Half Dome in Yosemite, do you hide your pack?

5:24 p.m. on May 2, 2012 (EDT)
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I would like to get a consensus on what people do with their gear when hiking Half Dome in Yosemite. I have asked this question to all my friends and would like to know your two cents.

My wife and I will be hiking from yosemite valley to tenaya lake with a stop over at half dome. I was told on the way to half dome at the john muir trail junction to go off trail and hide our packs under some bushes. Then use our day packs to go to half dome. After half dome we will retrieve are packs and continue onto clouds rest.

I wanted to know if anyone else has ever done this? I am a little leary leaving all of our gear behind. Any cause for concern or is this a normal thing?

P.S.

This will be our first time in Yosemite. 


Thanks

5:25 p.m. on May 2, 2012 (EDT)
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FYI: This is why I am a little confused on what to do.

***

I called Yosemite and talked to 4 different rangers. It seems even the rangers have different answers.

Question:
When doing a Half Dome day hike from LYV and then going on to Clouds Rest. Would you hide your pack at the John Muir junction or do you recommend something else?

Answers:
Ranger 1 -  "I would leave my stuff and LYV, collapse my tent with all my stuff in it, unzipped. Then put the bear can in a bear locker because we do not like it when hikers store their packs in the lockers. Do the Half Dome hike and retrieve my stuff from LYV."

Ranger 2 - "At the John Muir junction, I would go about 60 feet off the trail and hide my pack while moving my bear can away from the pack. After the Half Dome hike, I would get the pack and go on to Clouds Rest"

Ranger 3 - "Leave your pack in LYV in a bear locker. We do advise people to leave their belongings hidden in the wilderness. Complete the Half Dome hike and get your stuff from the LYV locker and continue on to Clouds Rest."

Ranger 4 - "Definitely take your pack with you to Half Dome. People in today's world are not as trustworthy as they used to be. I would never leave my pack in a locker or hide it in the wilderness all day because someone will steal it."

7:10 p.m. on May 2, 2012 (EDT)
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The chance of theft is low; people aren't as trustworthy, but they are more lazy than ever, so disinclined to make off with your gear due to the effort it takes to carry it.  Still you may not lose your whole kit, but someone may rifle it for a cool piece of equipment.  If you choose to stash it, leave your kit significantly further off trail than sixty feet.  When I stash my pack I like to walk about 30 seconds off trail, then hide it in a pile of rocks ,such that is can only be seen if standing right next to it.  Make sure the pack has no food or scent items in/on it - stash those somewhere else..  Be sure to note both the stash locations and where you stepped off trail; the only thing worse than getting ripped off is forgetting where you put your stuff.

Ed

10:08 p.m. on May 2, 2012 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

The chance of theft is low; people aren't as trustworthy, but they are more lazy than ever, so disinclined to make off with your gear due to the effort it takes to carry it.  Still you may not lose your whole kit, but someone may rifle it for a cool piece of equipment.  If you choose to stash it, leave your kit significantly further off trail than sixty feet.  When I stash my pack I like to walk about 30 seconds off trail, then hide it in a pile of rocks ,such that is can only be seen if standing right next to it.  Make sure the pack has no food or scent items in/on it - stash those somewhere else..  Be sure to note both the stash locations and where you stepped off trail; the only thing worse than getting ripped off is forgetting where you put your stuff.

Ed

 

We are thinking of stashing our stuff off trail because it will safe us about 6 miles from having to go back to LYV to get our stuff from a bear locker.

If we hide the gear near the JMT junction, what do you think the chances are a bear will drag it off? Provided we packed it correctly with no smellables near by.

10:26 p.m. on May 2, 2012 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

people aren't as trustworthy, but they are more lazy than ever, so disinclined to make off with your gear due to the effort it takes to carry it. 

I'm not sure they wouldn't trade it for their own, but probably wouldn't take the effort to go find it. 

11:05 p.m. on May 2, 2012 (EDT)
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Yeah ... I, too, would be disinclined to leave the gear at LYV - doing so would add significant mileage to the hike just to pick up the gear after the Half Dome ascent.  And would leaving it there really be much safer than leaving it someplace significantly off-trail? (I'm not sure how many people hang out at the LYV campsite during the day).  Anyway if leaving it off trail I'd just be sure to find a "unique" spot significantly off trail, as I would guess lots of people know "everyone leaves their gear just off the trail 'here'" (someplace near the JMT junction).

Actually I'm curious about the one ranger's suggestion to leave the tent "collapsed".  I'm not clear what the purpose of that would be.

12:21 a.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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Cable Lock ?

8:19 a.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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thegreenthree said:

..what do you think the chances are a bear will drag it off? Provided we packed it correctly with no smellables near by.

Bears patrol their territory, systematically searching for food.  They know where to find human stuff; we camp in the same locations, tend to stash our packs in the same general areas, etc.  Besides they can smell our stuff no matter where we place it.  A little known fact: spend any length of time in the back country and chances are your camp has been visited several times by bears while you sleep.  If there is nothing available in your camp they will just sniff around, and depart, usually without drawing any attention.  But leave a dirty pot laying around or a scented item in a pack, and you will be woken by their attempts to make off with this booty.  Thus you pack stashed somewhere off a trail is probably at no more risk that it is outside your tent at night, as long as scented items and food are stashed separately.

Ed 

9:54 a.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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"Actually I'm curious about the one ranger's suggestion to leave the tent "collapsed".  I'm not clear what the purpose of that would be."

He said to collapse the tent so no one would take your spot and you could hide all of the gear inside the unzipped tent.

9:55 a.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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"Cable Lock ?"

I could lock the packs together but if someone stumbled upon them they could just steal everything from inside the pack. 

9:57 a.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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"But leave a dirty pot laying around or a scented item in a pack, and you will be woken by their attempts to make off with this booty."

Yes we will have all smellables in a bear can away from our packs. Would you put the washed pot from the stove in the bear can?

10:05 p.m. on May 3, 2012 (EDT)
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all food utensils and products together

9:31 a.m. on May 4, 2012 (EDT)
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Callahan said:

all food utensils and products together

 

All of these items would be in the bear can.

11:08 a.m. on May 4, 2012 (EDT)
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looking good

12:58 p.m. on May 4, 2012 (EDT)
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thegreenthree said:

..Would you put the washed pot from the stove in the bear can?

 No.  Just leave it out in the open.

Ed

1:42 p.m. on May 5, 2012 (EDT)
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huh

4:22 p.m. on May 5, 2012 (EDT)
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Sounds like everyone is saying to hide the pack somewhere along the trail.

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