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.