Leaving packs on the trail

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Leaving packs on the trail

Postby jvolz74 » Sat May 18, 2019 5:57 pm

Preparing for a backpacking trip up Jacinto. We're going to hike from the Tram, overnight in Round Valley, then hike to the peak in the morning and down to Idyllwild from there. We'd like to leave our packs at Wellman Divide while we hike to the peak. WIll our packs be reasonably safe up there? Is there even a place to leave packs around Wellman Divide? Never been up Jacinto.
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Re: Leaving packs on the trail

Postby jfr » Sun May 19, 2019 6:35 am

I've left my backpack at Wellman Divide in the past, and never had a problem. It's a great spot to stop and take a long break, as the view is excellent from there. Which means that there will be plenty of people hanging around pretty much all day long, especially on weekends. Still, to be on the safe side, you can always hike up the slope a bit from the trail and stash your packs behind some manzanita bushes, and they'll be less noticeable. Bring your wallet and electronics with you to the peak, of course.

Have a great hike!
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Re: Leaving packs on the trail

Postby Ed » Mon May 20, 2019 8:19 am

Since I no longer backpack, it is a mute question for me. But I still find it an interesting one. In my early days, I carried my backpack to the summit of San Jacinto and Whitney, wondering if perhaps I should not be more trusting. And is it better to leave your pack in plain sight, or hide it somewhere, where someone can rifle through it without being seen? Has anyone personally experienced or heard of theft on the trail?
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Re: Leaving packs on the trail

Postby zippetydude » Mon May 20, 2019 12:58 pm

I have had things stolen out of my tent...but the culprit was just a squirrel. 8) As far as leaving a pack unattended, my thoughts are that the greater the amount of effort and the smaller the number of people involved in getting to where you might be influences how safe your pack will be.

On Whitney, leaving your pack at Trail Crest seems a pretty safe bet. Most people up there have had to get a permit, they've had to get in condition over a period of months, and they are accordingly more likely to have a sense of camaraderie with other hikers. Even if there were a bad egg, it's not so tempting to steal something if you are hours from the nearest road and can't easily escape with the stolen goods.

On San Jacinto, like the proposed site at Wellman, there are many people coming and going. Most of them have taken the tram up, and while some may be confirmed hikers and adventurers, there seems to me to be a greater chance of a dishonest opportunist happening upon your unattended pack, and the results would be disheartening.

So, I would probably hide it before or after reaching the divide, if for no other reason than knowing that I wouldn't be worrying about it on my way up and back from the peak. Easily done, no worries. On Whitney, there's nowhere to hide it anyway, but I would leave it without a second thought.

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Re: Leaving packs on the trail

Postby Sally » Wed May 22, 2019 8:15 am

I had my entire pack stolen back in 1969, a day when there was supposedly less crime. I have now accumulated some rather expensive gear and I would definitely take my pack with me.
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Re: Leaving packs on the trail

Postby Ed » Thu May 23, 2019 10:50 am

Thanks, Sally. Where did it occur?

I think it was in 1970 that we lugged our packs to the summits of San Jacinto and Whitney. I also recall 'hiding' our packs around Long Lake while doing Cirque Peak. Hiding in quotes since there is not much hiding you can do there, other than parking your packs away from the trail and campsites. After that, we tended to do mountains and routes where marmots were a bigger concern than humans. Which is why it is still an unresolved issue in my mind, though I tend to think of it the way Zip does. Though I also think there is something to be said for leaving your pack where others do, on the theory that a thief will make a random choice, lengthening the odds that yours will be taken. Probably also helps to have an old, dirty pack.
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Re: Leaving packs on the trail

Postby Sally » Wed May 29, 2019 8:17 am

Ed, I was in the Cuyamacas in San Diego County when my pack was stolen. Fortunately I was less than a day's walk back to the trailhead so I was not stranded in the wilderness without supplies. Of course, leaving it fairly near a trailhead made it easy bait for the scumbag who made off with it!
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Re: Leaving packs on the trail

Postby recordalley » Wed May 29, 2019 6:54 pm

Chincapin...manzanita doesn't grow that high
Get out of that damn contraption & walk!
--Edward Abbey
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Re: Leaving packs on the trail

Postby HikeUp » Thu Jun 06, 2019 11:21 am

Hmmm...Guard Squirrels/Guard Marmots for hire. Will protect your gear for nuts.
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Re: Leaving packs on the trail

Postby stuart » Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:58 pm

regarding crime

"Like the violent crime rate, the U.S. property crime rate today is far below its peak level. FBI data show that the rate fell by 50% between 1993 and 2017, while BJS reports a decline of 69% during that span. Property crime includes offenses such as burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft, and it is generally far more common than violent crime."
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