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#45232 - 01/29/16 11:02 PM Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Edit March 23, 2016: Lottery results are in. Those who applied to the lottery can log into their Recreation.gov account to see whether they scored a permit.

Recreation.gov links:   DAY USE of Mt. Whitney Zone     Mt. Whitney Trail Overnight Permit

The lottery statistics are posted on page 2 of this thread. Here's the link.



Originally posted Jan 29, 2016:


This announcement showed up in the Fresno Bee, Jan 29, 2016.

Good luck in the lottery, everyone.

We will keep this thread updated with up-to-date news from this year's lottery.
Last year's thread is here:  Whitney Permit Lottery 2015.

Here is the info from the Recreation.gov website regarding the lottery:


Mt. WHITNEY LOTTERY INFORMATION:
The Mt Whitney Lottery will start on Feb. 1, 2016.

We will accept lottery applications for the 2016 season on-line from Feb 1, 2016 to Mar 15, 2016 (midnight Eastern Time). Lottery results will be available on March 24th.

Please submit only one application per group.

Trips sponsored by organizations or commercial groups must contact the Inyo National Forest wilderness permit office before applying for a Mt. Whitney permit.

Road Work: Road construction will affect trips March-November, 2016. Parking will be limited. Allow extra time to arrive at the trailhead. Hikers are strongly encouraged to carpool, arrange to be dropped off, or use a shuttle service. At times the Whitney Portal parking lot will be full, with no roadside parking allowed. Reserving a permit does not guarantee a parking space. Road information can be found here.

Fees: No Refunds
Transaction Fee: One application may list up to 15 trip choices and 3 alternate leaders for one $6.00 fee.
Reservation Fee: Lottery winners must pay a $15.00 per person reservation fee by April 30, 2016 to claim any awarded date. Unclaimed dates will be canceled.
Seasonal trail information, Lottery Tips & Statistics, can be found here.



WhitneyZone road construction info:   2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction



Here is the Inyo National Forest's "Lottery Timeline" info:
Feb 1, 2016 to March 15, 2016: Enter lottery online at www.recreation.gov (closes on March 15 at midnight Eastern time) Late applications will not be accepted. All the applications are processed together in one lottery after March 15.

March 24: Preview results by logging into your account and view your lottery application. Acceptance period begins April 1.

April 1: Mini- On-sale. Any remaining space opens for real time web reservations for the remainder of the season.

   Cancelations and declined space will be added back to the reservation calendar within 24 hours at a random time.
   On-sale opens at 7 am Pacific Time (No phone reservations)

April 1- April 30: Accept or decline if you won a date from the lottery. You must complete your trip information and pay the $15 per person reservation fee to claim your reservation.

April 30: Deadline closes at midnight Eastern Time. You must accept and pay the reservation fee, or the reservation will be canceled.

May 1: All unclaimed dates are canceled and released for web reservations (space is released within 24 hours at a random time).



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#45233 - 01/29/16 11:54 PM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Steve C]
wagga Online


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2212
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Being "Down Under", I'm into the next day ahead of US Pacific time. Do you think the site will take that into account?

Is this a profit opportunity? wink
_________________________
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#45249 - 02/04/16 01:52 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: wagga]
Whitney Fan Offline


Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 213
Loc: Las Vegas
I hope to return to Whitney's summit this year for the first time since my one and only climb back in 2004. I'm curious as to how an age 71 body will fare in contrast to when I was 59.

But it seems two big obstacles this year may be tougher than the climb itself. Getting a permit . . . and the question of road delays and getting parking space.

I had "won" in the lottery back in 2004. Since then I -- and others -- learned that winning the lottery wasn't crucial, with all the "no show" permits released. But now this year it will be important, what with all the talk that walk up permits may either be denied or reduced contingent on the parking situation at the portal.

All of this is a long winded prologue to a few question I have about the present lottery system. The answers are undoubtedly online, but to save lots of searching I'm sure it will be more expedient to just ask here. I'm also sure the answers will be helpful to others besides me.

First -- what is the basic methodology for the lottery (day use permits)? I'm guessing that all those who have selected a specific date are vying for the quota of permits for that date? I.e., if there are 60 permits allowed for one day, and there are 120 who have picked that date, then there will be 60 losers. Is this correct? (If not, please advise.)

If this is correct, and one can choose up to 15 dates, then isn't it almost guaranteed that you'll "win" if you are flexible about your trip timing? I.e., you may lose 2, 3, or 4 times with your first date options, but the match means -- with 15 separate dates/lottery draws -- that you'll probably get at least ONE of your choices. Am I understanding all this? Or am I all wet (hopefully with IPA's, LOL)?

If that last paragraph is correct, then I arguably have displayed poor technique by entering the lottery specifying only one date. (I always was an idealist!) If it doesn't work out I suppose I will then be in a "game" of still possibly getting what I want through the published process about the lottery as far as what happens after the initial winners are selected.

What a hassle for this year. I can see -- if I don't win my date -- that it will be a "down to the wire" monitoring game up to August (when I plan my hike) as far as deciding if I should even drive to Lone Pine, and then, if I go, if I can actually make the hike, and on and on and on . . . even if I get some firm news that I'm good for my hiking date then there's still a hassle to visit the portal before the hike for doing a preliminary back and forth hike to Lone Pine Lake, hanging around to acclimatize, etc. (Because of the parking situation).

Enough for this post -- Steve or/and others, I (and others) will appreciate clarification as indicated above regarding the process. Thanks!

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#45250 - 02/04/16 08:46 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Whitney Fan]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
You have a much better chance of getting a slot if you enter a lot of dates on your application. Here's how it works:

In a random process, your application is pulled up to be processed. If yours is one of the earliest pulled up in the process, you have a very likely chance of getting your first choice day. If yours is processed later in the run, after most (or all) dates are filled to the quota, you are out of luck.

When your application is processed, if you have specified only one date, if that day is full, you are out of luck. If you have specified other dates, the process checks each one, in the order you entered them down to the last one, checking for an open date. If there is an opening on one of the days, you get that slot.

Here are Lottery results from 2013 go give you an idea of your odds:

year 2013 2015
total applications 12,153 11,662
successful 4,591 5,015
unsuccessful 7,562 6,647

When specifying dates, understand that weekend slots fill up first, so if you enter lots of Mondays through Thursdays, you have a better chance.

Last year, about half the lottery entrants actually received a slot from ALL their choices.

With your lottery entry, I am pretty sure you can go back and revise it, before March 15, and change or add more dates to it at no extra cost.

As for parking, Whitney Portal is the only area affected. If you want to acclimate, you can go up to Horseshoe Meadows or Onion Valley for a day or two before hiking.

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#45251 - 02/04/16 10:58 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Steve C]
John Sims Offline


Registered: 04/20/12
Posts: 524
Loc: Sunnyvale, California
One other variable is "number of hikers" on the date specified. I guess that the entries with large numbers have diminishing likelihood as the number of hikers increases. An entry with only one entry will have an easier time finding an opening. Probably not a huge influencer, but will improve your chances.

Also, I do not think Steve's numbers reflect those successful applicants who apply after the Lottery. Not taken and unclaimed entries are made available. April 1st, and April 30th, so more opportunities are available.

Finally, if you have the flexibility you could consider Sept. Fewer applicants for Sept., and higher chance that the construction at the Portal is complete. The section closest to Lone Pine can be avoided by using Lubkin Canyon and Horseshoe Meadow roads.

Good luck!


Edited by John Sims (02/04/16 11:01 AM)
Edit Reason: grammer edit

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#45254 - 02/04/16 03:52 PM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: John Sims]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Turn your volume WAY Down before playing this. laugh

Someone posted this on FB as an indication of their mood for getting a permit to hike the JMT, but it might apply to the Whitney Lottery as well.

Current Mood

Current mood:

Posted by 103.5 KTU on Wednesday, September 23, 2015


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#45256 - 02/04/16 07:00 PM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Steve C]
Whitney Fan Offline


Registered: 12/02/09
Posts: 213
Loc: Las Vegas
Thanks, Steve, John . . .

Your replies indicate that my understanding of the process is correct -- there IS a quota limit for any specific day. And, like a lottery should work, whichever entries for any of those specific days come up first "win".

Also, you've confirmed that those with multiple dates selected have a better chance to get at least ONE approved date. For me though (Mr. Perfectionist, with an optimal choice made for his hike!) I'm not that interested in other dates beyond the one I selected. (Which, incidentally, IS a week day . . . a Thursday.)

I was already aware that the parking problem will be only at the portal. (But then again, my understanding is that you can't park on the shoulder of the road away from the portal if it's in a construction zone. Right? So even if you DID want to hoof it for extra distance and elevation gain by parking away from the portal you probably don't have that option anyway.)

I was also aware that hanging around at higher elevation could be done at Horseshoe Meadow as well as the portal. More concerning to me is that I'd like to do a small hike at elevation two days before the main hike. To and back from Lone Pine Lake is ideal for that (did that in 2004). But I suppose there is a similar hike that could be done from Horseshoe Meadow? (No need to comment on that . . . let's let this whole ugly process play out this year to see what will or won't be mini-problems needing solution.)

I'll just wait until the lottery results are made known on March 24, and if I'm not successful bone up on the options (as John mentions) to see if that works out. If I still don't have my approved date by then I'll have to monitor what exactly is happening leading up to August to get a better idea of the feasibility of showing up for a "walk up" permit.

We'll all hopefully learn more about how things will tumble out as time goes on and postings are made to this thread when new things are known. (For example . . . might one or two shuttle services start up? And, if so, might that influence more granting of walk up permits?)

(I thought "logistics" were only a problem for the Grand Canyon rim to rim trek, right Steve?! Hah!)

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#45259 - 02/05/16 08:12 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Steve C]
Snacking Bear Offline


Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 448
Loc: Saugus, CA
God I love this.

One of may favorites. Hopefully I will have an easier time of nabbing a permit.
_________________________
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

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#45261 - 02/05/16 10:44 PM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Snacking Bear]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Feb 4 progress report:

        3,505 applications submitted

Whitney Trail Overnight Whitney Zone DAY USE
Quota: 60 people per day 100 people per day

Appli- Appli-
Date cations Hikers Date cations Hikers
----------- ----- ------ | ----------- ----- ------
Fri, Aug 05 81 406 | Sun, Aug 07 32 327
Sat, Jul 02 87 398 | Sat, Jul 23 46 263
Sat, Aug 06 59 355 | Sat, Aug 06 45 255

Sat, Jul 23 48 290 | Sat, Aug 20 38 221
Fri, Jul 15 47 266 | Sat, Aug 13 38 181
Sat, Aug 13 47 255 | Sat, Jul 16 33 162

Fri, Jul 29 46 254 | Sat, Aug 27 26 153
Sat, Jul 09 45 229 | Sat, Jul 30 31 147
Fri, Aug 12 42 227 | Sat, Sep 03 27 135
Sat, Jul 16 45 215 | Sat, Jun 25 21 114


The full report is here:  Lottery Progress Report

The link can be found on the Permit Reservations information page.

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#45285 - 02/12/16 12:13 PM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Feb 10 progress report:

        4,918 applications submitted

Whitney Trail Overnight Whitney Zone DAY USE

Appli- Appli-
Date cations Hikers Date cations Hikers
----------- ----- ------ | ----------- ----- ------
Sat, Jul 02 107 551 | Sat, Aug 06 65 359
Fri, Aug 05 104 509 | Sun, Aug 07 36 350
Sat, Aug 06 84 465 | Sat, Jul 23 57 311

Sat, Jul 23 66 359 | Sat, Aug 20 55 298
Fri, Jul 15 65 349 | Sat, Jul 30 51 251
Sat, Aug 13 62 325 | Sat, Aug 13 49 245

Fri, Jul 29 54 311 | Sat, Jul 16 46 224
Sat, Aug 20 52 311 | Sun, Aug 14 24 212
Fri, Aug 12 56 298 | Sat, Aug 27 34 194
Sat, Sep 03 55 294 | Sun, Jul 31 27 170


Lottery Progress Report

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#45316 - 02/19/16 09:25 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
From the Mount Whitney Lottery info page:

Feb 19 progress report:

6,473 applications submitted
31,091 hikers

Whitney Trail Overnight Whitney Zone DAY USE

Appli- Appli-
Date cations Hikers Date cations Hikers
----------- ----- ------ | ----------- ----- ------
Sat, Aug 06 117 660 | Sat, Aug 06 92 506
Fri, Aug 05 126 647 | Sat, Aug 20 80 416
Sat, Jul 02 127 619 | Sun, Aug 07 42 390

Fri, Aug 12 88 525 | Sat, Jul 30 73 369
Sat, Jul 23 85 458 | Sat, Jul 23 67 362
Fri, Jul 15 83 438 | Sat, Aug 13 60 322

Sat, Aug 13 75 407 | Sat, Jul 16 64 325
Fri, Jul 29 68 399 | Sun, Aug 14 32 274
Sat, Jul 16 81 395 | Sat, Aug 27 43 249
Fri, Jul 01 80 383 | Sat, Sep 03 43 238


Lottery Progress Report

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#45356 - 02/25/16 12:53 PM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
From the Mount Whitney Lottery info page:

Feb 25 progress report:

7,565 applications submitted
36,041 hikers

Whitney Trail Overnight Whitney Zone DAY USE

Appli- Appli-
Date cations Hikers Date cations Hikers
----------- ----- ------ | ----------- ----- ------
Sat, Aug 06 133 758 | Sat, Aug 06 105 574
Sat, Jul 02 144 701 | Sat, Aug 20 90 472
Fri, Aug 05 135 694 | Sun, Aug 07 47 410

Fri, Aug 12 101 596 | Sat, Jul 23 76 406
Sat, Jul 23 97 508 | Sat, Jul 30 80 401
Fri, Jul 15 94 486 | Sat, Jul 16 79 390

Sat, Aug 13 87 463 | Sat, Aug 13 67 361
Fri, Jul 01 94 447 | Sat, Sep 03 53 297
Sat, Jul 16 92 447 | Sat, Aug 27 51 295
Sat, Sep 03 88 433 | Sun, Aug 14 32 274


Lottery Progress Report

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#45386 - 03/04/16 09:40 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
From the Mount Whitney Lottery info page:

March 3 progress report:

8,977 applications submitted
42,725 hikers

Whitney Trail Overnight Whitney Zone DAY USE

Appli- Appli-
Date cations Hikers Date cations Hikers
----------- ----- ------ | ----------- ----- ------
Fri, Aug 05 168 872 | Sat, Aug 06 122 667
Sat, Jul 02 164 780 | Sat, Aug 20 97 512
Fri, Aug 12 126 780 | Sat, Jul 30 92 477

Fri, Jul 15 112 574 | Sun, Aug 07 55 473
Sat, Jul 23 110 568 | Sat, Jul 23 90 469
Sat, Aug 13 104 545 | Sat, Aug 13 79 462

Sat, Jul 16 111 543 | Sat, Jul 16 91 435
Sat, Jul 30 106 535 | Sat, Aug 27 63 374
Fri, Aug 19 82 517 | Sat, Sep 03 64 347
Fri, Jul 29 91 508 | Mon, Aug 01 52 312


Lottery Progress Report

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#45414 - 03/11/16 10:41 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Steve C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
From the Mount Whitney Lottery info page:

March 10 progress report:

10,504 applications submitted
50,422 hikers

Whitney Trail Overnight Whitney Zone DAY USE

Appli- Appli-
Date cations Hikers Date cations Hikers
----------- ----- ------ | ----------- ----- ------
Fri, Aug 05 168 872 | Sat, Aug 06 122 667
Sat, Jul 02 164 780 | Sat, Aug 20 97 512
Fri, Aug 12 126 780 | Sat, Jul 30 92 477

Fri, Jul 15 112 574 | Sun, Aug 07 55 473
Sat, Jul 23 110 568 | Sat, Jul 23 90 469
Sat, Aug 13 104 545 | Sat, Aug 13 79 462

Sat, Jul 16 111 543 | Sat, Jul 16 91 435
Sat, Jul 30 106 535 | Sat, Aug 27 63 374
Fri, Aug 19 82 517 | Sat, Sep 03 64 347
Fri, Jul 29 91 508 | Mon, Aug 01 52 312

Lottery Progress Report

Edit:
Note that the last day to enter the lottery is Tuesday, March 15. Entries must be completed and payment made BEFORE the cutoff time of midnight, Eastern Daylight Time, or 9 PM California Time (PDT).


Edited by Steve C (03/14/16 12:18 AM)

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#45439 - 03/14/16 11:27 PM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Steve C]
spitzer Offline


Registered: 03/14/16
Posts: 5
Loc: USA
Is it possible to correct an error on the lottery application? Or if not, can you cancel an application and enter another?

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#45440 - 03/14/16 11:41 PM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: spitzer]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
I am pretty sure you can sign back into recreation.gov and alter your lottery application. Please try it.

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#45442 - 03/15/16 12:05 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Steve C]
spitzer Offline


Registered: 03/14/16
Posts: 5
Loc: USA
I looked for a button or a link to do that but didn't see one.

The application web form is a piece of junk. It's so slow that the fields will reset themselves after being set. That's how I ended up with a mistake. I set a field to one thing and the form set it back to something else without my noticing it.

The error is on the exit trailhead so maybe it doesn't matter?

(edit)

I found the answer myself here:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5150055

"Once an application is submitted (cart checked out) you cannot make changes to any of the information on the application."

"Corrections to itinerary or exit location can be done when the permit is issued."


Edited by spitzer (03/15/16 12:18 AM)

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#45468 - 03/17/16 09:16 AM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: spitzer]
Marty Offline


Registered: 01/25/10
Posts: 79
Loc: CT
The application web form is poorly designed. After data is entered it then disappears, erratically. I have made numerous comments to rec.gov, which they obviously ignore.

Another problem: they retain the entire $15 per person fee if you cancel. Therefore, there is no incentive to cancel. This prevents timely listing of dates that would be available on line (as opposed to just being available to those waiting for no-shows on site the day before.)

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#45471 - 03/17/16 12:22 PM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Marty]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7233
Loc: Fresno, CA
Marty, rec.gov and Inyo N.F. know about the website problems. They have had them ever since the online system started. I don't know why they can't fix the problem. At $6 per application x 10k applications (and that is just for Whitney lottery applications), you would think they could get that problem fixed!

I have suggested they offer partial refunds for cancelling permits, but they have always said that is a bigger problem than it seems. (I know, businesses do refunds all the time, so why not recreation.gov???)

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#45518 - 03/23/16 09:34 PM Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 [Re: Steve C]
eje67 Offline


Registered: 07/09/14
Posts: 68
Loc: Los Angeles County
Lottery results are in...unsuccessful for me. I had requested a Tuesday, August 30th day hike (with 8 backup dates, all week days in late or early August), 1 person. I have a Whitney Portal campground reservation for the nights of August 29th and 30th, so the backup plan is to try for an August 30th walk-in permit, as I will already have parking.

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