Re: fitting it all in . . . on the JMT. . .
- "Heading south, how far and how high would you have to hike to get
out of bear country? Anyone?"
Whitney Portal I suppose.
Technically its all bear country. True, the observance of bears above 10,000 feet is rare and food thefts in Evolution Valley is extremely unlikely. But it is not impossible and it puts the bear's life at risk as well as posing a threat to future hikers if food is not stored securely.
It was not that long ago that we didn't have bear cans or bear boxes at all. The rangers put up a few bear lines in the hot spots and otherwise you were on your own to hang your food. That system did not work, but in part that was because we as hikers did not do a good job in protecting our food.
You can reduce your exposure by cooking along the trail and camping elsewhere, largely eliminating food odors at your camp. Camping high also minimizes risk, as does camping in lesser used sites away from water. Practice counterbalancing before you go and make sure you have a handle on the process. In high areas where trees are not avaiable, look for a bolder or cliff where you can suspend the food from the cliff face.
Bear problems today are signficiantly less than the pre bear-can days, and hikers should not be unduly stressed over bear encounters. The situation will continue to improve over the long term so long as we take the recommended steps to keep bears away from our food.
--- In email@example.com, "vegasjmtdave" <djpauw@...> wrote:
> but . . . I try to camp high.
If you’re counting votes I have stayed at McClure and Evolution Lake easily over ten times each and never seen a bear at either. Evolution Lake is a few feet above timber line and probably is not good grazing for bears. As far as I know McClure is not a heavy bear place either.
but . . . I try to camp high.
It seems like the biggest problem when hiking south is coming MTR since that is when most people will be carrying extra food that they cannot fit in their canisters. Heading south, how far and how high would you have to hike to get out of bear country? Anyone? I assume that McClure Meadow would be prime bear habitat, but would you say Evolution lake (10,800 ft) is high enough? That's a 14 mile hike from the ranch, but definitely doable. Or does one need to hike further up the Muir Pass? Now we're talking close to 20 miles but I would rather do that than play around with bears. It seems kind of pointless and irresponsible to go through all that trouble of a resupply and than have a bear snatch half of it. Might as well just resupply with whatever you can fit in a bear can and just plan on going a bit hungry if you are prepared for that anyway. I want to have a good time out there, live with nature, let nature thrive, not fight with it. If that means some extra hiking, then that's what I have to do. So, I guess my question is, based on all your past experiences, how high must one go? I am sure there are other local and seasonal variables at play here too. I guess if one sees fresh bear scat that would be a good sign to keep moving.