Lisa Foster is, in many ways, a quintessential Coloradan -- someone who so loves the natural glories of the state that she wrote an entire guide book about hiking in one of her favorite places on earth, Rocky Mountain National Park.
But with such beauty comes danger. On Sunday, Foster and a hiking partner, David Laurienti, were caught in an avalanche.
Foster survived the ordeal. Laurienti did not. Details and photos below.
The Amazon listing for Foster's book, Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide, for which Foster provided text and photographs, speaks to her intense knowledge of the area:
The complete experience of hiking Rocky Mountain National Park has finally been captured in one comprehensive volume. All 400 named features in the Park are explored and two-thirds of this book covers off-trail hikes not commonly found in guidebooks. Extensively field-checked and accompanied by striking photography and USGS maps, this amazing collection draws upon Foster's over 7,000 hours of backcountry expertise. From casual strolls to class 4 climbing, no other book has tackled the entire park in such an in-depth and exciting way.
More information about Foster can be found in the forward to the book, penned by Dr. Jim Detterline, a retired Longs Peak Ranger and RMNP Instructor of Biology at Aims College. It's shared on the Renaissance Mountaineering website, which also features photos of Foster including those seen here. Detterline writes:
I have now been enjoying the backcountry of RMNP for 26 years, yet there are still numerous untrodden corners and little-used trails to discover as new treasures. Lisa Foster is the consummate scholar and guide to these places. Aside from being an accomplished mountaineer and technical climber, she has served as a Park scientist, journalist, filmmaker, resource manager, hiking guide, and more, which has given her a unique perspective on the geography, natural history, and human legacy of RMNP.
According to the Boulder Daily Camera, Foster and Laurienti were enjoying these characteristics at around 6 p.m. on Sunday while climbing down the north side of the Blitzen Ridge on Ypsilon Mountain, a 13,000-feet-plus peak in the park, when they were swept over by an avalanche.
The search for the pair began in earnest early the next day -- and that afternoon, Foster was found, battered but alive. An RMNP release states that rescuers arrived at the trailhead with her around 1 a.m. yesterday morning. She was then transported by ambulance to Estes Park Medical Center with unspecified injuries.
Continue for more about the avalanche, complete with more photos and a video.
At the time of this announcement, rangers already feared Laurienti had perished in the slide, and unfortunately, they were right. On Tuesday, reports the Fort Collins Coloradoan, a six-person rescue team located his body in the Upper Fay Lakes drainage on the north slope of Ypsilon.
In a statement provided to the Camera, members of Laurienti's loved ones shared their grief about losing a man described as an "avid outdoorsman, family man and consummate friend" who leaves behind a wife and two kids, ages seven and thirteen.
Because of adverse weather conditions, recovery of Laurienti's remains is expected to take place today. However, his body is said to have been moved to a location that's protected and safe.
Look below to see more photos of Foster, courtesy of Renaissance Mountaineering, as well as a 9News report about the incident as posted by the Coloradoan. In the meantime, our condolences to those who loved and will dearly miss Laurienti.
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