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#29550 - 01/03/13 10:56 PM 2013 Whitney Lottery Information
Whitney Zone Offline
admin

Registered: 09/21/09
Posts: 107
Loc: WhitneyZone
Mt Whitney Lottery 2014 information

Update March 24, 2013:  
Lottery results:
  total applications  12,153
successful 4,591
unsuccessful 7,562

Most results were received March 23.

March 25: There is an update with more info posted here.


Update March 12, 2013:  
Inyo has posted their last update before the lottery closes (likely 9 pm Pacific time March 15)
9,707 applications so far.
They plan to email results on March 23. Winners must confirm (and pay for) their reservations during April.
Most requested entries:
    Overnight entry date (as any choice): Fri, Aug 9.
    Overnight first choice entry date: Fri, July 19: 131 applications, 824 hikers.
    Day hike entry date (as any choice): Sat, Aug 17.
    Day hike first choice entry date: Sat, Aug 3: 128 applications, 668 hikers.

Lottery application links:   Sign in first.
    DAY USE of Mt. Whitney Zone     Mt. Whitney Trail Overnight Permit    



Edit Feb 11, 2013:  
Inyo National Forest has posted a status report showing 3633 lottery applications so far. ( link )   (Today the count is 4,532.)

The status report also shows dates and numbers of applications to start on that date.
Biggest numbers, which include alternate choices:
  Overnight hike:  Fri, Aug 09 - 267 applications, 1499 hikers
  Day Hike:          Sat, Aug 17 - 227 applications, 1479 hikers

Jan 3, 2013:  Information for the 2013 Mt Whitney Lottery is now available on the Inyo National Forest website:
    2013 Mt Whitney Lottery

From that website:
Lottery applications accepted online- February 1st to March 15th.
April 1st any remaining space will open for online reservations.
...If you win a trip, you must accept or decline by April 30, or the reservation will be canceled.


The lottery will be run electronically sometime between March 16 and March 22.  There is no advantage given to entries made earlier or later in the February 1 - March 15 entry period.

The most important differences in this year's lottery over 2012:

1.  If you win a trip, you must log on between April 1 and the April 30 to accept the trip, or it will be canceled.  When you accept a trip you will then be charged the usual $15 per hiker fee.

2.  You can make multiple entries, once you win a single trip, all the others will show "Unsuccessful".  Unlike last year, you will NOT be charged the $15 per hiker fee UNTIL you accept the winning trip.  If you decline the trip, or fail to accept it, you WILL NOT be charged the $15 per hiker fee. Only the trip you DO CONFIRM will be charged $15 per hiker. You will NOT be charged for the "Unsuccessful" trips, except for the initial $6 application fee charged when you enter the lottery.

3.  Like last year, each lottery application will cost $6 (non-refundable), and you can enter up to 15 start dates. (Sorry, no range-of-dates available, but it is in the works.)  Therefore, if you have enough time and enough $6 entry fees, you can blanket the lottery with many applications. But understand, only one can be successful.

4.  The slots from declined trips will be made available on-line, beginning April 1.  Slots declined after April 1 will become available at a random time within 24 hours of the time declined.  Slots from any non-accepted trips will be made available on May 1. Note that the system runs on Eastern Time, so actual times permits come available should be 9 PM the night before in California.

As a result of the changes, there may be a huge increase in applications this year, and a much lower success rate.  Some river rafting lotteries handled by Recreation.gov reportedly have a 5% success rate.

Inyo National Forest links:
-- Brochure: Hiking the Mt. Whitney Trail
-- Permit Pickup Instructions - Mt Whitney   Includes info on both reserved and walk-in permits

Recreation.gov Lottery/Reservation links
-- Recreation.gov:  under Where? enter Mt Whitney (then click the match)
                             under Interested in, select Permits & Wilderness

WhitneyZone Links:
-- Unused Whitney Permits for 2012   2011   2010
-- 2012 Whitney Lottery information
-- Mt Whitney Permit Reservations 2012


...watch this topic for updates and ask questions if something is not clear.


Edited by Steve C (01/22/14 11:09 AM)
Edit Reason: 2014 link

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#29722 - 01/27/13 02:03 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: Whitney Zone]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
More info:

Only one of your applications can be successful. It will not necessarily be the first application you created, since the applications are processed in random order.

If one of the applications is awarded, all the others are automatically marked as unsuccessful. If you really want a single specific date to start your hike, you can make multiple entries (at $6 each), and you can designate the most desired date as your first choice on each entry. The more entries you make, the better chance you have that one of them will be processed earlier in the lottery, and the earlier ones will have a higher success rate.

If you sign up as a different user with a different email address, or have others in your group sign on and enter the lottery, you MAY win several trips, and more than one could be for the same date if that is how you entered. Each entry will cost you $6, but if several win the same date, you can decline all but one, and only be charged the $15 per hiker fee for the one you accept.

Group size: If you ask for a larger group size (up to 15 is allowed), you might be less successful. This is due to dates filling up, and if your application is processed after some are nearly full, if your group is large, it would put the slots over the quota for the specific day. So smaller group sizes have a better chance of winning a reservation.

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#29757 - 02/01/13 12:09 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
The first post above has been changed to reflect slightly different dates: Acceptance period for those winning a slot is now between April 1 and April 30.

Non-accepted slots will become available May 1. Those declined should become available within 24 hours of the time they were declined.


Edit: Today (Feb 1) is the FIRST DAY you can enter the lottery.

  GOOD LUCK everyone!

Lottery application link on Recreation.gov: Mt. Whitney Lottery   (You will need to login first.)   login link
-- Important Dates --

Feb 1 - March 15 (9 PM PST): Create your lottery applications online

~March 23: You will receive an email with lottery results.

Apr 1 - 30: If you were successful in the lottery, you must login and
confirm your reservation.

Apr 1: Actually March 31 at 9 PM PST: Slots unreserved in the
lottery can be reserved online.

May 1: Any successful applications that were not accepted will
become available online.

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#29758 - 02/01/13 01:13 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: Steve C]
Bryan P Offline


Registered: 09/01/12
Posts: 34
Loc: Ventura County, CA
Just filled out my permit application and let me tell you all to just make 100% certain that what you want is in the boxes. More times than not after I filled in the information it would all go blank.

After I was done I went back and reviewed all my entries and found 3 blank and 1 had a permit for 1 month.

Just double check your entries for accuracy!
_________________________
Come check out my weblog www.bryansoutdooradventures.blogspot.com and share your gear reviews, adventures, and trip reports!

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#29761 - 02/03/13 08:53 AM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: Whitney Zone]
bettywouldgo Offline


Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 7
Loc: CA
Trying to understand better how the lottery works:

1. I see that you can enter 15 alternate choices on one entry. I am assuming this can include alternate group sizes as well as alternate dates - is that correct?

2. So, for example, if I enter my preferred date and group size (say, 7) as my first choice, can I then enter the same date with 6 as my group size as my 1st alternative, and same date with 5 as my group size for the 2nd alternative, to increase my chance of getting my preferred date, at the expense of not getting my preferred group size?

3. If my entry gets pulled, would the computer work through my alternatives and award me a permit for the highest-ranked alternative for which both date and # of spaces are available at that point?

4. I am assuming that whatever I put as the exit date does not affect whether or not I win the permit, and only entry date and # in party matters in that regard?
Does the exit date affect anything at all, in terms of the lottery, or is it just informational?

5. I am also assuming that I can make multiple entries that are identical in absolutely every respect, to increase my odds?

6. So the main advantage of having a different person in my group making separate entries (instead of me filing them all) would be to have a possibility that each of us would win, and then we might have two different entry dates and/or group sizes to consider, accepting one and declining the other?

Thanks for any insight on this, or any advice on what one can do to make it more likely to win a permit (other than applying for week days rather than weekend dates).


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#29762 - 02/03/13 12:18 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: bettywouldgo]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
> 1. I am assuming this can include alternate group sizes as well as alternate dates - is that correct?

Correct

> 2. if I enter my preferred date and group size (say, 7) as my first choice, can I then enter the same date with 6 as my group size as my 1st alternative, and same date with 5 as my group size for the 2nd alternative, to increase my chance of getting my preferred date, at the expense of not getting my preferred group size?

Just tried setting up an entry like that, and yes, it works fine. That is a good way to try to get a permit for a specific date.

> 3. If my entry gets pulled, would the computer work through my alternatives and award me a permit for the highest-ranked alternative for which both date and # of spaces are available at that point?

Yes, that is how it is supposed to work.

> 4. I am assuming that whatever I put as the exit date does not affect whether or not I win the permit, and only entry date and # in party matters in that regard?

Exactly. The exit date AND exit trail, for overnight permits, is strictly informational. Those can be changed at the Visitor Center in Lone Pine on the day you pick up your permit. (In my opinion, those items should not even be included on the lottery application, but rather on the acceptance or confirmation web page.)

> 5. I am also assuming that I can make multiple entries that are identical in absolutely every respect, to increase my odds?

Yes. Many if not most people will make multiple entries. The entries can be 100% identical.

> 6. So the main advantage of having a different person in my group making separate entries (instead of me filing them all) would be to have a possibility that each of us would win, and then we might have two different entry dates and/or group sizes to consider, accepting one and declining the other?

Yes. Another advantage is that the other person gets to spend time entering an application -- it is time consuming.

And beware, the entry page has bugs -- often blanking out fields you have already entered. Within each alternate choice, as you enter the fields, I'd advise making sure the (unnecessary) Trail/Zone field is set correctly before you click in the Entry Date or Group Size fields. And sometimes you have to set the Entry Date twice.

> Thanks for any insight on this, or any advice on what one can do to make it more likely to win a permit (other than applying for week days rather than weekend dates).


You're quite welcome. If you apply for any date in May or October (except Memorial Day weekend), you are sure to win. In fact it is not even worth applying for those dates, since there are always free walk-in permits available on those dates.

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#29766 - 02/04/13 06:50 AM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: Steve C]
bettywouldgo Offline


Registered: 12/27/12
Posts: 7
Loc: CA
Thanks, Steve and everyone for the info & advice. Greatly appreciated!

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#29839 - 02/11/13 11:02 AM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: Whitney Zone]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Inyo National Forest has posted a status report showing 3633 lottery applications so far. ( link )   (Today the count is 4,532.)

The status report also shows dates and numbers of applications to start on that date.
Biggest numbers:
  Overnight hike:  Fri, Aug 09 - 267 applications, 1499 hikers
  Day Hike:          Sat, Aug 17 - 227 applications, 1479 hikers

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#29852 - 02/12/13 12:21 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Maybe I'm just reading it wrong, but the numbers aren't making sense to me.


If you look at the most popular day for day hikes you see:
Sat, Aug 17 - 227 applications, 1479 hikers

If you look at the numbers for each individual day, you see:
7 {applications} Saturday, August 17, 2013.

Are the numbers for each individual day not updated or something?


Edited by 63ChevyII.com (02/12/13 12:21 PM)
_________________________
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#29853 - 02/12/13 01:03 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: 63ChevyII.com
Maybe I'm just reading it wrong, but the numbers aren't making sense to me.

If you look at the most popular day for day hikes you see:
Sat, Aug 17 - 227 applications, 1479 hikers

If you look at the numbers for each individual day, you see:
7 {applications} Saturday, August 17, 2013.

Are the numbers for each individual day not updated or something?


That confused me, too. The first table showing the top 10 requested dates includes ALL the alternate choices.

The detail table is based on first choice only.

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#29854 - 02/12/13 01:58 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Ok, so the 2nd table is only useful for figuring out most popular days, not necessarily how many requests there are for that day.
_________________________
HikingGeek.com

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#29899 - 02/15/13 01:39 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Bryan P Offline


Registered: 09/01/12
Posts: 34
Loc: Ventura County, CA
Is there a link to where this information was found? I think a link to the live count (if available) would be cool
_________________________
Come check out my weblog www.bryansoutdooradventures.blogspot.com and share your gear reviews, adventures, and trip reports!

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#29903 - 02/15/13 11:04 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: Bryan P]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Bryan P
Is there a link to where this information was found? I think a link to the live count (if available) would be cool


Here's the link: 2013 Mt Whitney Lottery Progress

But it is a manually created document created by Inyo staff. It would be great to have online access to such data, but that is way beyond the scope of Recreation.gov. They can't even get the application entry form working smoothly.

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#29925 - 02/19/13 09:04 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: Steve C]
JAGCHiker Offline


Registered: 11/13/11
Posts: 45
Loc: GC
"And beware, the entry page has bugs -- often blanking out fields you have already entered. Within each alternate choice, as you enter the fields, I'd advise making sure the (unnecessary) Trail/Zone field is set correctly before you click in the Entry Date or Group Size fields. And sometimes you have to set the Entry Date twice."

This was a very annoying suprise. First as I'ld put in the alternate date- sometimes it would do an automatic exit date; sometimes it wouldn't. Sometimes it would put in the same exit location- sometimes it left it blank.

The real annoyance was when I submitted my primary and five alternatives-data was missing on one alternate; and had to re-enter different data for the same alternate three times before the program accepted the entire application.

I'm glad to see this isn't just my computer.... Is this a glitch in the "improved" Lottery's program? I've haven't had this happen before on any other REC.GOV reservation.

THE UPSIDE IS THAT YOU GET A CHANCE TO DOUBLE CHECK YOUR ENTRY AND NOT ASSUME WHAT YOU TYPED IS WHAT THE PROGRAM ACCEPTED....

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#29929 - 02/20/13 08:38 AM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: JAGCHiker]
mrshherrera Offline


Registered: 06/20/11
Posts: 82
Loc: Hills of Granada, CA
Originally Posted By: JAGCHiker
"And beware, the entry page has bugs -- often blanking out fields you have already entered. Within each alternate choice, as you enter the fields, I'd advise making sure the (unnecessary) Trail/Zone field is set correctly before you click in the Entry Date or Group Size fields. And sometimes you have to set the Entry Date twice."


I found that this year the site was slightly less buggy if I paused after entering the (unncessary) 'Trail/Zone' and then again at the 'Permit Entry Date' and allowed the system to catch up with the entries. I did this for 10 alternate choices and by the 11th choice, it began to get a little buggy again. But for the most part, pausing at the steps seemed to help me avoid much of the bugs.
_________________________
The Mountains are calling and I must go - John Muir

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#29980 - 02/23/13 07:21 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: Whitney Zone]
BillJ Offline


Registered: 02/23/13
Posts: 1
Loc: SF Bay Area

I'm entering the Whitney lottery for the first time and was wondering how the drawing is conducted so I understand my odds better.

Are entries drawn randomly from all entries received until all slots are filled?

- OR -

Do you have an advantage if your first choice is a date with the least first choice entries?

Or, is it something different.

Thanks for your help.
Bill

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#29982 - 02/23/13 08:36 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: BillJ]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
> Are entries drawn randomly from all entries received until all slots are filled?

Yes. All entries are drawn randomly. If date of first choice is filled, it tries your second choice, down the line. If one of your choices is successful, any other entries you might have entered are then marked unsuccessful.

> Do you have an advantage if your first choice is a date with the least first choice entries?

No, no advantage like that.

You are sure to be successful if you pick a May or October date, but then the hike might not be successful.

The one way to get an advantage is to make multiple applications at $6 each. You can enter as many times as you want, it just requires more time and more money.

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#30159 - 03/07/13 12:16 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Steve,

Do you have any idea when the next update will be released? I was hoping to see some current numbers before submitting my application.

Thanks!
_________________________
HikingGeek.com

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#30160 - 03/07/13 02:41 PM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: 63ChevyII.com]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
The last update posted by Inyo staff is here, with data as of Feb 22. I'll ask if they will post one more update.

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#30184 - 03/08/13 10:42 AM Re: 2013 Whitney Lottery Information [Re: Steve C]
63ChevyII.com Offline


Registered: 08/07/12
Posts: 670
Loc: Colton, California
Thanks Steve.

I had seen the Feb 22 update. I was hoping they'd update it again before the application deadline.
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HikingGeek.com

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