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Bears in Yosemite
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Mar 19, 2012
the glorious pitch 7
Does anyone have experience with bears in Yosemite? I am going there in May and will be shuttling gear to the base of El Cap. Lets just say I don't want the bears to steal my stuff. I have heard alot of stories about the bears in the park. In particular I had a friend who had to chase off a bear that was trying to steal his haul bag. I had another friend on the Zodiac who had a bear hanging on the haul bag when they hauled the 1st pitch. Anyone have any pointers? Or cool stories brian hess
From Logan, Utah
Joined Jan 13, 2009
400 points
Mar 19, 2012
Haul loads and fix pitches the same day S Denny
From Aspen, CO
Joined Sep 25, 2008
24 points
Mar 19, 2012
Enjoying a misty day on top of the Bookmark on Lum...
They can be very aggressive with haul bags, which they associate with goodies. I've seen a bear rummage gear and packs as soon as climbers left the ground and were committed on the rock, and it was hardly dissuaded by rocks being thrown down onto it. That summer, I heard a story that a bear went after a haul bag while a climber was wearing it. That story might be exaggerated, but it is believable that some of these bears might go after a haul bags even while people are around. Take it seriously. D-Storm
Joined Jun 29, 2007
344 points
Mar 19, 2012
The Cathedral Spires in RMNP, left to right: Stile...
Definitely don't leave haulbags at the base of El Cap--even if there's no food in them. I watched a mama bear teaching her cub how to "access" the items in a haulbag with her claws. We were on the wall so we were unable to try to scare them off. After they shredded the pig and apparently found no food, they continued east along the base of the wall looking in areas that climbers often store their haulbags.

Get the pigs at least a pitch off the ground when you bring your loads in and you should be safe. Have fun!
Marc H
From Lafayette, CO
Joined May 10, 2007
280 points
Mar 19, 2012
fix it a few feet off the ground? When I was there last witner 5 cars were broken by them in one night. Mine was left alone but I def wouldn't wanna leave my shit in reach of them. They are worse than the homeless people in NYC and have more at their disposal. PosiDave
Joined Dec 7, 2011
3 points
Mar 19, 2012
Make sure nothing that is food related or smells good is in your car. they love breaking windows. PosiDave
Joined Dec 7, 2011
3 points
Mar 19, 2012
Where? Wouldn't you like to know. You have to buy ...
Watch out so they don't swipe your pic-a-nic basket. PTZ
From Chicago/Colorado
Joined Jul 27, 2010
523 points
Mar 19, 2012
PTZ wrote:
Watch out so they don't swipe your pic-a-nic basket.

Eh, Boo Boo?

But yeah, bears eat your stuff. Once while backpacking through Tuolumne Meadows some bears wandered into our camp while I was taking a leak. I had to zip up real quick and grab some pots and pans to bang together. They ran off when we started making a racket, but it was a little unnerving.
Finn the Human
From The Land of Ooo
Joined Jul 11, 2008
119 points
Mar 19, 2012
Damn bear stole our bait AGAIN! Photo: Olaf Mitche...
Damn bear stole our bait AGAIN!
Photo: Olaf Mitchell
Olaf Mitchell
From Paia, Maui, Hi,
Joined Mar 16, 2007
4,276 points
Mar 25, 2012
On the North America Wall in 1977.
I have my car detailed before I go to Yosemite and when I leave the Valley for a wall I take EVERYTHING that has ANY odor whatsoever out of the car! (I've had my car broken into and it cost $2500 to fix)

At the base, I THOUGHT I had hung my stuff up high enough and even though the bag that drew the bears to my stuff had no food it, it was an old wall garbage bag, merely the odor of it was enough for the bears to climb high on those rocks left of the start of Zodiac, pull down my stuff and shred that bag. Luckily, nothing else was damaged.

Even a haul bag sitting there with gear in it is not safe, Bears relate haul bags and packs to food and they are going to check it out. I wouldn't even leave water bottles at the base, I've heard stories of a woman soloist hiking 11 gallons up to the base of the Trip and finding half of them punctured by bears on her return trip.

Check out my Zenyatta Mondatta photo gallery for photos of where my bags were and what the bears did to them.

Zenyatta Mondatta and bear damaged bags

My car, that had NOTHING TO EAT in it.
My car, that had NOTHING TO EAT in it.
Mark Hudon
Joined Jul 27, 2009
281 points
Apr 19, 2012
Thunderbolt Peak in the Palisades
I have encountered Grizzly bears in Glacier National Park and bears in Yosemite. They will break into any car which has anything looking like a cooler and any scent of food. Do not eat In N Out on the way up and stash the wrappers in the side door.

I parked off the main road on a dirt road for a short backpack weekend to May Lake in Yosemite years back. When we got back three cars were busted open. The bear had got its claws into the door frame and peeled the door open. One passenger chair was ripped open. Our small truck was unharmed because we had no food or items in it. There were bear nose marks on the back glass. The bear had gotten into the piuckup bed and looked inside.

Bears are opportunists and want to expend as little energy as possible. They will climb trees and break branches down. I have no experience with big walls or being at their base so I can't comment on that.
Joined May 28, 2010
67 points
Apr 19, 2012
Yeah, they are really crafty. You'd be amazed at what they can get to. Once had a bear climb the first three pitches of the Free Blast to get to my belayer, who had gotten nice and chubby over the offseason and had stupidly bought cocobutter sunblock. Really ruined an otherwise great trip. Air Alexy
Joined May 13, 2010
3 points
Apr 19, 2012
Relaxing in the Tuttle Creek Campground after a fu...
I've seen a bear every time I've been to the base of El Cap. He/she is always there! They don't seem to be mean, just sneaky, like a mischievous stray dog. I'd leave your stuff a pitch or two off the ground. Cory
From Boise, ID
Joined Mar 25, 2008
2,525 points
Apr 19, 2012
Cold day at Smug's
So what do all you soloist do in Yosemite? I assume you have to make a few trips to the base and or at least leave your bags on the ground while you lead the first pitch. Your bags will be unattended at some point unless there is another person around, right? csproul
From Davis, CA
Joined Dec 3, 2009
238 points
Apr 19, 2012
excellent technique
csproul wrote:
So what do all you soloist do in Yosemite? I assume you have to make a few trips to the base and or at least leave your bags on the ground while you lead the first pitch. Your bags will be unattended at some point unless there is another person around, right?

flammable sherpas.
apeman e
Joined Oct 21, 2008
23 points
Apr 19, 2012
I worked in Yosemite a few years back on wildlife management so my primary job was to educate people in the back country on bears, relocate animals as necessary, and get them out of campsites at night. They are opportunistic, take what they can and are seek out human food because of the high caloric content to energy use to obtain it ratio. When I was in the valley I remember one guy reporting a black bear getting his haul bag over a pitch up mid-5th class climbing. The sad thing is they become more accustom to humans the more food they get, and this habituation makes them more willing to get even closer to humans in the future. Ultimately this has led to bad encounters, even as far as some bears pulling food/backpacks off tourists back. This gets them labeled as an aggressive bear, and if relocation does not work, which it often doesn't because of how quick they find their way hundreds of miles back, then the bear eventually gets put down.

Bottom line: Yosemite bears are smarter than the average bear, so hide yo pic-a-nic baskets Boo-Boo
From Wenatchee, WA
Joined May 24, 2011
191 points
Jul 31, 2012
Yosemite bears are SMART and TRICKY and can climb 5.7!

Was in Yosemite in spring 2010, and a bear was patrolling the base of El Capitan. The bear would wait for climbers to get off the ground and then get their packs....in the middle of the day. We were practicing aid and efficiency by climbing the first few pitches of walls, and saw it almost every day for two weeks.

The rangers told us the bear had climbed up to a ledge on pretty difficult rock to get a pack.

A couple of weeks later they had to destroy the bear, from so many encounters.

I've been going to Yosemite for many years and ALWAYS see bears, often along the bases of walls.

Included a pic of the bear...
Problem bear near the start of the Salathe.  Two d...
Problem bear near the start of the Salathe. Two days later at the base of Mescalito.
Arlo F Niederer
From Fort Collins, CO
Joined Mar 20, 2009
202 points
Jul 31, 2012
Humboldt Bouldering
While tying in for Short but thin I had that bear fuck up one of my packs just 20 feet down around the corner.

Be aggressive with them; they're out of control
Josh Kornish
From Eugene, OR
Joined Sep 16, 2009
572 points
Aug 1, 2012
While car camping in Tuolome in a small backpacking tent, my wife woke me and asked what that noise was. It was a bear going through our stuff. My wife was awakened by something nudging her head. She thought it was me until she saw me on the other side. It was a bear nudging her head throught the tent fabric interested in the herbal shampoo she used that day. KevinCO
From Loveland, CO
Joined Mar 22, 2006
85 points

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