Fatality in Rocky Mountain National Park – UPDATED
Rocky Mountain National Park rescuers arrived at the trailhead with Lisa Foster at 1:00 a.m. this morning, Tuesday, March 19. They were assisted in the evacuation by Larimer County Search and Rescue. Foster was transported by ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center. Specific information on her injuries will not be released. Over 32 park rescuers were involved in yesterday’s efforts plus six members of Larimer County Search and Rescue.
This morning a six-person team will attempt to locate Mr. Laurienti’s body and conduct an investigation, if weather and avalanche conditions allow. Foster reported his body to be in the upper Fay Lakes area north of Ypsilon Mountain. The weather forecast continues to call for high winds with gusts exceeding 60 mph at times, blowing and drifting snow and very cold temperatures above 11,000 feet. The body recovery efforts will take place on another day when weather and conditions allow.
David Laurienti, forty-three years old from Estes Park, is presumed dead from injuries believed to be sustained in a fall, likely occurring in an avalanche. Search efforts began yesterday morning, March 19, for Laurienti and Foster, two overdue climbers from Estes Park. At around 2:45 p.m. park rangers found Foster, forty-five years old, in the upper Fay Lakes basin approximately 6 miles from the Lawn Lake Trailhead. Ms. Foster and Mr. Laurienti had been caught in an avalanche at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 17, when descending from the north side of Blitzen Ridge on the 13,514 foot Ypsilon Mountain. Foster suffered numerous injuries. Park rangers provided her with assistance, medical care and evacuated her via toboggan from Ypsilon Lake, which is roughly 4.5 miles from the Lawn Lake Trailhead.
Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Mountain is a challenging mountaineering route that includes sections of technical rock, often made more difficult in winter conditions. Recent snow and winds have contributed to what the Colorado Avalanche Information Center forecasted as considerable avalanche conditions in this area since Saturday. Ypsilon (pronounced ipp-salon) Mountain is located north of Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.