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#49586 - 04/13/17 07:03 PM Lottery: Continuing Exasperation
Marty Offline

Registered: 01/25/10
Posts: 72
Loc: CT
If a lottery winner decides not to go there is no incentive to cancel the reservation because there are no refunds of any kind for any reason. Even returning say, half of the fee ($15 per person) might encourage cancellations thereby opening spots for others. So what happens is locals or people who "just happen" to be near the ranger station the morning of the 'no show' (or the day before for day hikers) might possibly get a permit. But how do I justify travelling across the country in the hope that MAYBE there will be an opening. Of course, one can play 'wack a mole' for months on their website, thinking that maybe, just at the moment that I type in all the required info, a 'random' opening may occur. This 'no refund' aspect of the lottery is poorly thought out and their website, by the way, while slightly improved, is a continuing embarrassment. (The option of using a range of dates is still not available for the lottery, although it is an option for remaining dates after the lottery; however, any such available dates are few and far between.)

#49587 - 04/14/17 08:25 AM Re: Lottery: Continuing Exasperation [Re: Marty]
Snacking Bear Offline

Registered: 08/09/11
Posts: 417
Loc: Saugus, CA
I agree, a refund would be very helpful. It would be especially helpful in cases of people cancelling their plans early.

I do not foresee them giving refunds. This is because our NF's are pretty cash-starved as it is. For lotteries, the cost helps mitigate the cost of work-hours required to organize, collect, and select applications.

In terms of a solution, Steve can back me (or correct me) up here, but I believe Thursdays in September are some of the most reliable days for getting walk-in permits. Is there a guarantee? No, but if a walk-in permit falls through maybe considering doing a non-permitted day-hike of Mt. Langley. Langley is very close to the height and challenge of climbing Whitney. It is also less crowded, and the scenery is much prettier. Though a cross-nation trip would be a hefty cost, I think a summit of Langley would be fine consolation, worthy of a cross-nation trip and boasting about back home.
@jjoshuagregory (Twitter & Instagram) for landscape and mountain photo spamming...

#49588 - 04/14/17 11:03 AM Re: Lottery: Continuing Exasperation [Re: Snacking Bear]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 6968
Loc: Fresno, CA
Marty, I really agree. I have suggested to Inyo that they offer partial refunds -- one could even do a graduated refund (the earlier, the higher the amount). But I was told that it was a really big deal and a big problem to give back money. (I sure don't understand, since every commercial sales web site gives refunds.)

Countering what SB wrote, if they would give a partial refund, they could then re-sell the slot, thereby making MORE money. Right now, those unused no-show slots are given away free to those who walk-in.

Adding to SB's recommendation: Check the numbers in the Unused Permits pages, you can see that for practically any mid-week date during the summer, you can always get a free walk-in permit. Book a flight! You are sure to spend more than a day or two, given the expense and time required to travel here. So if you plan on showing up and trying for an unused permit, you will probably get one. But if you don't, you can head up several places and day hike, then come back the next day. I've only seen a few reports where people didn't get an extra permit when they tried for one.

There is so much to do and see here, that you should plan a trip. You will not be disappointed.

#49589 - 04/14/17 12:36 PM Re: Lottery: Continuing Exasperation [Re: Steve C]
bruce Offline

Registered: 09/27/13
Posts: 61
Loc: Novato, CA
I agree, if money were such an issue then they should charge for walk-in permits. $30 is a small amount especially for someone traveling from a fair distance hoping to score a permit. That would more than recoup the refunds given. The existing system favors the locals who have nothing to lose by going in and probably never bother to get a permit in the first place because they know they can go up for free. If they had to pay the $30 walk-in fee then there would be less competition for unused permits, giving those who play the drive-up lottery a better chance to score.

#49600 - 04/18/17 08:36 AM Re: Lottery: Continuing Exasperation [Re: Steve C]
jmester82 Offline

Registered: 08/11/14
Posts: 20
Loc: CA, USA
Remember, this is the government we're talking about. They're good at taking money, but never good at giving it back.

#49634 - 04/22/17 06:18 PM Re: Lottery: Continuing Exasperation [Re: Steve C]
Marty Offline

Registered: 01/25/10
Posts: 72
Loc: CT
True Steve...there is plenty to do there even without Whitney. I could fly into Las Vegas and hike Mount Charleston, then maybe Telescope Peak before heading over to Horseshoe Meadow (where there is plenty to do.) Sorry to sound so peeved!