Michael Ybarra, an extreme sports writer who was an experienced mountaineer, fell 150 to 200 feet to his death on Sunday while on a solo climb in Yosemite‘s Sawtooth Ridge.
The Huffington Post reports that the are of the Sierra Nevadas that Ybarra was climbing in has no trails and is often only traversed by veteran climbers, which the sports writer is used to.
A friend of his became worried when Ybarra, 45, did not return his emails, texts, or calls on Sunday night, so he alerted search-and-rescue personnel on Monday. The experienced climber’s body was found on Tuesday after a National Guard crew assisted a multi-agency search team via a Blackhawk helicopter,
The Wall Street Journal reports issuing a statement on Wednesday about his death, saying:
“Michael Ybarra was an extraordinary journalist. In the best traditions of his profession he enlightened and engaged readers on a wide array of topics in clear, vivid prose.…We mourn his passing, and send our thoughts and prayers to his family.”
The L.A. Times notes that park ranger Kari Cobb reports that the rescue crew spotted Ybarra’s body on Tuesday, but a helicopter was not able to airlift it out until Wednesday. Cobb stated, “It’s definitely a rugged area and hard to access by foot.”
Michael Ybarra described last year how he fell during an icy mountain climb, but was not hurt. He wrote:
“Climbing in the mountains is serious business. Mistakes carry consequences — for yourself and your partner. At night I lay awake wondering if I should just go back to gym climbing or find a more sensible sports, such as table tennis.”
Unfortunately for Ybarra’s family, as well as all who knew him, they must now face life without the enigmatic extreme sports writer.