1. Karen
    Karen March 15, 2016 at 8:08 am

    Here in Alaska, we have Hoary marmots (not horny marmots, no matter what dimwitted tour guides will tell you. Even some locals think they are called horny marmots!) They too can be very curious about backpackers. I once stashed my food in a trash bag (before they issued bear barrels in Denali for some wilderness areas) and left it under rocks, high up and away from my tent. Slept well, got up early and didn’t have my contacts in when I exited the tent. I decided to go get the food and make coffee, and as I approached saw a small “bear” investigating my food bag! I quickly returned to my tent and got my hiking partner who was a bit annoyed when she discovered a marmot, not a bear. Doh! At 100 yards, without my eyes in… oh well.

    Marmots do like to chew through camper gear. This guy didn’t get our stuff, fortunately, but I’m glad for bear canisters now!

    1. Gail
      Gail March 21, 2016 at 5:20 am

      I have to tell my story, then. It was a rainy September Tuesday in 1999 in Juneau, and I had day hiked up the trail that starts at the foot of 6th Street and emerges from the woods at the top of the tram. Above the tram, a much more groomed trail continues up, accommodating the cruise ship passengers who have taken the tram up to that point. Anyway, I had continued up the groomed trail, merging with the cruise ship passengers carrying umbrellas, and on my way back down one of them began excitedly yelling and pointing to a “bear cub” a few feet off the trail. I looked and it was a beautiful fat marmot. I didn’t have the heart to tell her.

  2. Susan Alcorn
    Susan Alcorn March 15, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    They are also known for chewing on wires and cables under cars’ hoods in the parking lot (Whitney Portal) below Mt. Whitney. Not good if it happens to be your brake cable! I love them, however!
    item in my book on women’s backpacking: http://bit.ly/1YXNXAr

  3. Mike Fry
    Mike Fry March 16, 2016 at 6:31 am

    At upper Boy Scout Lake (Mt. Whitney), many years ago, a marmot chewed a hole in my tent, ate some of my food, and chewed a different hole to leave. This was before bear canisters.

    A marmot lived under the summit rock on Alta Peak in Sequoia NP. It would join the summiteers and share their snacks. I learned that marmots smell bad and never brush their teeth. Don’t get too close!

    The marmots in Mineral King will severely damage a car by chewing holes in brake cables. You are not allowed to park overnight there. The park staff wraps their cars in chicken wire. I’m sad that is happening in Whitney Portal.

    I have been backpacking in the Sierra since 1968, and now see (and hear) far fewer marmots than those early years. I don’t know why, but brake fluid poisoning isn’t helping.

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