You would think July 12th would be popular with the full moon.
Also, you say that you can send in separate applications for the $6.00 fee, but Recreation.gov states; "Please submit only one application per group."
I would caution as much as you believe your friends will show up on a Whitney hike, and have them send in separate applications as a "group leader" to raise your odds, that may not end up with a happy ending, as when the date comes closer, many people who planned to hike the mountain, seem to find an excuse... and then you're out of a hike, or taking a chance on the daily lottery at the Interangency Visitors Center. Just sayin'.
"Turtles, Frogs & other Environmental Sculpture"www.quillansculpturegallery.com
If less is more, imagine how much more, more is -Frasier