The Wave Monument Claims Third Hiker

Woman dies of heat exhaustion

The Wave in the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness     Photo: AlaskanDude/Flickr

A beautiful and forbidding desert area south of Utah has claimed its third hiker this month. Elisabeth Ann Berval, 27, died of heat exhaustion while hiking with her husband at the Wave, a sandstone monument located in the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, where temperatures often reach the triple digits.

The trails in the area are unmarked, and when the couple—celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary—turned back, they found themselves lost. Bervel's husband went ahead to find help, but returned to find his wife in cardiac arrest, with heat exhaustion as the probable cause.

The Bureau of Land Management allows only 20 people to hike through the area on a given day. And would-be hikers must watch an instructional video on hiking safety and obtain a permit months in advance.

Despite the safety precautions, the Wave has proved particularly deadly of late. Earlier this month, a couple died after temperatures reached into the triple digits.

"People don't realize it's on an unmarked trail, across open desert that gets extremely, extremely hot," wilderness instructor Adam Provance told ABC News.

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