Rene Dreiling was by himself hiking and climbing in Grand Teton National Park when he likely fell to his death, officials said.

“The official cause of death was a fractured neck and head trauma,” Teton County coroner Dr. Brent Blue said.

Dreiling, a Denver resident who was a summer employee of Grand Teton Lodge Company, was reported missing Friday after he did not show up for his scheduled work shift at Colter Bay.

Rangers found his body at around 7 p.m. Sunday “on the north side of Mount Owen, on a rocky cliff band beneath steep snowfields.” They recovered the body Tuesday after days of searching.

“Rene Dreiling was an awesome guy and always knew how to make people smile,” a friend wrote on Facebook. “It’s sad to know he will no longer be with us.”

“He was always so kind and fun to be around,” said Justin Bodrero, a friend of Dreiling’s. “He always had a smile on his face and always loved being out in the mountains.”

Dreiling, 21, is being remembered as a brilliant young adventurer.

He had shared plans to climb Table Mountain before he went missing, according to reports.

“Grand Teton Lodge Company is deeply saddened by the untimely loss of Rene Dreiling, a second-year employee of our company,” said Alex Klein, vice president and general manager of the Lodge Company and Jackson Lake Lodge. “Our sincere condolences go out to Rene’s family and friends during this difficult time.”

Dreiling was well liked by his co-workers, Klein said.

“Rene had an energetic personality and positive attitude,” he said.

Klein expressed gratitude toward the National Park Service and Teton County Search and Rescue for their efforts during the search.

“We are focused on supporting Rene’s family and our employee community during this difficult time,” Klein said.

Investigation determined that Dreiling was last seen the morning of Aug. 31 along the northwest shore of Jenny Lake.

“We extend our thoughts and prayers to Rene’s family and to Grand Teton Lodge Company,” Grand Teton National Park Superintendent David Vela said.

Dreiling’s social media presence was that of an extreme mountaineer, with photos of free climbs and written posts about living life on the edge. He often hiked and climbed alone and changed plans while in the mountains, investigators found.

A memorial for Dreiling is set for at 2 p.m. today at the Colter Bay Village Amphitheater.

Contact Emily Mieure at 732-7066 or

Emily Mieure covers criminal justice and emergency news. She also leads the News&Guide’s investigative efforts. She has reported for WDRB TV in Louisville, Ky., WFIE TV in Evansville, Ind., and WEIU TV in Charleston, Ill.

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