Note: this is a long thread. Click here to see all in one page.

Update May 1, 2019
Lottery period is over. Any available slots can be found online at this Recreation.gov page. There are no walk-in permits available at the Visitor Center this year. All permits must be reserved through the website. Check it often, as cancellations will show up at a random time within 24 hours after it was cancelled.

Here's how to find what is available:
1. go to this link: Recreation.gov
2. On the right, under Available Permits, click "Select Entry Point".
3. Click "Overnight" or "Day use".
4. Enter the number of permits you will want.
5. Any days available show up in blue under each month.
6. Hover your mouse pointer over the day, and the number available should pop-up.
7. Use the left and right arrows on the calendar to choose a month.
8. If a day is available for your requested number of hikers, click the day, then Book Now. Good luck!



Update March 29, 2019
Inyo N.F. has posted a Lottery Results pdf page here

16,842 applications were submitted
    34% of Group Leaders were Awarded a Date of their Choice
 3,104 won with first choice date.
 2,547 won an alternate choice.
    66% of Applications were Unsuccessful
10,268 unsuccessful because the dates requested were full when the application was processed.
    625 Applications were disqualified.
    282 Applications withdrawn by the group leader.
      16 Applications were revoked after the lottery (disqualified)

       
Update March 24, 2019
Lottery applicants have received their success or fail emails. Winners have until April 30 to log in and pay the $15 per hiker to hold their reservation.

on April 1 at 7 AM (Pacific time) Any slots still open (will likely be May and October dates) can be purchased on-line.

on May 1 at 7 AM PDT: All unclaimed and cancelled reservations go on sale. (Only the fastest fingers and luckiest will be able to reserve. Slots will disappear in seconds!)

Update Feb 22, 2019
The lottery is open for entries from Feb 22, and closes Friday, March 15 at 9 PM Pacific time.

An important note: When you create your lottery entry, at that time, you MUST enter any designated Alternate Leaders -- they cannot be added later. You and the Alternate Leaders are the only people who can pick up your permit (Id is required). In addition, the alternates must create a Recreation.gov login, and they MUST accept the alternate leader designation by replying to the email they are sent within 3 days, or they are dropped as alternate leader.

Update Feb 12, 2019: Inyo National Forest has posted another announcement:
Mt. Whitney Lottery Rescheduled
Quote:
News Release
February 12, 2019
Media Contact: Deb Schweizer (760) 873-2427
debraaschweizer@fs.fed.us
www.facebook.com/inyonf
Twitter: @inyoinfo

Mt. Whitney Lottery Rescheduled


The Mt. Whitney Lottery, the process which awards both day and overnight hiking permits of the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States, has been rescheduled to start on February 22, 2019.

Typically, the lottery begins February 1 through www.recreation.gov, but was delayed this year. The lottery will open February 22 at 7:00 am and close on March 15th at 9:00 pm Pacific Time.

Applicants are reminded that:

Being first to apply does not improve your chances of success; applications will be processed in random order after March 15th.
You can list up to 15 different trip dates on the lottery application.
Submit only one application. Groups that submit multiple applications will be rejected from the lottery.

Lottery results will be posted on March 24th. If you are unsuccessful in winning your date from the lottery you can try again on May 1st when the unclaimed dates will be made available for web reservations.

The Whitney lottery addresses the overwhelming demand to complete a hike to this popular destination that draws mountaineers and hikers from throughout the world. Mt. Whitney is the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail and a part of several popular loop hikes in the Sierra Nevada.

For more information about the Mt. Whitney Lottery, please visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5150055



Update Jan 30, 2019: Inyo National Forest posted on their Facebook page:

Quote:
U.S. Forest Service - Inyo National Forest

Mt. Whitney Lottery Postponed

The Mt. Whitney Lottery, the process which awards both day and overnight hiking permits of the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States, has been postponed.

Typically, the lottery begins February 1 through www.recreation.gov. However, the recently awarded contractor for this site was working with the Inyo National Forest to develop the online protocol for the lottery. This work was delayed during the shutdown.

The forest and the recreation.gov are working to get the lottery functional and anticipate that it will start sometime in mid to late February. The new date will be announced when the details are finalized.

The Whitney lottery addresses the overwhelming demand to complete a hike to this popular destination that draws mountaineers and hikers from throughout the world. Mt. Whitney is the southern terminus of the John Muir Trail and a part of several popular loop hikes in the Sierra Nevada.

Thank you for your patience while this work is completed.


This is the Notification on the recreation.gov page:
Quote:
Registration is Closed
The lottery has been delayed until further notice. Please check back for status updates after the Federal government lapse in funding period has ended.


Jan 8, 2019: With the current federal government shutdown, it appears that the Recreation.gov website is allowing people to reserve Mt Whitney Main Trail permits, both day hike and overnight permits to be reserved -- before the lottery occurs.

People are reporting they are buying the permits. Who knows what will become of those permits, since they are purchased before the lottery takes place.

I don't know if they will be rejected or erased, or what. Rec.gov has always NOT given refunds, so no telling what will occur with permits this year.