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#54924 - 04/11/19 02:26 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Steve C]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 144
Loc: The OC
Originally Posted By: Steve C

That is only for people getting a permit from Inyo N.F. to start their hike on an Inyo trailhead, but their trip extends across the crest into SeKi.


That's sort of like saying, "other than that, how was the play Mrs Lincoln?" LOL

How many people actually start on the SEKI west side or within Yosemite vs the zillions of people heading in from Inyo? Or maybe I'm just being SoCal centric vs considering all the Bay area/Central valley enthusiasts. But even with that said, the people I know from the Bay area also tend to drive around and start from Inyo/Toiyabe side.

Anyway you slice it, this is a major deal. If you have a 3-day weekend, but could actually get started the evening you drove in, that would make it in effect a 3.5 day weekend. Just thinking of the possibilities here.

For example, Shepherd (or the other bad boys) requires a 5am start if you want to do it in one day. Screwing around with a face-face permit - even first in line - means leaving too late (ie 9am - ask me how I know). Under the new system, you could hike up to around 8k (ie where it's cool enough to sleep) by 8-9pm. The next morning you could then skedaddle clear over the pass before 9am, in essence gaining an entire day.

Stoked if true.

PS Yes, the non-quota/large volume THs south of WZ are the new JMT/Whitney start points for those in-the-know.


Edited by Hobbes (04/11/19 02:38 PM)

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#54925 - 04/11/19 04:18 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Paul]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Paul, a little-known rule that I learned recently: People cannot use the Trail Pass permit to jump on the PCT/JMT northbound. There was even a story where a desk ranger didn't understand the rule, and wouldn't allow a Trail Pass permit just to go in and come back out at Horseshoe Meadows.

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#54926 - 04/11/19 07:01 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Steve C]
Paul Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 204
Loc: Santa Clarita, CA
That's interesting because when I apply for it I always talk to the ranger at the visitor center about how easily it is to to head north and they agree.

Now, having said that, when I get my permit, it is for heading down to the Kern and loop back around and out Cottonwood or New Army.

I list Cottonwood and New Army as my exit trailhead.

Do I not understand?

paul

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#54927 - 04/11/19 08:29 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Paul]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
A hike in and out of Horseshoe Meadows, regardless of which route you exit is ok.

They just don't want people using the no-quota Trail Pass entry to then hop onto the PCT/JMT and head north, exiting at Mt. Whitney or farther north. Because doing that would just add more people to the already overloaded JMT.

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#54928 - 04/11/19 11:46 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Hobbes]
Jonathan C Offline


Registered: 03/03/19
Posts: 32
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Originally Posted By: Hobbes
For example, Shepherd (or the other bad boys) requires a 5am start if you want to do it in one day. Screwing around with a face-face permit - even first in line - means leaving too late (ie 9am - ask me how I know). Under the new system, you could hike up to around 8k (ie where it's cool enough to sleep) by 8-9pm. The next morning you could then skedaddle clear over the pass before 9am, in essence gaining an entire day.

Are you suggesting that under the new system they would allow box pickup after 5pm for permits for that day? That doesn't seem right.

Or are you just saying you could drive up that day (arriving before close) because you would have the guarantee of the same-day walk-in, rather than the gamble that it's always been until now?

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#54929 - 04/12/19 08:51 AM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Jonathan C]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Jonathan, I think that is what Hobbes is looking at. And why not? If the permit is for a Friday start date, there is no rule saying you cannot start your hike at 9 PM. That is what I did on the Shepherd Pass trail one year. (Hobbes, getting over Shepherd by 9 AM would have required me hiking ALL night!! grin  )

Inyo has mostly been talking about Night Box pickup enabling people to drive in after closing, get their permit and start really early next morning. But actually, the Night Box pickup for an evening start should work, too. I think you would need to stress to the people working the night box that you plan to pick it up that evening, or they might remove it, thinking you are a no-show.

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#54930 - 04/12/19 09:04 AM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Jonathan C]
Hobbes Offline


Registered: 03/28/14
Posts: 144
Loc: The OC
Originally Posted By: Jonathan C
Are you just saying you could drive up that day (arriving before close) because you would have the guarantee of the same-day walk-in, rather than the gamble that it's always been until now?


Heck, I don't know; I'm just going off what I think Steve said.

If you were to drive up early enough before the permit office closes, that sort of defeats the idea of getting in a full 3-day weekend. That is, I'm 4 hrs away, which means I'd have to leave around noon. Now I'm at a 3.5-4 day weekend.

What I'm imagining is leaving work a bit early (4 pm), arriving by 8pm, grabbing a permit out of the night box and hiking up a few miles. The next day, you'd get a full day in (especially with a 5am start), which is killer for any of the big gain passes. The new system - as I understand it - eliminates wasting a lot of time waiting for the permit office to open.

---

JMT/PCT/WZ Steve, are you saying that THs now have exit limitations? Example: I enter Kearsarge, but cannot exit Lyle canyon? Or, I enter Shepherd, but cannot exit Whitney? What about the S to N lake loop? This doesn't sound right - interested to find out how they're going to enforce.

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#54931 - 04/12/19 09:40 AM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Hobbes]
Jonathan C Offline


Registered: 03/03/19
Posts: 32
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
I dunno, maybe they're less strict than I'm giving them credit for, I'm just assuming they wouldn't ever put a permit in the box if it expires that day. That seems like it would invite even well-intentioned visitors from ending up in a situation where they enter the next day.

Would be interesting to hear if they did allow this, because I would probably make use of it as well!

Even if not, it still means you could get in a half day at work, leave at lunch to get there before close, and be guaranteed a permit. Whereas before it wouldn't be worth driving up so late and risking no permit.

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#54932 - 04/12/19 02:10 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Hobbes]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Hobbes
JMT/PCT/WZ Steve, are you saying that THs now have exit limitations? Example: I enter Kearsarge, but cannot exit Lyle canyon? Or, I enter Shepherd, but cannot exit Whitney? What about the S to N lake loop? This doesn't sound right - interested to find out how they're going to enforce.

No, not at all. Only the Trail Crest exit permit -- where you start on any other Inyo N.F. trail head, and then exit via Trail Crest and the MMWT (Main Mt Whitney Trail). There is a quota of 25 per day on that one. It's always been in high demand since so many people want to start at Onion Valley or other places. 10 of the 25 are held back for walk-in requests, so people picking up their entry permits early enough are able to get one of those walk-ins. That one, I think, is probably the most difficult to offer for on-line pickup of any "no-shows". Unless the Wilderness Permit office would let people call in and ask for the Will Call, and at that time, see if there is an Exit slot available.

The exception to the Trail Crest Exit Permit requirement is that if you start from any other trail head, as in Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, or other national forests, the exit permit is not required.

Oh... I should point out: THIS year, it is ONLY the Mt Whitney permits that the cancellations and no-shows will be available online. If it works well, they hope to extend it to all the other trails.

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#54935 - 04/12/19 05:42 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: SierraNevada]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
Steve, thanks for calling Inyo to sort this out. The story got really scrambled on Facebook creating a lot of confusion and speculation. The brief description on the Inyo website raises more questions than it answers.

It will be interesting to see how this all works out in practice. It has the potential to reduce lines and staffing at the permit window, but there will now be a reservation fee for pretty much any Whitney permit. Oh well.

I've had bad luck with the night drop box at Mammoth. I'm 1 for 3 on that, and it really screwed up two trips. Count me skeptical on that night box. I'll wait to see how it works for others before I try that again.

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#54937 - 04/12/19 10:05 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: SierraNevada]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: SierraNevada
I've had bad luck with the night drop box at Mammoth. I'm 1 for 3 on that, and it really screwed up two trips. Count me skeptical on that night box. I'll wait to see how it works for others before I try that again.

What was the problem... someone else take your permit, or rangers putting wrong stuff on your permit, or ??

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#54938 - 04/12/19 11:41 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Steve C]
bobpickering Offline


Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 432
Loc: Reno, Nevada
Itís been many years, but Iíve had night box problems at least twice. I drove down from Reno after work, and the night box was empty. I just went in anyway. One time I got checked. I told the ranger what happened, and she let me go.

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#54939 - 04/13/19 09:10 AM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: bobpickering]
futbol Offline


Registered: 06/27/17
Posts: 75
Loc: San Diego, CA
Maybe they should just ditch the night boxes altogether.

Other trail systems allow you to exchange digitally signed .PDF permit forms, which you can print out and bring with you.

Perhaps Inyo NF could have instructions on how to create your own wag bag, or provide a vending machine at the kiosk that dispenses them.

I honestly think it is better to have a face-to-face encounter between hikers and USFS staff at the visitor center. People are less likely to be bad visitors (e.g., shooting guns at Lone Pine Lake by a campfire) when they in person agree to follow the rules. Understand this costs more to staff. Maybe SEKI should cover some of this.

I plan to hike/climb the Mountaineers' Route again this year (also Mt Williamson and ...). Still uncertain how the overall daily quota will affect those actual walk-in permits this year.

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#54940 - 04/13/19 04:28 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Steve C]
SierraNevada Offline


Registered: 09/05/11
Posts: 1148
Loc: NorCal
Originally Posted By: Steve C

What was the problem... someone else take your permit, or rangers putting wrong stuff on your permit, or ??
Both of these incidents were at the Mammoth Visitor Center. One time it was in the box, great. Next time they swore they put it in the box, so maybe it was stolen. It killed my morning monkeying around at the office and then taking a bus down to the trailhead. If it was in the box, I could've drove to the trailhead and been miles down the trail in the coolest part of the day.

The third time I called on my drive over to confirm, and sure enough, it still wasn't in the box. I said screw it, I talked to so and so, got an online reservation, I'll take my chances. So I don't know what happened that time, but I didn't like worrying about it on the trip. Now I simply avoid the Mammoth Visitor Center for permits.

The bear lecture, food storage, fire safety, and other regulations should be an online course. If you pass the test, you can print your permit at home with a pdf-signed document. You can get an annual fire permit that way, and it works fine. The permit office should be optional for people wanting more information, or person-person interaction, or needing to rent a bear canister. Its really frustrating to stand in line while the morning is flying by, waiting for a reserved permit while a desk Ranger plans someone's trip for them with all the various options to consider. That's what they should be doing, not being a road block for experienced hikers wanting an early start on a tight schedule. Rant over.

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#55136 - 05/11/19 02:56 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: SierraNevada]
Freestone Offline


Registered: 05/10/19
Posts: 2
Loc: Santa Barbara
I installed the Recreation.gov app onto my iPhone and compared it to what I see online with the internet. For some reason the app version does not give any information on wilderness permits including Whitney. Am I missing something or is it not possible to use the app to make wilderness reservations?

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#56052 - 08/20/19 11:43 AM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Freestone]
Jammer Offline


Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 28
Loc: North Carolina
So, this new process for 2019 has been in force for a good while now. Any updates/insights on how it's been working? Do we know yet exactly when the window starts for releasing the unclaimed permits back into the system for possible reservation and how long the random window lasts?

I'm curious, because I am thinking about using this new process to try and secure a day use permit, but in my initial monitoring of the site, I'm not really seeing any permits pop up. Either, there haven't been many released or I'm just looking at the wrong time of the day. Or maybe it is both. smile

If anyone has successfully learned more about how this is working, especially the timing to watch for, I would really appreciate learning from your experience.

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#56056 - 08/20/19 04:56 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Jammer]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
The no-shows and group-size reductions show up the day before, sometimes two days before. As I write this, there is one Day Use available for tomorrow, but no overnights. You have to keep checking the site to catch one when they pop up.

Any slots farther out are way more scarce, and show up infrequently.

If they would start refunding some of the permit fees for early cancellations, there would probably be more available, but giving back money is apparently a really difficult thing to do.

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#56057 - 08/20/19 08:56 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Jammer]
Kascadia Offline


Registered: 07/23/18
Posts: 20
Loc: PNW - Cascade Foothills
I'm not sure I can help you with "timing", but I can say that we were able to obtain two Whitney permits on July 3 (we wanted to hike up to Trail Camp for acclimatization) and another 2 on July 5 (we summitted). Although you could make an argument that the late season snow caused a lot of cancelations, we were still able to get 2 permits 2 times on what has to be a very busy time for the system. We just monitored availability, in both cases we got them the day before. Good luck!

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#56064 - 08/21/19 01:16 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Kascadia]
Jammer Offline


Registered: 04/09/13
Posts: 28
Loc: North Carolina
Thanks for the additional input, gentlemen. I took a little time after posting my message yesterday and monitored more closely in the period after lunch Pacific Time. I did see something pop up for the next day finally. This coupled with Kascadia's experience lends credence to the notion that they are showing up if one only takes the time to monitor.

For those of us who live far away, but might be somewhere in the greater area for business, it gives some confidence that driving over from Vegas or LA for a few days in the middle of the week won't be a waste of time.

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#56067 - 08/21/19 02:29 PM Re: No Walk-Up Permits for 2019 [Re: Jammer]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7880
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: Jammer
For those of us who live far away, but might be somewhere in the greater area for business, it gives some confidence that driving over from Vegas or LA for a few days in the middle of the week won't be a waste of time.


Yes! And for that matter, you can monitor the site from those locations, and once you snag a permit, you can then drive to Lone Pine and make the hike.

It isn't well documented, but if you snag a next-day permit in the afternoon, and want to drive up and get an early start, you can call the Wilderness Permit number (760-873-2483) and ask for a night-box pickup. They put those permits in a box in the kiosk by the road in front of the Inter-agency Visitor Center where you normally pick up the permits. The only issue is that sometimes the Inyo N.F. phones are not working (happens more often than most places) and you can't get through. Also if you call the number and it disconnects, you have to try again and again--there is not hold/wait queue. Pretty frustrating.

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