Details Emerge About the Death of Freelance Writer Michael J. Ybarra

Reporter Alexander MacLean shares a resonant look in The Union Democrat newspaper at the recent, tragic death of Wall Street Journal extreme-sports stringer Michael J. Ybarra.

There are echos in the piece of another adventurous life laid out by Jon Krakauer in his book Into the Wild. According to Marissa Christman, a climber who met Ybarra last fall and ascended Mount Whitney with the 45-year-old UCLA-UC Berkeley grad just a few days before the fatal climb at Sawtooth Ridge, he had embraced nature’s path:

Ybarra, who was unmarried and didn’t have children, was living mostly out of his car at the time of his death, traveling from area to area and writing to pay the bills, Christman said. “He was this person who sort of did what we call ‘living the dream,’” she added.

Another female friend, Alex Few, tells MacLean that Ybarra was attempting, after years of hoping to do so, a dangerous traverse of the length of Sawtooth Ridge, which sits just north of Yosemite National Park. It was during this attempt that Ybarra fell more than 100 feet to his death.

In 2005, Ybarra was nominated for the LA Times Book Prize for Washington Gone Crazy, a look at the inner workings of the U.S. Congress. RIP.

[Photo courtesy Michael J. Ybarra Facebook Memorial Page]