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Bears and Mosquitoes in the Sierra

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Bears and Mosquitoes in the Sierra

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Mar 15, 2006 10:59 am

This "bears" repeating for those not familiar with this subject:

In the Sierra:
In a normal year (this ain't one of them), July is generally the "lost month" when the little flying bloodsuckers are at their worst. This period usually only lasts a month then falls off to near zero bugs by August or so. Before the big swarms hit there is a period of the rather robust "snow mosquitoes": few, sometimes large and pretty sneaky. Before they show up, there is a nice grace period of few to none bloodsuckers except in some lush lower elevations, making it one of the prime hiking periods.
Bears: bear habitat ends at about 8500 feet depending on terrain and there are few conditions that you will find them above that altitude: 1) Bears will change habitat or patrol their area, requiring them to pass above their normal habitat zone. I have found fresh bear tracks in the snow on a cross-country pass above 11,000 feet where a bear crossed the ridge. 2) Habituated bears will visit high altitude areas where there are high concentrations of people and there is a good chance of a successful raid. Fortunatly, there are few areas in the Sierra with this kind of people impact, and nearly all bears found above non-impact habitat will run from people once spotted and are not habituated. (I had 3 bear encounters last year alone [5 bears total], most ran, and I never felt threatened [they went about their business]). Bear cans work to a point: I have found crushed Garcia can shards on at least two occasions (don't make me port this crap out). Hide your can if possible. Ursacks are better IMHO.
Just my opinion, but my pard and I have come to the belief that camp-fires attract habituated bears: I think they associate fires with humans and therefore food. Fires are not really needed during prime season anyway.
And just because you have a bear can does not mean you will not lose your food to habituated bears. Too many times now I have come across groups of can users who have lost their food, usually in high impact areas. Take out what you need and lock it up, and don't just abandon your food just because you spot a bear.
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
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Postby mountaineer » Sun Mar 19, 2006 1:15 am

Doyle, thanks for the info. What do you think late June will be like for skeeters in the Mineral King area?
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Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:17 pm

Late June this year many be OK: I expect the 'skeeters to show up later this year, depending on how hot it gets between now and then. With this last year of storms, snow will be more of an issue. Expect lots of snow above ~9000 feet. Farwell Gap will be covered. Consolidated snow tho: it will be easy walking till after noon.
Doyle W. Donehoo
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Postby mountaineer » Sun Mar 19, 2006 4:50 pm

Expect lots of snow above ~9000 feet.


Good! My aim is to do an ascent of the gully at the right edge of this photo...

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