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Protecting your food from Marmots

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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby rlown » Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:09 am

guess i agree somewhat that unhabituated bears probably won't bother your food, but at the same time, why not protect them from it? Guess how it started before cans. As for the Marmots. Just camp far away from "their" rock. It's their territory. you can't fix that. Marmots do love established campsites.. easy pickins. Just don't camp there.

Sorry, Doyle.. still love your "ate my chair" comment. :) I'd be kind of ticked off as well. I just don't camp near their den.

Russ



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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby DoyleWDonehoo » Sat Jun 23, 2012 12:22 pm

Sorry, Doyle.. still love your "ate my chair" comment. :) I'd be kind of ticked off as well. I just don't camp near their den.

Good advice. ;) I can't take total credit for my quote. I think I have told this story before, but I was camped with a group near the pass in Deadman Canyon (below a great fishing lake, Big Bird Lake, you would love it). We were sitting around when a marmot approached. Suddenly, one of our members shrieked, leaped up, yelling, and began chasing the marmot. We were kinda shocked. When he came back and sat down, looking sullen, he said, "Marmots ate my Buick." Turns out he was a victim of the infamous Mineral King marmots.
Marmots ate my chair in Granite Basin early spring in winter conditions.

rlown wrote:guess i agree somewhat that unhabituated bears probably won't bother your food, but at the same time, why not protect them from it? Russ

I believe the problems with bears began in the 70's and 80's: few if any trail quotas, no bear regs, and most people did not know a decent bear hang technique to save their lives. The Sierra was crawling with hikers, and you couldn't swing a dead marmot without smacking into a habituated bear. Lots of people were routinely losing their food to bears. You can't regulate stupid so something had to happen.
Actually several things happened. There was a sharp decline in in backpackers (which is now on the increase), trail quotas were established everywhere, better efforts were made to educate the backpacking public, and bearcan regs were established. All of these led to a sharp decline in habituated bears, and further habituating bears (although people with bearcans still lose their food to bears in high impact areas: as I said, you can't regulate stupid.)
All of these things work, and my only beef is with them leaving out the perfectly serviceable and reliable Ursack, which I know from personal experience is proof against bears. The full approval of the Ursack would be a great benefit to climbers, lite-packers and experienced backpackers. I would still advise beginners to use a can: it is more "fool" proof.
Doyle W. Donehoo
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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby rlown » Sat Jun 23, 2012 1:59 pm

All well said. And where are you with getting the Ursack approved? It really comes down the those who want it approved to make the noise, and the bears not to rip into them, i guess.
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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby oldranger » Sat Jun 23, 2012 3:55 pm

Doyle wrote:

I believe the problems with bears began in the 70's and 80's:


I don't think so. I remember hanging food (though not counterbalancing) in the late 50's and thru the 60's and when above tree line piling our pans on top so we would be alerted if something got to poking thru our food. I don't think we did it just for kicks.

Mike
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Re: Protecting your food from Marmots

Postby kpeter » Sat Jun 23, 2012 9:17 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:I am more worried about marmots chewing up my pack and boots than getting my 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.

This sounds exactly like the problem I have had in Idaho (Seven Devils) and Washinton (Olympics) with mountain goats. They really will eat anything with salt on it. Backpackers are urged to pee on large rocks so that the goats don't excavate every urine site. And I really have had goats eat my socks off a line. I haven't had marmots do this, but I've never camped that close to a marmot colony. Mountain goats, at least, are a whole lot cuter!
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