Search For Hiker Missing In Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains Suspended

The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office has suspended its search for a 76-year-old man from Palo Alto, California, who disappeared Sept. 2 while on a group hike in Wyoming’s Wind River Mountains.

Andrew Rossi

September 13, 20232 min read

Steve Keller
Steve Keller (Cowboy State Daily Staff)

After nearly two weeks of searching, the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office has suspended its search for 76-year-old Steven Allen Kelle of Palo Alto, California.

After extensive efforts to find Keller, Sheriff Ryan Lee suspended the search Monday, saying that at this point, Keller is “presumed deceased,” according to a release from the FCSO.

Keller disappeared Sept. 2 while on a group hike in the Wind River Mountains on the Wind River Reservation heading toward Deadman Lake. He was last seen at the group’s overnight encampment at Steamboat Lake.

Search efforts were hampered from the beginning by bad weather in the mountains, which delayed an aerial search of the area. Volunteers from Tip Top Search and Rescue searched the rugged terrain on foot, but found no signs of Keller.

The Wyoming National Guard provided a helicopter for the search effort. Personnel from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Shoshone and Arapaho Fish and Game also assisted on the ground.

Steven Keller is 6 feet tall and weighs 170 pounds. He was wearing a green windbreaker jacket and a blue/black/green Patagonia fleece when he disappeared. He may have embarked on a solo day hike, as his backpack was left behind at the group’s campsite.

Family and friends of Keller consistently said he was “an experienced outdoorsman” who had experience hiking the trail. The Keller Family declined to comment when contacted by Cowboy State Daily, but suggested they wish to continue the search through other means.

At the time he was reported missing, Steve’s niece, Betsy Briggs-Miller, posted a public call for help on Facebook, which was been shared in many Wyoming news and missing persons groups.

“He is an expert outdoorsman and very tough,” she said. “No health issues. He was leaving for a day hike, and his pack was left at the campsite, unfortunately.”

Briggs-Miller said Keller had done this backpacking trip multiple times and that in the past he had taken the trail to Alpine Lake.

Anyone who has seen Steven Keller or has information that could lead to finding him can contact Fremont County dispatch at 307-856-7200.

Andrew Rossi can be reached at

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Andrew Rossi

Features Reporter