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Marmot precautions @ Cottonwood Lake

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 7:32 pm
by JaredJohnson
I've camped at cottonwood lake twice, both times I camped kinda high above the lake, maybe near the junction of the trails leading to Broken Hand Pass and Crestone Peak. Both times, while I was off climbing all day for a single day, marmots damaged my nice tent. The second time they ruined the tent body and it had to be replaced entirely. They also messed up the handles of some hiking poles I had left in the vestibule.

It's not the first time I've had such encounters, but in all other areas I've only had problems of I left equipment outside the vestibule; it seems as if the marmots at cottonwood in particular are extra aggressive, or else it's just a huge coincidence.

This month I'm planning to do Crestolita and Pico Asilado over a couple of days, camping one to three nights at cottonwood, but camped a bit lower to avoid having to re-climb back to camp after descending each peak.

I've seen suggestions on safeguarding cars with chicken wire at trailheads, but I'm a bit at a loss on protecting a tent in the backcountry, without bringing something that's really annoying to carry.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to protect against marmot damage on unattended tents? Or making the contents of the tent less attractive to marmots? Or perhaps some experience that suggests that camping a little lower in that area will be less problematic?

Re: Marmot precautions @ Cottonwood Lake

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 8:18 pm
by ClimbingFool
JaredJohnson wrote: Tue Jun 28, 2022 7:32 pm Does anyone have any suggestions on how to protect against marmot damage on unattended tents? Or making the contents of the tent less attractive to marmots? Or perhaps some experience that suggests that camping a little lower in that area will be less problematic?
I was warned of aggressive critters in Chicago Basin last year and protected my stuff by hanging everything from a tree and then opening the tent door before I left for the day. It resulted in a few extra bugs in the tent, but at least the marmots had a chance to check it out without damaging the fabric to get inside.

Do let us know how your experience is this year. I'm planning on heading out to Cottonwood Lake in about 5 weeks for the Crestone traverse.

Re: Marmot precautions @ Cottonwood Lake

Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2022 10:42 pm
by Skimo95
I would camp in treeline to avoid most marmots personally. There’s a couple decent spots on the N Cottonwood trail where hanging food would be easy. I had issue with them on hanging rocks in Ruby Basin. We’ve had two in the shop the past week in SM. Along with a fox and obnoxious pine marten.

Re: Marmot precautions @ Cottonwood Lake

Posted: Fri Jul 01, 2022 10:20 am
by JaredJohnson
Thanks for the advice! We were thinking of camping below the start of crestolita ("analemma"), but instead I think we'll camp further down, where the cottonwood trail intersects with the deproach from Pico Asilado. We're gonna try to do both routes anyway so that should be an advantageous spot, and should also be low enough for some tree cover.

I wonder if anyone is familiar enough to suggest whether that area might have a couple of good hammock hanging trees?