Protecting your food from Marmots | High Sierra Topix  

Protecting your food from Marmots

If you've been searching for the best source of information and stimulating discussion related to Spring/Summer/Fall backpacking, hiking and camping in the Sierra Nevada...look no further!
User avatar

Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby norcalhiker » Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:39 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.



User avatar
norcalhiker
Founding Member
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:59 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby AlmostThere » Wed Jun 20, 2012 7:49 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.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby norcalhiker » Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:31 am

Nope, no bear can. :paranoid:
User avatar
norcalhiker
Founding Member
 
Posts: 57
Joined: Sat Oct 29, 2005 7:59 pm
Location: Sacramento, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby quentinc » Wed Jun 20, 2012 1:11 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.
User avatar
quentinc
Topix Expert
 
Posts: 890
Joined: Tue Nov 01, 2005 10:28 pm
Location: Los Angeles
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby lambertiana » Wed Jun 20, 2012 9:25 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.
User avatar
lambertiana
Topix Regular
 
Posts: 159
Joined: Tue Aug 24, 2010 3:13 pm
Location: Visalia, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Wed Jun 20, 2012 10:22 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:
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
User avatar
DoyleWDonehoo
Founding Member
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:06 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby Wandering Daisy » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:47 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.
User avatar
Wandering Daisy
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 2607
Joined: Sun Jan 24, 2010 8:19 pm
Location: Fair Oaks CA (Sacramento area)
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jun 22, 2012 10:41 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.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby rlown » Fri Jun 22, 2012 8:03 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.
User avatar
rlown
Topix Junkie
 
Posts: 5347
Joined: Thu Oct 25, 2007 5:00 pm
Location: Petaluma and Wilton, CA
Experience: Level 4 Explorer

User avatar

Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:27 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.
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
User avatar
DoyleWDonehoo
Founding Member
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:06 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby AlmostThere » Fri Jun 22, 2012 9:38 pm

Maybe you missed the part where we were at Moose Lake and the Tablelands and saw bear poop.

Also, SEKI has no set rules for bear cans outside the key areas of the Rae Lakes Loop and Dusy/Palisades, which is quite surprising for "oppressive bear can regulations" type park service behavior.

So I tend to think that there IS a problem, because, well, bear poop doesn't look like pika poop, or marmot poop, or people poop.

We take bear cans - so friggin' what if it's a little difficult, better than waking up to no food and an early and very long hike to the car. You can bet that even if the Ursack is acceptable (which it won't be) I wouldn't touch it. I'd rather have food.

You can fit more than 7 days in a can, y'know. They make a large enough Bearikade to rent.
User avatar
AlmostThere
Topix Fanatic
 
Posts: 1758
Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 4:38 pm
Experience: N/A

User avatar

Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Fri Jun 22, 2012 11:34 pm

AlmostThere wrote:Maybe you missed the part where we were at Moose Lake and the Tablelands and saw bear poop.

So what? The point I have been making is that more than likely the bear was unhabituated. If you had examined the poop, you would probably not found wrappers or other debris from raids. If the bear had seen you, it probably ran the other way until it was far away. Just because you see evidence of a bear does not mean it is a habituated bear or one in danger of becoming habituated. Habituated bears mostly hang around high human impact areas where the odds are they have a good shot of getting a free meal frequently.
And the Ursack is more than proof against raiding bears, which I know from personal experience. I have had uncounted encounters with bears. Heck, I have had a bear encounter this year early season, but it was near White Wolf, a high impact area. I have rescued other peoples food and packs from bears. In recent years I have not had to do that because of the sharp decline in habituated bears, at least that is my guess. I imagine that as the bear can regs kicked in, the habituated bears died or became so weak they often did not make it through winter.
In any case, these days, you are more likely to have trouble with those pesky marmots.
Doyle W. Donehoo
Sierra Trails:
http://www.doylewdonehoo.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
User avatar
DoyleWDonehoo
Founding Member
 
Posts: 480
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:06 pm
Location: San Jose, CA
Experience: N/A

Next

Return to Backpacking / Hiking / Camping



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Pika, Yahoo [Bot] and 10 guests