MICHAEL REARDON IN MEMORIAM

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bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Jul 20, 2007 - 08:34pm PT
This is so hard to post. Pesonally 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. Please post your stories, photos and thoughts - I know there are many!

Thank you Michael for all that you have given us and all that you have taught us. You truly have been a shining star to all that have met you.

To Marci and Nikki, I think I can speak for all of us here; Our thoughts and spirits are with you and if you ever need anything, know that we are here for you. May peace be with you.

May you forever be at peace Michael!

With much love, John Bachar
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jul 20, 2007 - 08:45pm PT
Cheers Michael, see you again soon enough.
Ezra

Trad climber
WA, NC
Jul 20, 2007 - 08:52pm PT
I never knew Michael, but always respected him as an individual.

My mother-in-law was one of the most amazing people I've ever known. She died 2 1/2 years ago of ovarian cancer. The fact that Michael donated a day of his life for an ovarian cancer fund raiser for HERA speaks volumes about who he was, and is.

See you on the other side Michael.
-ezra
bachar

Trad climber
Mammoth Lakes, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Jul 20, 2007 - 09:18pm PT
A couple months ago I went soloing with Reardon in Clark Canyon. He pretty much followed me around on-sight soloing everything I did. We had an on going thing whereby if we were soloing together we could ask for a "verbal top rope" from whoever was in front. This day he didn't need much of that as we mostly went cruising 5.10 stuff.

We walked in front of this route early in the day and he asked me about it. It's an unnamed 5.11a (rated 11d in the guide). Later that day he said he had "a hard-on" for that climb so we went back to it.

He didn't want any Beta for the route. I told him Lonnie soloed it but couldn't do the last move past the top anchors (the anchors are five feet below the top and the rock gets chossy there as well) and had to grab the bolts to get off. As it turns out Michael couldn't do the moves either (he'd also want me to tell you he free soloed it at 5.11a, A1). Anyway, I took this photo of him on-sight soloing the climb.

It was quite beautiful to watch.


Edit:
This was also the last time I had the pleasure of climbing with him. See you at the next crag bro!
James Doty

Trad climber
Idyllwild, Ca.
Jul 20, 2007 - 09:21pm PT
I lost a loved one once to violent crime and the shock was like nothing I ever experienced in my life. The portrayal in the movies of falling to your knees and wailing uncontrollably is not exaggerated. I drowned myself in alcohol for months after to try and kill the pain. Only time worked. Now I hold only the memories of the specialness of my friend. To Mr. Reardons' family and many, many friends I can only say the deep pain will eventually fade and only joy of his existence will remain. Be patient and strong. Great Chief Crazy Horse, who was a hero to my friend, used to say "Hoka Hey" before charging into battle. This translates to "today is a good day to die". To me it means simply to live every day as if Death were around the corner because it is. I believe Mr. Reardons' life embodied this philosophy. He did not fear Death and thereby let it rule his life. He embraced life because he knew Death was near. Hold loved ones dear and let compassion in for others while there is still time. I say this to myself as much as any of you. Let the Spirit fly!
b.p.

climber
bishop
Jul 20, 2007 - 09:51pm PT
Flooded in the light
So warm, of a morning sunshine
I honor the pain
That distills each moment.

The spirit
shivers and rests
On a beam of sunshine...
Wondering, wondering
Breathlessly

Sometimes, I catch a glimpse
The endless turning,
The spin of time.

The only way to say thank you and good-bye is to keep alive the memory of whatever has affected us, to store in our silence whatever we have loved.
ron gomez

Trad climber
fallbrook,ca
Jul 20, 2007 - 11:12pm PT
So well said John, I am sorry you have lost such a good friend. Our thoughts and prayers are for his wife and daughter that they can continue with the least resistant path and that they too can heal from this, although the loss of a loved one is never totally healed.
Peace
Curt

Boulder climber
Gilbert, AZ
Jul 20, 2007 - 11:18pm PT
I posted this on another climbing website, but it seems to be appropriate to also place it here.....

"... I enjoyed the time I spent bouldering with Michael in Joshua Tree and the times we spent together at the Crossroads Cafe and/or around the campfire where talk of epics and spinning tall tales was the norm. When ever I would fall off some horrendously thin boulder problem and smack my knee or elbow, etc. on the rock, Michael would laugh his ass off. Naturally, when he would then also fall on the same problem, he would laugh his ass off just as hard. That's just the way he was. I'm convinced that if climbing with Michael didn't get you excited about climbing, you were probably already dead yourself.

Michael always had about 50 things going at any one time (as far as I could tell) and I remember that he was quite happy that I could introduce him to John Gill when John and I were on a bouldering trip to the Sierra a few years ago. The interview that Michael did at our cabin appeared in his film about John Bachar and free soloing. You may have liked Michael or you might not have liked Michael, but he was an extremely colorful personality--and the world of climbing will be considerably more gray without him....."


Curt
devaki

Trad climber
socal
Jul 20, 2007 - 11:40pm PT
Dear Michael,
Thank you for the inspiration, thank you for the laughs, thank you for your support and most of all thank you for your kindness-- to a man who solos everything- you made me do my first lead-- you will always be in my heart- and I will see you in every ray of sunshine...peace my friend-- Marcie and Nikki- if you ever need anything, please call.... Damo, he would be proud-- you meant so much to him....
sister mercy

Trad climber
Eastside
Jul 20, 2007 - 11:58pm PT
I was lucky to meet MR twice.

The first time, at Tahquitz, I was almost getting mad at the guy who appeared to be racing ahead, and then wait for his partner while securing his place in line... well, it turned out there was no partner and this guy climbed much faster than we could ever follow. In fact, he stopped to shake hands and show us a better variation, even made sure we got it before putting back on his ipod. Higher up, we met again, this time he'd gotten up and down and was oon the route nearby... At that time, I had never heard of MR but he didn't seem to care.

Second time around in JT, he still remembered us, still the same sweet unpretentious guy who appears to enjoy talking to us struggling 5.9 weekenders. Thanks Mike. You're one of a kind. We'll miss you.
malabarista

Trad climber
San Francisco, Ca
Jul 21, 2007 - 12:20am PT
I'm amazed at all he accomplished and with so much energy. He can't be judged in ordinary terms. How did he fit it all in?

I raise my glass to a life well lived, and an inspiration to so many now and for the years to come.
immanti

climber
Jul 21, 2007 - 12:54am PT
Good posts JB, and you speak for me as well. Although I haven't met Marci or Nikki, my heart goes out to you, I only wish there was some way we could help.

I'll tell a story. Last year after a day at the SLC trade show, we went out with Michael for dinner and drinks. Michael had been going all day and yet he had the energy to start climbing up almost every other wall we walked by. At one point, he climbed over the perimeter wall and then up the big Mormon temple out there. Now, for those who might not know, the Mormons don't play, and for two days after that Michael swore he had some guys, probably from the church, following him around. I think he was right, too.

But he was amused rather than worried. Michael radiated positive energy, and it was very contagious.

That he is lost for now is heartbreaking. That we had him at all was a blessing.
asioux

Trad climber
pasadena,ca
Jul 21, 2007 - 01:16am PT
Michael was a wonderful, kind human being. i will miss Michael. Thanks for the memories. That very cold day in Joshua Tree, it was so cold our ears hurt bad, and hands frozen. Climbing Ebgb's. It was a fun day. All the snow. Thanks for words of wisdom and advice on climbing rock. How being so focus you can climb anything. And milage on the rock . The conversation on the ledge on Intersection rock about Van Halen. Rock n Roll Michael, I will see you on the otherside. We will climb EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!! Armando
Fluoride

Trad climber
Hollywood, CA
Jul 21, 2007 - 01:17am PT
I'll never forget his amazing spirit and energy.

Some of my most memorable J-Tree days involved encountering Michael. I'll never forget one particular day in winter '04 at Indian Cove. My partner and a small crew of friends were over doing Pet or Meat, California Crack, Arizona Crack, etc. Michael was in the same vicinity soloing but would repeatedly come over and shout something crazy or hilarious at me when I'd get to a crux. Then he'd disappear and go solo something, then return. The process repeated itself throughout the day and my friends all came to love this crazy blond guy with more energy that God allowed. Eventually I wanted to do Monaco (beyond my lead at the time but I could follow it). Even though I had a ropegun with me, Michael offered to lead it. I think it was because all of us had spent such a great day laughing, sh*t talking, b-s'ing that the energy was so great it was worth roping up and putting on a show for the crew than going off alone and soloing again. As soon as he was on the climb he burst into a grand rendition of Mojo Nixon/Skid Roper's "Elvis is Everywhere" at the top of his lungs. By then he had the attention of everyone at the crag and even other climbers were coming over to see what the hell was going on. He kept talking about his love of Mojo and Skid the he said something about a club for naked climbers. Which the requirements were you had to climb at least one sport climb, trad climb and boulder problem naked to get in. And he's doing all this while slabbing his way up an 11a. He kept everyone at the base in stitches while leading a climb for me.

He entertained everyone around him that day. I'm sure the other climbers there who watched it will always remember the crazy blonde guy singing and talking about naked climbing while heading up a route.

Every time I've climbed Monaco since I always think of Michael and that day of crazy positive vibes. Any time you ran across Michael, you were guaranteed an amazing and hilarious time. I was lucky enough to have other great encounters like that with Michael and always looked forward to the next time I'd run into him. He was such a bright glowing ball of positive energy.

Michael, you will be missed. Next time I do Monaco, I'm going to sing that goddamn song at the top of my lungs. I'm sure in my case everyone will think I'm mentally disturbed, but the way you pulled it off was sheer showmanship!

Michael was a bright light taken from us way too soon. He was truly one of a kind.
RW

Boulder climber
SLC,UT
Jul 21, 2007 - 01:26am PT

Elvis Lives!
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
Jul 21, 2007 - 01:27am PT
I never got to meet him in person, but I did get a really nice email from him last November, after I had sent him an email out of the blue, asking for details on Shikata Ga Nai, his free solo first ascent at the Needles.

I also enjoyed the cool funny stuff on his website - in particular the story about the Anonymous Shameless Superhero (ASS = nameless internet skeptic):

http://www.freesoloist.com/page15.html

My favorite part from that:

----


In the 1960s through 1980s, climbing next found its center in Yosemite, where legends created climbs and vice-versa. Faced with such a concentration of notable achievements, the ASSes cried foul in a feeble attempt to diminish the greats:


“Bachar soloed New Dimensions,” spoke the truth.

“It’s not as hard when you don’t have to place gear,” spoke the ASS.

“Whatever, dude,” spoke the rest of the climbing community.


“Kauk sent Midnight Lightning,” spoke the truth.

“It’s just a boulder problem,” spoke the ASS.

“Then you do it, dumbass,” spoke the rest of the climbing community.


“Croft soloed Astroman and the Rostrum before lunch,” spoke the truth.

“But he’s not an American,” spoke the ASS.

“Shut the f*#k up!” spoke the rest of the climbing community.

----


:-)

Check out the whole thing - who knows whether the site will be preserved or disappear now.

I did some free soloing back in the days of youth. Eventually I plunged, and I was lucky that I wasn't that far off the ground and lived to learn something about myself from it. So I knew from my own solos about the tricky decisions of whether to tell people what you did, or whether to keep it to yourself. But lucky for me, I never did anything all that interesting to others, so the BS did not get to the level that he experienced. What a raw deal that was - so ironic.

RIP, Michael.

P.S. Flouride, check out the Mojo Club page:

http://www.freesoloist.com/page8.html
Fluoride

Trad climber
Hollywood, CA
Jul 21, 2007 - 01:40am PT
Hahah thanks Clint!! I remember him mentioning that the naked climbing club would give bonus points for women who stemmed. Man he was such a riot. Yet another case of Michael taking a crazy thought and making it happen! I think he already had a few members at that point. My partner at the time and I debated joining it, but I decided I'd rather not belay him if he was naked.
Karl Baba

Trad climber
Yosemite, Ca
Jul 21, 2007 - 01:40am PT
Whatever Michael's doing right now, I bet it's not rest!

Some souls burn too bright to wait around for old age and stuff.

I'm sure his family will miss him terribly. You have to feel what you have to feel, but in the end I'm sure you'll realize that Michael would say "Wish me well on my journey but don't forget yours. Live life 150 percent with everything you have!"

That's what he did, and we all knew he accepted in advance that it might get cut short, so let's wish him well in it and live with gusto to honor him.

Mikey loved life and he also loved himself and what he was doing. Some folks misunderstood that to be egoic but in fact, he loved others too and supported and enthused about what they were doing as well, even if it was just a hard 5.8 for them.

When folks came down on him or disbelieved him, he liked to give em a poke or play a joke but he was too busy being high on life to slow down for it.

I'm sure he's now high on the next life, taking it for everything it's worth and more.

peace

karl

GDavis

Trad climber
SoCal
Jul 21, 2007 - 02:00am PT
Hey flouride.... does this sound familiar?



(From Freesoloist.com)


Later in the day after running some laps and helping some folks get the most from their climbing, three enthusiastic climbers from the local military base stopped in for some much needed climbing. Two of them had just finished a tour overseas, the other was getting through college, and all three were having such a great time, it was infectious to the rest of us. After Todd Smith and I soloed a few easy routes, the boys were so amped up, they jumped on their hardest route to date (on a rope of course) and with all of us (including class act legends Jim Bridwell and Mike Graham) screaming support, one got the project, and the others came really close! It's moments like these that make me proud to be a climber.


Spent a few hours on his website today, for my first time. He did more in a day than I do most seasons, and kept this great attitude... truly amazing!
426

Sport climber
Buzzard Point, TN
Jul 21, 2007 - 11:50am PT
RIP bro, I always "believed"...will be nekkid soloing in memoriam (nobody look)...
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