Former Jamestown woman survives mountain avalancheFormer Jamestown resident Lisa Foster survived an avalanche Sunday that killed her climbing partner on Ypsilon Mountain, part of the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.
By: By Chris Olson, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Former Jamestown resident Lisa Foster survived an avalanche Sunday that killed her climbing partner on Ypsilon Mountain, part of the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.
Foster, 45, of Estes Park, Colo., is recovering in an undisclosed location Wednesday afternoon, according to Kyle Patterson, spokesman for the National Park Service’s Rocky Mountain National Park.
Patterson said Foster and David Laurienti, 43, Estes Park, were descending from the north side of Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Mountain when they were caught in an avalanche around 6 p.m., Sunday.
Some 32 Rocky Mountain National Park rescuers began looking for the climbers Monday when they became overdue back from their climb. The rescuers found Foster at 2:45 p.m. Monday in the upper Fay Lakes area of Ypsilon Mountain. She had numerous injuries and the rescuers were able to move her with the help of Larimer (Colo.) Search and Rescue.
Patterson said Foster told the rescuers Laurienti’s body would be in roughly the same area in which she was found. His body was found at 2 p.m. Tuesday. The searchers who found the body placed it in a protected, secure area on the mountain. Patteson said details on how Laurienti will be transported off the mountain were to be released Thursday.
Foster is a 1985 graduate of Jamestown High School. She has successfully climbed Longs Peak, near Estes Park, at least 42 times in her life. The 42nd time she did it, on Dec. 8, 2011, Foster became the first woman to climb the peak in every month of the year since records were kept starting in 1868. She is the author of “Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide.”
Patterson said the last avalanche death in RMNP was in 1992 when two men were killed in another area of the park.
“Avalanche deaths are uncommon in Rocky Mountain National Park,” she said.
Patterson said it is common for people to attempt mountain climbing during the winter in the park.
“The inherent risks associated with winter mountaineering can be considerable,” she said.
Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Mountain is a challenging mountaineering route, according to information provided by the NPS. The ridge includes sections of technical rock, which is rock climbing involving using aids like pitons, carabiners, chalk and rope. The technical rock becomes more difficult in winter conditions.
Sun reporter Chris Olson can be reached at 701-952-8454 or by email at email@example.com