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Bear-proof container or NOT???

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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby AlmostThere » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:11 pm

artrock23 wrote:I own a BV450, and only use it when it's required. I prefer not to carry the extra weight or lose space in my pack, unless it's 'necessary'. In the 70s as a Boy Scout, I learned the proper way of securing ones food in a tree. Most of the time, i'm camping above 10.5K and in places where bears are not an issue. Now marmots... that's a different story! ;)


Everyone who tells me bears don't go high apparently ignores the piles of bear poop. They're bigger than the pika and real easy to spot...

Thanks, but I'll keep taking the canister, just the same. Bear will clearly walk right by to your camp...

Friend of mine was backpacking the John Muir Trail all in one go, without resupply, before the bear canister regs went into effect. A bear got his very proper and high bear hang, took off with all his food, he was so frustrated he just went home. A proper counterbalance is just improper in some areas. Anywhere near Yosemite, including just outside it, you really should have the canister. The Yosemite Ninja Bear Training Center has been in full operation for a while now.



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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby artrock23 » Mon Jun 03, 2013 11:40 pm

AlmostThere wrote:Everyone who tells me bears don't go high apparently ignores the piles of bear poop. They're bigger than the pika and real easy to spot...


Really? Above 10.5K? Where and when? I've never seen (or heard of) bears or signs of them at that altitude or higher in the Eastern Sierra.

AlmostThere wrote:Friend of mine was backpacking the John Muir Trail all in one go, without resupply, before the bear canister regs went into effect. A bear got his very proper and high bear hang, took off with all his food, he was so frustrated he just went home.


Bears are crafty, but they cannot defy the laws of physics. If a bear got his food it was not hung properly. [-X
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby dsundrwd » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:01 am

artrock23 wrote:Really? Above 10.5K? Where and when? I've never seen (or heard of) bears or signs of them at that altitude or higher in the Eastern Sierra.



My friends & I had one walk within 150 yards of us on Bishop Pass. That's over 10.5K ft.
He was making the rounds from Dusy Basin back over to the Saddlebag Lake area. This was several years ago but he was over 10.5k nonetheless.
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby Rockchucker » Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:12 am

artrock23 wrote:
AlmostThere wrote:Everyone who tells me bears don't go high apparently ignores the piles of bear poop. They're bigger than the pika and real easy to spot...


Really? Above 10.5K? Where and when? I've never seen (or heard of) bears or signs of them at that altitude or higher in the Eastern Sierra.

AlmostThere wrote:Friend of mine was backpacking the John Muir Trail all in one go, without resupply, before the bear canister regs went into effect. A bear got his very proper and high bear hang, took off with all his food, he was so frustrated he just went home.


Bears are crafty, but they cannot defy the laws of physics. If a bear got his food it was not hung properly. [-X
I've seen lots of bears at or above 10500. I've even saw a bear on top of the whites, 11,000. I've seen lots of bears on Olancha peak,they spend quite a bit of time in rock screes gathering moths. They are for sure with out a doubt above 10500!
I'm no suture for my future.
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:16 am

artrock23 wrote:
Really? Above 10.5K? Where and when? I've never seen (or heard of) bears or signs of them at that altitude or higher in the Eastern Sierra....

Bears are crafty, but they cannot defy the laws of physics. If a bear got his food it was not hung properly. [-X


They can climb trees, and YES it was hung very properly. Bears in Yosemite have been getting properly hung food for years. That's why canister rules are so strict there. They climb up above, jump from higher in the tree, grab the bags on the way down. It's been observed by more than one person....

Poop appears above 10k in Sequoia and Kings, so far, in my personal experience. Tablelands - we visit each year. Up on the passes - they do share our trails.

There's a bear in Paradise Valley (Kings) that can get a lid off a Bear Vault by a different method than Yellow Yellow back east - he tips it over and does CPR on the can. So put your Bear Vault in a locker there... For a while, there were signs (this was a long time ago) instructing you not to run away from a bluff-charging bear in SEKI who learned that people drop their packs if he intimidated them. He wouldn't hurt you, but he'd huff and run at you.

Bears can get into third story cabin windows.

I don't think you talk to very many people out there... I hear all kinds of things and see all kinds of pictures of evidence that bears are smarter than they appear most of the time. There's a video in existence that documents a bear hunt where, after being shot, the bear pauses to scoop mud into the wound before taking off into the trees.

So yes, I KNOW that bears can get a properly hung bear bag. They don't do it consistently enough that people will believe it - there are those, like you, who swear they've never had a problem. But experienced backpackers are not exempt and the bears get their properly hung food just as they do the food people try to sleep with, or put under a pile of rocks, or leave in the side pocket of the pack. That's part of the problem. The non believers will continue until they have a bad experience themselves, resulting in another bear taking one more step toward being a nuisance bear - which eventually get killed. Yep, I KNOW that happens too, rangers shoot them and they become part of the ongoing study of habituated bears.

They have also breached the bear canisters, including the models I have and use - but so far, this has not been a replicated behavior that's turned into something all the bears are doing. Crossing my fingers that people won't just let the bears play with the canisters all night long - drive them away ... don't give them time to figure out dropping it on granite works. I look for tree wells to place a canister in, or bury it under heavy granite flake as an early warning system so I can get up and pitch rocks.

The most frequent incidents are where the people flock - Yosemite, and the problem is growing in SEKI, as rangers have been talking about canister mandates becoming more widespread there. As people research online and start to explore more of the Sierra there'll probably be more than occasional incidents elsewhere. The only cure is prevention, IMO, which is why I finally dropped the dime on a Bearikade.
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby artrock23 » Tue Jun 04, 2013 8:44 am

Thanks for the info, guys. As with many posts on this site, it's useful.

As I said, in numerous trips to the Eastern Sierra, i've never seen bears, signs of them, or had rangers mention having seen or heard of any in the higher altitude places i've been. But the bottom line, for me, is that I do research on the places I camp/climb (including trailheads I park at): detailed research, which includes the animal life i'm likely to encounter. A bear canister is necessary (or strongly recommended) under some, but not all, circumstances.
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby AlmostThere » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:18 am

I am pretty sure bacckcountry incidents in parks are underreported, btw. If you knew there was a fine for letting bears get food.... Up to $5000 in yosemite.

I do hang my food in some areas . Usually on the coast where there are no bears that anyone knows about , or in sespe wilderness where there are definitely bears but you hardly ever see them and when you do it's generally their backside going away from you very quickly .

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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby Herm » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:43 am

Whether required or not, I always use a bear canister. Squirrels, birds, etc. can also raid your food stores, so the "bear" canister keeps the food and scented items secure from them as well.

In 2008, while camped at Summit Lake (~10,200 ft elevation, on boundary between Hoover Wilderness and Yosemite NP), witnessed a very large black bear swim a few hundred yards along the southern shore, then climb the ridge at west end of lake on its way into Virginia Canyon in Yosemite. Later that day, found the remains of some other hiker's food that had probably been discovered by a bear. They do go high.

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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby Wandering Daisy » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:42 am

Where bear canisters are optional, I assume the authorities know this risk and therefore do not require them. It depends on my route. You can also plan a route so that you can use the bear boxes at lower elevations, where bears are more prevalent. I foresee a time when the entire Sierra will have bear can requirements.

Where not required I often us the Ursack. On longer trips I usually use the Bearikade. On short trips (2-3 days) I do not use a canister unless absolutely required. I would love to have a smaller Bearikade for these trips but just cannot afford to buy one. The "packability" of a bear can is a BIG issue for me since my pack is women's small size. I guess they figure a small woman will have a big man with her to carry the bear can!

I have an Ursack, Bearikade Weekeneder, Bearvault (large one), and Garcia canister. I rented a Bearikade before I decided to buy one. I really like the Bearikade. My children bought me one for Christmas so I did not even have to spend the $$! You can rent all kinds of bear cans, and I think it is a good idea to try them all before making your decision. Personally, I no longer use the Bearvault or Garcia. I use these to store food at the trailhead where there are no bear boxes. Twice I had extreme trouble getting the lid off the Bearvault. Yes, it is bear proof - but it also "me-proof", LOL. I find that the lid and can do not expand at the same rate when heated or cooled. My husband who has much stronger and bigger hands does not have a problem, but I do. I have also had the Bearvault "vacuum lock" with change in altitude. The size of the Garcia is really good because it fits horizontally in my backpack, whereas the others do not. But the Garcia is WAY heavy for its volume.

Invent a lighter weight bear-proof container that does not cost an arm and leg and you will become rich!
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby schmalz » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:53 pm

re: Bears at elevation. I just saw one at Gilbert Lake this past Sunday morning at 11k feet.
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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby Herm » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:24 pm

schmalz;

yep, they're on 4 feet, and they can go where they wanna go. If they don't find food, they will just keep on moving until they do find food, be it from a backpacker who doesn't secure their food, or a natural source.

eta: my hope is that they find only their natural source of food - and that is why I will always carry a "bear" canister.

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Re: Bear-proof container or NOT???

Postby paul » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:41 pm

My feeling is that I am done with hanging. I got tired of having to pick my campsite by the criteria of a good hanging tree, and having to wonder when I was above the big trees whether my food was safe, and dealing with the whole rigamarole. So I carry my canister unless there are no bears or it is a ski trip. Makes a nice seat in camp, and i have had bears walk through my campsite in Yosemite and not touch it.

Bears at elevation - I once was looking for a campsite around 11k along bubbs creek - we were thinking no problem with bears, we're plenty high. So I find a nice flat area and walk over for a closer look. Center stage is a big bear turd - and it is half aluminum foil.
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