Who has been stalked by a cougar?


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Mountain climber
Mar 7, 2010 - 09:27pm PT
About 30 years ago, when I lived on Balboa Island. Even convinced me to move in with her. Crazy times...

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
Mar 7, 2010 - 09:29pm PT
Me, Balch Camp.

There is a Taco resident with an amazing, terrifiying recent recent enconter involving five charges. I have encouraged her to share the tale but she hasn't, yet.
Sean Jones

Mar 7, 2010 - 09:43pm PT
2 years ago, before I left Yosemite and moved to Vermont.....I was working on the 1/2 Dome south face route. Had been for months. Every time I hiked in and out of there I carried a big knife as I always do. The knife is for one thing only. Cats !

All the hippies back home used to come down on me for that knife. Like if a cat came after me...I'm just gonna lay down and "trust in the universe" maybe I get eaten, maybe not. To hell with those hippies, I have 3 kids that I love very much and they need me. Cat comes, I'm bringing a rug home with me !

Anyway, on one of the hikes in, we came across a 1/2 eaten dear. Cats do this, they kill, eat all they can, then bury the rest for later. But this dear was in the rocky and steep Broadrick gully. So he must not have wanted to carry it off. At this point, I'm more than convinced that carrying the knife is beyond smart.

2 weeks after seeing this 1/2 eaten dear, I was hiking in there at 10:00 at night with Sarah Watson. A pitch black night. We were crossing the high grassy and swampy area that surrounds Lost Lake. About 35 min. from camp still. She was behind me when out of nowhere I just froze. The hair on the back of my neck stood up and she ran into me from behind.

She says "what's up ?" I said "we're being watched right now. Never saw a thing, never heard a twig snap. I just felt it and knew. I must have been convincing as she believed me. So we started thrashing through the grass screaming and yelling. Smashing sticks all the way through the forest on the other side and all the way to camp.

When we got to camp, we lit a fire right away and cracked a couple beers. We laid two big knives out next to us on this flat rock and began to relax.

Less than 10 minutes from the time we arrived in camp I heard this big dry stick just go POP ! This was no falling branch. This a was a big stick that just got stepped on.

Immediately I grabbed the knife, jumped to my feet and turned around. Sarah had hers just as fast and was right there with me. About 30 ft away, at the edge of the fire light, and right on the trail we just came in on was a huge cat. Just staring at us. F#cker just stalked us for 30 minutes and all the way from Lost Lake.

This was a rough moment for me and surely Sarah too. I was faced with a decision here. Stand there and stare, or get burly and go at this beast. At least make a move to scare it and make it think I would go after it.

Without really thinking too much I took a step forward, screamed at it, and raised my hands all over like a total nut bag. The cat didn't budge. As a matter of fact it looked really pissed and made this really loud hissing sound at me.

This was by far one of the scariest moments ever for me. Chills shot up my spine as I was faced with another choice.....Without thinking too much again I took multiple steps toward it and screamed REALLY loud this time
" Come on you mother f#cker " There was tons of fear in me no doubt. It was a horrible feeling realizing that this was really happening. But at the same time I was fully prepared to make all the first moves but luckily this second move made the cat turn.

Not turn and run. It just slowly turned it's body and slowly walked away. And never took it's eyes off of us. When it walked away, it didn't go off into the blackness either. It circled right at the edge of the fire light and finally went behind this big bush. Then we could hear it making it's way further down the hill.

It's needless to say that we had the worst night of sleep EVER up there that night ! Not sure if we slept at all.

So yes, I have been stalked by a cougar. I'm in Connecticut right now for some work and I have to say that it feels really good to know that when I go bouldering in a few days, there isn't any big cats here. No big cats and no rattle snakes. One time while boulering near El Portal, I got bit by a rattlesnake when reaching over the top. Nice to know they're not here either !

But when I leave here and go home to Boulder, Co. where I live now......the cats and snakes will be all over. And you hippies can bet your asses that I'll be packing a big knife everywhere I go !

Sean Jones.

Trad climber
carsoncity nv
Mar 8, 2010 - 12:34am PT
while hunting blue grouse in september 09, we became the hunted .


An Oil Field
Mar 8, 2010 - 12:37am PT
Me, in Dark Canyon south of Canyonlands NP. Freaky as hell.

Trad climber
carsoncity nv
Mar 8, 2010 - 12:43am PT
definetly a freaky feeling hearing the quiet snap of a twig, the soft rustle of those thick bushes your next to.. the hideous growling with a cat flying through the air towards you is a sure pants filler!!!
adam d

Mar 8, 2010 - 01:07am PT
I actually got followed by two cougars once in the Santa Ynez valley. I'd frequently seen tracks and scats but had never seen a cougar til that night. I was on a hill 10 minutes from my house on a moonless night, lying on my back on a fire road when I heard movement down the ridgeline a ways.

In those pre-LED days, I stood up, pulled out a Maglight and shined it that direction. I saw two sets of eyes but they were distant enough that I couldn't make out the silhouettes. They didn't seem like deer and I had an eerie feeling about it so I stood up, put on my backpack and made some loud, low noises with a maglight in one hand and a pocketknife in the other. I was still unsure but I walked away from them without turning my back and continued down the fireroad diagonally across the hill.

This whole area was covered in tall, dry, black mustard and as I walked about 100 meters away I shone the light down the hillside and saw the cougars maybe 30 meters away. One was low to the ground and looking right at me and took one step towards me then stopped. Again I made noises, tried to look big and clenched my two inadequate tools. I backed away and walked home on high alert but never saw them again.

I didn't see another cougar there until several years later when I rounded a corner on a late August afternoon trail run and was within 20 meters of one big cat that immediately sprinted away from me.
adam d

Mar 8, 2010 - 01:15am PT
Wow Sean, that's intense.

I've posted this here before, but I actually had one walk out into the boulders at the base of Drug Dome while my partner and I were on OZ late one afternoon. We were at the base of the amazing dihedral, the sun had just rounded the corner and hit us and my partner spotted a "bear" at the base. That's no bear dude!

The cat strolled out of the trees completely nonchalantly, sat down on a rock and looked up at us for minutes! After a bit it sauntered away into the trees again.

One of us remarked (can't remember who) something to the effect of "she's just trying to decide if you can send that crack or we're going to bail"

"or she's just gauging or progress to know when to pick up dinner on the descent!"

bad pic below. Folks have tried to claim that "no way, that's a bobcat. It's got spots and where's its tail? " Well...it's a crappy picture!


Big Wall climber
State of Insanity
Mar 8, 2010 - 01:25am PT
A friend of mine had to answer the call of nature, and while he was in the squatting position, taking care of business ... behind him, upslope, he heard a snaping twig sound above, he looked up and saw about a 180 lbs. cat hissing and snapping at him. He stood up ... made lots of noise, and tried to spray the bad kitty with personal mace (not bear spray) ... that didn't have enough range.

So he threw a rock at the kitty, and hit it; the catamount jumped straight up in the air and landed exactly back where it was, and groweled and hissed ... my friends hiking partners on the trail above figured it out ... and started banging their treking poles together ... it was enough distraction to send the cougar running.

They always like to ambush and they will go for the throat first!

A long way from where I started
Mar 8, 2010 - 01:25am PT
Anybody who spends time in the BC Coast Range has been stalked by cougars, whether they know it or not.

But I've been stalked by something a lot bigger and deadlier than a cougar. It was white, had been denned up on a glacier all winter, and was coming down with its cub for the first meal of the year.

It didn't get me, but it was so close. Thirty years later I can still see it moving in on us just as clearly as I could see it that morning.

El Portal
Mar 8, 2010 - 01:25am PT
Got followed while hiking alone in the middle of the day on the Sky Trail in Pt. Reyes.

I felt like I was being followed for about three miles... then in Sky Camp I saw the cat, maybe 50 feet up the hill on the side of the trail, crouched and watching me.

I remembered that you're supposed to put your arms up and talk to the cat... so the first words out of my mouth are "here kitty kitty kitty."

Then I realized what I was saying and corrected myself. "No, NOT here. Bad kitty."

I turned and walked back down the trail. Ran into other hikers about 20 minutes later... longest 20 minutes of my life.
Bruce Morris

Social climber
Belmont, California
Mar 8, 2010 - 02:37am PT
While walking down Greer Rd. back from the lower Picnic Area at Huddart Park in Woodside, I noticed a huge ML walking just ahead of me about 50 feet. He turned and looked back at me, growled, and kept walking. I stopped and told him, "Get the heck out of here cat!" He then jumped over a fence into someone's backyard right behind a bunch of garbage cans. I picked up a 10 foot branch, banged it on street sign, and kept walking with the stick in one hand. Passed the garbage cans and no sign of Mr. Kitty. But man that sucker was big and his stomach was dragging the pavement as he walked along. Made it back to my car near Woodside Store and drove back home.

However, out of curiosity and in hope of seeing just how big his tracks were, the next day I walked back up Greer Road earlier in the day when the sky was still bright. As I neared the site of my close encounter, I noticed that a green County Parks Ranger truck was parked at almost exactly the spot. When I got there I found out why. There was the carcass of a deer braced up against the fence that had been torn open to reveal the thoracic cavity. The kitty had been using the heart cavity like a bowl to lick out the innards. But the really horrifying thing was the look of sheer terror on the face of the dead deer. You could really tell from that look just how afraid it had been when it met its fate.

The Rangers told me that the cat had killed two nights back and was coming down periodically to feed on the carcass, as were coyotes and foxes. I guess I was fairly safe because at the time I encountered him the cat was full of venison. In any case, he sure was big, biggest tracks the rangers had ever seen. I would guess he was about 9' 6" and around 200 lbs. Sort of grey color to match the fog of the Coast Range I would guess.

Besides this big guy, I have encountered quite a few cats at Huddart Park quite close to human habitation. A mother couger and two cubs near the dumpster in the Lower Picnic Area and a 90 lb female in a tree near the Upper Picnic Area. The Rangers told me there are about 12 sightings a year in Huddart but they don't announce the fact to tourists. Never will forget that big guy though. Felt adreniline all week afterwards.

Mar 8, 2010 - 02:39am PT
Not stalked but a cougar avoided me. I don't know if this means I am more badass and scary than the rest of you humans, or I just smell bad. I was MTB'ing up a fire road in Henry Cowell state park next to Santa Cruz in broad daylight, and at the edge of my vision I saw something move off the trail ahead of me. Didn't suspect lion - could have been a deer. But I stopped about a hundred yards past the spot, for no particularly good reason, and just at that moment the cougar emerged from a clump of bushes on one side of the trail, crossed it, and disappeared into brush on the other side, giving me a spectacular view of it. It had clearly waited till I passed. Although it could have been waiting in the bushes to see if I smelled good as I passed, so maybe it was stalking me, after all.

I didn't think much of it when I first saw the motion out of the corner of my eye, or even immediately after seeing the cougar, since I don't know of any history of lion attacks in Henry Cowell, but in retrospect it's creepy. Really glad I didn't choose that spot to get a flat tire.
adam d

Mar 8, 2010 - 03:06am PT
So what, if anything, do you do differently since your kitty encounters? (after the initial phase when you were looking up in the branches everywhere) Has your behavior changed?

Mountain climber
hanging from a crimp and crying for my mama.
Mar 8, 2010 - 03:17am PT
I've had only two sightings and that is because of my dog showing me. Catching them stalking me is beyond my skill.

Trad climber
Las Vegas
Mar 8, 2010 - 08:54am PT
Klimmer yah beat me to it...

Boulder climber
Salt Lake, UT
Mar 8, 2010 - 09:24am PT
The neighbors told us that last Thursday they watched one run across the street and scramble over our fence into our backyard at 5:00AM.
We live one street down from the foothills here in SLC, so it's certainly possible.

Trad climber
San Francisco, CA
Mar 8, 2010 - 09:49am PT
I rode my motorcycle out to Tuolumne one night to do Matthes Crest and Cathedral solo and got a late start out of the parking lot around 9:30pm. It was my first time to the area and I lost the trail but kept the stream to my left figuring I'd take it up to the lake to spend the night.

I was getting tired around 11 and contemplating laying down in a nice flat spot when I came across a beautiful meadow. I figured I'd go through the meadow until I saw a nice spot to lay down. As I walked I felt a weird sensation and look up and right. As my headlamp scanned right I caught two glowing eyes staring at me from about 60 meters. I have come across bears before and figured it was a bear so I yelled at it. Nothing. I crouched down to get a rock to thrown, and as I descended while keeping my eyes on it the eyes went behind a rock. The thing didn't move but it had been peering just over the rock and as I crouched down it went fully behind it. I wound up and threw the rock figuring I'd hit a branch and get it to walk away.

The second my headlamp jerked to throw it the thing took off at 90 degrees way faster and smoother than any bear I've seen. I don't know if it was a cougar, but the size and the speed left little else in my imagination. I kept walking with a cobblestone in my right hand ready to try to bash its skull if it came at me. At least it gave me some psychological comfort. It was a long, cold, lonely night by the side of the lake.

Social climber
Mar 8, 2010 - 01:58pm PT
My boyfriend and I have stayed at a few different whistler accommodations, but the most memorable was the fly fishing trip where he got stalked by a cougar. I didn't go out with him as my belly boat pontoon had sprung a leak. He said he was packing up to come back when saw the cougar coming down the embankment. I guess it spotted him and started moving a little quicker. He says he grabbed his stuff, tossed it quickly in the back and hopped into his truck as fast as he could. He started the truck and revved the engine and it didn't even faze the cougar. He said when he drove by the thing it just looked at him and licked it's lips ...no joke! He was terrified!

Big Wall climber
Kalispell, Montanagonia
Mar 8, 2010 - 02:08pm PT
Happens to my wife and I several times a summer, and that is just the times we are aware of. Friday, I got followed and checked out by the largest wolf I have seen to date. First view of him, was a mile and a half out, steep and alpine. He sat there for 10 minutes checking us out. Last view was about two miles down the ridge, with him closer than 300 yards. Ice axe was our only protection.

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