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32076RE: [John Muir Trail] Re: 10-days of food in a 7-day Bear Canister?

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  • Don Amundson
    Jun 24, 2013
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      Another year, another ursack discussion.  Ursacks do not have to be hung in the area where hanging is allowed and they shouldn't be tied to anything.  See the info from the Ursack web site: 

      The Forest Service Order for Inyo National Forest for 2009 allows Ursacks.  It says:  food must be stored in a container designed to prevent access by bears.  In the past, Inyo has specified only SIBBG approved containers.  That is no longer the case.   In addition, there are Park supplied food storage lockers at 11 locations in that restricted area. Remember, it is not illegal to hike anywhere with an Ursack. Only camping in a restricted area without an approved bear-resistant container (or food locker) is prohibited.

      Should the Hybrid be tied to a tree or other fixed object?
      Not in restricted areas of the Sierra National Parks or Forests. Maybe elsewhere. Please check local regulations--approval and use of Ursack varies from place to place around North America. Some Sierra rangers are concerned that tying Ursack to a tree branch or even a rock could lead to resource damage as the bear struggles with it. Therefore the approved method of use is to cinch the Ursack tightly closed, TIE A STRONG KNOT, and place the Ursack a safe distance from camp.

      I carry a canister.  When I have to hang, due to too much food to fit everything in a canister, I use a stuff sack.  

      Out of curiosity I too would like to know when it was ever "legal" but became "illegal" to use the PCT hang method in the areas where hanging is allowed (though discouraged)?

      On Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 12:44 PM, brucelem12 <no_reply@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
      ...have there been cases of bears figuring out to reel in the cord and chomp off the stick/stop

      I think they just shake the tree, the stick dislodges, the food falls to the ground. Bears eat. you don't.

      John Curran Ladd
      I find it difficult the believe shaking a tree would ever displace the stick using a PCT hang properly.  There's tension on the stick both from the carabiner, the weight of the food bag and the knot.  I find it a lot easier to break the stick than trying to "dislodge" it.  I hang food regularly in the So. Cal. Mountains and find this to be the case.

      Just to speculate without backup documentation.  Whoever wrote the bag hanging requirement was either unfamiliar with the PCT method, didn't like it or or thought his/her way was the only way to go so now to hang "legally" you're required to use the counter balance method. 

      It reminds me of the toilet paper regulation where everywhere along the trail your required to pack out your toilet paper except in the John Muir Wilderness where the reg says burying it is allowed. 

      To: johnmuirtrail@yahoogroups.com
      From: johnladd@...
      Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2013 07:53:22 -0700
      Subject: Re: [John Muir Trail] Re: 10-days of food in a 7-day Bear Canister?


      On Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 4:44 AM, staehpj1 <Pete.Staehling@...> wrote:
      You could consider an Ursack or a PCT hang for that portion and by then you will have less food than you left MTR with.

      PCT hang no longer legal in this area as bears figured it out. 

      Ursack not legal unless properly hung  -- so Ursack AND a proper hang is OK but Ursack on ground is not.

      Using a counterbalance hang is legal from MTR south to Pinchot Pass. Using a Ursack as the hang bag gives added protection. If the bear defeats the hang, at least won't get a food reward, though your food will be crushed. 

      It's hard in that area to find a tree with a branch suitable for hanging. I don't think it is a particularly good technique, though I have used it (properly hung Ursack) in the past successfully. I'm much happier since I bought a bearcan big enough for 10+ days of food (16 in custom Bearikade)

      Info on counterbalance hanging at 


      John Curran Ladd
      1616 Castro Street
      San Francisco, CA  94114-3707

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