Storing food above treeline

Pringles

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Nov 23, 2015
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274
HI all,

I have spent almost all of my life in the east, where there is no tree line.

How do you store food, in bear country (black bears), if there aren't trees to use to hang a bear bag? Must one use a canister? Thanks. Pringles
 

WasatchWill

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Jul 23, 2013
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Many will use canisters, but they're not always needed. It all depends on the area and range you're in. Some areas it is much more common to have black bears poke around above tree line, where in other areas, the geography is such that there are far more abundant food sources for them well below tree line at lower elevations and it is ultra rare to have them come up to the higher country. Many here, including myself, will not bother with a weight of a canister if the area such as some national parks, does not require it. For me, I just rely on odor proof bags but still stash my food and other scented items a reasonable distance from where I sleep, just in case....and I've never had a problem. But again, most of the time I haven't been able to hang my food, I've been in one of those areas where the bears tend to stay lower below tree line. If oder proof bags aren't enough for your peace of mind, you could get a bulletproof Ursack bear bag. They also offer an add-on aircraft grade aluminum liner for them to help protect the contents you put in it from being too disfigured by a bear intent on giving it a beating before giving up on it, should a bear find it.
 

Pringles

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Nov 23, 2015
Messages
274
Thanks WasatchWill. I have a Ursack, but if there aren't trees to tie it to, I'm not exactly sure how helpful it will be. Maybe I'll just have to use the experimental method... . :)
 

b.stark

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Apr 8, 2015
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For years I've found convenient rock faces or rocks to hang food off of while above treeline. Sometimes the hang isn't ideal, but it's better than nothing and has worked well so far.
 

Pringles

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Nov 23, 2015
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274
Thanks b.stark. Once in Rocky Mountain National Park, I couldn't find a place to hang my food that was high enough off the ground. i did find a place to hang my food that was over a waterfall. Just thinking about it make me smile.

Pringles
 

b.stark

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Apr 8, 2015
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I've hung my food off some pretty interesting places above treeline... including a couple where it would have taken a while to retrieve it if the rope had broken! But nothing's ever gotten to my food. To be honest my main concern above treeline is marmots, they are always hungry and will not hesitate to tear into your food. On my very first backpacking trip, we stopped to fish for a while and I happened to go to my pack for a different lure and found one about 5 feet from my pack, he was practically drooling all over the place (that may be added for dramatic effect). I said some bad words and lobbed a few rocks at him, and ever since have made sure my food is at the very least marmot safe while above treeline.
 

LarryBoy

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Jan 4, 2015
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For me it depends on the area. Greater Yellowstone, I bring an Ursack. In the Uintas, I use my food as a pillow.

With the exception of grizzlies in the GYE, most above-treeline areas are not prime bear habitats - there's just not enough for them to eat. And if the concern is micro-bears, I'll sleep with my food as a deterrent to the critters every time. Mice are remarkably acrobatic and can downclimb your bear rope and eat your food while it's hanging from a tree.
 

Pringles

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Nov 23, 2015
Messages
274
Again, thanks for the answers. I have an ursack--the one for bears. Marmots can get through that easily, if I understand correctly. I'm thinking the cliff might be the best answer.
 

fiber

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May 18, 2013
Messages
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If possible, I never camp above treeline. Strong Thunderstorms can take out most any three season tent and lightening will fry you to a crisp. I have never camped above treeline in Utah, there simply is no need to. Even in the Sierra Nevada, Wind River Range and CO Rockies you can almost always camp below treeline.
 

Nick

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Aug 9, 2007
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I thoroughly enjoy camping above treeline and I have yet to be fried to a crisp. Came close a couple times, but that was just hiking above it. I've used cliff faces with good luck. Who knows how effective it really is though.
 
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