be bummed! Permits are a logistical pain, but you can
get one. Here are your options:
1. On April 1, when online registrations open up, be online and ready, grab the slots you need, and you are good to go. (I'll try to post later this week the time they are supposed
to open the gates.)
2. If #1 fails, in the week before you go, keep checking recreation.gov for any cancellations. Slots do open up occasionally. If you check every hour or two, you are likely to find one. (Checking earlier than the week before is not usually that good -- the few who cancel slots do so just before their trip.)
3. #2 is a pain, so this will work: Go to Lone Pine the day before you want to start your hike. Starting about 8:30, people coming in to pick up their reserved permits will drop off slots for hikers that bailed on them. (These people should
cancel those slots ahead of time, but most don't.) All you need to do is walk up to the counter and ask if there are any open slots. Keep checking during the day. I am absolutely sure
you will be able to get your permits this way -- for the reason, read the Unused Whitney Permits
And by the way, people using option 3 often discover that there are also slots available to start that very day, not just the next day.
4. Finally, there are also a bunch of no-show people, who have reservations to hike but don't show up at all, and don't logon and cancel online. Their slots become available at 11 AM the day of the hike start. So if you show up at 11 AM, it is very likely you will get your permit and be able to head directly to the trail head. The unused permits numbers include all of these, too.