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#54557 - 01/03/19 09:23 AM Permit Question - Enter Whitney Portal, Exit Elsewhere
Jammer Offline

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 24
Loc: North Carolina
This may have been answered 1,000 times, but I can't seem to find a definitive answer. Sorry if I'm rehashing old questions.

If one wishes to start a hike at the Portal, but exit elsewhere (Horseshoe Meadows, Onion Valley, Yosemite, Crescent Meadows, etc.) what permit is required? Is it the same lottery permit for any Mt. Whitney attempt or is there something else one needs to do?

I'm pretty well versed when starting elsewhere and hitting Whitney from the west (and the required Exit permit, if finishing at the Portal), but I'm thinking about starting at the Portal for a 2019 adventure and want to confirm the permit needed in this scenario.

#54558 - 01/03/19 10:03 AM Re: Permit Question - Enter Whitney Portal, Exit Elsewhere [Re: Jammer]
G4u2 Offline

Registered: 08/03/17
Posts: 20
Loc: San Diego, CA

Unfortunately, to my knowledge, any trail that starts at W. Portal will eventually enter the Whitney Zone, which then triggers the lottery/quota reservation system. However, if you start the hike elsewhere, for example, Cottonwood Lakes, you can select "exiting Mt. Whitney" option during the reservation process and, although still on a quota system, the reservation can be done right now (as far as 6 months in advance). Hope this helps.


#54559 - 01/03/19 12:28 PM Re: Permit Question - Enter Whitney Portal, Exit Elsewhere [Re: G4u2]
Steve C Offline

Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7646
Loc: Fresno, CA
G4u2 is right -- to start at Whitney Portal, you would need to enter the lottery for an overnight permit. Just remember, it's a crazy lot of elevation to climb your first day or two, to start at Whitney Portal at 8k, and get over Trail Crest at 13.5k.

Outside the lottery, there are often a few no-show slots that can be picked up the day before you start your hike. So if you don't get your lottery choice, you can still come in and try for a permit. Just have a plan B option, in case the first doesn't work.

One point though, when you mentioned the Trail Crest exit permit, you Don't need one if coming from the west side, as in anywhere in Sequoia or Kings Canyon National Park, or the national forest area in between those two. You do need the exit permit if you started from Horseshoe Meadows or Onion Valley, because those are Inyo National Forest trail heads.

#54560 - 01/03/19 01:51 PM Re: Permit Question - Enter Whitney Portal, Exit Elsewhere [Re: Steve C]
Jammer Offline

Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 24
Loc: North Carolina
Thanks for the confirmation. I was pretty sure that the lottery would be involved since I couldn't easily find information to the contrary, but great to know for sure.

I've actually hiked the main trail multiple times and also completed a three night trip from Horseshoe Meadows last summer that ended at the Portal. Thinking about doing the stretch between Whitney and either Onion Valley or via Bishop Pass this coming summer. If I miss out on the exit over Trail Crest, was wondering about my options to actually start at the Portal. Now I know! smile

Also, nice to know that the exit quota doesn't apply if you leave from Crescent Meadows or other places outside Inyo. Maybe I should just plan on doing the HST this time finally!

Thanks again!!