The Wall Street Journal posted today (July 4) that its
extreme-sports columnist, the 45-year-old freelance writer and climber
Michael Ybarra, has died in a fall on the Sawtooth Ridge near Yosemite,
according to his sister. Suzanne Ybarra posted the news upon conclusion
of a helicopter search instigated when Michael was overdue from the solo endeavor. He had set out on the alpine Sawtooth Ridge Traverse early
Saturday and intended to be back by Sunday evening at the latest.
The WSJ post
gives links to many of its articles by Ybarra about climbing or
kayaking in places from Hyalite Canyon, Montana, to the wilds of
Patagonia, and includes some of his knowledgeable reviews of numerous
climbing and mountaineering books. As recently as June 21 he reviewed
the new release Buried in the Sky by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan, on the 2008 K2 disaster; earlier this year he reviewed China’s Wings, a narrative of World War II aviation in China by the climber-historian Greg Crouch. Late last year he wrote a profile of the prolific climber Fred Beckey.
Originally from L.A., and a graduate of UC Berkeley, Ybarra lived in
Bishop, California. From the 1980s until recent years, he wrote often
for the Los Angeles Times.