A 49-year-old Venice woman whose body was discovered on Mt. Baldy died of injuries she sustained in a fall while hiking on the mountain, Los Angeles County coroner officials said.
After a three-day search effort involving multiple agencies, the body of Michelle Yu was located Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 8 by a Sheriff’s Department helicopter team in an area northwest of the Mt. Baldy summit known as Fish Fork, on the Los Angeles County side of the mountain.
A San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson said the body was found at an altitude of about 7,900 feet and described the area as very steep, rugged terrain covered in ice. The summit of Mt. Baldy is the highest point in Los Angeles County at 10,064 feet.
The helicopter pilot was forced to drop the search team at the landing zone and return to the area with a medic, who was hoisted down to the location and confirmed that the victim was dead, the Sheriff’s spokesperson said.
In a statement released to the media, Yu’s family thanked the search and rescue agencies and other supporters.
“Our family cannot adequately express our grief at the untimely passing of our vibrant, incredible Michelle; but we have been so touched by and grateful for the outpouring of support from so many people who loved and cared for her. To all of the officials, countless volunteers, and well-wishers who contributed vastly in the efforts to recover our loved one, we are forever grateful.
“We cannot comprehend a world without our Michelle, but find some comfort in knowing that she left us while doing something she loved.”
Yu, described as an experienced hiker who frequented the Mt. Baldy area every Saturday for a day hike, was training for an upcoming hiking competition. She reportedly left her home Dec. 4 for a day hike in Mt. Baldy, but when she did not return home her roommate reported her missing Dec. 5 to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
Search volunteers confirmed that at about 8:30 a.m. Dec. 5, Yu signed the log book at the Sierra Hut Trail Head. She had planned to hike to Baldy Peak and then come back down to Baldy Notch, where she would then take the ski lift back to where her vehicle was parked, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Search and rescue volunteers from San Bernardino, Los Angeles and San Diego counties assisted in the effort. Yu’s vehicle was located Dec. 5 at Mt. Baldy and Falls roads.