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Re: Yosemite Wilderness questions.Bear Head

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Yosemite Wilderness questions.Bear Head
March 14, 2014 01:03PM
(1) Planning a few trips to Yosemite this spring and summer. I was wondering if anyone knows what are the emergency frequencies and protocols are for walkie talkies in Yosemite. I wanted to add this layer of safety for my group.
(2) Are the Bear lockers in Little Yosemite Valley allowed to be locked? We are planning a multi-day trip and do not want to have to carry our entire packs to the top of various peaks. Can we lock our stuff in a bear locker?
Re: Yosemite Wilderness questions.Bear Head
March 14, 2014 01:48PM
#1 - AFAIK there are no official emergency frequencies available to the general public.

If by "walkie-talkie" you mean "2m/70cm HAM HT" (and if you are all licensed amateur radio operators), then in theory you could follow the Wilderness Protocol on 146.520 or 446.000, but in reality it's doubtful anyone is monitoring these. From some areas you can reach various amateur repeaters, but I wouldn't rely on this.

If you're using FRS/GMRS radios, I don't think their range will be sufficient for emergency use, unless you just want to be able to keep your group in contact with each other--in which case just choose any frequency that is free (you may have more power with some of the GMRS channels) and turn off any tone squelch features ("privacy guard", etc.) to increase sensitivity.

If you're in or near Little Yosemite Valley, you may have some areas with cell phone reception, especially where you can see the Glacier Point/Sentinel Dome area.

#2 - Absolutely not. It's also frowned on to leave non-food stuff in them since they are shared by a lot of other hikers.

Quote
johnnyq
(1) Planning a few trips to Yosemite this spring and summer. I was wondering if anyone knows what are the emergency frequencies and protocols are for walkie talkies in Yosemite. I wanted to add this layer of safety for my group.
(2) Are the Bear lockers in Little Yosemite Valley allowed to be locked? We are planning a multi-day trip and do not want to have to carry our entire packs to the top of various peaks. Can we lock our stuff in a bear locker?
Re: Yosemite Wilderness questions.Bear Head
March 14, 2014 06:17PM
Most people get a SPOT if they are concerned about safety. Some people use a PLB. There are pros/cons of each, but the last time I was there, the rangers carried SPOTs as well as their radios. I've never heard of a visitor using a walkie talkie for emergencies. AFAIK, the frequencies the rangers use aren't published and by bet is they would frown on civilian use.

And like Basilbop said, absolutely do not lock the bear boxes.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/14/2014 06:18PM by The Other Tom.
avatar Re: Yosemite Wilderness questions.Bear Head
March 14, 2014 07:43PM
Quote
The Other Tom
Most people get a SPOT if they are concerned about safety. Some people use a PLB. There are pros/cons of each, but the last time I was there, the rangers carried SPOTs as well as their radios. I've never heard of a visitor using a walkie talkie for emergencies. AFAIK, the frequencies the rangers use aren't published and by bet is they would frown on civilian use.

And like Basilbop said, absolutely do not lock the bear boxes.

I prefer the inReach over the SPOT device. The SPOT doesn't even know if the message actually got out.
Re: Yosemite Wilderness questions.Bear Head
March 15, 2014 04:02PM
Quote
eeek
Quote
The Other Tom
Most people get a SPOT if they are concerned about safety. Some people use a PLB. There are pros/cons of each, but the last time I was there, the rangers carried SPOTs as well as their radios. I've never heard of a visitor using a walkie talkie for emergencies. AFAIK, the frequencies the rangers use aren't published and by bet is they would frown on civilian use.

And like Basilbop said, absolutely do not lock the bear boxes.

I prefer the inReach over the SPOT device. The SPOT doesn't even know if the message actually got out.
Sounds pretty good .Have you used one and if so, what are your comments?
avatar Re: Yosemite Wilderness questions.Bear Head
March 16, 2014 12:26PM
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The Other Tom
Sounds pretty good .Have you used one and if so, what are your comments?

A friend of mine uses one and I get the messages. He had a SPOT before and we've found the inReach to be much more reliable. When he hiked from Onion Valley to Roads End in Kings Canyon only one of his okay messages (the one sent at Kearsarge Pass) from the SPOT he was using at the time got through. When I checked the messages at Grant Grove that had me very worried.

It's also nice to be able to send something more than canned messages.
Re: Yosemite Wilderness questions.Bear Head
March 16, 2014 01:08PM
Thanks
avatar Re: Yosemite Wilderness questions.Bear Head
March 14, 2014 07:46PM
It's worth mentioning that the bear boxes at LYV are the oldest ones around, and are very small compared to the ones in the valley. I'd guess they're around 12"h x 14"d x 32"w. They had to be packed up there on the backs of poor horses or mules!

If you're staying in LYV for multiple days, and doing day hikes to various places, there's no reason to do anything with your camp/packs/etc. Just leave them set up. The only things that should be put into the bear box are food and other scented items that you'd otherwise be putting in a bear canister. Everything else, tent, pack, sleeping bag, stove, can just be left out. Well maybe not the stove, I leave my clunker of a stove out, but it doesn't look like much.

What I usually do is empty the pack and all pockets and leave them open so that the bears or whatever can just sniff around and find nothing. I then lean it against a nearby tree. If it might rain I put a large garbage bag over it so it doesn't get wet. The LARGE garbage bags are great things to have on a backpacking trip, always carry a couple of them ( poncho, water protection, garbage, smelly things, stuff bag, pillow, waders to cross a creek in, etc ).

On the other hand don't tempt people, high value items, and anything that might tempt the casual thief should be out of site, either in your tent or covered up. While not unheard of, theft in the back country is quite rare. Thief might be a bit more common in LYV compared to other back country locals due to it being on the Half Dome trail corridor. The average experience,caliber,quality of people passing thru there might be slightly reduced.

LYV is an extreme bear hot spot. Always DOUBLE check your backpack, your hip pack, your tent for any food or scented items. When you return from a days hiking don't just throw your stuff back into the tent, CHECK IT for stuff before throwing it back into the tent. ( said from experence, I have a friend that returned one night and put a hip pack in the tent. She now has a tent with a surgically accurate slash in the fabric in one corner and a shredded hip pack )
Re: Yosemite Wilderness questions.Bear Head
March 15, 2014 06:17PM
The tower on Hoffman is for high band - for YOSAR and park ranger use only. If you are caught using their channels - that's a big if, I have a high band SAR radio that would need reprogramming to do it - you'd get in huge trouble.

Even high band does not work all the time. It's easy to lose the tower. Sometimes they have to use planes to bounce signals back to base. The Motorola radios you buy at Radio Shack with "5 mile" working range rarely worked for my group within 1 mile of each other. HAM works better, but you need to be certified to use it. Easy test though.

I use a PLB. Have seen both InReach and Spot cause problems - texts sent from an InReach took 3-4 hours to reach me.

A satellite phone would be about the most reliable two way connection.

Don't leave packs out. Some of the bears are stealing them now. It should be on your back or in the bear box.
avatar Re: Yosemite Wilderness questions.Bear Head
March 17, 2014 07:04AM
Simply:
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/lyv.htm

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NPS
Food Lockers
Bears frequent the Little Yosemite Valley area, so be careful with your food, toiletries, and trash. Your food and related items must be stored in a closed and latched food locker or bear canister unless you're within arm's reach of the food. (Read more about proper food storage or what do to if you see a bear.) Food lockers are communal, so do not store non-food items and do not put padlocks on the lockers. Pack out your trash.

When u get ur permit u will be subjected to long talk. Ask questions then also.
And if there are extra beyond above... they will tell u then.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Yosemite Wilderness questions.Bear Head
March 17, 2014 09:02PM
I go by what I am told - not what's on the website.

The signage in Tuolumne backpacker camp also disagrees with that "non food item in bear boxes" prohibition.

Personally, i use the empty pack under my feet out of sight of the bears, or keep it on my back.
avatar Re: Yosemite Wilderness questions.Bear Head
March 17, 2014 10:24PM
Of course you should do what you are told. That's what I said.

Not sure what the problem is.



Chick-on is looking at you!
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