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#20183 - 12/13/11 06:28 AM 2012 Whitney Lottery information
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Edit Jan 4, 2013:   2013 Whitney Lottery information is ~~here~~

Edit June 8:   The Unused Whitney Permits numbers can be seen here:  2012 Unused Permits.

Edit April 2:   Check Recreation.gov for remaining permits (A=Avilable, R=all reserved). If someone cancels a permit, it will show up as Available on the start date of the permit returned. Here are the links for the available slots. Click "Update Availability" to see the 2-week display of available permits:
  Mt Whitney Trail Day Use availability         Mt Whitney Trail Overnight availability

Important links from Inyo National Forest:
    Mt. Whitney Trail brochure
    Mt. Whitney Trail information web page
    Permit Pickup Instructions - Mt. Whitney

Edit March 26: The lottery winners have been notified. Any slots left become available April 1.
    For more info see:   The Mt. Whitney Lottery - as of March 26, 2012

Edit March 16: The lottery application period is now closed, and credit card charges are showing up.
    For more info see:   The Mt. Whitney Lottery - as of March 16, 2012

Reservations will be made through http://www.recreation.gov

More information here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5342664.docx
                    And here: Mt Whitney Permit Reservations 2012


Brent N's original message:

I'm not seeing a lot of difference between the old and new system in terms of timing. Under the new system, lottery permits will be accepted from February 1 through March 15 and results will be sent out before April 1st. The real changes are that we will submit and receive results electronically, reservations can be changed electronically, and we can only list 10 alternate dates. I had hoped that the new system would bring instantaneous results, but alas, the government is still trying to teach us patience.

The website appears to let you attempt to reserve permits now, but no dates are available and I suspect won't be available for immediate reservations until after the lottery has completed.

Brent N



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#20184 - 12/13/11 07:02 AM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: Brent N]
tif Offline


Registered: 09/26/11
Posts: 49
Loc: colton, ca
Looks like 'regular' permits can be changed online, but under the Whitney Zone info it says "-Permit reservations cannot be changed, transferred or resold. Only the leader or alternate leader can use the permit. There are no refunds." Looks like whitney permits can no longer be changed frown

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#20185 - 12/13/11 07:16 AM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: Brent N]
Brent N Offline


Registered: 01/20/11
Posts: 278
Loc: Orange County, CA
Tif, you are correctly reading the word document, but the press release suggests you can make some changes:

"Along with the new online service there are some changes to the process for modifying your reservation, as well as the refund policy. Changes to a reservation can now be done online or through the call center up to two days before an entry date. Last minute changes can be made when permits are picked up if space is available."

I'm not sure how accurate the press release is but you can see it here:
http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/news-events/?cid=STELPRDB5343013

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#20186 - 12/13/11 08:04 AM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: tif]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Regarding permit changes, I think they mean changes to the number of people hiking can be changed. Of course increasing the number would be possible only if space were available.

I think Inyo has some pretty strict rules against changing the leader or alternate leaders names. If people could change the names, then our Half Dome Permit hacker could enter the lottery a whole bunch of times, and then scalp his permits on Craigslist.

I'll try to get more info and report back here later.

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#20193 - 12/13/11 09:35 AM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
I have posted the text of the document Brent N linked to above as well as a "Talking Points and Frequently Asked Questions" doc in this thread:
    Mt Whitney Permit Reservations 2012

I think the biggest issue for people is that there will only be ten possible entry dates that they can choose in the lottery application. And each of those is a specific date, not a range of days. I am hoping people here, along with folks at Inyo, can raise enough support to get the NRRS reservation people and their subcontractor to change the system to allow entering the range for the next round. From a computer software development standpoint, it would not be a huge task to enable checking a range of days.

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#20194 - 12/13/11 12:52 PM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: Steve C]
tif Offline


Registered: 09/26/11
Posts: 49
Loc: colton, ca
So with the new online system is it only possible to enter one entry in the lottery? In the past we could mail in several applications if you wanted to do multiple trips (which I did last year - got up there 2 times in Sept)

Also - good to know that there will be a phone option for permit modifications (either size or date hopefully). Again this past Sept, I was able to switch the date of my permit from a Sun-Mon hike to a Sat-Sun hike. I'd hope that the possibility would still be there to do this (assuming available spots in the quota of course)

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#20195 - 12/13/11 12:53 PM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: Steve C]
mrshherrera Offline


Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 82
Loc: Hills of Granada, CA
Questions since this will be our first time applying for the lottery. Do you think that I could submit multiple requests at 10 days a piece to span a month or two? Do we know what time on February 1st the website will allow us to start??

I am glad that they are taking the necessary precautions to avoid the scalpers! I just hope that everyone has an easy time accessing the system and that there are not any major gliches. Thanks!!
_________________________
The Mountains are calling and I must go - John Muir

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#20210 - 12/13/11 07:39 PM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: mrshherrera]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
tif and mrshherrera, I think you will be able to make multiple entries in the lottery. (I need to try that and see, with the river lotteries that are open right now.) I know that was a must have item for the other trails (People DO take multiple trips in a season. crazy )

To span the entire month, I think you would need to submit multiple applications, at $6 each (no-refunds), with each one covering 10 days. Of course, if you got lucky and were selected on more than one, you would be charged the $15 per person for the reservations. ...and "There Are No Refunds for the Mt. Whitney trail or Mt. Whitney Zone Day Use reservations." (from the Frequently Asked Questions)

That is yet another reason for the need of date ranges.

It really does not matter what time you create your lottery entry between Feb 1 or March 15. The actual lottery will not be run until AFTER the March 15 deadline.

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#20221 - 12/14/11 09:48 AM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: mrshherrera]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: mrshherrera
Questions... Do you think that I could submit multiple requests at 10 days a piece to span a month or two?

For clarification, you would need to submit that one lottery application with ten separate entry dates. (I assume they would be consecutive.) You would not submit an entry for a single ten-day trip.

Whatever date you "win" in the lottery, it is mandatory that you start your trip at the trail head on that date. Multi-day trips must start ON THE ENTRY date specified on the reservation. They cannot start on a later date that the trip covers.

And while I am writing, multi-day trips may be extended or shortened without any penalty or consequence. All you need to do is inform the staff when you pick up your actual permit. And even then, if you come out a day late, it does not matter (as long as friends or relatives don't start calling and reporting you missing.)

As for making changes to your reservation AFTER you have won a reservation in the lottery, if you want to switch from Day Hike to an Overnight (or the reverse), those changes would depend on quota space availability. Those changes would be treated as a cancellation (no refunds) and a new booking. And so beware!!! It would incur the $6 reservation fee PLUS a new $15 per person fee. (I got that clarified... Inyo tried to prevent that but NRRS said no way.)

So make sure to get your entry dates AND the correct hike (Day hike or Overnight) right the first time when you make your lottery application.

I believe that you can only change the number of hikers on the permit without incurring an additional fee, and again it depends on space availability.

To stop hackers and scalpers, you will NOT be able to change trip leader or alternate leader name, and only those named people may pick up the permit.


Edited by Steve C (12/14/11 11:00 AM)
Edit Reason: More in "As for making changes..."

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#20222 - 12/14/11 10:18 AM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: Steve C]
tif Offline


Registered: 09/26/11
Posts: 49
Loc: colton, ca
Thanks for the clarifications!! It will definitely be interesting to see how the process goes this year!

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#20225 - 12/14/11 11:02 AM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: tif]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Note that I have edited and added more to the "As for making changes..." paragraph above.

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#20227 - 12/14/11 11:22 AM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Tomcat_rc
Fee is now $15.00 + $6.00 reservation fee if I read correctly.

How will the no show/cancelled permit process work for permit pickup?
Will we have access to those permits that went unclaimed and if so will it be at IAC or reservation system?

Sorry for seeming like a dummy.

> Fee is now $15.00 + $6.00 reservation fee if I read correctly.
The fee is a single $6 for an application to the lottery (Or for any other trail permit for that matter), and then there is a $15 fee for each hiker on the Mt Whitney Trail. I think the $15 fee is charged only after successfully "winning" a permit reservation in the lottery.

Actually, every hike that gets into the Whitney Zone will be charged that $15 per hiker fee. So those exiting Trail Crest, and trips through the North Fork Lone Pine Creek (the Mountaineers Route) are included.

> How will the no show/cancelled permit process work for permit pickup? Will we have access to those permits that went unclaimed and if so will it be at IAC or reservation system?
That will be the same: Walk-in permits are free, available the day before for day hikes, and same-day for overnight hikes.

I should add: If adding people to the permit when you pick up the permit, and if space is available, there is NO charge. (That is the same as before.)

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#20581 - 01/06/12 01:03 PM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: Brent N]
Doug Offline


Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 8
Loc: CA
Hi;

I will be attempting my first Whitney hike this summer. First goal is to get a permit. Do I reduce my odds by trying to get a permit for 8 or should I keep it at 6 or below? I will be going on a Wed in August for a day hike

Thanks


Edited by Doug (01/06/12 01:04 PM)
_________________________
Bay Area Doug

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#20583 - 01/06/12 01:54 PM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: Doug]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Trying for 8 instead of 6 would reduce your odds only slightly.

For example, if the quota for your date only had 7 open slots left, then your request for 8 slots would fail, but a request for 6 would succeed.

But it is far more likely that with either number, your requested date would be wide open (if your application was processed early in the lottery), or the date would be full.

I would try for the 8 slots. But understand, too, that weekends fill up earlier than weekdays. So put down your ideal dates, but consider trying for a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday entry date, too, since those are usually less desirable, so would fill more slowly.

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#20588 - 01/06/12 07:45 PM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: Doug]
RenoFrank Offline


Registered: 08/06/11
Posts: 414
Loc: Reno, NV
I did a day hike on a Wed last August. We got permits for our group of 11. We had submitted many alternate dates but luckily got our first pick.

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#20594 - 01/07/12 07:18 AM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: RenoFrank]
mrshherrera Offline


Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 82
Loc: Hills of Granada, CA
Originally Posted By: RenoFrank
I did a day hike on a Wed last August. We got permits for our group of 11. We had submitted many alternate dates but luckily got our first pick.


It seems to me that with the new system in place, we will no longer have the option to list a "first pick date" frown
_________________________
The Mountains are calling and I must go - John Muir

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#20595 - 01/07/12 12:16 PM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: Brent N]
Doug Offline


Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 8
Loc: CA
Hi;

I plan on submitting my permit application on Feb 1 but it doesn't seem like there is any real advantage? They take all Feb 1 - March 15 applications and have a single lottery? Are the early (Feb 1) applications given any higher priority?

Thanks


Edited by Doug (01/07/12 01:44 PM)
_________________________
Bay Area Doug

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#20597 - 01/07/12 05:33 PM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: Doug]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
mrshherrera wrote:  It seems to me that with the new system in place, we will no longer have the option to list a "first pick date" frown

Actually, you should be able to pick ten specific date choices (no range of days, though). And I believe they are processed in order, first choice to last.


Doug wrote:  Are the early (Feb 1) applications given any higher priority?

All applications, no matter when they were entered, will be processed in the same lottery. Computer software has a random number generator, and they will use that to determine the application processing order.

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#20600 - 01/08/12 07:13 AM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: Steve C]
mrshherrera Offline


Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 82
Loc: Hills of Granada, CA
That is great news, I did not know/think about that! In reading this and the WPS forum, people said how they failed to get a permit multiple years in a row...but maybe they are trying for only a day or two due to other obligations, etc. I was actually considering submitting permit requests under my name and then have my husband submit identical requests under his name but I think that may be overkill since we have almost 60 days picked out!! To think of all the hard work, training, preparations, etc to have your request end up on the bottom of the pile I guess is just the powers that be telling you that this year is not meant to be and as everyone says, the mountain will be there =) Thanks again!!!

Heather
_________________________
The Mountains are calling and I must go - John Muir

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#20602 - 01/08/12 09:01 AM Re: 2012 Whitney Lottery information now available [Re: mrshherrera]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Heather, it will require 4 separate lottery applications to put in 60 different entry dates. The new on-line lottery application screen only allows fifteen specific dates to be entered, with NO date ranges. I sure hope they change that next year!

Each of those 4 lottery applications will cost you a non-refundable $6 service charge.

And then, if more than one of them is successful, you will be charged $15 per hiker, and that is non-refundable. You can see why changing to date ranges is important.

In 2011, there was a 53% success rate. See this post:   Whitney Lottery Progress - as of March 31 2011

I believe in other river-trip lotteries carried by the same reservation service, there is about a 20% success rate.

As for Mt Whitney, there are many no-shows and some cancellations. So lots of people go without permits, show up at the IAVC (Visitor Center 1 mile south of Lone Pine), and ask for those. Most people are successful with those, either for the same day or the next. Since you need to acclimate to the altitude before climbing Whitney, the extra day gives you the time. Here's our Unused Permits information:
    Unused Whitney Permits for 2011

Edit: I have updated the above to reflect that you can enter up to 15 choices rather than 10 on each application.

Also, this is IMPORTANT: If the website pops up a request for your opinion on the site, please take the opportunity to comment. And ALWAYS write something like this:

We need to be able to enter a RANGE OF DATES on every choice in the Mt Whitney Lottery.


Edited by Steve C (02/01/12 06:00 AM)

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