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Re: [pct-l] Lightweight Packs

Tom Reynolds wrote:
> It is about 300 miles between Kennedy Meadows and Hwy 108. A JMT through
> hiker will average about 10 miles a day. A PCT through hiker will average
> about 18 miles a day. This means that a hiker, hiking at the JMT rate, will
> camp about 30 times to do that stretch and a hiker with a PCT hiking rate,
> will camp 22 times.

Nope - 29 times for JMT rate and 16 times for the PCT rate.  

> I have hiked with a bear canister since 1988. This is about 200 days in the
> wilderness. I have been visited by bears 6 times. That's about a 3% chance.
> Along this stretch about 50% of the typical camps have bear boxs.Of the
> remaining 50%, half are really too high to be much of a bear problem. That
> leaves 25% of the time that you must hang food and drops the probility of
> losing food to a bear to 22% at the JMT rate and 13% at the PCT rate. Do
> the math.

Nope - using your numbers - the probability is 0.0075 (less than 1%) at
either rate which means that for 75 of every 10,000 nights in the
backcountry a bear MAY try to get your food. Your assumption is that if
they even show up at your campsite, they WILL succeed in stealing your
food.  And I don't believe that - I won't speculate on the "success
rate", but it's certainly NOT 100%.  If it were, there'd be a lot more
dead bears. 

Gotta watch those statistics - some of us know what they mean.

> Now the disturbing statistic. In 10 years no small party has ever used bear
> hanging successfully. 

There are a lot of people who hike the Sierras, thousands every year,
who hang their food "successfully" - that is, it isn't stolen.  My wife
thruhiked the JMT solo in 1990 and did NOT lose her food, though a
couple of bears tried very hard to get it.  We know several dozen people
who have thruhiked the JMT - and the PCT - without losing their food. 
None of them have travelled in large groups.  

> Hanging food is like Passing on a Curve. It works most of the time but when
> it doesn't the price is high -- a ruined vacation. Sleeping with food is
> more effective but the price for failure is even higher -- a mauling.

"ruined" is a relative term - losing food may be a temporary
inconvenience but it's not a disaster - nor would it "ruin" my hike. 
Been there - done that.  We also sleep with the food more often than not
- but admittedly we are presently sleeping in hunting territory and the
bears aren't all that aggressive - they're smarter than that.  

> You may have a humble opineon but I have facts.


Walk softly,
Bald Eagle, AT-92, CDT-99

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