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Dropping your pack to do Whitney

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Dropping your pack to do Whitney

Postby whrdafamI? » Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:24 am

A friend of mine is doing the JMT this summer. They are going from south to north so doing the summit of Whitney is right at the beginning of the trip. His concerns are dropping his pack to do the summit. I have to agree that to leave it for awhile unattended would be a worry. However not to do the summit when so close would also be a drag. Has anyone ever had any problems or heard of anyone having any from doing this? I would like to believe that there would be a unwritten rule and your stuff would be left alone but you can't account for the actions of everyone.
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Re: Dropping your pack to do Whitney

Postby markskor » Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:26 am

I have always left my pack (often in a pile among others too), at the junction just below Trail Crest and not worried about it.
FYI, I have never seen a bear that high - marmots are the bigger concern, but having done the Muir 5 times, I never experienced any problems here.
YMMV
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Re: Dropping your pack to do Whitney

Postby Troutdog 59 » Sat Apr 16, 2011 9:27 am

Bill,

I've never heard of anyone having problems, but some likely have. Just so many people in one place. That said and using the same logic, that's one of the locations I don't think it would matter that much just due to the volume of packs that are there on a given day and the number of people, especially on a weekend. I'm always more nervous leaving our packs by themselves when we day hike into a nearby basin to fish, but even then Ive had only minor issues with smaller critters, not the two legged variety.
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Re: Dropping your pack to do Whitney

Postby maverick » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:07 am

Bill,

Tell him he could drop it will Markskor is recommending, or if he is worried about this
than he can take out his bear canister, put it between the rocks near the junction, this
way he can get rid of biggest weight (15-20 pounds), and still take his pack to the
summit.
Just tell him not to forget where he placed it!
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Re: Dropping your pack to do Whitney

Postby whrdafamI? » Sat Apr 16, 2011 7:20 pm

Thankyou to all for the advice. I actually hadn't given any thought to Marmots or Bears. He is more concerned with the 2 legged variety of critters.
Better to have it and not need it than it is to need it and not have it!

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Re: Dropping your pack to do Whitney

Postby lambertiana » Sat Apr 16, 2011 8:37 pm

Every time I have approached Whitney from the back side, we have had a pre-dawn start from Guitar Lake or the tarns above Guitar Lake, and our packs were among the first left at the trail junction. By the time we summited and came back down, there was always a huge pile of packs there. Just by volume, the chance of your pack being chosen for pilferage is low. I have never had a problem, nor has anyone I have hiked with, but I did hear a report from one person who had a bunch of Clif bars taken there.

I figure that any major gear item that is worth any money represents a fair mount of effort to steal and take back down the mountain, so most people won't bother even if they are the type to do so at trailheads. I only worry about small valuable items, and take them in a fanny pack with me to the summit.
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Re: Dropping your pack to do Whitney

Postby hikerchick395 » Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:22 pm

I didn't even think twice, but I did leave something precious in my pack...5 video tapes from the JMT hike.

There are more packs on the side from which I am taking my photo. More were there midday, too. People even leave daypacks.
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Re: Dropping your pack to do Whitney

Postby Ikan Mas » Sun Apr 17, 2011 5:33 pm

Like others, our boy scout troop left a pile of packs at the trail fork. It was snowy, whiteout August 1, but other than damp packs, no problem.
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Re: Dropping your pack to do Whitney

Postby East Side Hiker » Tue Apr 19, 2011 9:26 am

I have never left my pack, I've just carried it. But I carried it not because of security reasons, I just did. But I've seen the scenes as hikerchick395's picture shows (maybe not quite as many packs as in her picture...). There have been records of sudden storms swooping across Whitney, and people getting into trouble without proper clothing, so one should be prepared.

When I've trekked up the Sierra in the past, I frequently stashed my pack, or left a tent with everything in it (except $ and camera), hiked over a pass (say Bishop), hitch hiked down to the nearest bar, drank my fill, reversed my out-route back in, and everything was fine. A couple times, I didn't make it out the same day, and everthing was still fine the next day.
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Re: Dropping your pack to do Whitney

Postby markskor » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:16 am

My Sierra thinking about backpacking is that once past the point of "one day in", everybody up there has their own load to haul...(I am sure not adding any more, especially weight of yours.)
Agreed that just leaving thousands of dollars worth of gear, unprotected along one of our Sierra's busiest trails seems foolish, but somehow, up there, it never feels crazy/ never worried about it much.

At Whitney specifically, (a unique situation), within the close knit backpacking community, (with everyone having cell phones), the chances of someone just getting a Whitney permit, then making it up to Trail Crest and finally stealing a pack, and returning/ getting past the portal again un-seen...doubtful.
I pity the guy who tries.

I would worry far more about your car left at the trailhead, where the people who do not backpack hang out.
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Re: Dropping your pack to do Whitney

Postby sirlight » Tue Apr 19, 2011 1:16 pm

We left our most of our gear at trail crest a few years ago. We did not have any problem. Just make sure and bring with you everything you might need for the hike out. I would never want to be without my emergency gear if somebody walked away with the rest of my stuff.

I think there is a big difference between "backpackers" and "hikers". I have found that the further into the wilderness you are, the more respectful people tend to be. Quite a few "hikers" on the way up that Whitney trail!
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Re: Dropping your pack to do Whitney

Postby East Side Hiker » Sat Apr 23, 2011 1:10 am

The problems we have with thiefs are at the trailheads, not in the backcountry.
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