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#32206 - 07/17/13 11:25 AM WAG Bag Question
Paul Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 98
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
We all know that a WAG bag is required in the Whitney Zone; however, I am curious as to what is a hiker to do when only travelling through the zone. For example, a hiker is entering the backcountry via Trail Crest. The hiker uses the WAG bag at Trail Camp and then travels the next several days in the backcountry. Does the hiker carry the bag until exiting?

The second example, much like the first is a hiker hiking in the backcountry and climbs Whitney, after spending a night at Guitar Lake and using the WAG bag. What becomes of the WAG bag?

Just curious for comments.

paul

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#32211 - 07/17/13 11:59 AM Re: WAG Bag Question [Re: Paul]
Steve C Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 5198
Loc: Fresno, CA
I don't know if this is the officially sanctioned procedure, but if I weren't exiting to Whitney Portal, I would take my filled wag bag into the forest in the backcountry and empty its contents into a cat hole. Then roll up the empty bag, and carry it out to my final destination.

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#32213 - 07/17/13 01:01 PM Re: WAG Bag Question [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline
WHA member

Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1054
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
I can't find it with a quick search, but I have the distinct recollection of reading that JMT NoBos (and presumably others) are not expected to use wagbags.

Note that I use the term "expected". Advisedly.
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#32215 - 07/17/13 02:29 PM Re: WAG Bag Question [Re: saltydog]
Paul Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 98
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Having climbed Whitney some 2 dozen times, I have always either hiked the bag out or not used it. My trip next week is an early Whitney climb (3rd day in) with another 4 to 5 days spent over in Rocky Lakes Basin. I really can't see transporting a wag bag for several days seeing the sights, not the wag bag, but me. I'd be pissed off if it was long for the ride.

paul


Edited by Paul (07/17/13 03:37 PM)

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#32217 - 07/17/13 03:39 PM Re: WAG Bag Question [Re: Paul]
Paul Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 98
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
Steve, would chemicals in the pouch preclude dumping the contents at a different location?

Paul

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#32231 - 07/17/13 05:31 PM Re: WAG Bag Question [Re: Paul]
wbtravis Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1107
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
We do not all know this is required, see the long thread on the solar latrine fiasco. According to one of Sierra Nevada's post, this is a voluntary program.

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#32238 - 07/18/13 05:38 AM Re: WAG Bag Question [Re: wbtravis]
saltydog Offline
WHA member

Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1054
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Paul: wb has let the scat out of the wag: as the other long thread on this site pretty clearly establishes, use of the wagbag or any other means of packing out human waste from the Whitney Zone is not required, in the sense of being mandatory and enforceable by Inyo or SEKI. Is is required by good practice, trail etiquette and common decency, but only by that.

Despite what the rangers will commonly tell you, in print Inyo very carefully words its discussions of wagbags to avoid using the word "required". "Only acceptable method" is how they describe it. As distinct from the bear canister, permits, and a bunch more which are properly described as "required".

I used to think that pointing this out was doing a big disservice to the community, possibly encouraging disregard of the wagbag practice. I no longer do. I think the wagbag deal is a miserable failure (one in which we all share BTW, not just Inyo's fault) and a problem to which there is an effective solution. Toilets. Like on the Half Dome route, where there are three locations in a 4 mile stretch.

And don't tell me that this is inconsistent with the "wilderness" designation. If anything is inconsistent with wilderness, its issuing 160 permits a day without toilet facilities.

Anyway, bottom line for NoBo and HST, etc hikers out of Whitney portal seems to be no wagbag, but please, if ya gotta go, ya gotta go right: away from water, away from the trail, and buried deep.


Edited by saltydog (07/18/13 08:49 AM)
Edit Reason: mileage correction
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#32241 - 07/18/13 07:14 AM Re: WAG Bag Question [Re: saltydog]
wbtravis Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1107
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Saltydog, they have a bin with WAG bag at the junction of the JMT and Upper Crabtree Meadow...or did a few years ago.

I have toyed with the idea of refusing an WAG Bag but I use the MMWT so infrequently during the quota season, I don't know when I will get that opportunity to do so. I am just interested in the response. My guess it will be similar to the nonsense I've heard about Ursacks in the Inyo.

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#32245 - 07/18/13 07:34 AM Re: WAG Bag Question [Re: wbtravis]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 494
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
If asked about Ursacks at Inyo ranger stations, you will get a quietly whispered "it's allowed," as if it's a big secret, but hard sided containers "are recommended." I suppose the Ursacks cut into Inyo's canister rental profits...LOL.

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#32246 - 07/18/13 07:45 AM Re: WAG Bag Question [Re: saltydog]
SierraNevada Offline
WHA member

Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 781
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: saltydog
Paul: wb has let the scat out of the wag: as the other long thread on this site pretty clearly establishes, use of the wagbag or any other means of packing out human waste from the Whitney Zone is not required, in the sense of being mandatory and enforceable by Inyo or SEKI. Is is required by good practice, trail etiquette and common decency, but only by that.

Despite what the rangers will commonly tell you, in print Inyo very carefully words its discussions of wagbags to avoid using the word "required". "Only acceptable method" is how they describe it. As distinct from the bear canister, permits, and a bunch more which are properly described as "required".

I used to think that pointing this out was doing a big disservice to the community, possibly encouraging disregard of the wagbag practice. I no longer do. I think the wagbag deal is a miserable failure (one in which we all share BTW, not just Inyo's fault) and a problem to which there is an effective solution. Toilets. Like on the Half Dome route, where there are three locations in an 8 mile stretch.

And don't tell me that this is inconsistent with the "wilderness" designation. If anything is inconsistent with wilderness, its issuing 160 permits a day without toilet facilities.

Anyway, bottom line for NoBo and HST, etc hikers out of Whitney portal seems to be no wagbag, but please, if ya gotta go, ya gotta go right: away from water, away from the trail, and buried deep.

Worth repeating. Couldn't put it any better.

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#32247 - 07/18/13 08:54 AM Re: WAG Bag Question [Re: wbtravis]
saltydog Offline
WHA member

Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1054
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
Saltydog, they have a bin with WAG bag at the junction of the JMT and Upper Crabtree Meadow...or did a few years ago.

I have toyed with the idea of refusing an WAG Bag but I use the MMWT so infrequently during the quota season, I don't know when I will get that opportunity to do so. I am just interested in the response. My guess it will be similar to the nonsense I've heard about Ursacks in the Inyo.


That bin is for incoming hikers headed for Trail Crest, not for NoBos or anyone else headed out. I wouldn't be surprised, if you could ever find out, to learn that a certain amount of the refusal to pack out wagbags is a form of civil disobedience.
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#32254 - 07/19/13 06:35 AM Re: WAG Bag Question [Re: Paul]
Fishmonger Offline
WHA member

Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 855
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Paul
We all know that a WAG bag is required in the Whitney Zone; however, I am curious as to what is a hiker to do when only travelling through the zone. For example, a hiker is entering the backcountry via Trail Crest. The hiker uses the WAG bag at Trail Camp and then travels the next several days in the backcountry. Does the hiker carry the bag until exiting?



I asked that question to the ranger I got my permit from for a northbound JMT. The answer was - if you use it, you carry it out. You cannot burn it and there is no drop. That was in 2009, but I don't see how they could change that policy.

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#32256 - 07/19/13 10:01 AM Re: WAG Bag Question [Re: Fishmonger]
saltydog Offline
WHA member

Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1054
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
Originally Posted By: Paul
Does the hiker carry the bag until exiting?

I asked that question to the ranger I got my permit from for a northbound JMT. The answer was - if you use it, you carry it out. You cannot burn it and there is no drop. That was in 2009, but I don't see how they could change that policy.


That's correct, but that's a big IF. The point is, there is no requirement to use it. Once you do, it simply becomes a littering issue, just as with everything else you carry.
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