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food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby longri » Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:01 am

Daisy, Russ and Jeff -- thanks for the feedback. I'm planning a late season trip there, my first (non-winter) trip to Desolation. I figured I'd just take a can but now... maybe not. I've got an ursack that I've used in the Sierra on occasion. I'm confident that it is very bear resistant. But to be honest it's never been tested by a bear. For that matter to my knowledge a bear has only attempted to obtain my food in the Sierra backcountry on one occasion. It was about 30 years ago. The food was hung in a tree. I did not intervene. The bear was simply too large to solve the problem.



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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby cmon4day » Fri Sep 30, 2016 9:07 am

I did two trips into Desolation this year. One from Eagle Falls TH to Fontanillis L. and the other was a loop trip out of Wright L. On both trips I hung my food and had no problems.
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby Tom_H » Fri Sep 30, 2016 10:00 am

I used to live at Tahoe and packed in Deso all the time. All the bears live in the woods on the edge of town. Like others, I have seen many there, but not in the back country. I am skilled with rope handling and use the tandem suspension method. IF you know how to do it properly, it is bear proof, doesn't snag, and weighs a whole lot less than a canister. You need trees, which Deso has. OTOH, if you don't have the technique down, Yogi and Boo-Boo may get the goodies OR you may get them stuck up high permanently.
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby frozenintime » Fri Sep 30, 2016 11:36 am

thanks all for your thoughts.

it's interesting that the bears have taken up such solid residence in town, leaving the backcountry relatively empty.
a metaphor for the decline of rural america?...

we may just bring a can anyway. (we own three of them.)

my concern is partially about weight, but more prosaically about volume. i'm just not sure that we would be able to fit everything necessary for three human in one pack + a child carrier (probably the osprey poco) if we brought the can.

i carry a circuit at the moment, and the bv500 fills up a goodly portion of that thing by itself!
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby neil d » Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:24 pm

I spent 7 nights in Deso this summer, and this subject came up repeatedly. My hiking pal always brings a can, I do not.

I have theorized exactly what Tom_H has articulated, that the bears hang out down low where the food is. But that report from Gilmore Lake is somewhat surprising.
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby longri » Fri Sep 30, 2016 1:19 pm

frozenintime wrote:my concern is partially about weight, but more prosaically about volume. i'm just not sure that we would be able to fit everything necessary for three human in one pack + a child carrier (probably the osprey poco) if we brought the can.

I often put non-food items into an otherwise nearly empty bear canister. On really short trips or at the end of a longer trip when food is running low I put almost everything in the can: stove, fuel, spare socks, long underwear, rain gear (if the weather looks good for the day), my sleeping pad, even my tent. It's all gone in there at one point or another. It doesn't completely eliminate the volume issue that rigid canisters create but it reduces it.
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:46 pm

Everything put in a bear can WILL smell of food. I would never put my tent in it! Or clothing that I would bring inside the tent. Dirty socks? OK. Cook gear that sits outside near the food? OK. Once you put toiletries in the bear can at night, do it every night.

I am confused as to why you have to find room for the baby carrier in your pack. Is not that what you will use to carry the baby while backpacking? Even though the baby carrier may have some food smells, I would just hang it in a tree when not in use, to keep marmots from chewing the straps. In the rare event a bear came around it may smell and lick the baby carrier, but the not likely tear it apart. And if it did, you just would have to carry the baby out in your arms - not that impossible.
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:47 pm

By the way, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you only do an overnight for your first backpack with a baby. Work up to longer trips.
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby frozenintime » Fri Sep 30, 2016 3:57 pm

i was referring to two packs, carried by two parents: a regular backpack (circuit or similar) and a 'baby carrier' backpack (like this: http://www.ospreypacks.com/us/en/produc ... E_550.html).

the 'baby carrier' also has a some amount of storage space.
but fitting three peoples stuff with a large bear can could prove tough.
hard to say til we try, and i've never even seen one of those osprey's in person.

we will definitely do an overnighter or two first!
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:01 pm

You may have to bit the bullet and just buy a larger capacity pack for family trips. I still use my external frame Kelty (a real load-hauler) for family trips with the dog and grandkids.
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby longri » Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:30 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:Everything put in a bear can WILL smell of food. I would never put my tent in it! Or clothing that I would bring inside the tent.

Daisy, all that stuff already has a low level food odor. What's a Sierra black bear going to do, eat my tent?

Despite their keen sense of smell bears aren't always all that smart about detecting food. But I think they're smart enough to not eat a tent.
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Re: food storage in the tahoe/desolation area

Postby longri » Fri Sep 30, 2016 4:34 pm

In the past two years I've seen two couples on extended trips (the JMT), each carrying a child younger than 6 months. It was fascinating to see how they'd worked it out the logistics. But in both cases the guy had a pretty substantial pack.
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