oh wow- that is sad. it is an unforgiving (albeit beautiful) place.
Thanks for posting this Red, I was going to do it. I always worry about people coming from completely different environments. They see pictures of The Wave (and other places), think "Oh we have to go there!" and have absolutely no concept of what they are getting in to. People seem to think visiting the National Parks or other wilderness places is like going to Disneyland. No, it's NOT. There are no employees out there to ensure you have a wonderful experience, to answer your questions and to point you in the right direction.
The wilderness (and not just in Utah) is beautiful but it can be deadly to those who are uninformed and unprepared. Personally, I would never hike the Wave in summer. I wouldn't do it in a group smaller than 4 people, preferably with at least 1 who had done it before.
I am so sad for this family and for the son who lost his Dad.
Please visitors, research and prepare so you can have a good time and come back again.
I would also like to reference the article in the St. George newspaper about the two hiking groups who had to be pulled out of The Subway this week. They ignored the rangers' advice, went in without technical gear, and one injured person had to be rescued by helicopter. Sorry if this sounds mean, but I hope they had to pay for their rescue.
In Colorado you are required to pay for any rescue. Unless you have a fishing license. Fishing licenses also are like insurance for mountain rescue as some of the fee goes to mountain rescue. So even if you don't fish get a fishing license.
I hiked the Wave on a day when it reached the high 90s, it was very tough coming out. We went at dawn and the hike in was very easy. After a couple of hours we began the hike out, had lots of water, some 50/50 with Gatorade, it was very difficult for me. I was 67 at the time and in good shape, you just don't realize what the heat/exposure can do.
From the article
"Since then the BLM has implemented a system in which employees and volunteers act as guides for a hiking party if requested. Others monitor the trails through the Wave and also supply water to hikers."
First I have heard of this.
To the top for people planning to hike in the summer. Please read and be aware.
There is a canyon hike outside of Las Vegas that goes down to the Colorado River below the Hoover Dam that the BLM finally had to close off completely in the summer months because too many people were not using common sense and were hiking down in the heat of the day and dying of heat stroke. I'd hate to see that happen but it won't surprise me if they end up going that route. Although the Wave is in a wide open area as opposed to this small canyon so maybe that wouldn't be possible anyway.