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Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby balance » Sun Jul 31, 2016 12:54 pm

Greetings sccollier

I often imagine that I'm related to Sherlock Holmes. Apparently, I should go to ancestry.com and see if I can substantiate that somewhat questionable theory.


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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby cefire » Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:17 pm

Good call balzacom, I always forget about the YNP ban - which is completely baffling. I generally do take spray when I hike, probably a habit leftover from Montana.

I still find it a useful tool in CA, BUT mostly not for bears. Like MT, dogs and people are by far the most dangerous things you'll need to worry about in the backcountry (and even these are very unlikely to pose any threat). In these situations a non-lethal tool is to me, a worthwhile and practical solution :)
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby oldranger » Sun Jul 31, 2016 3:21 pm

What rlown and and AlmostThere said. I'd love to see a bear in the backcountry again! Saw one in the sawtooths last summer, and watched and took pics until it noticed us then took off. My advice if a bear acts aggressive or too casual around you? 1. make sure it has an escape route 2. Chase and yell at it like you are pissed at your kids or having an attack of road rage! (a few rocks help too) Do not stop chasing in less than 200 yards. Bears are lazy and don't want to run anymore than necessary and they will go off and look for easier pickings. That is my usual technique for Rae Lakes loop bears!

Who can't do everything he used to and what he can do takes a hell of a lot longer!
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby sccollier » Sun Jul 31, 2016 8:51 pm

THANK YOU, @AlmostThere -- there did seem to be a bunch of joking around for what I thought was a serious question... so I really do appreciate your response. :)
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby franklin411 » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:11 pm

Every bear I've ever seen, which has been mostly in the southern Sierra so maybe that's why, has been small, scraggly, skinny, and looked like it would be lucky to get through the winter. And the only ones that didn't instantly run at the sight of a person were the ones in Lodgepole Campground.
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby paul » Mon Aug 01, 2016 12:35 pm

As others have said, as long as you have the proper container and use it properly you'll have no issues.
As far as where to put the canister here's what I look for:
A place where the bear can't start it rolling. In a slight depression is good, or if I can't find that I may stick it in among some rocks or trees. Bears can't pick up a canister, but they can roll it away if they start to play with it, and I don't want mine going off a cliff or into a lake or just down the hill somewhere that I have to search for it.
I don't really consider how far away to put it. I wouldn't put it right next to the tent - I don't want to get stepped on if Yogi wants to check out my canister. But other than that it's all about a nice spot for it.
I tend to think that bears are learning about the canisters, and they mostly leave them alone, knowing that it's not going to get them any food. I've never had a bear touch my canister, though I've had some come through my campsite at night.

I do try to cook a little ways away from the sleeping area, so that any food smells are not right where I'll sleep, and any investigations will happen away from me.
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby maverick » Mon Aug 01, 2016 2:34 pm

Hi gang... I'm hiking with a party of 4 on the Rae Lakes Loop (clockwise) over 5 nights / 6 days. I've read a couple of stories on the internet of close bear encounters in that area. I know I need a bear canister and am 100% going to use one. We also all have bear whistles.

After reading those stories of close encounters, I all of a sudden became a little nervous (or a lot). I'm a fairly experienced backpacker - have done maybe 2 dozen trips all over the west half of the country - but I've never led a hike, which I'm doing this time around.

Does anyone have information (I'm going to call the ranger station tomorrow) about current bear activity in the area. AHH... what if one comes around the campsite at night while we're all sleeping?! I realize you have to put your bear canister FAR AWAY from you - how far? And do those need to be strung up in trees, I can't remember? I apologize for the lack of knowledge... just looking for the best advice.

If anyone has any knowledge of current bear activity in that area or tips on how to be the most prepared, that'd be awesome. Thanks in advance.

Welcome to HST!

Don't believe everything you read on the internet, some stories get slightly embellished for a dramatic purposes, this is not to say that Paradise Valley and Rae Lakes have not had any serious bear issues, just that they are not as bad as they were several years ago, which is mostly due to the parks aggressive education on bear avoidance and food storage techniques several years ago.

Paradise Valley bears were stealing backpacks when people they dropped there packs to go use the bathroom was a big problem, as was some bears bluff charging backpackers to make them drop their backpacks and then retreating with their backpacks.

Place your bear canisters away from your campsite, but not to far, be sure to properly close them, many incidents of bears getting access into the containers are due to improperly closing the canisters.

Remove the food you plan to cook and then close the canister immediately, do not leave them open while cooking.

Make sure everything from sunscreen, toothpaste, soap is in the canister, also check all you pockets and any other places you may have placed empty wrappers like your hip-belt pockets on your pack and place into the canisters. Do not store food in your tent.

Place a heavy rock on top of your canister, this will make a loud thud sound if disturbed alerting you that a bear is attempting to get into you canister, get up and make some loud noise by yelling or hitting some pots and pans together to scare to bear away.

If you decide to throw rocks towards the bear be sure not to hit it in the face/head which could piss it off and make it charge, also depending on the bears personality, being overly aggressive can sometimes backfire, if the bear already has an item of yours do not try to get it back, someone up at Charlotte Lake a few years back tried to retrieve a clothing item from the bear and the bear got aggressive, the person received some minor lacerations, maybe George D. was station there at the time and can chime in on the particulars.

Bears are not pets but wild animals, do not allow them to get close to you, it is not cool, they should be afraid of humans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTouURki5B0 :\

Bears sometimes are food conditioned and show not fright of humans, which can lead to deadly consequences in the future for humans or most likely the bear: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y7bby8fOuKk

Educating yourself about these bears habits, how to avoid, and what to do in case of encounters are the best ways to avoid any heightened anxiety and having a safe trip.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Aug 01, 2016 8:27 pm

And, just to confirm -- no, do not hang the canisters. Don't tie anything to them. Don't (if you get something like those zippered "cozy" type fabric covers for the Garcia that lets you lash them to the outside of the pack) leave them zipped up in anything, or in any way make it possible for a bear to grab a rope, handle, fabric or other item with its teeth. Don't put them near water or any steep slope particularly one that ends in granite.

Canister work by being smooth and round enough to not allow a bear to get their jaws around it. Having anything to grab makes them vulnerable to being hauled off and never seen again by you, by a bear that may not get it open, but is more than happy to go take it somewhere to try. Habituated bears can get anything that's hung from a tree, so you're increasing the chances of a bear problem if you hang a canister.
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby robow8 » Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:09 pm

Just got back from doing the loop counterclockwise, and the only bear we saw was below Lower Paradise across the river about 100 yards away. We stayed at Junction Meadow, Upper Rae, Dollar, Upper and Lower Paradise Valley.
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Re: Hiking Rae Lakes Loop Aug 13-18 - have any bear tips?

Postby Robcat32 » Sun Aug 07, 2016 6:17 am

I think you will be fine. In my years I have far more experiences with bears near large campgrounds with lots of people but in all my hiking, I have had just two brief views of bears who wanted nothing to do with me. Just watch the bigfoots however...
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