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Contact: Kyle Patterson, (970) 586-1363
A forty-three year old male is presumed dead from injuries believed to be sustained in a fall, likely occurring in an avalanche in Rocky Mountain National Park. Search efforts began this morning for two overdue climbers from Estes Park. At around 2:45 p.m. park rangers found the forty-five year old female climber in the upper Fay Lakes basin approximately 6 miles from the Lawn Lake Trailhead. Information provided by field teams has been hampered by communications, however it's been reported that she and her partner 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. She suffered numerous injuries. Park rangers are providing her with assistance, medical care and are evacuating her via toboggan from Ypsilon Lake, which is roughly 4.5 miles from the Lawn Lake Trailhead. It is estimated that the team will reach the trailhead close to midnight.
The deceased man's name is David Laurienti. The name of the climber who rangers are assisting is Lisa Foster. Both are from Estes Park.
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. Ypsilon (pronounced ipp-salon) Mountain is located north of Old Fall River Road in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Park rangers will locate the body and conduct recovery efforts when conditions allow.