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rick taylor

Locale: Red River Gorge,KY
WIND RIVER BEAR CANISTER? on 04/03/2013 22:11:43 MDT Print View

Will be going to Wind River Range August 28-Sept.5th, do must hikers use good bear procedures, cooking down wind 100 yards, sleeping upwind 100 yards and food placement 100 yards down wind. THE BIG TRIANGLE ? Is a bear canister needed or can I PCT hang from tree or hang over large rock above tree line?

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
WIND RIVER BEAR CANISTER? on 04/03/2013 23:29:27 MDT Print View

The hang shown here will definitely amuse anyone familiar with Sierra bears!

The main problem is above timberline. You can either attempt to hang from a boulder or take a canister. It's a choice between spending time hanging or coping with the weight/bulk of a canister.

Note that if you use a canister, it must be approved by the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. The Wild Ideas Bearikade is not IGBC approved.

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/03/2013 23:30:26 MDT.

Daniel Pittman
(pitsy) - M

Locale: Central Texas
Re: WIND RIVER BEAR CANISTER? on 04/03/2013 23:58:47 MDT Print View

Yeah, they need to update their information. For the sake of the bears, we need to go above and beyond the required precautions. Maybe something like a bear-canister-tazer, so they really learn that people food just isn't worth the trouble. As it stands now, the only negative aspect of molesting a canister (for the bear) is a waste of time. Well, bears have plenty of time. We need to make our canisters downright unpleasant for them, just short of actually harming them. Maybe apply a very bitter-tasting coating to the outside? Something. I just want them to learn that the best thing to do with a canister is to put it in their rear-view. A fed bear is a dead bear.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: WIND RIVER BEAR CANISTER? on 04/04/2013 06:31:27 MDT Print View

Why would a Bearikade not work? I know it isn't approved for Grizlies, but canisters aren't even required in WRR. I was above the tree line for 90% of the trip though. If you were below the treeline you could expect to encounter more large wildlife.

I hung my food on my trip to WRR last year but it wasn't always easy or a great hang. A canister would make things easier but heavier. We didn't see any signs of bears at all unlike here in the east where I see scat at least 20-30 times a day. I did take a canister on the JMT in 2011 (and a bear).

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: WIND RIVER BEAR CANISTER? on 04/04/2013 07:40:23 MDT Print View

We saw absolutely no evidence at all of any bears or bear presence during our 8 days in the southern Winds last August. We hung every night and even had some creative boulder hangs. It was a pain though...

Not to derail this thread, but I still don't understand the bearikade thing. Do any of the wilderness areas/forests/parks solely use the IGBC guidelines for their canisters? It seems like the crazy bear places (Yosemite, Adirondacks) still use the black bear guidelines, and the grizzly places still allow you to hang. The only failure I've seen/heard of in the bearikade is that single photo circulating...but every canister has been breached at some point by some bear.

So what gives? Why can't the OP use the bearikade?

This is almost as confusing as JMT permits.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Winds and cannisters on 04/04/2013 09:40:19 MDT Print View

I have been going to the Winds sinces the early 70's and have never had a bear problem. I've encountered a few over the years, but have found hanging from trees, cliffs, or large rocks more than adequate for bears. Rodents have been a problem from time to time, chewing holes but not eating much.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Winds on 04/04/2013 10:29:59 MDT Print View

Just noticed your time frame. Definately my favorite time there, mostly warm days and cool nights with clear skies and few or no bugs.

Having said that, I have experienced nightime lows in single digits and day time highs near 80 along with big snow - meaning more than two feet in one storm the first wek of sept.

Odds are it will be 30's-40's at night and 60 or so during the day. The unknown is wind. Last year at that time we had constant wind for three days in the 30-40 mph range with gusts to 60 or so. Up on the high plateau of the divide we crawled over the passes as the wind would knock you off your feet. Good fun and made for a memorable trip. It quieted down at night and typically does just about sunset.

I will be there from the 30th of Aug through the 8th of Sept but haven't decided a route. Sometimes we don't until we can view the range on the way up.

At any rate, I certainly hope they never require cannisters. One of the reasons I left Cali was all permitting, regulations, and crowds. A good trip in the winds lasts at least a week and encounters no one else except at the trailhead and sometimes that doesn't even happen. Elkhardt and Big Sandy are always pretty crowded with Green Lakes getting more traffic over the years, but other locations aren't bad.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: WIND RIVER BEAR CANISTER? on 04/04/2013 12:22:05 MDT Print View

"Do any of the wilderness areas/forests/parks solely use the IGBC guidelines for their canisters? It seems like the crazy bear places (Yosemite, Adirondacks) still use the black bear guidelines, and the grizzly places still allow you to hang."

First of all, consider the differences between black and brown bears. A black bear is a forest creature. As cubs, they are taught to climb trees. Cubs and half-grown black bears climb well. Sometimes adults can as well.

Brown (grizzly) bears are not so much forest creatures. Their claws are shaped for digging, not for climbing trees. So, once in a while they will climb, but they are not as good at it as black bears. They tend to be bigger and stronger than black bears, so they might be better at crushing a canister or knocking a tree down.

As a result, bear canisters are sometimes the law in smart black bear country, but not so much in brown bear country. However, I've camped in brown bear country that had a canister requirement.

The authorities need to have some kind of standardized requirements. I saw a Yosemite backpacker headed out one time, and he had his own homemade bear canister of sorts. It was soft plastic Tupperware covered in about a pound of duct tape. I didn't think that it would take any time at all for a self-respecting bear to chew through that.


Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
WIND RIVER BEAR CANISTER? on 04/04/2013 13:32:23 MDT Print View

IGBC approved containers as of January 2013:

Re the Bearikade--start here and page down to the posts by Greg Mihalik:

Reportedly black bears have become a problem in a few areas of the Winds, mainly Cirque of the Towers and Golden Lakes. There was a big scare with a grizz at Green River Lakes a couple of years ago when some idiots left their ice chest on the picnic table. Grizz do inhabit the territory above timberline in late summer, looking for seeds of the whitebark pine. With the bark beetle plague, that food source is becoming disrupted, which disrupts the bears' habits. Yes, they're around, even if you don't see one. I saw grizz tracks in the Winds--quite impressive. I have never seen a black bear in the Oregon Cascades, but they are most definitely there!

It's fine to talk about national standards, but the bears don't have them! :-) Only in the Adirondacks have bears (black) learned to open the Bear Vault. Containers that stand up to black bear testers (like the Bearikade) don't necessarily hold up under grizz testing. Sierra bears have learned to defeat even the best bear hangs. Elsewhere, the focus generally is to make sure the bears never learn to associate hikers/backpackers with food, which is why Olympic NP requires canisters except where there are existing bear wires.

Please do notice what John said about the weather! A foot of snow was reported in Titcomb Basin two Saturdays in a row, in mid-August, last time I was there, with temps in the lower teens when it cleared. If my dog hadn't gotten sick, forcing me to abort the trip, I'd have been up there for the second one (yes, I was prepared).

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/04/2013 13:39:55 MDT.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
WIND RIVER BEAR CANISTER? on 04/04/2013 14:06:21 MDT Print View

I got back from the Winds a couple years ago before realizing my Bearicade was not permissible there. Luckily I had no encounters with griz or the law. That was the year that a week or so before my trip they had issues with griz to the north.

William Segraves
(sbill9000) - F - M
food storage in the Winds on 04/05/2013 06:35:47 MDT Print View

There are lot of bears in the Winds, both blacks and grizzlies. I have not had problems with my food, but I know others who have. Please protect your food, yourself, and most importantly, the bears, by storing food securely so that if a bear happens upon it, it won't get a reward. Most of the bears in the Winds don't associate people with food. It's up to us to keep it that way.

All the best,

Bill S.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife
WIND RIVER BEAR CANISTER? on 04/05/2013 13:24:23 MDT Print View

I've never seen a bear nor a ranger on the trail, for whatever that's worth. I agree with the previous poster, though--the bears are there! Please, let's not let any of them know what goodies we are carrying! That's for the benefit of us, the bears and future backpackers! The places in the Winds that have problems are there because the word was out that "there are no bear problems in the Winds."

That being said, for me it's either an Ursack or a Bearikade (the latter bought a year before I found out it wasn't IGBC approved). I figure if I'm going to be illegal anyway, I'll take the lighter version. Of course either will be lined with an OP sack and I'll be super careful about transferring scents to the outside. I also have a 40-foot cord in case someone insists I hang the Ursack (which will let the objector have a good laugh at my attempts at throwing!). If I decide to visit an area known to have bear problems, I'll borrow a family member's Bear Vault. In the meantime, I plan to avoid those areas. It's a good idea to ask at the ranger station before going in!

Edited by hikinggranny on 04/05/2013 13:27:40 MDT.