Aug 15, 2011 at 10:11 pm #1278100
I started over by going over Kearsarge and ended up just before Muir pass about 4.5 days later. I camped below the pass on the south side waiting for someone and had all my food stolen out of my bear canister. It definitely wasn't an animal because my canister was shut and "locked" and they were kind enough to leave me a snickers bar and my olive oil. I decided to walk out by going over Taboose Pass and then hitchhiking to my car. I was initially pretty upset (and hungry!) but after I got some food in my stomach and had some time to think about it, realized that I was extremely lucky to get to be in the beautiful sierras, even if only for a week.
Has anyone had a similar experience or am I just the most unlucky guy ever??Aug 15, 2011 at 10:18 pm #1769795
@saparisorLocale: Pacific Northwest
Wow, Eric, that's horrible. And dangerous. And an absolutely shi*ty thing to have done to you.
I guess all you can do is be glad you got out ok and hopefully not be soured on backpacking in general.Aug 15, 2011 at 10:23 pm #1769798
Yeah I agree on all of the above. I wasn't happy with it. But I'm looking forward to getting out there again!Aug 15, 2011 at 10:23 pm #1769799
That's absolutely horrible. It blows my mind that people are willing to cut off someone else's life line due to their own irresponsibility and lack of foresight. Seriously WTF! How is it that hikers like this exist? I'm sorry Erik, but absolutely glad that you are safe. The JMT will always be there.
Any other details you can provide? This seems like such an extreme case. If they stole a clif bar or 2, that would be easier to understand…but to leave you with almost nothing? Seriously p*sses me off that such trash walks the same trails as us.Aug 15, 2011 at 10:39 pm #1769803
Each night where I camped, I put my bear canister within earshot of where I slept, and I put some jingle bells on it. The intention was to wake me up if some animal was fooling with the bear canister, but that would have applied to a two-legged varmint as well. Also, with one exception, I was camped where people would have had to be looking for me in order to find me.
When I was southbound near Sapphire Lake on August 5, there was a northbound couple who had run out of food and couldn't make it to Red's Meadow (that's a long way without food). They were looking to take a shortcut out through the Glacier Divide, intercept the Piute Pass Trail, and sneak out from North Lake to buy more food somewhere. I directed them to take a different shortcut, out over Lamarck Col to North Lake, so they were headed toward Darwin Canyon at the last time I saw them.
I went over Muir Pass southbound and met one backpacker who had run out of stove fuel, so he couldn't cook. I gave him some food and continued.
I think I can honestly claim that I have never run out of food on a trip before, but I have never heard of getting ripped off by anything except a bear.
–B.G.–Aug 15, 2011 at 10:41 pm #1769806
Yeah I'd like to think it was an extreme case. I talked to a few PCT hikers in Independence and they all said they hadn't heard of that happening, at least not ALL of the food being taken.
I was camped a little off trail near the Middle Fork Kings river, maybe 2-3 miles north of Big Pete Meadow. I wasn't camped near anyone else but I had seen a few others setting up camp around Big Pete Meadow.Aug 15, 2011 at 10:48 pm #1769808
Yes, Big Pete Meadow. I remember that place, just north of the LeConte Ranger Station, which is where I camped. The lady ranger at LeConte was busy giving away some of her extra food to another guy who landed there. In fact, those backcountry rangers will nearly always have some food to give away if you approach them right.
–B.G.–Aug 15, 2011 at 10:57 pm #1769810
Wait a second. If your food was stolen when you were north of Big Pete Meadow, then why did you backtrack all the way south over Mather Pass, and then out via Taboose Pass? Maybe I am thinking wrong about this, but wouldn't have been much shorter, easier, and quicker to head right up over Bishop Pass to South Lake? From Big Pete Meadow, that would have been maybe 12-14 miles max.
Bishop Pass was my planned exit, and I was kind of afraid of how much of a climb that was to get out, but it actually wasn't so bad for me. And since your food weight was zero, it might have been much easier for you.
–B.G.–Aug 15, 2011 at 11:04 pm #1769814
I've always read about, and applied the rule that a bear canister should be 100yrds away from you at night. Now, im not so sure anymore. I like the idea of Bob's jingle bells, but I've heard that you're not supposed to attach anything to a canister that would allow a bear to grab/bite onto and drag away the canister/
I'm going to include a note inside my Bear canister that reads "One of my dehydrated meals contains Rat Poison for Assholes just like you"Aug 15, 2011 at 11:13 pm #1769820
@kat_pLocale: Pacific Coast
What a bummer! I have not heard of that before. Maybe your trip was cut short to avert something worse that happened in a parallel universe??????Just kidding there. Too bad some people have no scruples.Aug 15, 2011 at 11:23 pm #1769824
"I like the idea of Bob's jingle bells, but I've heard that you're not supposed to attach anything to a canister that would allow a bear to grab/bite onto and drag away the canister/ "
I went to Michael's Crafts Store and purchased one bag of loose, round, metal jingle bells of different sizes. I strung four of them out along a heavy black nylon thread and tied them on. Then that folds up and goes into the bear canister while carried. In camp after dinner, I can tie the thread from the bear canister to a nearby tree, or I can tie it all the way over to my shelter, or I can simply lay the jingle bells on top of the canister. Since the thread is black, it is unlikely that any man or beast will see it in the night, so the bells sound first. A bear isn't going to be able to drag anything away on a thread.
I generally put the whole thing at just the right distance from my shelter that my camera flash will cover it. I have placed them 100 feet away before, but then I need to carry a big camera flash to reach that far. Let's keep our priorities straight.
–B.G.–Aug 15, 2011 at 11:26 pm #1769825
That is very sad!
The thought has occurred to me. I've tried to hide my bear can. Obviously, this is not always possible.
I am glad you are OK. Hopefully you have encountered some trail "angels" in your hiking and will encounter more to make up for this!
I met an Ozzie girl last year who had her pack stolen while hiking the PCT. The incident did not happen on the trail. I think she said it occurred on a road as they were attempting to hitch down from a trail head.Aug 15, 2011 at 11:31 pm #1769826
"I've tried to hide my bear can."
Generally, it is a good idea to wedge the can into some rocks or some tight place where the enterprising bear can't roll it away. It is also a good idea not to hang it off a cliff, because if the bear chews and breaks the rope or cord, the bear canister might fall a ways before splitting open on the rocks at the bottom. So, I like to place it at rock-throwing range from my shelter.
–B.G.–Aug 15, 2011 at 11:44 pm #1769829
You're probably right about Bishop Pass being easier but I was unfamiliar with it and my maps didn't show much of the trail. Whereas with Taboose pass I had met somebody who'd just gone over it and knew that it would be easier to get to my car from there.Aug 15, 2011 at 11:54 pm #1769831
Yeah, the rangers probably have quite a stash during the high season. People realizing they brought too much and don't want to carry it and offering it to the rangers. I've heard people actually plan to resupply from the backpacker bins at MTR. It's a shame there was none of this excess around when you were robbed :( Or a boy scout troop nearing the end of their hike.Aug 15, 2011 at 11:57 pm #1769832
I didn't remember the Bishop Pass Trail all that well, either. I had gone over it once before, but that was going the opposite direction on skis, and that was eight or nine years ago.
Part of the problem is when you get out to some of those remote pass trailheads and you try to hitch a ride. I waited for two hours at South Lake, holding up the word RIDE written on the back of my map.
Look on the bright side. From now on you will remember Big Pete Meadow.
–B.G.–Aug 15, 2011 at 11:58 pm #1769833
Honestly, I just felt weird asking other hikers. Most people go out there with enough for the trip they're doing and I didn't want to put anyone out. If I had seen a ranger though, I definitely would have asked him or her.Aug 16, 2011 at 12:08 am #1769835
Approaching someone with ultra-light gear is probably low yield. Unless they are carrying light gear so they can carry extra food.Aug 16, 2011 at 12:14 am #1769836
Erik, the really smart thing to do would have been to slide down the hill to the LeConte Ranger Station, which was only 50 yards off the main trail with a sign. Now, rangers are not there 100% of the time, but there will be one coming or going just about every day. When I was there on the evening of August 5, there was one lady ranger plus two other NPS employees, maybe trail workers. The ranger had carried in her own large size Bearikade full of goodies fresh from the grocery store in Bishop. This other guy was asking her for advice about what he should do for his food problem, and she volunteered her excess food. Otherwise, she would have directed him to the shortest and easiest route out, if that was what he wanted. She was practically trying to "sell" her food to the guy.
If the guy hadn't scored any food, I had beaucoup food, and I would have given him some. I had less than one day to travel out, so I was just hauling dead weight. Plus there was at least 15-20 others camped around the general area.
Now, on the other hand, I don't think that I would want to claim that the bear stole my food. They would not feel quite so kindly.
–B.G.—Aug 16, 2011 at 12:18 am #1769838
"Approaching someone with ultra-light gear is probably low yield. Unless they are carrying light gear so they can carry extra food."
I take exception to that comment. sputter sputter nevermind
I was out with 10 pounds of base weight, including a bear canister. Then 10 pounds of food, fuel, and water to start. That allowed me to carry 10.5 pounds of camera gear.
I could have done quite well over four days with half of that food, and that would have sped me along.
–B.G.–Aug 16, 2011 at 1:59 am #1769847
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
This is only the second horror story I have heard of. Most of the time it is the other way around with hikers willing to help you with anything they can. This is unimaginable. At least you are fine. I think you used up your share of bad luck for this year!Aug 16, 2011 at 9:43 am #1769941
Erik, did you report this to the rangers? It seems like this is something they should know about, in case it is something happening repeatedly.
I am so sorry this happened to you – I hate thinking that someone out there could be so inconsiderate.Aug 16, 2011 at 10:27 am #1769955
USA Duane HallParticipant
@hikerduaneLocale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
However, it is illegal to stash food inside a Park. Can't blame folks for stashing food, not my rule. I keep my canister close, just to hear and so a bear can't roll it into a stream. Clean camp=no bears. I just got back from a eight day, 80 mile trip into/thru Sequoia NP here in CA.
DuaneAug 16, 2011 at 10:32 am #1769960
@sschloss1Locale: New England
+1 on Deborah's suggestion to report this to park rangers. Odds are that this was an isolated incident. But since there are rangers all along the JMT, it would be good for them to know that this happened and to keep an eye out for similar incidents.
The main park line is 559-565-3341.Aug 16, 2011 at 3:51 pm #1770079
@sbhikesLocale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Why add the weight of bells? Just stack your pot, lid and spoon precariously on top of the bear canister.
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