Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

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Shawn
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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Post by Shawn » Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:27 pm

As Mav points out, lots of other threads on this subject -

Yet there are lots of the fat little guys up there, mostly escaping the snow line.
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I can't recall the name of this TH, but the half dozen times I've been to MK, I mostly parked here. Just to the right of this image, there was an elderly lady that would come out of her cabin and actively chase of the Marmots from in and around the cars. She also gave "Marmot advice".
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On one occasion, in early spring, I noticed that I was the only car in the parking lot (that's my Xterra down there). I figured as the day warms up, more cars would arrive and therefore the Marmots would chew on someone else's car and not mine (or at least the odds would be less they'd have lunch on mine).
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As I was descending the trail later that day I got to the switchbacks which overlook the parking lot for about a mile before getting back t the TH. As I got closer to the parking lot, I noticed I had figured wrong, my car was still the only car in the lot (stupid me). As I got closer yet, I could see a swarm of Marmots on and around my car. Like a fool, I start jogging down the trail and began using my keyfob to honk the horn to scare away the little guys.

When I got to the car, I checked all around and everything looked okay. I was plenty relieved when it started up okay....still I noticed an odd sound, as though the engine was running louder than before. So I popped the hood open to have a look, and a big, fat red Marmot pops up and runs out and nearly over me.
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Apparently the insulation is tasty to the little guys, the car still makes weird sounds I have yet to diagnose. Just this past weekend I changed the ATF in my car and noticed some hoses which have been chewed on, of course I thought of the Marmots.

I look forward to boring everyone with this little story again next year, same time, same forum. :D








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AlmostThere
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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Post by AlmostThere » Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:30 pm

That would be the Monarch/Black rock trailhead.

Franklin Pass/Sawtooth is at the end of the road.

There's also lots of bear poop on the trails as you approach the parking lots, and bear lockers to put your smellables in after you remove them from the car, btw.

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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Post by quentinc » Fri Apr 15, 2011 7:41 pm

East Side Hiker wrote:I have a terrible story - when I was the ranger at Upper Piute Mdw, which I believe is about 8,000' (I could be wrong about that), a marmot came into my cabin one night, and my dog at the time, now deceased for many many years, attacked and killed it. It was tragic. But marmots certainly do live mostly in the sub-alpine, rocky areas, or higher.
I don't find that terrible at all; I think your dog deserved a medal of valor. For me, marmots rank below mosquitoes in terms of evolutionary horrors.

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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Post by lambertiana » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:07 pm

I go to Mineral King regularly, and there is definitely a marmot problem early in the season. Sometimes I use chicken wire, and I see others who lay a huge tarp on the ground, drive their vehicle onto it, and then pull up the edges of the tarp and tie them around the upper part of the vehicle.

Sometimes the rangers will say that the marmots are especially bad and advise you not to park at the trailheads (the Sawtooth trailhead is worse). If you leave your hood open, there seems to be a lower chance of a problem.

Almost two years ago I went for an early season dayhike to the grove of foxtails above Timber Gap (home to the largest foxtail pine). Knowing that the marmots would be a problem, I put chicken wire around my car and anchored it with rocks all along the bottom to keep the marmots from working their way under. Well, they figured out that if they climbed up the chicken wire, their weight would pull the wire away from the car far enough to climb over the top and drop down under my car. When I got back to my car I had to chase marmots away, and there was one under my hood that would not leave until I poked it a few times with a stick. They chewed on the insulation on the firewall, but fortunately the hoses and belts were intact.
Last edited by lambertiana on Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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lambertiana
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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Post by lambertiana » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:12 pm

I should add that the picture above is of the Sawtooth trailhead (Monarch lakes are on that trail, too). That is where the marmots got at my car. The Franklin trailhead is at the end of the road a little to the south of the Sawtooth trailhead.

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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Post by Oubliet » Tue May 03, 2011 2:07 pm

So, those of you who have parked there and wrapped chicken wire around your car:

What's the best way to wrap chicken wire around your car?
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Does the tarp-diaper wrap work?

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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Post by Shawn » Tue May 03, 2011 9:03 pm

I'm not certain it's the best way; I just wrapped the stuff around, tightened it up at the ends, and placed rocks around the bottom. Probably didn't do too much to deter the little guys, just figured they'd pick on an easier target.

The friend I went hiking with that day (to Mineral Peak) had not been hiking in the Sierra before. The look on his face as I put up the chicken wire was priceless.

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AlmostThere
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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Post by AlmostThere » Tue May 03, 2011 9:22 pm

Shawn wrote:
The friend I went hiking with that day (to Mineral Peak) had not been hiking in the Sierra before. The look on his face as I put up the chicken wire was priceless.

Image
That might have been a fun thing to build on... on the second hike, loading the 8' tall heavy gauge wire fencing in the car... give him a look and mutter, "darn buffalo."

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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Post by Herm » Wed May 04, 2011 10:18 pm

I have spent a fair amount of time in the Mineral King Valley, and as far as I know the only time my truck was bothered by any marmots was the time that I spent at least half an hour wrapping chicken wire around the truck, and wiring doubled up cardboard firewood boxes in each of the tire wells, and various other not so well thought out human obstructions for the marmots. And this was in the Sawtooth Trailhead parking area, as photographed by Shawn. When my wife and I returned from our dayhike to Timber Gap, a gang of marmots fled from beneath the chicken wire surrounding the truck. Upon close inspection, it was found that the complete underside of the truck hood had been trimmed of its furry insulating layer - seriously, maybe a few square inches remained untouched. A marmot had to be flushed out from its hiding spot in the wheel well, snuggled into an area between sheet metal and a rubber/plastic shroud. Once the truck was moved, it looked like a barber chair had been in that spot, from all of the dropped insulation that was chewed from beneath the hood. In probably at least 50 days and nights parked in the trailhead lots as well as camped at Cold Spring, that is the only marmot problem ever encountered.
One thing I have seen National Park Service forest crews do with their trucks, is wrap them like a burrito. Lay out a sturdy tarp on the ground, drive the vehicle on top and centered, then wrap up the sides and secure with rope. Usually, after June, it seems the majority of vehicles are left unprotected, and without problem.

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Re: Marmots eating car hoses in Mineral King

Post by Oubliet » Sat May 07, 2011 4:42 pm

I wonder if it would help to use a sprayer and treat all of the insulation material with cayenne powder or flamin' hot sauce to discourage the marmots?

Do marmots like spicy food?

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