At 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, David Laurienti's body was found in the Upper Fay Lakes drainage on the north slope of Ypsilon Mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park. His body has been protected and moved to a more secure location. The six-person park team who located his body returned from the backcountry Tuesday night.
Before dawn Thursday morning, 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 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 teams are expected to reach the trailhead with Laurienti's body at approximately 4 p.m. today.-
Park rangers will evaluate alternatives for the safe recovery of his body on Wednesday. This will be dictated largely by weather, wind and avalanche conditions.
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 yesterday morning, March 19, 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 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.