Attack of the Marmots?

I Wanted to be Attacked by Marmots

This may sound strange but I was actually looking forward to being attacked by marmots at Piegan Pass. Fending off these furry little critters can be kind of scary, though. They are just so darn fearless and their teeth are huge. I’m never quite sure if they are going to come up and steal my lunch or bite my leg and give me rabies.


marmot teeth at Glacier.

“See these teeth?” “Give me a piece of your shoe or else.”


As we approached the pass I could hear them whistling and prepared myself to do battle if necessary.


horses.Piegan. Glacier

The whistling was from the marmots, not these cowboys that had come up the trail from Many Glacier.


We sat down on a rocky slope, removed our packs, and took out our lunch. I scanned the mountain for marmots, waiting for at least two or three to spot us. I figured I’d shove my foot in their face or wrestle them with my hiking pole if I had to defend my lunch of tuna and cheese.


lunch Piegan Pass

Lunch on a rocky hillside at Piegan Pass.


And if they wanted to chew on some leather, no way was I about to let them gnaw on my new Lowa hiking boots. They’d have to pick on somebody else’s foot for that.


Lowa hiking boots

I’ve sprained each ankle. My new Lowa’s are nice and high and give excellent ankle support.


The Only Wrestling was With the Wind

To my disappointment the only wrestling we did was with the wind. It was brutal and really ripping through the pass. The marmots ignored us as we ate but we did watch a few scurry around on a nearby slope. Before we left, we took some pictures and watched a group of marmots digging in the ground for food. They are herbivores and have powerful claws for digging. A couple of them got competitive and started growling at each other. I was kind of hoping they would get really vicious and I could see a marmot fight.

Ground squirrels nibbled the grass alongside the marmots.



Yum, yum..tasty grass


The squirrels are smaller rodents than the marmots and with their heads all together foraging for food like that, could have been mistaken as baby marmots. I was surprised the marmots didn’t run the squirrels off. I have since learned that they are relatives to the ground squirrel. I suppose that answers their passive behavior.



leaving Piegan Pass

Heading back down the trail from Piegan Pass…we did about 10 miles round trip.


If you ever get up to Piegan Pass, don’t worry about the marmots. I’ve never heard of them giving anybody rabies and they are really no worse than big menacing geese that run and honk after your bread.


Happy Trails,


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