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Hide your munchies! Bears are out!
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By Dmitriy Litvak
From Pacifica, CA
Jun 13, 2014
On top of Rectory

After years of problem free visits to Yosemite, I got 2 incidents in just 10 days. The bears are definitely active. Hide your food, even if there are no signs around telling you to do so.

Incident one was due to me leaving some small scraps in my backpack at a bivy in Yosemite. We came back to find the pack missing. Good thing the bear did not take it too far as it had the car keys inside. Doh, who brings the car keys with them, right? More importantly, what idiot leaves food in the pack? Not me anymore.

Incident two was in the Incredible Hulk parking lot. The bears tore off the passenger side window and frolicked on my back seat. All because of a sealed salmon packet in the trunk, which seemingly should not emit odors. Guess the bears decided that they don't need the car keys to get in :)

Note, Hulk parking lot has no bear boxes. Leaving my windows cracked opened to prevent overheating was a mistake too.

Posted on Supertaco too.
www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2428732/Hide-your-munchies->>>


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By rock_fencer
From Columbia, SC
Jun 13, 2014
Myself placing a a blue/yellow offset MC to protect between Bolt 2/3 just post crux . <br /> <br />Picture credit goes to eric Singleton, and many thanks to Josh Bagget for the great belay.

you can store excess food with the camp hosts at the hulk fyi


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By Roots
From Tustin, CA
Jun 13, 2014

Have to dog you here too -

Bears' sense of smell is 2,100 times better than ours. Follow SOP (guidelines) and this would not have happened.


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By Jon H
From Boulder
Jun 14, 2014
At the matching crux

Just in case anyone is reading this and is unaware: bears can smell food no matter how it is packed. Period. Sealed, vacuum-packed, or anything else that is commonly available for food will not prevent a bear from smelling it and destroying your pack/car/ tent to get it to it. Bear boxes, bear canisters, or leave it at home - those are your options.


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By nkane
Jun 14, 2014

Roots wrote:
Have to dog you here too - Bears' sense of smell is 2,100 times better than ours. Follow SOP (guidelines) and this would not have happened.


I dispute the idea that bears are these infallible food-sniffing savants, wandering the parking lots of the Sierra, targeting the cars with the double-bagged, factory-sealed clif bars and the stray toothpaste caps, punishing those unclean people who haven't paid their 4 quarters at the Chevron vaccuum station in too long.

I think there's a much higher degree of randomness to bear incidents than conventional wisdom would have it. To throw out some anecdotes, I've left some tasty shit in my car in bear country countless times to no ill effect, while on one occasion where I did fastidiously put everything in the bear box, two 8-inch paw prints on my passenger seat evidenced a nocturnal visitor. Fortunately I left the door unlocked.

It's my belief that bears break into the cars they want to break into. They have their own reasons. Maybe Growly likes red cars, maybe Snarly likes Subarus. It would be nice if all bears liked Hummers. Breaking into a car is easy work for one of the big guys. Why not sample a couple every night?

And if bears really smelled 2100 times better than us, and acted on that ability, they would have done better than your salmon packet. You think, out of the 100 cars in the Hulk parking lot, your salmon packet was the best snack on offer? The patrons at the Twin Lakes campground are not, bless their hearts, the battle hardened car-cleaners of Yosemite or Whitney Portal. A motivated bear would surely find a more satiating feast in the minivans of the unaware.

And let's be honest. Who of us, right now, can really say that there aren't food smells in our vehicles? The sunscreen and BO rubbed off on the cushions? The crumbs dribbled between the back seats? The coffee scum in the bottom of the cup holders? To a bear, this is all delicious. If you find your car broken into, of course you'll explain the damage once you find a gum wrapper tucked into the rear armrest. But was that really why the bear chose your car, out of all the options?

The idea that bears have magic smell powers therefore explains both too much and too little. It fails to account for all of the undamaged Honda Odysseys from Walnut Creek chock full of organic cheesy puffs and weimeraner treats. And it fails to explain why bears can't differentiate between cars with only wrappers and crumbs and cars with actual food sources. My conclusion is that bears do things for bear reasons. It's thus not worth the effort to moralize the hygenic failures of bear break-in victims.

The real upshot is that if you climb in bear country for long enough, your car is going to get tagged sooner or later. Yogi and Boo Boo are gonna decide they're in the mood for Prius, and they're gonna rip open your window and poop in the passenger seat. The risk of a rude surprise is a small price you pay for climbing in the bear country - and you take the risk because bear country is the best country.

Yet none of this is to say that you shouldn't fastidiously clean out your car when you're in the mountains - if you leave a tuna salad sandwich baking in the sun, you should expect to find evidence of an ursine infenestration. And you should feel bad about it, as bears that become habituated to human food become hazards to themselves, others, and the mountain ecosystem as a whole, as we all know.

But, OP, don't beat yourself up about it. You did a reasonable job cleaning your car, but it looked tasty that day, and the roll of the dice came out against you.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
Jun 15, 2014
don't throw rocks

Logic based upon individual experience = opinion

Science that doesn't match with individual experience because statistics speak in general rather than specific = science


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By Roots
From Tustin, CA
Jun 16, 2014

"OP, don't beat yourself up about it. You did a reasonable job cleaning your car"

No - he violated the guidelines set forth by the agency that is responsible for that area.

YOU are not helping anyone with your incorrect information and advice.


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By Ball
From Oakridge, OR
Jun 16, 2014
Sam Perkins; Ground-up FA; named because it's big and smooth

Dmitriy Litvak wrote:
All because of a sealed salmon packet in the trunk, which seemingly should not emit odors.


Says who?


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By Ryan-Nelson
From Fort Collins, CO
Jun 16, 2014
NCCC

The Bears are aggressive this year
The Bears are aggressive this year


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By QITNL
Jun 16, 2014
QITNL

Thanks for the heads up. That's interesting regarding the Hulk parking lot (Twin Lakes Resort). In previous years the campground manager has told me "we don't have bears here, but if you want we can store your food in our ice house." Sounds like Yogi's on the prowl.

Two things to bear in mind: whatever you put in there will emerge frozen solid - your beers may be exploded. And check the hours they're available to unlock the shack - they close at like 6pm.


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By Woodchuck ATC
Jun 16, 2014
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Face it,,you gotta eat miles away, have no food in car or any scraps, and go on a starvation diet whilst on the climbs and until you return to your car and drive miles back to some all night diner where you then feast like the bears do and stuff yourself until unconscious......rest day,,,repeat.


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By Gargano
From Oakland, CA
Jun 17, 2014

We were there last week.

The management informed us that you can no longer store food in the icehouse because bears have been breaking in at night. A female bear and her three cubs were hanging out in the tree above us as we were being told this information.

Plan accordingly.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
Jun 17, 2014
don't throw rocks

At least in Yosemite my friend who works with bear control for the nps said that they've learned to smell the canning and sealing process used for foodstuffs and so even a closed can of chili of a sealed salmon packet won't emit the odor of the food inside but will emit an odor the bears associate with food.


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By Pontoon
From Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jun 17, 2014

Clearly we need a test. Put a plastic sealed salmon packet in one cardboard box and a piece of the same kind of plastic that has never encountered food in another identical cardboard box. See which box a bear will tear open.


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By Ball
From Oakridge, OR
Jun 17, 2014
Sam Perkins; Ground-up FA; named because it's big and smooth

Pontoon wrote:
Clearly we need a test. Put a plastic sealed salmon packet in one cardboard box and a piece of the same kind of plastic that has never encountered food in another identical cardboard box. See which box a bear will tear open.


Actually, no we don't. A bear just trashed a vehicle due to a sealed salmon packet. Case closed


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By nkane
Jun 17, 2014

Roots wrote:
"OP, don't beat yourself up about it. You did a reasonable job cleaning your car" No - he violated the guidelines set forth by the agency that is responsible for that area. YOU are not helping anyone with your incorrect information and advice.


My advice is to fastidiously clean out your car in bear country. It's right there in the last paragraph of my post.

But the point of my post was to critique the simplistic if-then logic associated with much bear-related advice.

First, obviously, the claim that leaving lots of food in your car raises the likelihood of a break-in is incontrovertible.

What I'm suspicious of is the opposite claim - that fully cleaning your car can prevent break-ins. My supposition is that food smells are so prevalent in cars that the claim is basically unfalsifiable. For any break in, a quick look through the wreckage will almost always reveal a source of food smell. I propose that all cars have enough residual food smells in them to intrigue a bear. And that's why I think moralizing bear incidents is a mistake. Even if you follow the rules, you still might get hit.


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By J Q
Jun 17, 2014
Me again!

And I believe that bears breaking in to your car or house is a sign that god hates you and your going to hell. Just you though. When it's me it's totally different.


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By Pontoon
From Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jun 17, 2014

Ball wrote:
Actually, no we don't. A bear just trashed a vehicle due to a sealed salmon packet. Case closed


Oh, it was the salmon packet, and you're sure? My method removes the variable of the car. My method is scientific; your method relies on bear whispering. But hey, I'm not willing to go do the experiment, so I'll have to rely on you, oh great bear whisperer.


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By Merlin
From Grand Junction
Jun 17, 2014

nkane wrote:
My advice is to fastidiously clean out your car in bear country. It's right there in the last paragraph of my post. But the point of my post was to critique the simplistic if-then logic associated with much bear-related advice. First, obviously, the claim that leaving lots of food in your car raises the likelihood of a break-in is incontrovertible. What I'm suspicious of is the opposite claim - that fully cleaning your car can prevent break-ins. My supposition is that food smells are so prevalent in cars that the claim is basically unfalsifiable. For any break in, a quick look through the wreckage will almost always reveal a source of food smell. I propose that all cars have enough residual food smells in them to intrigue a bear. And that's why I think moralizing bear incidents is a mistake. Even if you follow the rules, you still might get hit.


Your posts on the topic are the most rationale ones in this thread. I'm assuming you have a background in some area of science.


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By kevin deweese
From walnut creek, ca
Jun 17, 2014
don't throw rocks

On the opposite side of the coin from my earlier post. Mark Hudon posted in one of his bigwall TRs about his car being broken into by a bear while he was on the wall. Now Mark not only cleared his car out completely before heading up on the wall, he also had his car professionally cleaned before heading to the valley. Soooooo yeah.


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By Roots
From Tustin, CA
Jun 18, 2014

"Even if you follow the rules, you still might get hit."

Absolutely correct. But hard to argue that it's the bear's fault, or the poor me I am the victim when you have food in the vehicle that the bears clearly went after.

Bears have broken into cars without any food...if they think they see something that might be food. Or even in some cases where nothing was visually attractive. Proven, documented and written about.

Tip:

After I clear my car, I place a sheet on all the gear, etc that is in the backseat so as to make it look blank.


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By Ball
From Oakridge, OR
Jun 29, 2014
Sam Perkins; Ground-up FA; named because it's big and smooth

Pontoon wrote:
Oh, it was the salmon packet, and you're sure? My method removes the variable of the car. My method is scientific; your method relies on bear whispering. But hey, I'm not willing to go do the experiment, so I'll have to rely on you, oh great bear whisperer.


So you're suggesting it was the plastic bag, an item which everybody has in their car? How, exactly, are you going to control for that, oh, great statistician?


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By Ball
From Oakridge, OR
Jun 29, 2014
Sam Perkins; Ground-up FA; named because it's big and smooth

BTW, I'm working on a method to bear-proof my van. I'll have to post warnings for humans to avoid touching my van, but then I never liked illiterate clouters, either.


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By Woodchuck ATC
Jun 30, 2014
Rock Wars, RRG, 2008

Pontoon wrote:
Oh, it was the salmon packet, and you're sure? My method removes the variable of the car. My method is scientific; your method relies on bear whispering. But hey, I'm not willing to go do the experiment, so I'll have to rely on you, oh great bear whisperer.


Get an NWF grant for a few thousands..( no,,make it much more!) and do a study somewhere and live an easy life off the leftover money,,enough for a climbing trip NOT in bear country.


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