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Bear Boxes and Resupply in Kings

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Bear Boxes and Resupply in Kings

Postby dharter » Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:14 pm

Resolved the primary resupply problem - got a friend in Phoenix who has committed to resupply us. He is planning on coming in over Kearsarge Pass and then hiking north on the JMT to meet us. However, according to the NPS Seki site, 1) that section requires bear canisters, 2) bear boxes are only for PCT/JMT thru hikers. That means he will most likely need 2 canisters to carry both his food and our resupply.

Can anyone confirm/refute points 1 and 2 above and/or offer other alternatives on carrying the resupply?

If he can use the bear boxes, on a 1-10 scale how likely is it he will find them full - this would be sometime around 9/8 - 9/10?

Are canisters available for rent at the Forest Service office in Lone Pine?

Thanks.
Doug
Doug



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Postby BSquared » Mon Mar 26, 2007 6:59 pm

I have never seen a bear box even remotely close to full (in fact, I've only once found *anything* in one, and they're huge), but my experience is fairly limited. Here's a really good map of where canisters are required and where boxes are located < http://www.sierrawildbear.gov/foodstorage/map032107.pdf>. I also have never heard that "bear boxes are only for PCT/JMT thru hikers," and I seriously doubt it. In fact, most bear boxes are not even on the JMT/PCT.
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Postby langenbacher » Mon Mar 26, 2007 11:51 pm

BSquared wrote:... Here's a really good map of where canisters are required and where boxes are located ....


Cool map! Thanks! It's hard to get a map that shows where the cannisters are required, that's so much better than the verbal description you get other places.

The best resource I've found for accurately locating bear boxes is at http://www.climber.org/data/BearBoxes.html

You can rent a bear canister at the interagency visitor center (i.e. - the ranger station) in Lone Pine.
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Postby Baffman » Tue Mar 27, 2007 3:40 am

I've seen a bear box full, two of them. It was at Rae Lakes about 10 years back. Canisters weren't required yet. It was ridiculous.

Yes, canisters will be required for that section and as far as I know, the bear boxes are for everyone's use. They are not for leaving a resupply in, but backpackers are encouraged to use them. You shouldn't have to worry about them being full in September.
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Postby Lightning Dog » Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:55 pm

I was in that area last September and the boxes were empty except for junk that people discarded or forgot. They say that the boxes are only for Thru Hikers, but your friend should not have any trouble at all. I also carried a bear can for the one night where there wasn't a box.
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Postby SPeacock » Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:26 pm

" These regulations apply to all groups. Through hikers along the Pacific Crest Trail and the John Muir Trail with a valid wilderness permit must use portable, park approved, bear-proof food storage containers or camp at sites with food storage lockers and use the lockers. Hanging food (e.g. counterbalancing) in restricted areas is prohibited until snow prevents access to food storage lockers. " ( is from below)

http://www.nps.gov/archive/seki/snrm/wi ... torage.htm

Canisters are required in three areas throughout the wilderness from the Friday of Memorial Day through October 31. In Kings Canyon National Park, canisters are required in Dusy Basin, in Palisades Basin, and Rae Lakes Loop. In Sequoia National Park, canisters are required in the Rock Creek drainage. Additionally, the Inyo National Forest also requires canisters in many areas.

(from below)

http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/bear_bc.htm

locations below:
http://www.nps.gov/seki/planyourvisit/bear_box.htm
http://www.nps.gov/archive/seki/bear_box.htm

Bear Boxes are on a first come first serve basis. Through hikers not mentioned except as users.

You CAN NOT leave food in bear boxes as a cache - only for temporary overnight.

You can not LEAVE food in bear boxes with the idea that others will use it.

There have been several reports of 'trail bums' using the bear boxes as a source of food. Buffet line, so to speak.

The rules say you must have a bear cannister with you in required areas. Does not say anything that ALL the food has to fit in it (slight interpretation for the lawyers here). The bear cannister is for over night storage - not necessarily daytime storage. The bears don't (yet) hit you up for food on the trail.

The smart thing is to figure that in the areas that are controlled, there is a really good chance there ARE bears there. The reason they want the foold locked up are valid and they enforce it with various and sundry activities (warnings, fines, bears destroyed, etc).

Lots of (possibly urban) legends of backpackers being sent/escorted back to trail head for lack of food protection.
Last edited by SPeacock on Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby SPeacock » Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:36 pm

oops, too quick on the send button.

So, your resupply grunt should have a bear can for his own use then he can pack your food as well as he can in his packbag (outside the cannister), then store your stuff over night in bear boxes awaiting your connection.

Baxter or Sawmill Pass (not Taboose) would be alternatives north of Kearsarge.

If he has a 4WD for Sawmill, it will be a much easier entry to the JMT as he can start at 8,000'.
http://www.climber.org/DrivingDirections/sawmill.html

The Baxter Pass trailhead is considerably lower than K Pass however. But would save some hiking and another pass if meeting you at Rae Lakes area. Trail head is 6000'
http://www.climber.org/DrivingDirection ... rPass.html

So long as he doesn't mind storing your stuff in bear boxes enroute to meeting you each day, he will have plenty of opportunities for bear boxes going north from K Pass.

Kearsarge Lakes (trail head at 9200 is tempting) are a GREAT resupply place to hang out waiting for connections to be made. Not far out of the JMT way - a beautiful spot most JMTrs miss out on. Also your poor Sherpa only has to get over one pass with his terrible load... or meet you down at Vidette Meadows. But that makes a long day for him and he is not in as good a shape as you will be to crawl out of the place the next day. Easy connect just below Charlotte Lake...maybe a mile or two out of your way.

Besides, if you don't make him pack too far, maybe he can bring in some fresh veggies, can of beer, bottle of wine.... :)
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Bear Boxes

Postby gdurkee » Thu Mar 29, 2007 7:31 pm

Well, if he's got a canister for himself and puts the extra he's meeting you with in a box, I think you're OK. Where rangers at Rae/Kearsarge/Charlotte become mightily annoyed is when someone leaves a cache. In those cases it's yanked. So if you're actively moving through an area to meet a thru hiker, I would interpret that as a legitimate use of the box.

Also, it's pretty standard, especially for Kearsarge, for hikers to have overflow. All of the backcountry rangers have been OK with that. It does happen occasionally, though, that you run into a non-backcountry ranger who takes a stricter view of things.

So the short answer is go ahead, but at least have one canister to show good faith.

BUT! I just re-read your post. How far north on the JMT will the person meet you? You absolutely cannot camp between Woods Creek and Pinchot Pass without fully secured food -- use a box or a canister. There's no boxes past Woods Creek. That's a long hump from there over Pinchot, though possible Keep that in mind.

Have a great hike.

George
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Thanks for all the responses.

Postby dharter » Fri Mar 30, 2007 3:22 pm

Thanks all for your input. Based on that input and our anticipated itinerary, we have concluded that a resupply via Kearsarge using a canister and bear boxes will be the best option.

George, we should be no farther north than Woods Creek when the resupply takes place, so the presence of boxes should not be an issue.

For anyone who is interested, this is the link that brought some concern re: the boxes - notice the last sentence of the last bullet item.

http://www.nps.gov/archive/seki/raelakes.htm


Thanks again,
Doug
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boxes

Postby gdurkee » Fri Mar 30, 2007 3:49 pm

(The permanent metal food-storage boxes are for use by thru-hikers on the PCT and JMT only.)


Yes, for clarification, that statement is true. Dumb, but true. Before canisters, there would be a huge problem with boxes filling up, especially when a large scout group was in the area. Also, until we clamped down, people would leave plastic buckets for food caches in some of them for weeks at at time.

The only one I've seen pretty full on a semi-regular basis is the first one after dropping down from Kearsarge. But there's three boxes in the immediate area, so there's always room.

Again, the canister is required in this area but if you've got "overflow" for a few days, the boxes are OK as far as the b/c rangers are concerned.

Have a great trip.


George
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