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Bears and Food Storage

8:37 p.m. on July 18, 2002 (EDT)
(Guest)

a.k.a. Grant

I am contemplating a trip from either Mineral King or Crescent Meadow in Sequoia National Park to Mt. Whitney. I am also contemplating camping only at sites with bear boxes rather than carrying a cannister. While doing so would reduce my flexibility and require me to stay in heavily-used campsites, it will also save me weight and headache. I believe I have designed an appropriate itinerary, except that on my last night I would like to stay at Guitar Lake on Mt. Whitney's western slope, which does not have a bear box. Guitar Lake is at 11,600 feet. I would appreciate any thoughts, experience or advice anyone has about bears and food storage at that place or altitude.

12:26 p.m. on July 19, 2002 (EDT)
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check the regs

I think the NPS requires you have one of their approved bear containers, even if you are staying mostly at the campsites with the metal food lockers. This is because sometimes the lockers are full and you won't be able to put your food in. The containers available for rental (from NPS and elsewhere) are pretty light (under 2 pounds for the Bearikade) and the rental pretty cheap. The bears are active enough throughout the whole Sierra, and especially where you are going, that the containers are cheap, light insurance. Legend has it that the bears don't go above 10,000. So I guess the large furry fellow I saw at 12,000 must have been either a through-hiker on the JMT at the end of his trek and needing a shower and shave, or maybe Sasquatch.

2:46 a.m. on August 10, 2002 (EDT)
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Re: check the regs

Definitely check the NPS regs. In Yosemite, a bear canister is mandatory above 9600 ft. and the only approved one is the Garcia Machine canister (about $80 at REI).

April 18, 2014
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