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Bivy question on Granite Peak

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Postby Alpinist » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:44 pm

phillinley wrote:Well if grizzlies do get up that far, I guess I won't be climbing the peak. Nothing concerns me more than having to deal with those things. I can't sleep if I'm in an area they might be around, and I can't summit that thing and be back to the car in one day, so I'll probably just roll south to Colorado and climb there for the rest of the week.

There are many risks associated with climbing. Your odds of getting struck by lightening, hit by a falling rock, or taking a fall while climbing Granite Peak are about 1000x greater than being attacked by a grizzly bear IMO, so long as you follow the common sense rules. Don't let a million-to-one risk deter you from your climbing goals!

If you are worried about your food, take a long a half bear cannister and store it away from your bivy site. That will keep the critters out and the bears away.

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Postby b. » Tue Aug 17, 2010 7:10 pm

phillinley wrote:Well if grizzlies do get up that far, I guess I won't be climbing the peak. Nothing concerns me more than having to deal with those things. I can't sleep if I'm in an area they might be around, and I can't summit that thing and be back to the car in one day, so I'll probably just roll south to Colorado and climb there for the rest of the week.


For what it's worth, I've spent a lot of time in the Beartooths, on that Cooke City side and the north, and I've never seen a grizzly that high on the plateau. I'm sure it's possible, but if you go up the Lady of the Lake, Aero Lake over to Sky Top path I wouldn't sweat grizzly bears except on the very bottom of that route. After Aero, I wouldn't even consider it a problem, really. But that's me, and I sleep just fine in bear country.
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Postby markv » Wed Aug 18, 2010 7:11 am

I'm another who would appreciate any condition reports from those going up this route. It looks like thanks to cheap tickets on Allegiant Airlines, i'm going to be climbing the route in mid-September.

This will be my first time hiking in serious grizzly country. (I don't think the North Cascades or Winds really count.) Considering the reasonable distance to the base camp, i'll probably just bring a bear canister. Not really my style, but i'm going to ease into this grizz country thing one step at a time...

I don't need bear spray, do i?
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Postby CBakwin » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:27 pm

Good Lord, what is all this Grizzley stuff?? Read Alpinist's post, exactly right. It seems strange to me that if a person is so afraid of Death, that they would choose mountaineering as a sport.
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Postby b. » Wed Aug 18, 2010 4:56 pm

CBakwin wrote:Good Lord, what is all this Grizzley stuff?? Read Alpinist's post, exactly right. It seems strange to me that if a person is so afraid of Death, that they would choose mountaineering as a sport.


Well said! Please report back if anyone actually sees a grizzly bear in the Sky Top drainage, especially in September.
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Postby phillinley » Wed Aug 18, 2010 9:07 pm

Alpinist wrote:There are many risks associated with climbing. Your odds of getting struck by lightening, hit by a falling rock, or taking a fall while climbing Granite Peak are about 1000x greater than being attacked by a grizzly bear IMO, so long as you follow the common sense rules. Don't let a million-to-one risk deter you from your climbing goals!


I gave it a shot, but turned back a little after Lady of the Lake. Those first two miles were an absolute miserable experience for me, and despite what any of you might say about chances of being attacked, I cannot comfortably climb in an area that is populated by grizzlies. My own hangup, not saying anyone else should have a problem with it.
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Postby Alpinist » Wed Aug 18, 2010 10:24 pm

phillinley wrote:
Alpinist wrote:There are many risks associated with climbing. Your odds of getting struck by lightening, hit by a falling rock, or taking a fall while climbing Granite Peak are about 1000x greater than being attacked by a grizzly bear IMO, so long as you follow the common sense rules. Don't let a million-to-one risk deter you from your climbing goals!


I gave it a shot, but turned back a little after Lady of the Lake. Those first two miles were an absolute miserable experience for me, and despite what any of you might say about chances of being attacked, I cannot comfortably climb in an area that is populated by grizzlies. My own hangup, not saying anyone else should have a problem with it.

Sorry to hear that Phil. Granite Peak is no easy climb, the difficulty in large part due its remoteness and the rough terrain surrounding it. I'm used to hiking use-trails in the Sierra, which are like highways compared to the use-trails in Montana. A Montana use-trail seems to mean a "possible" route, rather than an "actual" route...

I don't know what the trail was like to Lady of the Lake, but the use-trail that appears on my topo map for the FTD Plateau is nonexistent. There are cairns that mark the way, but no trail of any kind beyond the first 1/4 mile.
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Postby chugach mtn boy » Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:00 pm

phillinley wrote:I gave it a shot, but turned back a little after Lady of the Lake. Those first two miles were an absolute miserable experience for me, and despite what any of you might say about chances of being attacked, I cannot comfortably climb in an area that is populated by grizzlies. My own hangup, not saying anyone else should have a problem with it.

Don't feel bad, Phillinley. It's an instinctive fear that's closer to the surface in some people than others. Some buddies of mine who are way more courageous than I am in climbing, extreme skiing, all the really risky stuff, are reduced to wide-eyed terror by a walk through dark woods in grizzly country. Logical talk about the odds, etc doesn't help because it's not about logic and not about being afraid of risk generally--it's just in their bones.

Hope you can get back into that area again sometime, maybe with company, which would help a lot. The stretch to LotL is nobody's favorite piece of trail, but the walk up Skytop Creek past Elkhart Lake etc is gorgeous, gorgeous country--so gorgeous I've made two trips from Alaska recently just to enjoy it again. In fact, my teenage daughter, on her first night camping along Sky Top Creek, said it was the most beautiful place she'd ever been in her life.
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