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Re: [pct-l] Mysteries of backpacking]

In a message dated 97-03-17 14:59:09 EST, wayne@coryphaeus.com (Wayne Dahl)

<<  In Yosemite (and many other places in the sierras) you have to counter
balance your food bags.  A bear will pull down your food if you leave any
rope hanging down or tied off where he can get it. >>

Here is an article I saved from Backpacker Magazine and another from
Wilderness Basics that might help explain the procedure.
BEAR BAGGING YOUR FOOD (from Backpacker Magazine)

The counterbalance method: 

If there's only one suitable tree in the area, locate a branch that's at
least 20 feet up, sticks out at least 10 feet from the trunk, and is about an
inch or 2 in diameter (strong enough to hold the food bag but too thin to
support a bear). Toss the weighted end of the rope over the limb.

You'll need two stuffsacks of equal weight for the food, ideally less than 10
pounds each. Tie a retrieval loop and the first sack to one end of the rope.
Pull it up. Tie the second sack on the rope as high as possible and add
another loop. Put excess rope in the bag.

Toss the second sack up so the two balance evenly, at least 12 feet off the
ground, 10 feet from the trunk and 5 feet below the branch. When time to eat,
hook one of the loops with a stick and pull the bags down.

The Alternative counterbalance method: 
		(from "Wilderness Basics" edited by Jerry Schad)

An alternative to the stick is a second rope, looped through the strings of
the first stuff sack before it is hoisted. The second rope can be used to
pull the first bag down to a counterbalanced position. 

To prevent a bear from using this rope to pull the food bag down, separate
the two ends of the second rope and leave them dangling well apart (perhaps
draped across two bushes). When you want to retrieve the food, simply pull
the two ends of the second rope together and pull them both downward. This
action will lower the first stuff sack while raising the second stuff sack.
Once the stuff sack is released, the counterbalanced second stuff sack should
come down easily. But ... watch your head!

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