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Re: Winter food caches

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Winter food caches
October 17, 2013 07:07PM
What's the story with the bear boxes in winter in the backcountry? Do people use the boxes to cache food for winter trips in places other than Snow Creek/Tuolumne? Are there any regulations or anything like that about labeling, storage, etc? I know I've read on this forum about the Snow Creek box filling up fast, what about Tuolumne, with the campground and all those bear boxes right there? I would imagine that leaving something in a LYV bear box would be pretty safe by now, but I could be wrong.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/17/2013 07:08PM by steelcup.
avatar Re: Winter food caches
October 17, 2013 10:23PM
The boxes in the Tuolumne parking lot were all being cleaned out the day or so prior to the camp/lodge closing. I assume they sit there all winter unlocked.
Re: Winter food caches
October 18, 2013 08:36AM
Yeah so do all the people leave their wine and cheese for the hut in just any of the bear boxes scattered around Tuolumne? Or is there 1 location in particular you're supposed to use?
avatar Re: Winter food caches
October 21, 2013 07:22AM
You should not (and are not allowed to) leave anything in any of the bear boxes as a cache.
If you think that your food is safe in there then that imo is a really bad assumption.
You are also not allowed to leave a cache in the woods anywhere. Period.

Ok... so... for Tuolumne you go up there before the road closes and talk to a ranger
and they will open up the "big ol" shipping container that is behind the TM Ski Hut.
That is where the food caches are stored.

For Snow Creek cabin... you hike your booty in there and hope to heck that there is
space in the bear lockers....

Everywhere else... no food caches are allowed. Sorry.



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Winter food caches
October 21, 2013 09:19AM
Can't get any clearer than that! Thanks Chick-on.
Re: Winter food caches
October 21, 2013 09:58AM
Well in the interest of stimulating internet discussion, is there a physical difference between the bear lockers at LYV/Merced Lake/Sunrise and the one at Snow Creek? When you talk about food being safe in the box, do you mean rodents getting in? Or the potential for someone to open the locker and leave it unlocked until an animal gets to it?

Once the winter rangers have opened the shipping container to allow you access to your winter cache, do you then keep it in the bear lockers near the Tuolumne hut? Or just in the hut itself while you stay? Do people pack out the cache remnants or leave them till spring?

Finally... what about beer? I mean it stands to reason you'd want a few bottles of beer up there. But it'd freeze and explode wouldn't it? Or would it? Maybe I should do a test...
avatar Re: Winter food caches
October 22, 2013 07:02AM
Quote
steelcup
is there a physical difference between the bear lockers at LYV/Merced Lake/Sunrise and the one at Snow Creek?
No

Quote
steelcup
When you talk about food being safe in the box, do you mean rodents getting in?
Or the potential for someone to open the locker and leave it unlocked until an animal gets to it?
Someone opening the locker and going "yum yum" ... and taking your food that you are relying on.
It's a big problem that the lockers have loads of garbage and other crap in them.
With a high probability of change of plans... it would mean even more if it was allowed.

Quote
steelcup
Once the winter rangers have opened the shipping container to allow you access to your winter cache, do you then keep it in the bear lockers near the Tuolumne hut? Or just in the hut itself while you stay? Do people pack out the cache remnants or leave them till spring?
First hand I cannot say for sure.
But I think it's more or less a moot point since the container is pretty close to the hut.
Definitely you do not keep the food in the hut with you though.
And definitely the cache remnants do not need to be carried out. You can retrieve
them in the spring. They open the container once the road opens and it is not
locked at all... so you are free to get it whenever you want w/o any contact with rangers.

Quote
steelcup
Finally... what about beer? I mean it stands to reason you'd want a few bottles of beer up there. But it'd freeze and explode wouldn't it? Or would it? Maybe I should do a test...
I can say that when retrieved a pail for Bearproof from the container this year
we saw some cans that were exploded. But I can also say that I personally
had a bottle of wine in the locker at Snow Creek and it was tasty when we
drank it... so.. it stands a chance that the beer will make it. I'd put a sixer
in the pail I put in the container and deal with the consequences...

I'm fairly certain that I'm correct on everything I said. Of course you can always
call the wilderness ranger and have a chat.

If you do... please ask why they went and reduced the number of bear boxes
at the cabin.
For me and the wife... we've decided pretty much that if we go to the cabin
again we'll just carry our food up ... With HH closed this year... we may just
end up there at Xmass though.

Anywho. Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Winter food caches
October 22, 2013 10:02AM
Thanks Chick-on, a ton info here. It doesn't surprise me at all the regulations are to not leave food caches, the boxes at LYV are ridiculous enough as is.

And the beer bottle in my freezer has now frozen twice and thawed completely once. Cans would explode I'm sure.
avatar Re: Winter food caches
October 22, 2013 11:04AM
Quote
steelcup

And the beer bottle in my freezer has now frozen twice and thawed completely once. Cans would explode I'm sure.


Different beers have different freezing points (based on their alcohol content). Try a beer with a higher alcohol content to see if it freezes too.

Also remember that that many nighttime lows at the elevation of Snow Creek or Tuolumne Meadows Ski Hut don't get down as low as the constant temperature that most most household freezers are set at (0º F).

To protect your beer from the occasional below 0º F cold spell in the Sierra you could put the beer in a small hard-case Igloo cooler designed for six-packs. That would help the beer not get as cold during the overnight lows while inside the food locker. It would also offer protection to the other items in the food locker if the beer did end up freezing and exploding.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/23/2013 09:47AM by plawrence.
avatar Re: Winter food caches
October 22, 2013 07:49PM
Use hard liquor.



Old Dude
avatar Re: Winter food caches
October 22, 2013 10:02AM
Quote
chick-on

If you do... please ask why they went and reduced the number of bear boxes
at the cabin.

I haven't asked them, but my guess is that the Park Service probably feels that the cabin is starting to be over utilized and they're trying to cut down the number of people who stay overnight at the cabin.

.
Re: Winter food caches
October 24, 2013 08:21PM
Do I really need to get a ranger to unlock the storage container cache to put my food in there? I was planning on heading up there, but maybe at night and finding a ranger wouldn't be too easy.
As far as storing food during the winter, there is a big can that kinda seals on the top so the mice don't get to it.
avatar Re: Winter food caches
October 28, 2013 06:49AM
Quote
mtbphoto
Do I really need to get a ranger to unlock the storage container cache to put my food in there? I was planning on heading up there, but maybe at night and finding a ranger wouldn't be too easy.
As far as storing food during the winter, there is a big can that kinda seals on the top so the mice don't get to it.

Uh... it has a lock on it... and it's locked...
It was locked tight on Sunday when I left... All may be moot if Tioga doesn't reopen...



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Winter food caches
October 30, 2013 07:21AM


Some peeps even put a lock on their cache inside the container....

One other comment w/r to "I'm just gonna leave my food in a bear locker at TH XYZ"
What you have to realize is that that locker may be covered in 15 ft. of snow...
and you could spend a whole lot of time and energy digging it out... only to find
the rangers have come through and cleaned them all out before they closed
the road for good for the season.

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
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