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Guidebook author injured, companion presumed killed in Colorado avalanche

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - The author of a hiking guidebook suffered multiple injuries and her climbing partner was presumed killed when an avalanche swept the pair off a ridge inside Colorado's Rocky Mountain National Park, authorities said on Monday.

Lisa Foster, author of "Rocky Mountain National Park: The Complete Hiking Guide," and her companion David Laurienti were reported overdue for a weekend climb at the park, about 60 miles northwest of Denver, park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said.

Rangers located Foster, 45, Monday afternoon, and rescuers treated her for "numerous injuries" as they brought her down the rugged mountainside by toboggan, Patterson said. Further details of her condition were not immediately available.

Laurienti, 43, was presumed killed in the fall, and recovery crews have yet to retrieve his body, she said.

Foster, who is also a park service biology technician, told rescuers that the snowslide hit about 6 p.m. Sunday as she and Laurienti were on the north side of Ypsilon Mountain.

Patterson said the 12,500-foot (3,810-meter) ridge where the pair was climbing is a challenging mountaineering route that includes technical rock climbing sections.

Laurienti was the fourth avalanche-related fatality in Colorado so far this season, according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center, which said the avalanche danger was "considerable" in the park over the weekend.

(Editing by Tim Gaynor and Lisa Shumaker)