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Protecting your food from Marmots

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Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby norcalhiker » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:39 am

Considering the other thread...

How successful are "marmot hangs" in the alpine zone? I'm speaking of hanging food off of large boulders or cliff faces. Do they chew the rope? Scurry down the rock and get the bag?

I'd love to leave my bear canister at home on trips that are way up high. I also don't have, or want, an ursack.



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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:49 am

If you're going up high in SEKI you'll probably have the bear canister anyway. We were seeing bear poop in the Tablelands last year.
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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby norcalhiker » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:31 am

Nope, no bear can. :paranoid:
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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby quentinc » Wed Jun 20, 2012 12:11 pm

Marmots aren't supposed to have the brains to figure out about chewing through the rope. I guess they just get by on being beautiful.
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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby lambertiana » Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:25 pm

Where are you planning on going? Bears go to the high alpine areas, too. There's a reason canisters are required in Dusy Basin.
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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:22 pm

At the risk of starting another BBD (Big Bear Debate), I have seen bear tracks on over 11,000 foot x-c passes, but that does not mean those bears are habituated, and I would guess there are few of them these days, seeing how I have had a dramatic drop in bear encounters, and bear encounters have dropped in the Sierra in the last 10 years. Most unhabituated bears stay well below 8 to 9000 feet. The only habituated bears I have ever seen over that altitude were in excessively human impacted areas, and Dusy Basin qualifies for that distinction, for example. These days, the best reason for a bear can is mostly to protect food from marmots and other critters. I have seen an excessive number of bears in my travels, but I have never seen a habituated bear in a high altitude off trail area. A liberal application of common sense goes a long way towards the protection of food, gear and personal safety. :bear:
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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:47 am

I am more worried about marmots chewing up my pack and boots than getting my food. I have hung food off rocks (put a big rock on my trekking pole and then hung the food off the other end that extended out into thin air). It worked even when there were lots of marmots. Marmots seem to be more interested in salt than food. Once I peed next to my tent at night and when I awoke the marmots had dug a huge hole on the spot but never bothered to even look for the food that was hung off a nearby tree. I could not even keep the marmots away from the pee hole by throwing rocks at them. They really go for anything that has your sweat on it. I would not leave my sweaty hiking shirt out at night. A friend had is pack straps totally chewed by marmots. I have had trekking pole handles eaten. I always set the trekking poles upright and anchored by a large rock. I think marmots are too stupid to actually figure out how to move the rock - or they do not know there is salt on the handles which are a few feet above them.
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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:41 am

A ranger in SEKI told me last year they were going to start mandatimg cans above treeline. They tend to do that when bears are an issue.
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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby rlown » Fri Jun 22, 2012 7:03 pm

AlmostThere wrote:A ranger in SEKI told me last year they were going to start mandatimg cans above treeline. They tend to do that when bears are an issue.


I'm surprised that's not already mandated.
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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:27 pm

rlown wrote:I'm surprised that's not already mandated.

I don't see why it would be. Climbers in particular would/do find it a pain and a nuisance to carry bear cans to high altitudes where bears are simply not an issue. Climbers carry enough gear as it is. Bear can rules have pretty much driven out of the Sierra's trail-running lite-packers. As was pointed out (and for in particular the high country), you are way way more likely to have your gear chewed up by marmots than have a bear encounter of any kind. Especially for those of us who go way off trail above 9000 feet. As I said, marmots ate my chair, I was not kidding, and by now most people can deduce why it happened. Meanwhile, I am planning a trip, and I am going to have to limit it to 6 or 7 days, because that is about the max you can put into a bear can. I will be more friendly to bear cans once the Ursack is rightfully fully accepted for all parts of the Sierra, and we once again can do trips of more than 6 or 7 days.
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