Obituary: Carl Yarbrough |

Obituary: Carl Yarbrough

Carl Yarbrough
Carl Yarbrough
Provided Photo

November 1, 1956 – September 14, 2022

Carl Edward Yarbrough was born on November 1st, 1956 & passed away on September 14th at 7:15am from complications caused by sepsis. His wife, children & 2 closest friends were by his side.

If you know Carl, you know he was a larger than life, lover of life, and a voracious adventurer. He loved trying new things. He was a “jack of all trades & a true master of many,” who loved sharing his gifts with his friends. He grew up in Arlington, TX, but was a true mountain man at heart. His adventurous spirit was kindled by his father, and it took him all over the world. Carl passed his contagious love of adventure on to his children as well.

He was a pioneer, a teacher, an inventor, an artist, an athlete, and a true visionary.

At 13 he bought his first camera while on a family trip to Japan, beginning his lifelong love for capturing and sharing images. He had a 35-year career as a professional photographer, shooting extreme sports, athletes, and wild places all over the world. Over his career he covered 9 winter Olympics and was referred to as “Ski God” by many of his contemporaries in sports photography. His historic photo of Hemann Maier, aka “The Herminator” from the 1998 Sports Illustrated cover of the Nagano Olympics is legendary. He continued throughout his life to document his many adventures with friends & family. Since retiring, he has expanded his creative mediums to include paints, medal, wood, stone, water, earth.

He shared his adventures with many of his friends and family, and if you were lucky enough to have joined him pedaling, climbing, skiing, or any of the many things he loved; you saw him in his happy place…. probably as he left you in the dust! He was his own greatest competitor, always pushing himself towards the next great challenge. Two wheels, a crank, chain, & his untamable drive, pedaled him far and wide, and high and low; and boy…did he love to go fast!

He met the love of his life, Retta, in 1982, & always enjoyed telling the story of how they were engaged, after having only spent 22 days (over 6 months) together. They had their 2 children, Emily and Sean, in Aspen and shortly thereafter moved to Boulder, where they lived for 20 years. On New Year’s Day, 1999, Carl & Retta fulfilled a longtime dream of owning a slice of the Colorado mountains. From the ground up, they built and developed their little piece of heaven, where they have hosted hundreds of gatherings & celebrations.

The serene solitude of the wilderness brought Carl great peace and oneness with the world. His favorite daily rituals started with an espresso and a meditative walk with his feline companions; and usually ended enjoying a sunset happy hour with Retta at the gazebo.

He was filled with joy by the artistic collaborations he shared with Sean, & deeply touched hearing Retta & Emily perform together.

Carl lives on thru his wife, Retta; his daughter, Emily and her husband, Chris; and his son, Sean and his wife, Ana; and Rivers, his spiritual advisor. He also leaves behind his 2 dear sisters, Elizabeth Cross and Patricia Maibach, and their families.

We will be celebrating Carl on October 1st, in Fraser, CO. For more information, please contact Karen Ghent at There will be a Facebook post with information about a live feed of the celebration.
In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Dry Bones, a nonprofit that is near & dear to Carl & Retta’s hearts.

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