Missing Hiker Found Dead On Mount Baldy

MOUNT BALDY (CBS) — CBS 2 and KCAL 9 have learned that missing hiker Michelle Yu has been found dead on Mount Baldy in San Bernardino County.

Officials had been looking for Yu for several days. She was first reported missing over the weekend.

Rescuers attempted to find her via ground and by helicopter. San Bernardino Sheriff’s Public Affairs told CBS 2 and KCAL 9 Wednesday night, that earlier today the unit’s Air Rescue Six saw what appeared to be a body in a rugged and icy area known as Fish Fork, northwest of the summit.

Yu had failed to return home Saturday from what she told friends was going to be a simple one-day hike on the 10,000 foot pike.

Yu, 49, of Venice, was an experienced hiker who friends said spent most weekends hiking the steep mountain. While Yu wasn’t dressed for the weather that hit the mountain Sunday night, she was supposedly prepared with extra food and water.

She told friends she planned a 4.5 mile trek to Baldy’s summit and then she was going to come down via an area called Devil’s Backbone Trail and meet up with a ski lift.

Her body was found, said the Sheriff’s Air Rescue Team, at about the 7,900 ft. level.

A cause of death is pending further investigation by the LA County Coroner.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

  • chris

    That’s the entire story??? So, how did she die??? did she fall???…was it the cold temps? please complete this story if possible….

    • DAN

      I agree. How can we learn from others mistakes without a conclusion to the story.

    • Kris

      Did you see this part?:

      “A cause of death is pending further investigation by the LA County Coroner.”

  • D.E.P

    My condolences to Ms. Yu’s family.

  • Hubert

    Some news said other hikers heard help somewhere, and Yu’s only chance was just there. Why that slim chance was wasted. My condolences to Ms. Yu’s family, too.

  • its me

    who wrote this news? its not complete!!! what a shame.. LAZY WRITER….

  • Meee

    They said that she had slipped off a cliff. And it was not a “slim chance wasted” those search and rescue people used helicopters and left their lives and families behind and hiked all day and all night in the freezing cold and put their own lives on the line to look for someone who wandered off a trail that they should have stayed on in the first place and slipped off a cliff so suddenly but on her way down still had time to call for help before she landed and died? Oookayy. My prayers are with her family but don’t make assumptions and don’t make it one sided. The members of search and rescue have families also and no one likes to see their mommy or daddy miss their birthday or Christmas or dance show or anything else because just HAD to go hiking up a mountain and get lost.

    • buddyboy

      You’re and idiot! Where does it say she fell off a cliff?

    • T

      you obviously don’t hike either…

  • Kelly

    i was up in Badly tonight and was wondering why Channel 5 was there. i was hoping it didn’t have to do with Michelle. my prayers go out to her friends and family.

  • GJC

    My condolences to Ms. Yu’s Family & Friends!
    If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at ALL!

  • Viviana Herrera

    Michelle was a good friend of mine and I am in shock, Please give more details.

  • Jon

    Experienced or not, never hike alone. If you are injured, you can always send someone in your party out for help. Ms. Yu didn’t have that option.

  • John

    Agree with Jon about hiking with at least one other person… this is common sense and common knowledge for any hiker especially for “experienced” hikers as Yu purportedly was. I personally hike the same path she took several times a year. Conditions such as those she chose to hike in should always be considered. A satellite positioning system with a “call for help” feature such as what SPOT makes would make a lot of sense to have in such a situation and could’ve saved her life. Emergency crews would’ve had her exact coorinates within seconds of her pressing the distress button and perhaps could’ve prevented this tradgedy. My thoughts go out to her family, so sad to hear a fellow mountaineer has given their life for the sport. Stay safe people!

  • Salim

    While I and others I know hike and backpack solo frequently, particularly in the Sierra, we also fill out permits if available with our itinerary, let friends know what our plans are and possible routes, and many of us , including me, carry a SPOT emergency beacon device or something similar. While this may not help if you were to fall and be knocked unconscious or worse, it certainly helps in other situations as well as providing peace of mind to friends and family.

    What concerns me is that , according to the information that has been published (and these are frequently incorrect) she was not prepared for the weather, and was apparently carrying 40 lbs of rocks as a training load. With all the availability of weather sites such as the NOAA site, plus the fact that these are the mountains, and weather can change rapidly, even in summer, and it is December, anyone going out MUST be prepared to deal with inclement conditions AND be prepared for an overnight stay! Rather than rocks, carry winter equipment and food. The word “experienced” is usually thrown around loosely in these types of reports, but we must be careful as to what constitutes “experience”. Merely hiking long distances is not enough.

  • A Fellow Hiker

    So you are all aware….This was a case of a miss-step most likely. All the SPOTs and winter weather gear would not have helped her enduring a 2000 foot fall. She WAS and experienced, strong hiker. She was extremely familiar with the terrain and had an accident. They are called accidents for a reason. To her family and close friends my heart goes out to you. Please have peace in knowing she died doing what she loved to do.

  • greg

    There is a lot of ice up there on some very very steep slopes and one mistake is all it takes. Dry on one side of a drainage and thick ice on the other. Some ice covered in snow. I did a search and rescue for an 18 year MIT student about 5 years ago on Mt Baldy and we never found him. It is assumed his body still up there. My heart goes out to her family and friends. A very sad story. I lot of people like myself go solo all the time.

  • Michellek

    She fell off a cliff and died on impact. There was no chance for survival or rescue. She may have been experienced but she made a rookie mistake that cost her her life…


    Very very sad…BUT Some posts here are just plain ignorant. Do NOT give advice if the closest thing to nature to you is your backyard (“meee”). Its not a matter of staying on the trail. RULE ONE: ANYONE experienced or not should not willingly take on mother nature alone. The more experience you have the more you should know this. Michelle Yu may have had some experience but I don’t know where they get off calling her an experienced hiker. I wish peace for her soul and strength for her family.

  • Kris galarza

    I have 3 of my friends missing right now at mt baldy and nobody has done a thing about it yet. They’ve been missing since Sunday. The officials say they can’t do anything until Thursday.

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