PCT Bear Bag Method
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Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Counter-Balance on 10/25/2011 16:57:16 MDT Print View

"For 20 years before bear canisters came out, we used the Two-Bag Counterbalance Method in Yosemite, and I never lost any food to a bear in those years. The black bears there have been considered the smartest at stealing food from backpackers."

That makes them the second smartest bears at best, Bob. A friend of mine took his girlfriend up to Sphinx Lakes in KCNP back in 1984, on my recommendation. They counter balanced their food and late at night watched in amazement as a sow,frustrated by the counterbalance, proceeded to climb the tree and chew through the ~4" limb while her two cubs watched attentively below and took copious notes. The girlfriend had never much liked me anyway, and was convinced that I had set them up. ;)

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Counter-Balance on 10/25/2011 17:14:52 MDT Print View

That's interesting. I've never seen a bear chew through any limb bigger than 3 inches.

Generally, the sow picks out the tree, and then she sends the cubs up the tree and out on the limb. Then either they chew the rope or else just claw the rope until it breaks. Sometimes the cubs will paw the rope to get the food bags swinging back and forth. Then sometimes the sow will grab one of them. Sometimes the cubs perform "kamikaze bear" routines. They jump onto the food bag and try to ride it down. Of course, you get a lot of injured bears that way.

I guess it is sufficient to say that the national parks with lots of backpackers tend to have intelligent bears. Yosemite had a problem that way, because the sow bears would teach the cubs how to pry open a car door, and all those standard bear tricks. Then each generation would pass those tricks onto the next generation. Yosemite is hoping that by all backpackers using bear canisters and all car campers using bear lockers, that maybe they can break the chain of learning.

--B.G.--

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
ADK on 10/25/2011 17:21:28 MDT Print View

And now a bear(Yellow-Yellow) in the Adirondacks has figured how to open bear canisters.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Counter-Balance on 10/25/2011 17:48:23 MDT Print View

"That's interesting. I've never seen a bear chew through any limb bigger than 3 inches."

Me neither, but this guy was a carpenter and I wasn't about to dispute his estimate of thickness. Matter of fact, I haven't seen a bear chew through a branch, period. It's a minor point of pride with me that I haven't had a run in with bears since two closely spaced incidents during my first two years of backpacking. The whole point, as far as I'm concerned, is to be where they're not. Generally, that means high and remote or, in the Cascades, remote. Those are the places I love anyway, so it's no sacrifice as far as I'm concerned.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Counter-Balance on 10/25/2011 18:34:09 MDT Print View

(Bears) "The whole point, as far as I'm concerned, is to be where they're not."

Oh, no! That would take all of the fun out of it.

The little fuzzy wuzzies are so cute. They make photography worthwhile.

I do my damnednest to lure them into camp so that I will get the camera out. I don't even consider it to be a good trip unless I can get two or three fuzzy wuzzy photos.

Those poor little forest creatures were assigned to come and try to get your food. It is their whole role in life.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Counter-Balance on 10/25/2011 19:48:25 MDT Print View

"Those poor little forest creatures were assigned to come and try to get your food. It is their whole role in life."

And my whole role in life is to give them an identity crisis. :)

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Counter-Balance on 10/25/2011 20:01:18 MDT Print View

black bear

Here is one of those furry cuties.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Counter-Balance on 10/25/2011 20:02:49 MDT Print View

"Here is one of those furry cuties."

Uh, he doesn't look like he's having an identity crisis.
He also looks real well fed. :(

Edited by ouzel on 10/25/2011 20:03:31 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Counter-Balance on 10/25/2011 20:15:39 MDT Print View

Well fed. Yes, it looked this way after leaving a place called Sphinx Lakes in Kings Canyon National Park.

--B.G.--

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Re: Two things on 10/26/2011 06:44:15 MDT Print View

"What diameter rope are you using that mice can walk up it? I'd suspect some 2.2mm dyneema arborist rope rated to around 600lbs would serve both your pack weight and your food well."

3mm slippery polyester to avoid cutting through the bark.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Counter-Balance on 10/26/2011 21:50:44 MDT Print View

"Yes, it looked this way after leaving a place called Sphinx Lakes in Kings Canyon National Park."

I wouldn't be surprised. Have you been up that way lately? I've been wondering how much it's changed since it got discovered by the hordes 25 years ago.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Counter-Balance on 10/27/2011 00:10:57 MDT Print View

"Have you been up that way lately?"

No, but I've been over Avalanche Pass a couple of times.

I always see people as long as I am on one of the reasonable trails. Get off the beaten track a little, and there's nobody.

--B.G.--

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Counter-Balance on 10/27/2011 18:01:56 MDT Print View

"I always see people as long as I am on one of the reasonable trails. Get off the beaten track a little, and there's nobody"

I used to think that, too. But more and more people are getting into some formerly deserted off trail places. Sphinx Lakes was getting that way 25 years ago, which is why I haven't been back.