Mesa woman dies after hiking southern Utah's Wave

KANAB, UT - Elizabeth Bervel thought she was going on the adventure of lifetime. Instead, sheriff's officials say she ended up getting lost and succumbing to the brutal summer heat. It's the third time this month, and fourth time this summer someone has died while exploring "The Wave" rock formation near the Arizona/Utah border.

According to the Associated Press, Bervel and her husband left their two kids at home and started hiking "the wave." Two hours into the hike, Bervel died from cardiac arrest. Sheriff's officials say the Bervels got lost on the trail and had to spend several extra hours walking in humid conditions and 90 degree heat.

"This event once again demonstrates the inherent risks associated with hiking in southern Utah's desert country," the Kane County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. "Even though the Bervels had tried to make sure they were prepared for this hike, the elements proved to be stronger."

This is just the latest incident at "the wave" though, earlier this month Ulrich and Patricia Wahli of Campbell, California died while hiking on a 106 degree day.  The tragic events have prompted federal officials to start a revue of the permitting process hikers need to go through to see the popular rock formation.

Right now only 20 people a day are allowed to hike in the area. Hikers are chosen by lottery but critics say the scarcity of tickets forces people to travel at times they may not be ideal.  More than 48,000 people applied for permits last year and as many as 100 people a day line-up for permits.

"We're considering everything at this point, said Kevin Wright, manager of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.

Bervel is survived by a husband and two young children.

Print this article Back to Top