No you don't!I find it hard to believe that so many people find something they read on the internet hard to believe. I believe everything I read on the internet.
Those of us who are planning extensive time in the backcountry probably all have these things already - after we've spent in the neighborhood of $100k on gear it would just be silly to "cheap out" on emergency communications. As you point out though, the issue is more around how do we help educate\protect the more casual adventurers who may get in over their heads? There can probably be many ways to reduce this kind of risk but the reality is that any solution would need to start with properly funding the Park Service and Forest Service so that our public lands can be managed for the safe use of the public (which will include lots of novice travelers).How hard is it to find these devices to rent on the spur of the moment, and more specifically, where would that casual weekend warrior even find them? Do any of the more remote park visitor centers have these available for rent? Do you think they should?
People are missing that the “canyon route” involved a 3,800 ft drop in elevation over five miles........."Know your limits" comes to mind, also learn basic survival skills if you plan on venturing into the wild. Based on what I have read this couple had experience in the outdoors, so they weren't newbies. After following this situation closely both on the news and this forum I have concluded given the possibilities that this couple unfortunately made the worst choice for themselves. They initially did a super important task before they left on the trip, (although they probably could have been more specific or checked in as their trip progressed, I don't know maybe they did). The task was to let friends, family, co-workers know where they were going and when to expect them back. I suspect they broke down a little short of the end of Gold Valley Road either Friday April 2nd or Saturday April 3rd and had planned on camping over one of the nights since they would have a full day drive back to Tucson Sunday April 4th. They were expected at work Monday 5th and when they didn't show the ball got rolling to find them. By Tuesday April 6th "Notification of potentially missing individuals" had been released to the DV area. Wednesday April 7th SAR ramped up by checking for cellphone info and initiating both aerial and ground support. Thursday April 8th 11 AM they locate the vehicle and note, later that day around 4PM they spot the couple in the Willow Creek area but are unable to attempt the rescue till Friday April 9th.
1) Stay with the vehicle - regulating body temperature is more important than water (at least initially) so seeking out shelter is the first thing you do. Also way easier to spot than two individuals trekking through the desert or tucked away in some dark slot canyon. Get ready to burn tire/s to signal for help if you spot any sign of SAR As jbaucom posted "Considering that their car was located before they were, and that she was still alive, it's safe to say with nearly 100% confidence that they would both be alive now if they'd stayed with the car."
2) Walk it back - 20 to 25 miles back to a road that will get you help. Avoid traveling in the heat of the day, a reliable flashlight will allow you to travel at night. Split parties, most guys would hate leaving their wife or girlfriend behind however you preserve energies and water by doing this
3) The canyon route - beware the shortest route, what may appear as the "easiest" most expedient route can turn into a death knell. Canyons are formed over much time, erosion of rock by water and elements and have no place for the impatient. Travel to far into this scenario and you may literally find yourself between a rock and a hard place
smh - yeah it's crazy. Survival is definitely a risk reward kind of thing. I've watched survivor dude Cody Lundin's show and read his books and always get a kick how he would sooner eat grubs than risk injury hunting big game in survival situations
Not everybody missed that, hence my comment f "there is no complete substitute for a topographic map, a compass, and the skillset to use them". Even a less-experienced topo reader could have checked the elevation changes between points A and B and realized the profile of the canyon trace was extreme. Even lower resolution, less detailed topographic maps, such as the whole park scale topo available as a PDF on the DVNP website shows enough elevation information to determine the canyon's precipitous descent, even if not the exact number of feet in elevation drop.