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#26041 - 07/17/12 09:44 PM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: MooseTracks]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6944
Loc: Fresno, CA
Laura, that's right. Bob R did it the Friday morning before Memorial weekend. And I got confirmation at the Visitor Center a week ago when I was there.

Larry D, over the past 5 years, the unused permits usage seems about level. Last year, the switchbacks weren't open until some time in July. This year it was late May. THAT is the cause of the change in numbers between the two years.

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#26073 - 07/19/12 08:25 AM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Steve C]
Larryd Offline


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 15
Loc: Oregon
Steve:

Can one person check in at 8:30 am for available permits (whatever they are called) on behalf of a group arriving later? Or at what point in time can that occur, or can it occur at all?
Thanks
Larry

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#26076 - 07/19/12 10:31 AM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Larryd]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6944
Loc: Fresno, CA
The trip leader can pick up permits for everyone. Since you don't have a reservation, the person who walks in and asks for the available permits becomes the designated "trip leader".

The others in the group do not need to be there.

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#26082 - 07/19/12 01:23 PM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Steve C]
Larryd Offline


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 15
Loc: Oregon
Thanks again for the great info. The only unavailable Monday last year was Aug. 7, which could be explained by the delayed opening of the switchbacks. I'm tempted to pull the trigger, but it's a group thing so we'll see. Again, thanks.

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#26092 - 07/19/12 10:47 PM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Steve C]
Stalin Offline


Registered: 04/02/12
Posts: 35
Loc: Sunnyvale, CA
Steve is right as always. We secured 3 overnight permits by going around 10am on july 6th, Very lucky! However I was told that if I had been little later, their system would get locked and not able to issue permits until the 11am mini lottery.

Thanks Steve and others in this forum for sharing valuable information all along. It was very helpful for my preparation on my very first overnight backpacking experience and Whitney hike attempt.

Stalin

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#26094 - 07/20/12 12:25 AM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Stalin]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6944
Loc: Fresno, CA
Thanks for that info, Stalin.

I should explain that the "11 AM mini lottery" is a drawing of numbers out of a bucket. Since the no-shows are released at 11 AM, there is usually a larger number of people at the Visitor Center at that time. So they hold the drawing, and process everyone in the order of the numbers drawn.

I was told this drawing and processing sequence includes EVERYONE there, even people picking up reserved permits (for next day entry, for example)

Edit: "even people picking up reserved permits" means those people wait in the same queue to pick up their reserved permits. Their reserved permits are NOT given to someone drawing a lower number.

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#26161 - 07/23/12 09:52 PM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1479
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Steve C
Thanks for that info, Stalin.

I should explain that the "11 AM mini lottery" is a drawing of numbers out of a bucket. Since the no-shows are released at 11 AM, there is usually a larger number of people at the Visitor Center at that time. So they hold the drawing, and process everyone in the order of the numbers drawn.

I was told this drawing and processing sequence includes EVERYONE there, even people picking up reserved permits (for next day entry, for example)


Wait. What? Really? The reservations for the NEXT DAY are put in the daily mini-lottery? After entering the lottery in what February and making reservations and plane tickets and all that, you show up on time the day before to pick up your confirmed and paid permit and you are put in the daily lottery? And could be given to someone else?

That can't be what you mean to say. Why in the world would anyone with a confirmed reservation go in a daily lottery?

Every time I think I understand the Whitney permit system, something changes. When I was at the IAVC last year in mid July it was just nuts. The switches had just cleared from all that snow, and weeks of no-shows and cancellations suddenly turned into lines of walk-ins. I called ahead. No information, "you have to come in. Yes we have cancellations but you have to be here". I walked in. "Why didn't you just call ahead, we always have some cancellations, and could have held them for you?" I stood in line two days in a row. I talked to at least five different rangers from the 3 agencies -- BLM, NPS and NFS -- and I swear, no two people I talked to, including the 5 rangers and the best informed individuals on this board, had the same story on how it worked. I had just been backed off the HST on a permit with a Whitney exit, less than 24 hours off the trail, so I asked about the status of that permit: the SEKI Ranger said it was still good for anywhere on the permit, including the WZ, as long as I reentered within 24 hours reasonably along access to the HST, including WP. The INF Ranger at the next register said "I don't know about that, I'll check, called Mammoth and then said "no way".

In any event, after spending 48 hours on the ground wherever I go, I usually understand the rules pretty well. Except at the Lone Pine IAVC. Its still a mystery.

Is there something, somewhere in one document or one page that explains how it actually works?
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#26162 - 07/23/12 10:30 PM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: saltydog]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Wait. What? Really? The reservations for the NEXT DAY are put in the daily mini-lottery? After entering the lottery in what February and making reservations and plane tickets and all that, you show up on time the day before to pick up your confirmed and paid permit and you are put in the daily lottery? And could be given to someone else?


I can probably help here a little bit. Everyone picks a number, but the permits for the next day are not at risk. Instead, the lottery is to determine in which order everyone is to be served. It's weird how they do it, but there is no need to panic. (I just went through this on Saturday and they explained it then).

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#26163 - 07/23/12 11:10 PM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: saltydog]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6944
Loc: Fresno, CA
> Is there something, somewhere in one document or one page that explains how it actually works?

Sorry, no. It is so complicated that Inyo can't train all the clerks in all the situations. So you get different answers every time you ask a different person. Also, there are so many different combinations (day hike, overnight, Trail crest exit, other trails, etc. etc) that both your questions and the answers people give are not usually understood perfectly. You could be asking about one type of permit, but the person answering mistakes it for another, so gives you answers that are off base.

That 24-hour rule is for people exiting to pick up supplies and then get back on the trail -- usually PCT hikers.

> "Why didn't you just call ahead, we always have some cancellations, and could have held them for you?"
That's bogus. Whoever gave you that remark did not understand your question or situation. Their answer applies to reserved permits. If you show up AFTER the deadline to pick up reserved permits they give them away to the walk-in people, since you were a "no-show". And so, if you had reserved permits, you could have called in and asked them to hold them for you.

Edit: To top it off, this year the system went to a new online lottery and the permit process in the V.C. changed as well. So what we knew last year has changed.

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#26171 - 07/24/12 12:59 PM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Steve C]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1479
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
That's what I thought on all counts, so thanks for making it clear.
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Wherever you go, there you are.
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#26341 - 07/30/12 08:39 AM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: saltydog]
Larryd Offline


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 15
Loc: Oregon
I just checked for July 31 for Whitney day use, nothing available. But then I hit date range, and it said W for July 31, meaning available at the permit office, no quantity stated.

I guessing the 2012 unused permits history will be updated shortly - ?

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#26342 - 07/30/12 08:51 AM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Larryd]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6944
Loc: Fresno, CA
The "W" only means you cannot reserve online. There is no guarantee that any are available.

However, experience has shown that there are always some available.

I'll update the unused numbers when Inyo sends the data. It depends on when staff gets "a round tuit". There is nothing automatic involved.

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#26414 - 08/01/12 11:23 AM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Steve C]
Larryd Offline


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 15
Loc: Oregon
OK. I'll keep a look out for the update. I'm guessing that the old link will work for the update.

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#26415 - 08/01/12 11:30 AM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Larryd]
Larryd Offline


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 15
Loc: Oregon
If day use permits are not available (I understand they usually are), can a person get an overnight permit and use it for a day hike? Kind of like a ham and cheese sandwich without the cheese. What are the permit charges?

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#26416 - 08/01/12 11:45 AM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Larryd]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6944
Loc: Fresno, CA
Walk-in permits are free.

Without the cheese: Officially it is not allowed, but I doubt rangers on the trail would mind. Overnight hikes become day hikes due to AMS and other emergencies all the time. Day hike permits are generally more plentiful than overnight.

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#26686 - 08/08/12 10:08 AM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6944
Loc: Fresno, CA
Larryd:   I moved your question about boots and tennis shoes to a new thread:   here.

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#26783 - 08/10/12 08:54 AM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Steve C]
Larryd Offline


Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 15
Loc: Oregon
Steve:

I remember seeing a comment I thought you posted that said that the lottery for day climbs was moved to 2:00 pm, like it used to be (?), but I can't find it on the thread. Is 2:00 pm the new time for day people?

While I think of it, can you tell me the approx size of the food lockers at the trail head?

Thanks

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#26785 - 08/10/12 10:16 AM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Larryd]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6944
Loc: Fresno, CA
> the lottery for day climbs was moved to 2:00 pm, like it used to be (?)

That is my understanding. I am waiting to hear back from Inyo regarding the July numbers, and I hope to get this all confirmed then. I am not sure there is a lottery at 2 PM, but I am more sure that the unused permits become available about then.

> can you tell me the approx size of the food lockers at the trail head?

They're actually closer to the parking spots than the trail head. And they're big. Big enough for several medium sized ice chests. But they are used by lots of people, so try to keep your stuff to a minimum -- grocery bag or some similar container. If you can remember, put a note on the container with your name and expected return date, so it can be removed if you forget to take it out.

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#26884 - 08/13/12 12:54 AM Re: unused whitney permits [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6944
Loc: Fresno, CA
I have updated the Wilderness Permit Options information to better explain the permit pickup process at the Visitor Center, since the process has changed this year. Please look at Step 6, which covers the Walk-in (No-Fee) Permit Options.

What I have tried to explain is this:

You can walk in and ask for an available permit before the no-shows are declared. There MAY be permits available due to possible cancellations, but more likely due to group size reductions -- people with reservations for a specific number, but some of their members dropped out of their hike.

My experience in May:   At 8 am, when I picked up an overnight reservation for one, I tried to add another friend who was going with me. There were NO slots available. But at 8:30, the friend walked in and got his permit, since some other group had dropped a slot after 8 am, but before 8:30.

The reserved permits for overnight hikers must be picked up by 10 am on the date of their hike. Groups who have not cancelled, and do not show up by the 10 am deadline become no-shows. Their permits are automatically cancelled by the Recreation.gov reservation software (email messages are sent). The software makes them available at 11 am to the clerks at the Visitor Center. So a significant number typically becomes available at that time.

For day hikers, the pick-up deadline is 1 pm the day BEFORE the hike. So between 1 and 2 pm, the no-shows are processed automatically, and then become available at 2 pm.

For people with reservations, their permits are held and not re-issued, if they have confirmed on-line, or called the Wilderness Permit office and asked that the permits be held.

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#26924 - 08/13/12 03:26 PM Re: Unused Whitney Permits - 2012 [Re: Whitney Zone]
dsilvera Offline


Registered: 08/13/12
Posts: 2
Loc: Santa Barbara, CA
Thanks for this excellent site and most helpful forum. I will be in Lone Pine the weekend of 8/25-26 for a bike race and am hoping to hike Whitney on the following Monday or Tuesday, but do not currently have a permit of course. Do I gather correctly that I should have a very good chance of securing a permit if I try on Monday and Tuesday if needed?

I assume the times given with regard to securing a permit are for the previous day, right? E.g. 11am on a Sunday to get a permit to hike on a Monday? Is this office open on Sunday and if so what hours?

Thanks much for any info.

On another note, one day of the bike race we'll be riding to Horseshoe Meadows and the other to Whitney Portal. Won't be spending a ton of time at altitude but will certainly be working hard, any thoughts as to how this might serve for acclimatization? I'm a very fit 29 y.o male who lives at sea level.

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