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Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Postby quentinc » Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:41 pm

East Side Hiker wrote:I have a terrible story - when I was the ranger at Upper Piute Mdw, which I believe is about 8,000' (I could be wrong about that), a marmot came into my cabin one night, and my dog at the time, now deceased for many many years, attacked and killed it. It was tragic. But marmots certainly do live mostly in the sub-alpine, rocky areas, or higher.


I don't find that terrible at all; I think your dog deserved a medal of valor. For me, marmots rank below mosquitoes in terms of evolutionary horrors.



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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Postby lambertiana » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:07 pm

I go to Mineral King regularly, and there is definitely a marmot problem early in the season. Sometimes I use chicken wire, and I see others who lay a huge tarp on the ground, drive their vehicle onto it, and then pull up the edges of the tarp and tie them around the upper part of the vehicle.

Sometimes the rangers will say that the marmots are especially bad and advise you not to park at the trailheads (the Sawtooth trailhead is worse). If you leave your hood open, there seems to be a lower chance of a problem.

Almost two years ago I went for an early season dayhike to the grove of foxtails above Timber Gap (home to the largest foxtail pine). Knowing that the marmots would be a problem, I put chicken wire around my car and anchored it with rocks all along the bottom to keep the marmots from working their way under. Well, they figured out that if they climbed up the chicken wire, their weight would pull the wire away from the car far enough to climb over the top and drop down under my car. When I got back to my car I had to chase marmots away, and there was one under my hood that would not leave until I poked it a few times with a stick. They chewed on the insulation on the firewall, but fortunately the hoses and belts were intact.
Last edited by lambertiana on Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Postby lambertiana » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:12 pm

I should add that the picture above is of the Sawtooth trailhead (Monarch lakes are on that trail, too). That is where the marmots got at my car. The Franklin trailhead is at the end of the road a little to the south of the Sawtooth trailhead.
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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Postby Oubliet » Tue May 03, 2011 2:07 pm

So, those of you who have parked there and wrapped chicken wire around your car:

What's the best way to wrap chicken wire around your car?
posting.php?mode=reply&f=1&t=6059#
Does the tarp-diaper wrap work?
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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Postby Shawn » Tue May 03, 2011 9:03 pm

I'm not certain it's the best way; I just wrapped the stuff around, tightened it up at the ends, and placed rocks around the bottom. Probably didn't do too much to deter the little guys, just figured they'd pick on an easier target.

The friend I went hiking with that day (to Mineral Peak) had not been hiking in the Sierra before. The look on his face as I put up the chicken wire was priceless.

Image
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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Postby AlmostThere » Tue May 03, 2011 9:22 pm

Shawn wrote:
The friend I went hiking with that day (to Mineral Peak) had not been hiking in the Sierra before. The look on his face as I put up the chicken wire was priceless.

Image


That might have been a fun thing to build on... on the second hike, loading the 8' tall heavy gauge wire fencing in the car... give him a look and mutter, "darn buffalo."
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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Postby Herm » Wed May 04, 2011 10:18 pm

I have spent a fair amount of time in the Mineral King Valley, and as far as I know the only time my truck was bothered by any marmots was the time that I spent at least half an hour wrapping chicken wire around the truck, and wiring doubled up cardboard firewood boxes in each of the tire wells, and various other not so well thought out human obstructions for the marmots. And this was in the Sawtooth Trailhead parking area, as photographed by Shawn. When my wife and I returned from our dayhike to Timber Gap, a gang of marmots fled from beneath the chicken wire surrounding the truck. Upon close inspection, it was found that the complete underside of the truck hood had been trimmed of its furry insulating layer - seriously, maybe a few square inches remained untouched. A marmot had to be flushed out from its hiding spot in the wheel well, snuggled into an area between sheet metal and a rubber/plastic shroud. Once the truck was moved, it looked like a barber chair had been in that spot, from all of the dropped insulation that was chewed from beneath the hood. In probably at least 50 days and nights parked in the trailhead lots as well as camped at Cold Spring, that is the only marmot problem ever encountered.
One thing I have seen National Park Service forest crews do with their trucks, is wrap them like a burrito. Lay out a sturdy tarp on the ground, drive the vehicle on top and centered, then wrap up the sides and secure with rope. Usually, after June, it seems the majority of vehicles are left unprotected, and without problem.

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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Postby Oubliet » Sat May 07, 2011 4:42 pm

I wonder if it would help to use a sprayer and treat all of the insulation material with cayenne powder or flamin' hot sauce to discourage the marmots?

Do marmots like spicy food?
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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Postby Herm » Sat May 07, 2011 6:52 pm

Imagine the fun for the driver and passengers of such a vehicle if it overheats, which is always a distinct possibility when climbing the Mineral King Road.
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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Postby Cross Country » Sun May 08, 2011 1:28 pm

Every time (10 -15) I left my car I feared this. Thank God it never happened.
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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Postby AlmostThere » Sun May 08, 2011 6:44 pm

I'd never spray the interior of anything I wanted to keep with cayenne/pepper spray and park it in active bear territory! That's like begging for the Black Bear Wrecking Company to work over your car.

Probably wouldn't even phase the marmots.
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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Postby rlown » Sun May 08, 2011 7:46 pm

Seems like the best approach is to try and line up your trip with Shawn and have him drive. :)
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