Bear Can

Well, what's the best and what's the worst? Let's talk about all those things we carry to make our trips more comfortable...

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Re: Bear Can

Postby Jen » Fri Aug 29, 2014 9:37 pm

Ear Mountain wrote:
orin wrote:... There are pulleys attached to the middle of the horizontal wire. A loop of wire with hooks goes through each pulley. You attach ...

I've seen no bear wires in Glacier like that one. In ?Glacier one must bring there own rope. The park service requires 25 feet minimum.


Note to GLAC NPS: Pullys not necessary but would be appreciated :)
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Re: Bear Can

Postby joybird » Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:03 am

I camped at Helen on August 13th this year. There was an upright bear pole that looks like it originally had four fixed hooks up high on it, but now they are either broken off or so bent out of shape that only two were actually useable, and even so they were a bit squirrelly.

One of the fixed hooks was "hooky" enough that I could hang my drybag directly from it using the long-handled (and heavy!) metal pole that is stored on the ground next to the upright pole. This was do-able but difficult/awkward, especially since the hook on the long-handled pole seems to be less "hooked" than would be ideal.

The other hook didn't have quite enough hooked-ness left to it for that kind of direct hanging to work for the other folks that were camping at Helen that night. Plus, they had multiple bags to hang. In the end we solved the problem by making a 6" long rope "ring," clipping a small carabiner to it and then stringing a long rope through the carabiner like a pulley. The long-handled "lifting" pole was then used to hoist the little rope "ring" up onto the hook at the top of the upright pole and then they were able to tie their bags to the rope that was strung through the carabiner. It would have worked better to have a rigid loop (like a large carabiner) to go over the upright pole's fixed "hook", but no one at the campsite had a carabiner large enough for that.

I would suggest bringing a couple of large carabiners along with your rope instead of bothering with a heavy bear canister. (And then hope that the other party staying at Helen doesn't have several bags they want to hang...or just make sure you get there earlier than they do and so that you can set up your tent in the site that is farther from the food prep area! :lol:)

I had planned to contact the BC office to make sure they know about the problem with the hooks, but I forgot, so this is a good reminder for me. I'll speak to someone at their office tomorrow.
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Re: Bear Can

Postby liketohike » Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:05 pm

Thanks for the detailed update!
We'll be at HEL on September 15th...note to self: get a bigger carabiner!
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Re: Bear Can

Postby Selkie » Wed Sep 10, 2014 8:11 am

Bear "wire" = cable at Gable Creek CG!

The cable is inserted into a sheath for its working part, and there are disk spacers every 2-3 feet to keep roped items from sliding together. The cables are set fairly high; more than 25 ft of rope may be needed. Bear wires call for tall trees, which might be found at lower-elevation backcountry CGs.

I took a couple of photos; may get around to posting something this winter.

After 6 miles of sucking mud, horse-poop style, my boots are off to the cleaner's. :roll:
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Re: Bear Can

Postby smahurin » Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:52 pm

mattB wrote:If I remember correctly Sperry backcountry campsites had a wire..

Also, a couple years ago they made us take a bear can when we were camping at Lake Ellen Wilson, they told us that the bear pole was broken, but when we got there it had been repaired..
Maybe it was a similar situation at Helen 3-4 years ago?


Interesting. Last year when I camped at Ellen Wilson one of the poles was pretty significantly bent and looked like it was about to break completely. But just got back from another trip across gunsight this weekend and the ellen wilson pole is new as of this year and has been relocated (just slightly) from where it was previously. Sounds like for whatever reason the pole there has issues.

I would assume if they needed you to bring a bear canister for a specific site they would have to tell you that up front (either send out an email or post that on the campsite or trail status pages, not sure what would be best?). Since its not common practice for GNP to require bear cannisters in the backcountry I would think a heads up would be necessary... unless for some strange reason the bear pole/wire broke like the week before you arrived or something and they hadn't had time to get the word out. Just my thoughts though. Maybe someone can comment on how they were informed of needing a bear can.
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Re: Bear Can

Postby missguinness » Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:37 am

One year when we were going to stay at Helen when it just opened, the backcountry office did ask us to carry a bear canister. We happened to bring our's just in case it was needed, but they would have provided one for us.
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Re: Bear Can

Postby Jen » Mon Oct 27, 2014 7:30 am

When we camped undesignated in 2012 the made us carry 2 canisters for our group of 4. They provided the canisters.
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Re: Bear Can

Postby distressbark » Mon Oct 27, 2014 11:20 pm

Jen wrote:When we camped undesignated in 2012 the made us carry 2 canisters for our group of 4. They provided the canisters.


Jen, that's always been my experience too.
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Re: Bear Can

Postby Marmotman » Tue Oct 28, 2014 12:43 pm

Same here IF you are above tree line. If you are in the trees then they will let you get by with rope only. When we climbed Stimson 10 years ago we made base camp right at the tree line so we were allowed to just hang our food. I have a large container if anyone ever needs one.
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