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#32387 - 07/25/13 09:28 PM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: hikin_jim]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: hikin_jim
George,

Thanks for sharing your observations concerning the UrSack.
While I continue to hope that UrSack will improve, I can see that they're probably not as "solid" as a bear canister.
HJ

I concur with HJ and George that a "solid" bear canister (Garcia, BV, Bearikade) is the most secure solution, it's obvious. These models should be highly encouraged for active bear areas, especially where there aren't any bear boxes. And these are the ones to rent to newbies and people without the skills of a typical ultralight backpacker. But let's also be honest about the Ursack. There's an aluminum liner that fits inside the bullet proof fabric that makes it very similar to a "solid" canister. The fabrics and stitching have continually improved. Give it some fair testing and allow technology to advance in a fair marketplace.

This is one reason why I'm headed to the Emigrant Wilderness next week instead of fighting for an Inyo permit. Thank you Stanislaus NF, no trailhead quotas, bear canisters "recommended" (I'm using my Ursack), and we can even have a campfire to cook our trout. Yeah, the real freedom of wilderness.

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#32393 - 07/25/13 11:07 PM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: SierraNevada]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
I heard a crazy story over lunch today: a couple of buddies of mine were in the Snow Creek area of Yosemite and they ran into a bear control ranger who advised them that their bear cans had to be stored in a way that a bear could not mobilize them. Huh? It seems that the regional bear had figured out a way to roll the bear cans off the cliff, so that they would crack open like an egg. Now, the person who told me the story is an OD (Olde Dude) and not prone to joking, but I am still looking to varify the story (hahaha: lessee if said Olde Dude discovers my description of him)
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#32394 - 07/25/13 11:23 PM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: Bee]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Bee
...in the Snow Creek area of Yosemite and they ran into a bear control ranger who advised them that their bear cans had to be stored in a way that a bear could not mobilize them.

Bee, is there really such a thing as a "Bear Control Ranger" and even if there was such a law enforcement authority, what regulation is there about "mobilizing" a bear can? What is this coming to? Are they going to spray paint locations where you can store a particular model of bear canister? Clip your USNPS Official Bear Can into a USNPS approved orange painted Rock Bolt or pay a $5,000 fine? If the wilderness is that scary, why let anyone go there?

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#32395 - 07/25/13 11:45 PM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: SierraNevada]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
You will note that I did not place caps on the "bear control ranger" because it was a descriptive, rather than a title. Apparently, amongst the rangers, they have their specialties (animal management, law enforcement (people management?) Nor did I infer, state, mention, motion that "de-mobilizing" the bear can was a regulation, rather, it was delivered as a cautionary statement. Really, I don't believe that there is some sort of black op force at work behind the concept of keeping the bears outta the food.

Anyhow, as I clearly stated, the anecdote was not first hand, thus, it would be interesting for those in the know to pipe up if there is any validity to the tale.
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#32398 - 07/26/13 09:19 AM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: SierraNevada]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
SN,

When I was at Kearsarge Lakes I was told by the ranger there when 7 BV compromised. That is an awful lot in a small period of time but I do not remember BV ever getting their ticket unpunched.

On a personal note, I have owned a Garcia, 3 or 4 Bear Vaults...which I hated because they were a pia to open, Bearikade and a 3 - Ursacks. So, I have experience with all the major players in the game.

Kearsarge Lakes is just over Glen Pass from Rae Lakes where a bear figured out how to open a Bear Vault, just like Yellow Yellow who figured out how to pop a Bear Vault (posted by Wagga above). These stories are not well known. The NPS and NFS didn't show pictures and scare people from using Bear Vaults. No, they worked with the Bearvault company to fix the problem. Is it asking too much to work with Tom at Ursack in a similar fair manner?


At the end of the 2007 season, if I remember correctly, conditional approval was pulled...this was the summer of the aluminum insert. This brings us to the period where they stopped testing, if what was has been said in this thread is correct.

I am not privy to the correspondence between local officials of the NPS or FS; therefore, do not know if they made any suggestions to Ursack. However, I did have conversations with the principals at BV after the Kearsarge Lakes incident. It seemed to me at the time, the government was working with BV to get this thing corrected.

We all go work everyday thinking we know how the world works, NPS and FS people are no different. It is obvious they are skeptical about flexible "canisters" and show preference for though made out of carbon fiber or thermoplastics. All I ask, is Ursack be treated in the same manner as Bear Vault. These being the two companies with most of the canister failures.

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#32400 - 07/26/13 09:33 AM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: wbtravis]
KathyW Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 40
Loc: Redlands, CA
Folks that have been out there in the backcountry a lot, like George, have a lot better idea how successful the bear cans and bags have been as compared to someone who rarely goes backpacking in the Sierra.

Thanks for your input George. It sure is nice to have folks like you who know and love the Sierra adding your input.

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#32420 - 07/26/13 09:44 PM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: KathyW]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
I ditto that and I appreciate George's input too. Sometimes these posts come across more confrontational than they are meant to be when we mostly agree anyway.

I would like some clarification on his experience with how many of those 8 Ursacks actually came apart or were opened up by a bear.

I agree with George that if a bear is able to get a few crumbs or juice, it might not be much of a reward, but that bear is probably more likely to keep trying. In that regard, the hard sided canisters are superior. No doubt about it. So we mostly agree.

However, there is a place for Ursacks in wilderness food management, and the company should be treated more fairly, in my opinion. That's not a big disagreement I hope.

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#32438 - 07/27/13 09:44 AM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: SierraNevada]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1029
Loc: Madison, WI
I find these annual Ursack discussions tiresome. The design is flawed at the core and as long as a bear can get even a small amount of crushed food through holes or the opening, the bag concept has to be considered a failure. I don't want bears hanging around my camp trying for hours to lick some milk powder and Gatorade from my Ursack just because they keep getting a small tease taste of it through some tiny openings as they crush up the contents.

I have seen bears completely ignore my Bearikades and walk right up to our backpacks to sniff through the pockets to see if we forgot to take out some goodies, and then move on, 30 seconds later. That is what the whole food reward thing is all about and if they learn these canisters are a waste of energy, they leave you and your camp alone.

I recall sleepless nights in the 80s when we had food hanging on questionable trees, and bears came almost every night to test our hanging skills. These nights were no fun, and even though they made for good campfire stories, I prefer to go to sleep knowing my food is 100% safe and no critter will get it's little or big claws into my pop tarts. A bag tied to a tree stump does not provide that security for me, no matter how strong the fabric (what about above tree line? that alone is a non-starter for me, as I camp high a lot and I have seen bears cross high passes in summer).

I own 5 canisters of three different types and never had one even closely examined by a bear. In fact, the number of bears coming into my camp has dropped from almost every other night in the 80s to once every 2-3 weeks in recent years. When they do come into camp nowadays, they mostly sniff around backpacks and cooking gear, but walk right past the cans.

Canisters are working, and the whole debate about the Ursack is mostly driven by selfish ultralight inspired hikers who feel they are better than the average Joe on the trail and can deal with the risks because it saves them a few more ounces from their lightweight loads. A large percentage of PCT hikers willfully ignore canister rules where required in the Sierra, and the rest of the tend to follow the rule only to "please the rangers." This is in part driven by prolific long distance hikers like Andrew Skurka who encourage this behavior with statements like

Quote:

But, I ask, are canisters really necessary in order to protect your food, protect the bear, and protect the next backcountry user? I would argue, No.

...

I do not carry a canister to protect my food, the bears, or my fellow backcountry userI can do those things without a one. Instead, I carry one in order to protect myself from backcountry rangers, who could fine me if Im caught without one.
- see his Bear Canister Basics page. Everyone should just master the "bear hang" - sure, show me where to hang my food on Evolution Lake.

Hikers with this "I know better" attitude are selfish and simply don't care about the overall long term impact on how bears behave if there are just a handful of extra food reward events. When somebody others look up to states that it is "unfortunate" that the Ursack is not approved, citing only its 12 ounce weight advantage over canisters in their comments about it, it is no surprise others who look up to these hikers will not carry canisters either.

When did lightweight hiking become more important than doing the right thing in the wilderness to keep it wild? I can't wrap my head around what goes through the minds of hikers who need to push their "base weight" down to some ridiculously low numbers - what for? This culture of pushing extremes just doesn't make sense to me. What are we to gain from doing an extra mile a day compared to losing sleep or worse, all our food to a bear?
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#32442 - 07/27/13 12:39 PM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: Fishmonger]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
... 12 ounce weight advantage over canisters...

What are we to gain from doing an extra mile a day compared to losing sleep or worse, all our food to a bear?

As with any quality discussion, let's start with the correct facts.

... 12 ounce weight advantage over canisters...

Hard sided bear cans are more than 2 1/2 POUNDS, ones that are rented (Garcia) or are most affordable (Bear Vault). This represented the largest and heaviest item in a lightweight or ultralight pack, including the pack. The fabric Ursack is 7 oz. That's more than a 2 POUND difference in weight, not 12 ounces. With the aluminum liner, it's 18 OUNCES, still less than HALF the weight of a hard sided canister. That's HUGE for an ultralight hiker.

...an extra mile a day...

It's my experience, and typical of others, that Ultralight hiking doubles the miles I can cover in a day. I have more energy and I'm happier after 20 miles with a 20 lbs pack (fully loaded) than I am after 10 miles with a 40 lbs pack.

Lastly, skills DO matter. The Ursack, used in an appropriate area, in combination with stealth camping skills is highly effective. By cooking dinner before getting to camp at the end of the day, by selecting an appropriate spot, or by using bear boxes in the high risk popular areas, one can sleep soundly and go years without an incident, if ever. Should that rare bear stumble into your remote area, you deal with it that night. If the bear gets a few crumbs and you end up with mush, oh well, that was the chance you took and it's not a complete failure. People report this as a success, unfortunate as it is.

Skills DO matter. Which is why the Ursack is not for everyone or for every location. But don't take it away from everybody.

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#32452 - 07/28/13 07:33 AM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: SierraNevada]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1029
Loc: Madison, WI
you just keep talking weight. That is the usual answer you get from the ultra light crowd. What the hell are you going to gain from all that?

double your miles? So that Ursack is the key to doubling your miles? What for? You can't get there with normal mileage?

Skills are mostly irrelevant when you bring a proper container. You just sound like Skurka - you are more skilled than the average hiker, aren't you? So you get to do whatever you want to do, because you know that your use of the Usack will not impact the situation for other. I've heard all that before.

It is not Skurka or you necessarily who is the problem in the wilderness. You are the problem online - where people get their guidance and inspiration for what they end up doing. I guarantee you that 50% of those who head out with the Ursack have nowhere near the experience you or Skurka have, and that's why EVERYONE should just stick the program, because it's a few ounces.

Ursack plus aluminum liner is at the most 12 ounces less than a similar volume Bearikade. All other canisters do not matter in my math, because if you spend time in the backcountry, you should be able to put a Bearikade up as a priority in your fancy gear list, not just that ridiculous cuben fiber tarp for $350 or similar idiotic purchases the ultra light hiking crowd can easily justify to double their miles each day, or whatever their reasons are.
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#32453 - 07/28/13 08:23 AM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: SierraNevada]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Thank you for your post. After 40+ years backpacking in the Sierras, I have never lost food to bears. Why? Through careful protection of my food - without Ursacks or hard-sided canisters.

A few years back, while finishing the last leg of a north-bound JMT hike (camped at Snow Creek - Yosemite), my partner and I hanged our food (in nylon stuff sacks) in a technique similar to the PCT method. That night momma bear and two cubs attempted to get to our food - they failed - but the college boys near us got raided. We easily frightened away the cubs, while momma pillaged the boy's food supply.

The problems arose because of careless food storage, at camps and homes. Humans can be smarter than bears; it isn't all that difficult.

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#32459 - 07/28/13 09:06 AM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: Fishmonger]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1251
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
you just keep talking weight. That is the usual answer you get from the ultra light crowd. What the hell are you going to gain from all that?

double your miles? So that Ursack is the key to doubling your miles? What for? You can't get there with normal mileage?

Skills are mostly irrelevant when you bring a proper container. You just sound like Skurka - you are more skilled than the average hiker, aren't you? So you get to do whatever you want to do, because you know that your use of the Usack will not impact the situation for other. I've heard all that before.

It is not Skurka or you necessarily who is the problem in the wilderness. You are the problem online - where people get their guidance and inspiration for what they end up doing. I guarantee you that 50% of those who head out with the Ursack have nowhere near the experience you or Skurka have, and that's why EVERYONE should just stick the program, because it's a few ounces.

Ursack plus aluminum liner is at the most 12 ounces less than a similar volume Bearikade. All other canisters do not matter in my math, because if you spend time in the backcountry, you should be able to put a Bearikade up as a priority in your fancy gear list, not just that ridiculous cuben fiber tarp for $350 or similar idiotic purchases the ultra light hiking crowd can easily justify to double their miles each day, or whatever their reasons are.


Paragraph 1...
I think SN has talked weight AND skills.

Paragraph 2...
Double miles...from an Ursack. Ah, no. Just a bit of hyperbole, don'cha think? I have not magically double my miles by switching from a Bearikade to Ursack.

Paragraph 3 and 4...
I did not see where SN has broken any of the forest's rules. He has stated he stays away from places that he believes has onerous rules.

Paragraph 5...
You can't quantify your 50% statement but it sounds good. The current program in the Inyo National Forest is anything manufactured to preventing food to taken by bears, if you do a search of the Inyo Website you will find a sign forest order dated April 2013. An Ursack is part of the program.

Paragaph 6...
Bearikades are a luxury item. Not everyone is going to throw $250 at a piece of carbon fiber, when you can get a thermoplastic canister for $50. You have to justify that purchase, just like I have for winter sleeping bags and packs, I don't do it enough to have an 850 fill power minus 20 bag or something to replace my 1998 Gregory Palisades, which does work all that well with lashed gear.

Idiotic purchases to whom?


Edited by wbtravis (07/28/13 06:20 PM)

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#32463 - 07/28/13 10:00 AM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: Fishmonger]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Fishmonger, you make some good points but they are blunted by what appears to be some strong feelings about this Skurka guy. He's an interesting character with 1000's of miles hiking and paddling in the wilderness. Putting his personality and opinions aside, his experience can't be hand waived away. Backpacking with just the basics using the latest technologies can easily get your base weight down in the 12-15 lbs range, and still be totally comfortable. It's quite liberating, but it must be done as an entire system to get it right. If someone seriously tries that and still wants to go back to the heavier old gear, I'll take their opinion about weight more seriously.

I agree with you that internet information can cause people to make mistakes and I hope I've not written anything that has motivated someone to do something they shouldn't have done. On the other hand, facts are facts and debates like these get people thinking and hopefully make the best educated decisions they can.

I have 2 sizes of Bear Vaults and 2 Ursacks, and planning my food storage is usually the biggest decision I make other than where I'm hiking. So I do take this very seriously, as everyone should. Like Bob, I've never lost any food to a bear either. A tag team of genius stellar jays and chipmunks got me for a small bag of dried fruit in LYV on one of my first trips many years ago, but that's it.

Let me put out another scenario for your consideration. This weekend I'm heading into an area where no bear canister is required. I'm allowed to counter balance a couple nylon stuff sacks. But in this situation, I carry the few extra ounces that an Ursack weighs and use the PCT method of hanging it. I will lose no sleep and I don't mind a few extra ounces. It's nice to have the redundant system.

As for the Bearikade, I made my investment in BearVaults for size and cost reasons. The BearVault is larger (750 vs 650 cubic inches) and only 10 ounces heavier than the Bearikade. I would really like to upgrade someday, but for $250 it makes poor economic sense as an upgrade. Maybe you can convince my wife, but I'm having a hard time justifying a $250 upgrade to drop 10 ounces from a Bear Vault to a Bearikade and lose 100 cubic inches of storage. Maybe Santa will be nice to me someday.

Lastly, let's get the facts on the screen here about the actual weights involved. The Ursack fabric version is 7 oz, which is 1 1/2 POUNDS heavier than the carbon fiber Bearikade, NOT 12 ounces. If you include the aluminum liner with the Ursack, then your 12 ounce number is about right, the Ursack with liner is 18 oz and the Bearikade is 31 oz.

I think Inyo has it about right on this... quietly allow the Ursack but highly encourage hard sided canisters.

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#32480 - 07/29/13 01:32 PM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: SierraNevada]
UrsackCEO Offline


Registered: 07/29/13
Posts: 1
Loc: Mill Valley, CA
My name is Tom Cohen, the inventor/CEO of Ursack. I appreciate the ongoing discussion here, and would like to clarify a few things.

Taste reward. I believe the taste reward theory (e.g. a tiny taste of lemonade powder is a gateway drug) is not valid. Note that the Sierra National Parks have outsourced canister testing to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee. Their test protocol allows for gaps or puncture holes up to 1.5 inches. More, when the Sierra rangers tested Ursack in 2006, their tests showed that Ursacks lost no weight after a bear encounter.

Mid-2000s Ursack failures. Their were some "failures" that caused Yosemite and SEKI to withdraw approval. It has been a few years, but as I recall virtually all were a result of user error--failure to tightly cinch and knot the Ursack. In virtually all cases no fabric was torn--except perhaps a grommet. As a result, we have changed the design, starting with the first S29 AllWhite, to make it easier to cinch and knot the Ursack. That design eliminated the problem.

Seam failure. A very small number of S29s (of the thousands sold) had seam failure--as in the ones pictured at the beginning of this thread. Since April of 2013 we have been able to use Spectra thread in the seams, which so far seems to have solved the issue. For about a year before that, we sent SeamGrip with each order. SeamGrip helped strengthen the seams (not as much as Spectra thread). The bags pictured above do not appear to have been treated with Seam Grip.

Failure of hard-sided canisters. I have heard (including from rangers) that hard sided canisters do fail on occasion. Even aside from the publicized BearVault problems, no hard sided canister is perfect and no reputable manufacturer advertises its product as perfect. Note, for example, that Garcia sells replacement lids.

The current status of testing and approval. Ursack was tested with Grizzlies by the IGBC on May 30, 2013. You can see a video excerpt of that test on our website. They have not published a decision yet, and there may be an issue as to the applicability of the tests to black bears. Grizzlies are bigger and stronger than black bears and therefore have an advantage when an Ursack is on the ground. However, in the thirteen years we have been in business, we have never received a report of a Grizzly or Brown bear compromising an Ursack--and we sell a lot in Alaska and Canada.

I hope that answers some of the questions. Using Ursack is a choice. It is not for everyone, but we hope that campers, not Park officials, have the opportunity to decide what product is best for their own needs.

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#32483 - 07/29/13 03:39 PM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: UrsackCEO]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1559
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Mr. Cohen's points seem sound and reasonable, with a couple of exception. Unfortunately they are not minor.

First, from all that I have read, it is apparent that a large part of the success of the hard canisters is the learned behavior of the bears: they do not expect to breach one and for the most part have learned that it is not worth it to try. Not so with the Ursack. The Ursack obviously looks and feels as if it ought to be vulnerable to a bears jaw's, and the least "taste reward" would seem to encourage that. The fact that no measurable mass is lost from the contents is not a compelling argument. A bear's olfactory senses are 1000 times more powerful than ours, and it obviously would not take a lot of molecules to make even a mouthful of kevlar pretty attractive for long enough to mash it up pretty well. Bears have ripped through enough ordinary bags to learn that they are worth attacking, and probably do not distinguish well, at first glance, between kevlar and cordura. They may not get the food, but they are going to keep trying, and that's what makes the difference.

Nor is the 1.5 inch hole argument very persuasive. That may be the standard, but it has to be pretty rare. Rare enough certainly that I have never heard of one, and the bears apparently haven't either. Porosity, however, as well as similarity to nylon bags, is inherent in the Ursack.

SO I would have to conclude that while there still may be occasional failures in hard cans, they are extremely rare, whereas the weakness of the Ursack, even short of a technical failure, is inherent: its inability to discourage attacks and protect food from mechanical damage in the event of one.

And that's a big difference. It may satisfy the criterion of not allowing the bear to actually take the food, but it seems to tend to encourage habituated behavior, which is the more important point and leads to the second point of exception.

And that is who gets to decide. The camper may pick what is best for her, but that is not necessarily the most important consideration. A decision that cannot be left to the free market is what is best for the bears, and that is usually a very different thing. If the Ursack saves my food but contributes to habituating the bear, I can't claim that consumer choice is the complete solution, can I?
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#32486 - 07/29/13 05:36 PM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: saltydog]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Here in bear country, most habituation of bears to human food seems to occur in camp grounds and in towns like Mammoth Lakes, where much more human food is available to bears than in backpacker's Ursacks or whatever other containers they might be using. In towns like Mammoth Lakes the odor of human food cooking in homes and restaurants must be a strong attractant.

Human food only accounts for a small percentage of the overall calories consumed by bears over a Summer season. (Please don't ask me for statistics, it's just makes sense.) Most of a bear's diet is vegetation, which is what they need in order to really pack on the fat. BTW, according to the Mammoth Lakes bear officer, there is an abundance of natural forage for bears this year; much more than in the Summer of 1212. During the second drought year...go figure. Read what Steve Searles has to say on the topic: http://www.thebearwhisperer.com/

Having said that, it is true that wilderness bears that roam through areas frequented by backpackers have learned to recognize food containers by sight. Hence, the experience of seeing bears rolling hard-sided containers around and trying to get into them. Backpacker's camps and their cooking odors are bound to attract bears.

If some backpackers are concerned about habituating bears to human food, they ought to just stay home...



Edited by Bob West (07/29/13 06:17 PM)

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#32489 - 07/29/13 07:10 PM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: UrsackCEO]
Marty Offline


Registered: 01/25/10
Posts: 85
Loc: CT
As this forum concerns the Whitney Zone I would like to know if the Ursack is permitted for overnight stays on the Whitney main trail. I'd also like to know if it's use is permitted around Cottonwood Lakes and Mount Langley. Thanks!

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#32497 - 07/30/13 06:37 AM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: Marty]
Bob West Offline


Registered: 11/13/09
Posts: 828
Loc: Bishop, CA, USA
Marty,

The Ursack is allowed in Inyo National Forest.

Bob


Edited by Bob West (07/30/13 06:37 AM)

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#32512 - 07/30/13 07:27 PM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: Bob West]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
While technically allowed, there's not really a good place to properly attach an Ursack at Trail Camp and you're at risk of having marmots or other critters chew through your expensive bear resistant fabric. The bear fabric is not designed to hold up to those small critter teeth. There are trees at Outpost Camp, but it's such a short hike to OC you might consider a hard sided canister if you're camping there.

This is where I tend to go with the hard sided canister - in heavily used areas with a history of bear problems. Not so sure Whitney meets the second criteria, but I choose my small BearVault for Whitney. Wish I had the small Bearikade - are you listening, Santa?

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#32514 - 07/30/13 07:59 PM Re: Ursack failure near Mammoth Lakes [Re: Bee]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1134
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Bee
You will note that I did not place caps on the "bear control ranger" because it was a descriptive, rather than a title. Apparently, amongst the rangers, they have their specialties (animal management, law enforcement (people management?) Nor did I infer, state, mention, motion that "de-mobilizing" the bear can was a regulation, rather, it was delivered as a cautionary statement. Really, I don't believe that there is some sort of black op force at work behind the concept of keeping the bears outta the food.

Anyhow, as I clearly stated, the anecdote was not first hand, thus, it would be interesting for those in the know to pipe up if there is any validity to the tale.

Sorry, Bee. I took your post too literally. If a Ranger wants to recommend how I place my bear canister for my own good, I appreciate the advice, but don't bother me on my vacation in nature unless it's absolutely necessary. I took your story literally to be a "bear control ranger" (never heard the term before) directing how a canister must be placed, as if there was a regulation for that. Maybe I'm a bit sensitive, but I don't appreciate a heavy handed approach to wilderness management unless it's really necessary. Most everyone I've ever met in the wilderness wants to do the right thing and a friendly educational approach tends to work very well. Luckily, most every Ranger or volunteer I've ever run across seems to understand that. I use the same approach when I feel like I have to say something to someone screwing up - nicely explaining why it's bad to hand feed Doritos to the cute friendly (fat) squirrel, or why they shouldn't shortcut a switchback on erodible soil. Of course there are knuckle headed idiots out there that need a strict enforcement approach, but they're probably doing a lot more serious things than setting down a bear canister on a slope. If they don't want to listen, let them hike down the hill to retrieve their food in the morning, lesson learned. If they're actually doing damage and they don't want to listen, then bring in the "bear control ranger" who can create some real consequences they understand.

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