At 2:00 p.m. this afternoon David Laurienti's body was found in the Upper Fay Lakes drainage on the north slope of Ypsilon Mountain. His body has been protected and moved to a more secure location. The six-person park team who located his body will be coming out of the backcountry tonight.
Tomorrow, park rangers will evaluate alternatives for the safe recovery of his body. 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.