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Weekend rescues at Rocky

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Highline rescue operations in the Roaring River, Rocky Mountain National Park. Photo courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park

Courtesy National Park Service

June 25, 2017

Rocky Mountain National Park’s Search and Rescue Team members were called to several incidents on the weekend of June 24-25, 2017, including one where an 18-year-old male was rescued via a highline operation across the Roaring River above the Alluvial Fan.

On Saturday afternoon, the 18 year old from Kansas had been rock hopping on this section of the Roaring River when he became stuck on the west side of the river. Park rangers were notified at 2:30 p.m. The young man’s family members were on the east side of the river. Rangers assessed the situation with members of Estes Valley Fire Protection District’s Dive and Swiftwater Rescue Team, and after considering the complexity and length of time the rescue would likely take, it was determined that it would be safest to conduct the rescue on Sunday morning. Rangers provided the man with warm clothes, a sleeping bag and food overnight. A ranger stayed overnight on the other side of the river from the young man…

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Helicopter rescue at Rocky

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Rocky Mountain National Park receives assistance from the Colorado High-Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Program to evacuate injured man from park. Courtesy Rocky Mountain National Park

 
Man Rescued From East Inlet Trail In Rocky Mountain National Park
May 6, 2017

At 8:30 p.m. Friday night, May 5, park rangers were contacted via cell phone about an incident on the East Inlet Trail on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, according to the National Park Service. A 19-year-old man from Tennessee and two friends were backpacking in the area. They were roughly 3.5 miles from the trailhead, scrambling over steep terrain, boulders and downed trees when a large boulder fell on the man’s leg. The man’s friends were able to free him from under the rock.

Search and Rescue Team members reached the man at approximately 11:30 p.m. A number of agencies assisted Rocky Mountain National Park on this incident including Grand County EMS, Grand Lake Fire Protection District, Grand County Sheriff’s Office and Grand County Search and Rescue. The man was located in steep terrain, cliffed out on one side and steep scree on the other. Due to the terrain and darkness, the team of fifteen members stayed put through the night and provided advanced medical care to the injured man.  

 Because of the nature of the man’s leg injury and the location, park rangers requested assistance from the Colorado High-Altitude Army National Guard Aviation Program to assist in evacuating the man via a hoist operation, using a winch operated cable. This occurred at 8:15 a.m. this morning. The man was flown to Harbison Meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park where he was transported by ground ambulance to Middle Park Medical Center. Rescue team members are hiking out to the trailhead.

Avalanche death at Ypsilon Mountain

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On Thursday, crews set out to recover the body of an Estes Park man who apparently died in an avalance at Rocky Mountain National Park earlier this week. The body was discovered Tuesday in the Upper Fay Lakes drainage on the north slope of Ypsilon Mountain. His climbing partner survived and was taken to a hospital. Here’s the National Parks Service account of what happened:

David Laurienti, 43, is presumed dead from injuries believed to be sustained in a fall, likely occurring in an avalanche. Search efforts began March 19 for Laurienti and Lisa Foster, two overdue climbers from Estes Park. At around 2:45 p.m. park rangers found Foster, 45, 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 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 Specific information on her injuries will not be released. Over 32 park rescuers were involved in in the efforts plus six members of Larimer County Search and Rescue.

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.

Update: Body found in search

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After five days of searching, officials at Rocky Mountain National Park said they have recovered a body believed to be a missing Texas man.

Two people on snowshoes reported finding the remains Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 5) north and west of Bear Lake, where Troy Green’s vehicle was discovered last week. It was in a timber area about 100 feet off a summer hiking trail, National Park Service officials said.

The identification of the body is pending the completion of an autopsy by the Larimer County Coroner’s Office, but Park Service officials said they were body is that of Green, 39, of San Antonio.

The body was located near the Flattop Mountain Trail, which was inside the search area but approximately one mile north of the Tyndall Gorge and Nymph Lake region where search managers believed that Green may have hiked. He was found in an area that had been searched several times by ground personnel, a dog team, and helicopter over-flights. Green’s body was against a tree and he was wearing dark-colored clothing.

Green was was in Colorado to attend a conference in Denver, and his wife reported him missing on Thursday (Jan. 31) when she didn’t hear from him. Rangers found his rental car in the Bear Lake parking lot early Friday.