Recovery Efforts Begin For David Laurienti
Before dawn this morning, March 21, a team of park rangers assisted by two members of Rocky Mountain Rescue left the Lawn Lake Trailhead to resume recovery operations for the body of David Laurienti. Another team left the trailhead at approximately 8:00 a.m. to aid the first team’s efforts. The second team consisted of park rangers assisted by five members of Larimer County Search and Rescue. A forecast of strong and gusty winds has prevented the use of a helicopter. The safety of the teams has been the top priority of today’s efforts. The teams are expected to reach the trailhead with Laurienti’s body at approximately 4:00 p.m. today.
On Tuesday, March 19, a six-person team found David Laurienti’s body in the Upper Fay Lakes drainage on the north slope of Ypsilon Mountain. The area is roughly 6 miles from the trailhead in a remote, rugged section of the park. His body was protected and moved to a location with less avalanche potential.
David Laurienti, forty-three years old from Estes Park, died from injuries believed to be sustained in a fall, likely occurring in an avalanche. Search efforts began Monday morning, March 18, for David Laurienti and Lisa 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 indicated that Laurienti was deceased. She 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.