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Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
chrism202 #57533 06/30/20 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by chrism202
Found this thread extremely useful for trying to 'pick up' my permit so wanted to provide an update as of Jun 26 (e.g. post earthquake).

I spent a lot of time trying the 760-873-2483 number, probably about 3-4 hours in total over three days. I also tried the *-2400 number. Both had zero luck.

I then tried calling the "Lone Pine Area – Mt. Whitney Ranger District" number (per this link: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5144746) - the number is 760-876-6200 ... got through within an hour of trying.

The lady with whom I spoke to on the end of the line told me that as of yesterday, all Whitney permits are being cancelled, however she indicated that I should call back daily leading up to my permit date (July 4th) to check the latest status. She also added that in her personal opinion, based on the damage she has seen, it would be unlikely to open in that time frame (7 days away as of this post).

I'm lucky in that I live in the Bay so only a half day's drive away so can make my go / no go decision <24 hours before my hike. Will be calling back Mon-Thurs next week to get the latest & will update here.

2020 ... what a year!

Just wanted to provide an update to this. I have been calling the 760-873-2483 number about 10-15 times every 2-3 hours since Monday morning at 8am and eventually got through at 3pm on Tuesday.

The ranger on the phone issued me my permit for 4th July and told me that the Inyo County Facebook page was the best place to see the latest information (I don't have a Facebook account but you can view the posts without one).

She also told me that the trail apparently has a lot of snow still, but they haven't had any super recent reports to know the latest. I plan to bring microspikes either way.

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
chrism202 #57534 06/30/20 03:17 PM
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It's much easier to communicate via email at this time.
I followed below instructions that is included in reservation confirmation email, then received my permit in 15 minutes.

To request your permit by Email send the following information to: SM.FS.WildPmt_Inyo@usda.gov

Subject line: [Entry Date] Trail Name [Reservation Number]

In your message answer the following;

Have you viewed the Leave No Trace video?
How you will store your food?
What is your final group size?
Or call the visitor center nearest your entry trail, or the wilderness permit office:

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
laohe #57538 06/30/20 04:54 PM
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I finally succeeded in getting connected to Inyo office and got my permits printed out today.

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
55inthefastlane #57547 07/02/20 10:53 AM
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Got through by phone today finally. The ranger didn't issue my permit for July 15, but said I would receive an email in a few days, and the permit would be issued when I reply to it. Emailing the address listed above in the forums directly did not get a response, so it looks like we can just wait for the verification email and respond to get permits.

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
chrism202 #57548 07/02/20 12:43 PM
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I have a permit for July 6th, I Also live in the bay area and I'm concerned I wont be able to pickup my permit on the 4th or 5th because it seems no one is working at the eastern sierra visitor center? Ive tried all of those numbers. All I need is a ranger to put the permit I paid for in a box for me ahead of time. Why cant I get through to anybody? At this point I might just drive up to the mountain and go if they are going to be this incompetent.

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
RajDV1 #57549 07/02/20 01:04 PM
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After about an hour I too got my permit e-mailed to me. I guess because of Covid, it is too dangerous to simply place the permit in the box for overnight pickup. Weird, I guess wag bags are located at the trailhead now.

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
Summitseeker24 #57550 07/02/20 01:19 PM
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My permit is for the 7th. E-mailed yesterday but haven’t gotten anything yet. I’m going to assume I need to bring my own bear canister since the visitor center isn’t open.

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
Casey #57551 07/02/20 02:28 PM
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Yes that is correct. I have one for the 6th. the phone number ending in 6200 should give you some luck on getting your permit e-mailed to you just keep calling for an hour. I know it sucks frown

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
55inthefastlane #57554 07/02/20 03:19 PM
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Calling does take forever. I think they only have 3 phone lines managed by one Ranger. I was able to get through earlier this week after about 45 minutes of calling and pressing Zero. The Ranger (Tim) asked me a few questions and emailed my permit to me later that day for my Whitney hike on July 4th. However, I did receive another email today (July 2) from another Ranger with my permit again. So it looks like they are automatically emailing out the permits a few days before your date. It did also say that wag bags will be available at the trailhead.


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Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
chrism202 #57592 07/05/20 09:02 AM
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Just called Lone Pine Interagency center and got right through. Permit receive via email. Maybe Sunday morning is the light time for them?

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
HikerSean #57593 07/05/20 12:46 PM
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Me too! Got through on the second ring. Got my permit right away. Thanks for the post!

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
Glacierpaa #57595 07/05/20 02:48 PM
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Read the above post and decided to give a call to secure permits for cottonwood pass with exit of Mount Whitney. Eastern Agency staff answered after three attempts, confirmed my information and reservation and conducted a short brief. 5 minutes later, I had my permits. Sounds like they have a good system down, and the attendant on the phone was extremely helpful. She also went on to state that the road to horseshoe meadows and campground were open and operational.

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
Big Pine #57689 07/10/20 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Pine
Here's my experience:
...
June 26, 4:15 PM - Spoke with a ranger and tried to get my reserved permit for July 13 since I figured that July 3 would be a lost cause due to the earthquake. Was told to call back on or after June 29 since they couldn't process permits until 2 weeks before the reservation date. But she did process and email me both my July 3 and July 6 permits and said that I would get a refund if the trail remained closed during those dates.
Update: I was emailed my July 13 permit this morning (7/10) seemingly automatically, with no action on my part. I didn't call or email anyone regarding that permit since June 26.

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
55inthefastlane #57701 07/13/20 02:09 PM
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My trip leader is unable to travel due to COVID concerns but the rest of us are still interested in going. Unfortunately we haven't had any luck getting through to the rangers to see if there's any way to note this on the permit but in the past they've never allowed you to add alternate leaders once you're registered. Anyone have advice? Anyone who has hiked this year, have you run into rangers on the trail? We'll have his permit... he just won't be there.

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
55inthefastlane #57720 07/16/20 10:46 AM
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Posted by Inyo National Forest on their facebook page:

Quote
The phone system for the Inyo National Forest is being upgraded over the next week.

The telephone replacement project is necessary to upgrade the Forest Service’s outdated phone system to meet U.S. Department of Agriculture and security requirements. People should expect that there will be breaks in phone service while this upgrade is completed.

As much as possible, we encourage people to use email to continue service for the next week. If your issue isn’t time urgent, we suggest waiting a week until the phone system is upgraded.

For people requesting wilderness permits, please follow this process if you cannot get through on the phone:

To request your permit by Email up to 14 days in advance (allow at least 2 days for processing)
Subject line: [Entry Date] [Trail Name] [Reservation Number]
In your message answer the following;
• Have you viewed the Leave No Trace video?
• How you will store your food?
• What is your final group size?
Email to: SM.FS.WildPmt_Inyo@usda.gov

The forest thanks people for their patience. Our phone system has been taxed while we have shifted to a virtual and online systems this year. We acknowledge that the process has not gone as smoothly as we would want, but we are adjusting to help address the concerns.

Lastly, please understand that our visitor centers and wilderness permit office are staffed, and people are working with other customers. Please be kind to our employees when you do get through—they are all working very hard.

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
Steve C #57721 07/16/20 11:32 AM
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I emailed them Monday afternoon regarding a July 24 Shepherd Pass permit. Website says “allow 2 days for processing.” I haven’t heard back yet, so I pinged them this morning, just in case something went wrong. I also emailed them this morning regarding my July 30 North Fork Big Pine Creek permit. I’m going to love doing everything on recreation.gov and by email… if it all works. Try to be patient. Thank them for being there for us during COVID-19.

Edit: They emailed me the permits on July 16 and July 18.

Last edited by bobpickering; 07/19/20 09:26 PM.
Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
bobpickering #57740 07/19/20 09:12 AM
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We emailed inyo last thursday (3 days ago) per their instructions for July 23rd permits and have not heard back. Calling hasnt worked out either. I know we still have a couple days but was wondering what everyone elses' experience has been in regards to getting permits emailed to them.

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
bobpickering #57743 07/19/20 11:51 AM
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I emailed them two days ago around 6 PM for my July 28 Whitney day permit, still haven't heard back.

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
Cal #57745 07/19/20 04:31 PM
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Cal, I filled out an application for Trail Pass out of Horseshoe Meadows on Friday. My entry date is for July 24.

Today, Sunday, I received my permit.

Hang in there.

paul

Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup?
Paul #57751 07/20/20 11:35 AM
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Just received my permit via email this morning

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