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Questions about Mt Whitney
#58315 02/01/21 04:40 PM
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Hey guys, I was hoping to secure a Mt. Whitney pass this coming season to propose to my girlfriend as that area is personal to her. I had a few questions and would really appreciate any advice.

1) Obviously the lottery system seems like a 33% chance or so. If I don't get the lottery is there any way to get permits through paid for guided tours or third party?

2) I also read that they have a way through Cottonwood pass without worrying about the lottery permit but when I look online it all says walkup permits only for June-August. Also is the way through Cottonwood pass more technically difficult or just longer? I didn't fully understand whether you had to take Mountaneer's route from that way or if it just meets up with the normal route. If we go in July would it be safe?

3) We are athletically average people in our 20s. She has experience running marathons etc. We have little experience with major hiking but have gone on quite a few hikes in the Colorado area, some with mild snow at the top. If we got a permit in June, would the snow/ice be that difficult to traverse? Many websites are saying July/August, but in case we don't get that, I am trying to get the best sense of safety levels in June (knowing that snowfall varies year to year)

4) Do you guys know if COVID has changed anything from a quota perspective?

Thank you for all the help and I wish everyone best of luck for this season!

Re: Questions about Mt Whitney
dawnoftrojans #58316 02/01/21 10:19 PM
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If you don't score in the lottery, note the April 1 and May 1 situations in the Inyo N.F. Permit Reservations page.

Guided tours: I think they are all via the Mountaineers Route, and expensive. I've not seen them doing summer trips -- only early spring, via the Mountaineers Route.

Cottonwood Pass to Whitney summit is a 3-day backpack for most people. And unless you can score the Trail Crest Exit permit to go down the Main Trail, you have to exit the same route, so 5 days total, unless you're faster than average. That route is all on trail, non-technical. (A mountaineers route exit is feasible, but not advisable, or even safe, for first-timers.)

Be sure to enter the lottery. If your gf also enters, make sure you don't name each other as co-leaders, or use the same address, as that would cause rejection due to multiple entries.

In a heavy snow year, June can add technical issues (crampons & ice axe) to the Main Trail route. This year started out super-draught, but has caught up some so far. You'll have to wait and see regarding June for snow levels.

I don't think C-19 has changed anything as for quotas. It did change the permit pickup process last year--no in-person pick ups, and no last-minute permits available. In the past, last-minute permits were available due to no-shows and cancellations, the day before entry. I am hopeful that will return this year, and it is the last resort to getting permits.

If you do score a permit, read up on altitude acclimatization and AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). It wouldn't be fun proposing while puking -- or having to turn around due to AMS.

Good luck!!!

Re: Questions about Mt Whitney
dawnoftrojans #58317 02/02/21 10:28 AM
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It is possible to climb the Mountaineers’ Route with a guide in the summer, and this bypasses the permit hassle. As Steve said, it isn’t cheap.

Re: Questions about Mt Whitney
Steve C #58318 02/02/21 05:49 PM
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Thank you very much for your help. I will keep your advice in mind!

Last edited by dawnoftrojans; 02/02/21 05:49 PM.

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