Updated: Climber Dies in Avalanche At Rocky Mountain National Park
Editor's note: This updates with the discovery of the missing climber's body.
The body of a Colorado man killed by an avalanche in Rocky Mountain National Park was found Tuesday afternoon, but its retrieval would have to wait another day, park officials said.
Rangers found David Laurienti’s body about 2 p.m. in the Upper Fay Lakes drainage on the north slope of Ypsilon Mountain. They moved his body to a more secure location, where it would wait until weather conditions improved. The six rangers who hiked into the backcountry to find his body were headed back out Tuesday evening.
Search efforts were launched Monday morning for Mr. Laurienti and his partner, Lisa Foster, both of Estes Park. They had failed to return from the park's backcountry as scheduled and their families contacted the park. Around 2:45 p.m. Monday rangers found the 45-year-old woman, the author of The Complete Hiking Guide to Rocky Mountain National Park, in the Upper Fay Lakes basin approximately 6 miles from the Lawn Lake Trailhead.
Information provided by field teams indicated that the two had been caught in an avalanche at approximately 6 p.m. on Sunday while descending from the north side of Blitzen Ridge on the 13,514-foot Ypsilon Mountain in the Mummy Range on the north end of the park, park officials said. The woman suffered numerous, undisclosed, injuries.
Park rangers, after providing medical care, took Ms. Foster out of the backcountry along the Lawn Lake Trailhead, reaching the trailhead about 1 a.m. Tuesday.
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. The weather forecast continues to call for periods of snow, high winds, and low temperatures above 11,000 feet.