Missing hiker found deceased Thursday

Courtesy photo

SUBLETTE COUNTY — A Minnesota man who was reported as overdue from a hiking trip on Aug. 21 was located deceased above Spider Lake in the Wind River Mountains on Thursday. Tip Top Search and Rescue members made the grim discovery at about 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 24, and said in a release that 64-year-old John Diepholz appeared to have suffered and succumbed to injuries sustained from a fall.

Diepholz embarked upon a solo trip into the Wind River Range on Aug. 5 and was expected to return on Aug. 16. His brother reported him missing at 4 p.m. on Aug. 21. Tip Top Search and Rescue and the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office immediately began searching for the missing hiker by ground and air in the area of Wall Lake, about 15 miles from the Elkhart Trailhead. Weather hindered initial helicopter and ground team operations early in the week.

In a series of comments made to the Pinedale Roundup Facebook page, Diepholz is remembered by friends and family as “a gentle soul and lover of the Earth and adventure.”

His niece, Amy Michelle, thanked the community for the “kind words, hopes and prayers” as well as the search-and-rescue crew, noting the family is “broken but fortunate to have answers and some closure.”

In a separate release, SCSO Sgt. Travis Bingham extended the department’s appreciation to “the public and backcountry hikers for getting the word out and keeping an eye out for John.”

The agencies involved extend their sincerest condolences to the Diepholz family, noting “It was not the outcome any of us wanted.”

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