, but Reardon was nowhere to be seen. By evening, he said, 12 volunteer rescue boats, the Coast Guard lifeboat and a helicopter were on the scene.

    As divers continued to search for Reardon's body, the Irish Independent reported that on Tuesday up to 150 people — including Reardon's wife, Marci, and 13-year-old daughter Nicki — gathered on the Valentia Island cliff-top to pay their respects to the climber.

    As one of the world's top free soloists, Reardon was known for numerous climbing accomplishments, including a total of 16,000 vertical feet of climbing along various routes on Tahquitz, the granite spire outside Idyllwild, Calif., and completing the nine-mile-long "Palisade Traverse" in the eastern Sierra in 22 hours.

    He also soloed 280 climbing routes in one day at Joshua Tree National Park.

    "A lot of what he did just seemed unfathomable," Tom Bristow, a close friend and climber, told The Times on Wednesday. "He had an incredible athleticism. But probably more outstanding than the physical capability was the inconceivable mental focus.

    "He loved life, and he expressed it through climbing."

    In 2005, Reardon gained further renown as a climber for completing the first solo ascent of Romantic Warrior, a climbing route in the California Needles, which are granite spires in the southern Sierra.

    It typically takes climbers equipped with ropes and safety gear half a day or longer to climb to the top of the nearly 1,000-foot-high granite wall.

    Reardon made the climb in less than two hours, earning recognition in National Geographic Adventure magazine's "Adventures of the Year" edition.

    "You get so cluttered up with gear and tools that you lose the purity of the experience," Reardon told the magazine on why he climbed without the safety of a rope and gear. "Climbing is all about going until you get too scared to go any farther, like when you were a kid climbing trees."

    Climber Tom Kranzle said Reardon "wasn't just someone who soloed once in awhile."

    "Everything he did every day was climbing without a rope; this was his life," said Kranzle, a cinematographer who spent the last two years shooting an unfinished documentary on free soloing that Reardon wrote and directed. Reardon was editing the film when he left for Ireland.

    Reardon was born at Quonset Point Naval Air Station in Rhode Island on May 1, 1965. A UCLA graduate, he was a member of the late 1980s rock band Rocks Milan and, while he earned a law degree at the Pepperdine University School of Law, he produced a series of climbing videos.

    After running business affairs for Harvey Entertainment, he formed Black Sky Entertainment, which produced the 2002 horror film "Cabin Fever." He also wrote and directed "Bachar: One Man One Myth One Legend," a recent video about rock climber John Bachar.

    "He was always on top of his mental and physical game" as a climber, Kranzle said, "and safety was always his prime concern. There is no one I'd rather have trusted my life to. It's kind of ironic, I suppose, after he just got done with a hard climb, that he'd go the way he did."


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  3. #2

    Re: Michael Reardon, rock climber is swept away by rogue wav

    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe
    In 2005, Reardon gained further renown as a climber for completing the first solo ascent of Romantic Warrior, a climbing route in the California Needles, which are granite spires in the southern Sierra.
    Controversial, to say the least. There's a pretty large contingent of folks who cast some measure of doubt on this.

    Sad deal. He was a heck of a nice person. Got a chance to see his show at the Ogden climb fest awhile back. Was great, and, he was very available later on for BS'ing.

    He signed my Fifty Favorite Climbs book, on the Romantic Warrior page, "blondes have more fun".

    Wierd deal. Will miss seeing him and his energy at the OR show here in SLC.

    -Brian in SLC

  4. #3
    Might have to add drowning to the list of hazards involved with climbing.

  5. #4
    Lone Wolf price1869's Avatar
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    Re: Michael Reardon, rock climber is swept away by rogue wav

    Quote Originally Posted by Iceaxe
    ["and safety was always his prime concern. There is no one I'd rather have trusted my life to. It's kind of ironic, I suppose, after he just got done with a hard climb, that he'd go the way he did."

    Um . . . no. Free soloists always die first. Safety is obvously not their prime concern. Just makes me think of our friend from Austin that we lost last year in Chico. I believe he was FSing a 5.6, but holds break, feet slip, etc.

    I don't mean to disrespect the departed, but if it hadn't been a rogue wave, it would have been a broken hold.

    RIP
    It's my job to call the BS around here. Get over it.

  6. #5

    Re: Michael Reardon, rock climber is swept away by rogue wav

    Quote Originally Posted by price1869
    Um . . . no. Free soloists always die first. Safety is obvously not their prime concern. Just makes me think of our friend from Austin that we lost last year in Chico. I believe he was FSing a 5.6, but holds break, feet slip, etc.

    I don't mean to disrespect the departed, but if it hadn't been a rogue wave, it would have been a broken hold.
    I think Jimmy was on a 5.9. Know someone who had dinner with him the night before he died. Pretty sad deal and a well liked guy by all accounts.

    I dunno. There's a ton of folks out there who solo that haven't bought the farm. Look at Croft and Bachar, for instance. And many many more.

    It wasn't like Michael was pushing it, in terms of difficulty, either.

    I'd hazard a guess that most of these well known, high end soloists are much safer without a rope on in some of that terrain than most of us would be with a rope on. And, its not like he never used a rope.

    Safety is kind of a relative thing. And, its amazing what some folks get comfortable doing. Easy to pass judgement especially from a certain "place".

    From Blade Runner:

    Tyrell: You were made as well as we could make you.
    Batty: But not to last.
    Tyrell: The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long and you have burned so very, very brightly Roy. Look at you, you're the prodigal son, you're quite a prize.
    Batty: I've done questionable things.
    Tyrell: Also extraordinary things, revel in your time.
    Batty: Nothing the God of bio-mechanics wouldn't put you in heaven for.

    Batty: Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it? That's what it is to be a slave!

    -Brian in SLC

  7. #6
    Outdoor Guru hank moon's Avatar
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    Re: Michael Reardon, rock climber is swept away by rogue wav

    Quote Originally Posted by price1869
    I don't mean to disrespect the departed, but if it hadn't been a rogue wave, it would have been a broken hold.
    i tend to agree. revealing choice of words, "rogue"

    obviously no ocean swell can reasonably be characterized as rogue.

    a rock climber way out of his element - that's prolly closer to the truth, I imagine. maybe the prospective DeepWaterSoloist should get a solid background in coast-a-neering before engaging in DWS.

  8. #7

    Re: Michael Reardon, rock climber is swept away by rogue wav

    Quote Originally Posted by hank moon
    i tend to agree. revealing choice of words, "rogue"
    obviously no ocean swell can reasonably be characterized as rogue.
    a rock climber way out of his element - that's prolly closer to the truth, I imagine. maybe the prospective DeepWaterSoloist should get a solid background in coast-a-neering before engaging in DWS.
    Well, his partner, a resident of the area, has said "rogue".

    Article from the Irish press said "freak" wave.

    Irish press also said, "Although described as a rogue wave, such waves are not infrequent against the high cliffs along the north face of Valentia island, particularly in winter. A number of people, including anglers, have lost their lives having been been swept out to sea from high ledges."

    They weren't deep water soloing, per se. But, soloing cliff faces on or near the ocean, but, not really DWS like you see Sharma et al doing in the videos from Mallorca, for instance, where if you fall, you end up swimmin' in the drink.

    He'd been to Ireland before. And, this was on the tail end of a month long trip.

    Maybe the prospective internet sprayer should read up on the issue prior to casting disparaging judgement on a dead person.

    -Brian in SLC

    Tragic irony of climber swept out to sea by freak wave

    Sunday July 15 2007

    NIAMH HORAN

    THE devastated photographer friend of world-famous rock climber Michael Reardon, who was swept away by a freak wave while standing on a flat ledge along the coast of Kerry, has spoken of the tragic irony of the incident.

    "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."

    Mr Reardon, an American in his early 30s and one of the world's leading free solo climbers, was staying with Mr Moriarty at the foot of the Macgillycuddy's Reeks, Co Kerry, during a month-long visit to the area, designed to promote Irish adventure holidays to the US market.

    "We were to have dinner later that night," the stunned photographer explained. "He was anxious to taste some malt whiskey before he went home. He was here for a month and due to go home yesterday."

    Mr Reardon is part of a group of extreme climbers who shun equipment such as ropes and crampons and instead use only their hands and boots to scale rock faces hundreds of feet high.

    Mr Reardon's wife Marcy and daughter Nicky, 13, are due to arrive in Ireland today to wait for word on the outcome of the massive sea and air rescue operation.

    Missing rock climber's wife clings to hope he is still alive
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    Monday July 16 2007


    THE wife and teenage daughter of the world-famous American climber who was swept out to sea off the Kerry coast are clinging to hope that he is still alive.


    Michael Reardon's wife, Marci and their daughter, Nicki (13) arrived in Ireland from Los Angeles at lunchtime yesterday and went straight to the cliff where he was last seen.

    There they met with rescue personnel involved in the search and watched as efforts to find the climber continued.

    Marci and Nicki are said to be hopeful that Michael is still alive as he is a particularly strong swimmer and a superbly fit man.

    A vigil is to be held for his safe return tomorrow in Valentia. The family were accompanied yesterday by Kerry mountaineer, Con Moriarty, a close friend of the missing man.

    Meanwhile, it has emerged that the photographer who was with Mr Reardon when he fell into the sea tried to throw him a rope. Visual contact was also maintained with Mr Reardon for some moments and he also responded to calls.

    The photographer then ran to alert the local lifeboat which was immediately launched.

    The 35-year-old extreme rock climber, regarded as one of the world's leading free solo climbers - he scaled great heights around the world without the aid of ropes - was washed out to sea on Valentia Island on Friday shortly after 5pm.

    Early reports suggested he had slipped and fallen. However, he had just completed a climb on the cliff face at Dohilla and was standing almost at sea level at the time.

    Although described as a rogue wave, such waves are not infrequent against the high cliffs along the north face of Valentia island, particularly in winter. A number of people, including anglers, have lost their lives having been been swept out to sea from high ledges.

    Over the past month, Michael Reardon had climbed throughout Ireland at leading crags, from Fair Head in Co Antrim to the Gap of Dunloe in Kerry.

    Earlier this year he had completed difficult climbs in the Rockies. He featured regularly on the front covers of leading climbing magazines and he had a huge following.

    Divers from the navy and garda completed a number of dives yesterday at the spot from which he was carried and for the third day in a row, the Shannon-based Sikorsky helicopter scanned the area.

    A film maker and writer, Michael Reardon had his own website, subtitled "Life Without Limits". In it, he describes his wife Marci as his "best friend".

    - Anne Lucey

    Renowned climber is praised on fatal cliff-top
    By Anne Lucey
    Wednesday July 18 2007

    ROCK climber Michael Reardon pushed himself to the limit of his abilities, but ships were never meant to remain in harbours.

    Tribute was paid to the fearless way the solo climber lived his life, at a moving ceremony on the cliff-top overlooking his last dramatic climb on Valentia Island, Co Kerry yesterday.

    Up to 150 people gathered in sunshine to pay their respects to the 35-year-old American who was washed out to sea on Friday, after scaling the cliff-face twice.

    A hundred feet below, Navy and Garda sub-aqua teams scoured the sea-bed for any trace of the man renowned among climbers and mountaineers for his daring exploits without ropes or safety equipment.

    A traditional lament on harp and tin whistle opened the ceremony attended by the missing man's wife Marci, their 13-year-old daughter Nicki, close friends, members of the rescue services, the gardai, local people and well-known figures from the sporting and climbing worlds.

    These included the mountain-running champion John Lenihan and Kerry football great and island native Mick O'Connell.

    Father Kevin McNamara, a curate attached to Killarney parish, led the prayers. Michael Reardon "wouldn't hurt a rock by putting a claw into it", in order to preserve it for future generations, he said.

    He had left a mark that would never be forgotten. He had pushed things to the limit. A ship was safe when in harbour, but that was not what ships were for, the priest said.

    West Kerry GP and poet Micheal Fanning read two of his poems: 'I run with the winds and moods', which he dedicated to Mr Reardon's daughter, and 'Odysseus', a poem about daring people and those waiting for them, dedicated to Marci Reardon.

    Extraordinary

    Among many contributors, Mr Reardon's friend and mountaineer Con Moriarty, with whom he stayed while in Kerry, said people had gathered to honour "a beautiful man" and a "truly extraordinary" climber. "I saw him as an artist," he added.

    Towards the end of the ceremony, Nicki, tearful throughout the hour-long ceremony, spoke briefly of her father who was "louder" than most people and larger than life.

    Flowers were brought to the scene along with a plaque made of local Valentia slate. A haunting rendition on the bagpipes of the Blasket island elegy 'Port na bPucai', an air said to echo the journey of the departing soul, ended the ceremony.

    Those on the cliff waved to the divers on the boats below.

    Mr Moriarty asked for prayers that the ongoing search would bring closure for Mr Reardon's friends and family.

    - Anne Lucey

  9. #8
    Outdoor Guru hank moon's Avatar
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    Re: Michael Reardon, rock climber is swept away by rogue wav

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian in SLC
    Maybe the prospective internet sprayer should read up on the issue prior to casting disparaging judgement on a dead person.
    1. you're talking about yourself again, brian. I read a lot about this death since the day it happened and before anything was published in the media concerning it. you can subscribe to my insider newsletter for the lolo price of $19.99 - that's right - just $19.99. pm me if nterstd.


    2. It's not spray (or even "rogue spray") The reason I posted the rogue thing was to call attention to a possible bias in reportage on the deceased. We have a tendency to idolize, forgive all, etc. after someone dies. After all, what good trashing the dead?


    It's educational (as opposed to disparaging the dead - I have not done that, Brian, so quit twisting). Mike probably died due more to his own error/inattention/inexperience than to a so-called "rogue wave" - 'nuff sed.

    I think the same of the Knotted Rope death and this Mike thing was a handy bleed-over with less obvious denial, but i view "rogue wave" as a form of denial. Here's a sample of the denial-rich reportage on that death:

    SL Tribune article excerpts
    An experienced rock climber died over the weekend. when she fell into a pool of water in a remote San Rafael Swell canyon…

    While it was the couple's first trip to Knotted Rope Canyon, Jimmy Coray said, they went in with 15 years of successful climbs behind them.

    "They're very experienced," he said. "It's quite a shock."
    Guymon agreed. "This is not a case of someone not knowing what they're doing."

    ---

    Nephi newspaper article excerpts:

    Kimo and Marie Coray...were experienced outdoor fans and had been on many camping, hiking and climbing excursions.

    Kimo Coray...has been a long-time scout leader and he and his troops have had many experiences with hiking.

    There are also pools of water and steep canyon walls. The area is frequented by experienced climbers.

    “There was nothing he could do to save her. She eventually slipped into the pool and he believes she died of exposure and hypothermia.”

    After Marie Coray died, Kimo spent Sunday trying to find the couple’s vehicle. He walked about 20 miles but was found Monday headed in the wrong direction, said Guymon.

    There is limited communication in the area. There is almost no cell phone service. In fact, the dispatchers at the sheriff’s office said they had a hard time keeping in radio contact with the searchers.

    “They were well-prepared,” said Guymon. “It was one of those things where they got into a situation that was beyond their capabilities to get out of.”

    “They just got caught in a bad situation.”

    Kimo is in the LDS Bishopric in the Mona 3rd Ward. The bishop, Craig Weight, has high praise for Marie.
    “I think everybody who knew her loved her,” he said. “I don’t think she was the kind of person that would ever say anything bad about anybody.”

  10. #9

    Re: Michael Reardon, rock climber is swept away by rogue wav

    Quote Originally Posted by hank moon
    1. you're talking about yourself again, brian. I read a lot about this death since the day it happened and before anything was published in the media concerning it. you can subscribe to my insider newsletter for the lolo price of $19.99 - that's right - just $19.99. pm me if nterstd.
    Wow, you're devine. Was missing and not even presumed dead when the story broke.

    And, way to trivialize this. You should be proud.

    Quote Originally Posted by hank moon
    After all, what good trashing the dead?
    I'm thinkin' only you can answer that one.

    Quote Originally Posted by hank moon
    It's educational (as opposed to disparaging the dead - I have not done that, Brian, so quit twisting my words). Mike probably died due more to his own error/inattention/inexperience than to a so-called "rogue wave" - 'nuff sed.
    I have no need to twist your words, Hank. They stand just fine on their own. Here again:

    Quote Originally Posted by hank moon
    i tend to agree. revealing choice of words, "rogue"

    obviously no ocean swell can reasonably be characterized as rogue.

    a rock climber way out of his element - that's prolly closer to the truth, I imagine. maybe the prospective DeepWaterSoloist should get a solid background in coast-a-neering before engaging in DWS.
    Quote Originally Posted by hank moon
    I think the same of the Knotted Rope death and this Mike thing was a handy bleed-over...
    Nice choice of words.

    Sobering listen: http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/0717/drivetime.html

    Yeah, "rogue waves"...unheard of in the UK...

    And I mean, really, what the eff would the Irish know about the sea...

    -Brian in SLC

    Creagh Dhu Climber
    The Life and Times of John Cunningham
    Jeff Connor
    ISBN 0948-153-54-7
    Cloth US$21.95

    When John Cunningham was swept to his death off storm-tossed Anglesey in 1980, British climbing lost one of its greatest exponents and most forceful, yet enigmatic, personalities.

  11. #10
    four-oh-four tanya's Avatar
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    How horrible!

    Looks like he was really a magnificent man!
    By Bo Beck and Tanya Milligan:
    Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/1892540827/ref=dp_image_z_0?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books

    To get it signed, get it from the link above.
    If you like the book, please give us a kind review on Amazon
    and REI and anywhere else this book is sold.

    Zion National Park on the web.

  12. #11
    Outdoor Guru hank moon's Avatar
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    Re: Michael Reardon, rock climber is swept away by rogue wav

    Keep on twistin' and pokin' Brian - it's your specialty.

    Your M.O. : minimal attempt to understand, twist, distort, assume, insult, etc. This is a matter of record.

    Well, that's when you feel challenged...your way of "fighting back" when you have little of substance to say.

    UK reportage on Mike's death: OF COURSE the "rogue" thing is gonna be used. That's how we report on the dead. We "over-respect" the dead in a vain attempt to make the bereaved feel better right away.

    Doesn't work, man. If you screw up one day and die, rest assured that if I'm still around, I'll say "Brian screwed up" instead of

    "unfortunate event"
    “he just got caught in a bad situation.”
    etc.

    It's my promise to you...i'm sure you wouldn't want platitudinous garbage bandied about if you genuinely screwed up. Nothing like death to create educational opportunities.

    This is my last post addressing Brian's trolling on this thread.

    i'm starting to grow a long nose, warts, and worms for hair....

  13. #12
    four-oh-four tanya's Avatar
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    I can't take such two awesome men fighting.




    But then again.... this sort of gets me excited for some reason.... sort of like mud wrestling.
    By Bo Beck and Tanya Milligan:
    Favorite Hikes in and around Zion National Park

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/images/1892540827/ref=dp_image_z_0?ie=UTF8&n=283155&s=books

    To get it signed, get it from the link above.
    If you like the book, please give us a kind review on Amazon
    and REI and anywhere else this book is sold.

    Zion National Park on the web.

  14. #13
    John Bachar has posted a memorial to MR on supertaco:

    “This is so hard to post. Personally I still am hoping he's on a Russian submarine somewhere yet to be released.... Nevertheless, we can still celebrate the life and times of this great man.”

    http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/th...opic_id=419804

    I can imagine MR was drawn to the sea cliffs in Ireland, not just to celebrate his heritage, but because he was drawn to that raw power of nature.

    Some further reading on sea cliff climbing in the UK:

    Joe Brown revitalizing his climbing career at the end of “The Hard Years” in the book’s last chapter, “the sixties, towards the sea” finishing with a comment on Gogarth.

    Tom Patey, “One Man’s Mountains”. His account of climbing the Old Man of Hoy is hilarious, especially the danger of climbing near the sea birds, which spew smelly vomit on them. He takes the piss out of just about everything in such eloquent prose. A great read.

    Paul Pritchard, “Deep Play” and “Totem Pole” (not a UK climb, but, sea stack in Tasmania and a horrific accident).

    Trevor Jones, “Welch Rock”. Tales of climbers swept out to sea.

    Ed Drummond penned a nice piece in Alpinist 20 (the current issue). Memorial for his partner on Dream of White Horses on Gogarth, in Wales. Included is the iconic Leo Dickinson photograph of the lads on the route, “…the tide turned, they surged, rearing – manes smoking white – wild horses running…” (see also Ken Wilson’s “Classic Rock” for a description of this route).

    Speaking of Gogarth, here’s a short guidebook description: “Be advised that sea-cliff climbing here is serious and dangerous. Tides and storms should not be taken lightly. Even on calm days, a rogue wave can smash into the cliff, soaking climbers at a belay stance 75 feet above the sea level, or worse – tumbling you into foaming water. Use caution and check tide tables.”

    From an overview on climbing at Cornwall (also UK): “Climbing on sea cliffs is inherently much more dangerous than inland climbing simply because the sea is fickle and unknown. Always err on the side of caution by using a rope when approaching routes across tidal rock shelves or traversing along the base to the start of our chosen line. Even in low surf, sneak waves can occur, and when they do, you can be swept off the shoreline rock and into the deep, treacherous water.”

    It’s interesting how climbing literature from the UK has woven through it sea cliff climbing. Makes sense, given their terrain options.

    Wymper’s “Scrambles Amongst the Alps” begins with his musing about climbing at Beachy Head at the Devil’s Chimney. “Since that time we have been often in dangers of different kinds, but never have we more nearly broken our necks than upon that occasion.”

    Wymper ruminates in the preface to “Scrambles…”, “…undue prominence, perhaps, has been given to our mistakes and failures; and it will doubtless be pointed out that our practice must have been bad if the principles which are laid down are sound, or that the principles must be unsound if the practice was good. It is maintained in an early chapter that the positive, or unavoidable, dangers of mountaineering are very small, yet from subsequent pages it can be shown that very considerable risks were run. The reason is obvious – we were not immaculate. Our blunders are not held up to be admired or to be imitated, but, to be avoided.”

    “Look well to each step” indeed.

    -Brian in SLC

    http://www.climbing.com/exclusive/pr...ichaelreardon/

    http://www.freesoloist.com/

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