SP and the world Loses MichaelJ

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Michael Ybarra missing in Sierra

by mdougherty » Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:40 pm

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... %3Darticle

MichaelJ on SP

Apparently was doing a traverse of Sawtooth Ridge this past weekend.

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Re: Michael Ybarra missing in Sierra

by Kahuna » Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:27 pm

I hate to be the bearer of terrible news, but the Mono SAR via the CANG Blackhawk folks found a body but could not get to it via Short rope this morning. They are in the process of climbing up to the area where the body is located. This is first hand info as I have direct contact (Via Scanner) with the CANG Blackhawk involved in the SAR Op. I hope that is not Mikes. But someone elses.

Mono Sheriff's Office will most likely make an official statement as soon as they retrieve the body. Later this afternoon or first thing in the morning.

I know Mike. We have shared a rope together on four different occasions. Including on his first trip up the 3rd P of Dana some six years ago. Took him to the Gorge and Rock Creek as well.

I will post more when the official news is released.

Sad news. Especially when you have shared a rope with the individual.

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Re: Michael Ybarra missing in Sierra

by ksolem » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:12 am

This is terrible news. I will hold on and pray that Michael is okay. He is a great guy and a good friend. I've also climbed with him a bunch, and can say that he is very strong and resourceful.

Michael took my profile shot here in 2008. Seems like yesterday, basking in the sun in Joshua Tree doing fun little climbs.

Michael is a talented writer, and is a great ambassador for our mountain sports.

I suppose it is selfish of me to hope the body up there is someone else, but none the less I do.

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Re: Michael Ybarra missing in Sierra

by Dave Dinnell » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:19 am

Very sad to read this (and WB's comments on the 'Taco.) Enjoyed his articles.

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Re: Michael Ybarra missing in Sierra

by Kahuna » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:36 am

Just got the Official word.

It was good times Michael. Thank you. Hope you are doing better on the infinite WI5 ice pillars where you are now.

RIP, Where ever you may be.

Edited: For clarity and addition to this sad post.
Last edited by Kahuna on Thu Jul 05, 2012 4:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Michael Ybarra missing in Sierra

by CClaude » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:46 am

I am really sorry to hear this news. I've been somewhat Out of the loop, but remember his article in the Alpinist. Condolenses to everyone who knew him.

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Re: Michael Ybarra missing in Sierra

by Diggler » Thu Jul 05, 2012 3:20 am

Met up with Mike a month & a half ago in Idyllwild for beer. It was great to catch up with him & hear about his adventures. He had a passion for climbing, travel, & life that most don't. I'm very sorry to hear about this, & am saddened to think that he won't be able to share his life anymore with others- he was a master writer & storyteller. I hope that the article he was working on for Alpinist makes it into the mag. You will be missed, Mike. My deepest condolences to your family. Handcracks to the heavens. RIP.

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Re: Michael Ybarra missing in Sierra

by KeithN » Thu Jul 05, 2012 6:01 am

This is devastating. I don't know where else to take this, so for those who may care... Mike was a solid climber and a thoroughly decent person. He got to do things that many only dream of. He climbed Slipstream and got away with it. He had a job that paid him to climb and travel.
Mike was one of a rare breed: the all-around climber. That's a hard thing to be. It's a compromise - the kind of thing people are for love alone, since there is no reward you can expect from it, only sacrifice.
The first time I climbed with him, he asked me, "Do you think 18 ibuprofen a day is too much?" He had tendonitis in his shoulders and that's what it took to keep climbing. Of course it was too much, but what was I going to say? He wasn't about to back off, regardless.
The last time I climbed with him, we were scraping the bottom of the barrel for ice. We got in some stellar routes, but I bailed early on the trip due to a family emergency. The last thing he said to me was, "I hope everything works out OK."
In the back of my mind, a little piece hopes that this is is all a sick joke. I've been down this road before, though and I know that's a false hope. I'll never get to climb with Mike again, and that's my loss. What weak words for such a thing.

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Re: Michael Ybarra missing in Sierra

by mvs » Thu Jul 05, 2012 9:50 am

I'm sorry to hear the news. I really liked his articles and it seems clear that he lived the mountains with great passion. I'd say Michael made a good life here full of action, and wish him the best going forward. (indeed, that should mean 1000 meter WI5 towers :)).

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Re: Michael Ybarra missing in Sierra

by ExcitableBoy » Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:43 am

Didn't know Michael, but we traded barbs with the best of them. I admired his writing in the WSJ and other publications. RIP.

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Re: Michael Ybarra missing in Sierra

by Damien Gildea » Thu Jul 05, 2012 12:13 pm

Just heard of this from a mutual friend. Terrible news.

I remember reading some of Michael's early SP posts and thinking "I bet this guy writes for a living". Since then I've been glad someone was out there communicating climbing to the wider world as well as he did. I always enjoyed reading his articles and was kind of proud to remember that he was an SPer.

RIP MichaelJ.

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SP and the world Loses MichaelJ

by Kahuna » Thu Jul 05, 2012 2:41 pm

Mike and I hooked up back in early 2007 after PMing tons during 2006. He stayed at my Crowley home on several occasions as we went out and roped up on some local Sierra Alpine and Sport routes. Pretty much gave him a world wind tour of the Upper Eastside

I remember the first time we met as we agreed on a good route to get to know one another. It was at Tioga Lake the first week of May at the T/H for the 3rd P of Dana. It would be his first run and my 4th. It was around 5:30AM and I was awaiting in my Escape when up cruises a nice looking shiney black Audi A4 station wagon packed full of shit. Looked like a richass homeless dude attempting to dirtbag it. I chuckled. Got outta my car, approached the dude and asked. "Michael"? He said very intelligently, "Rick I presume". That was our first meeting. We quickly humped up to the start, traded leads with Mike getting the mix to insure he led all the "money" pitches as this was his first time on this Sierra Classic, and we completed the 3rd P with style, C2C in less than 7 hours. On the run back down to our cars, I offered him a place to stay for the night, a shower to wash his ass, a hot meal or two and the company of myself, my wonderful Wife and our two mutts. He actually turned more open and less reserved at that point. "Hell yeah!!!" And that was that. After meeting Michele and the mutts, taking his shower and getting some good ole home cooking in, he began to open up. As usual, the conversation turned into a literary back and forth as my Wife too is a writer. I sat back and just listened. Lots of interesting personal transactions took place about his background and why he decided to throw in the towel with normal society and turn into a writing climber dirtbag roadie. He shared about his hard work on his recently released book on the NV Senator McCarran. What struck me was his consistent intelligent character. He knew his shit and he knew it well cus he did his homework. That was the crux of why he loved to write. He really got into the homework gig.

We spent the following two days doing some local sporty climbs up at the Gong Show and over at Clarks. Mike returned a couple more times for outings at the Gorge and then up at my favorite spots in Pine Creek. Each time showing a more enthusiastic and motivating zeal for the lifestyle. He had become a true climbing dirt dweller and he loved it.

Well Michael, you moved on while doing your homework on the Sawtooth's. What more could one ask then to leave this dimension doing what they loved best in life.

No rest for the weary with Mike. I know he is doing his homework in the next dimension. Probably interviewing the Master of the Universe as we speak. All the while on some Eternal Infinite WI6+ Water Ice Pillar of perfect styrofoam ice.

Thanks MichaelJ for allowing me your company on the rope and showing me that true Climbing Dirt Dwellers still can happen.


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Re: Michael Ybarra missing in Sierra

by pgoonghang » Thu Jul 05, 2012 7:35 pm

Mike and I learned to tie our first figure eight knots together a long, long time ago. We suffered through every conceivable misadventure (and some that were not) on our course from gym-rat top-ropers to alpine knighthood. Too many tales to list here.

In the early days, he had a bottle of Burmese whiskey that he always threatened would be opened when the good stuff ran out. I swear he hauled that same bottle on our winter trip up Whitney and Lone pine peak and throughout several Yosemite and J-Tree trips. It was finally opened one tentbound evening in the Sawtooths. We laughed, choked and sputtered until it was no more.

Such a sad tragedy to lose Mike this way. He was a tough climber, a great writer, and an excellent friend.

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