ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK (CBS4) – Friends of a woman who was hurt when she was caught in an avalanche on Sunday in Rocky Mountain National Park and whose climbing partner was killed say she will recover from her injuries.
Lisa Foster, 45, of Estes Park, is the author of a book called “Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide.” She told people who rescued her the snow slide happened Sunday evening at approximately 6 p.m. on the north side of Ypsilon Mountain.
Officials began a search for Foster and friend David Laurienti on Monday morning after they were overdue on their return from their expedition.
Foster was located Monday afternoon in the upper Fay Lakes area approximately six miles from the Lawn Lake Trailhead and after a lengthy effort rescue crews were able to get her to an ambulance and then to Estes Park Medical Center. Thirty two park rescuers and six members Larimer County Search and Rescue were involved in bringing Foster out of the park using a toboggan.
At approximately 2 p.m. on Tuesday crews located Laurienti’s body. Laurienti, 43, is also from Estes Park. His body was moved to a more secure area and authorities will evaluate the possibility of the recovery of the body on Wednesday. That effort will depend on weather conditions.
Lisa Foster (credit: Renaissance Mountaineering)
So far it’s not clear exactly what injuries Foster sustained, but friends on Facebook wrote “She’ll be ok.”
“She’s an avid hiker in Rocky Mountain National Park and mountaineer. She climbs ice, she climbs rock, she’s climbed Longs Peak every month of the year,” friend Kris Hazelton told CBS4. “She’s just a spectacular person.”
Rocky Mountain National Park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said on Tuesday that the weather forecast in the area where the avalanche happened called for blowing and drifting snow with cold temperatures and wins as strong as 60 mph.
Patterson said the pair were climbing Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Mountain, which “is a challenging mountaineering route that includes sections of technical rock, often made more difficult in winter conditions.”
“She was ambulatory, she was able to talk with the rangers and indicated that there had been an avalanche fall that had taken place on Sunday,” Patterson said.
Officials with the Colorado Avalanche Information Center say the avalanche danger is high across much of Colorado’s high country right now.