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Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
#59856 01/31/23 10:26 PM
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Here is the Inyo National Forest Mt Whitney Lottery information page:
Mount Whitney Lottery - Permit Reservations

The lottery application period if February 1 through March 1.
Here's the link to Recreation.gov, to make a lottery application.

I'll update this post with more info as it develops.

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Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Steve C #59857 02/01/23 11:14 AM
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Entered. They've reduced the number of date requests to 10 but added a "date range" option (I didn't pick it as I just applied for single day permits). Should be interesting to see the results. First page says a lottery entry is $10 but then reduces back to the original $6 upon checkout. Good luck everyone!

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Dauphinais #59858 02/01/23 11:45 AM
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This likely sums up a majority of the permit applications this year.

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Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Dauphinais #59860 02/02/23 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Dauphinais
Entered. They've reduced the number of date requests to 10 but added a "date range" option (I didn't pick it as I just applied for single day permits). Should be interesting to see the results. First page says a lottery entry is $10 but then reduces back to the original $6 upon checkout. Good luck everyone!

I just saw the date range option. I wonder how many people will put in 9 days they want and then a catch-all 10th option for the whole year. I could see a lot of mid-week and early/late season lottery wins going to people who wont actually use them.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Louie #59861 02/03/23 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Louie
I wonder how many people will put in 9 days they want and then a catch-all 10th option for the whole year.

That’s brilliant! Apply for what you really want (possibly asking for several ranges of dates) and use a catch-all to increase your chances of getting SOMETHING.

I did the Mountaineers’ Route in 2022, but I’m skipping Whitney for 2023. I plan to be back in 2024 to dayhike the Mountaineers’ Route (maybe for the last time) when I’m 75.

BTW, I recently applied for a Yosemite permit. They are using multiple one-week lotteries, allowing date ranges. They charged $10 for the lottery. If I strike out, I’ll have to pay another $10 for the lottery for the following week.

Edit: We got our first choice for Yosemite. I just hope there isn't too much snow/runoff to do the trip.

Last edited by bobpickering; 03/16/23 10:02 AM.
Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
bobpickering #59865 02/06/23 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by bobpickering
Apply for what you really want (possibly asking for several ranges of dates) and use a catch-all to increase your chances of getting SOMETHING.

That is what I was thinking of doing. The only thing is if I win Monday-Thursday I would likely not keep these since it would require too many days off work. No way to specify a giant block of the year, but only specific days of the week. That is what I really need.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Louie #59878 03/01/23 06:18 PM
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It's been a while. if I choose "overnight" with a single date, that gives me the date I enter, but I can take longer than just one night on that permit. Is that correct?
And am I also correct that choosing overnight with a date range let's them give me a single date of entrance within that range, and once again, I can take more than one night to complete it?

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Brent N #59879 03/01/23 09:15 PM
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Yes, when you accept the permit (if you win one of your choices), you'll be able to specify the length of your trip (I always pad the exit date a little to account for changes in my plans and my slow ass legs).

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
WanderingJim #59880 03/02/23 07:11 AM
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Thanks, Wandering Jim!

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Brent N #59881 03/02/23 12:42 PM
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...and the exit date is only for documentation purposes, in case you don't show up, and are reported missing. The exit date IS NOT a hard exit date at all.

Once you enter on your designated entry date, you can stay in the wilderness as long as you like, with the only stipulation that you cannot stay in one place for more than two weeks. (No squatters allowed to set up a summer residence laugh )

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Steve C #59882 03/02/23 01:01 PM
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By the way.... this might be of interest to people hoping to pick up an unused permit online, from Recreation.gov.

On March 1 at 7 AM PST, 3-day vehicle access permits to drive into Glacier National Park's main east-west route came available for the month of July. I'm making plans, so I needed one of those permits. I logged into rec.gov, and right at 7 AM, the permits became available. But trying to reserve one resulted in an error message saying the system was too busy.

I kept trying, repeatedly, using two browsers, clearing the message and retrying to reserve. I could see the available permit numbers steadily dropping, starting at 700, and dropping. It took 10 minutes of trying, and I finally was given the option to actually buy the $2 vehicle pass. There were only about 250 passes left by that time. Once I paid, I checked again, and the date was fully booked, as were many others in July. I checked several hours later, and the entire month of July was completely sold out.

The other crazy part is that there are three OTHER park roads that require separate one-day access passes in order to travel there. Parks are being loved to death!

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Steve C #59883 03/07/23 10:26 AM
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Good luck to all on your lottery applications, we're a week away of finding out if we won a spot!

It'll be a nice change of conversation to hear how people fared in the lottery and get away from the "it's snowing/you're probably going to die/you need mountaineering training or death is imminent" banter which is plaguing every form of social media in existence. While there's nothing wrong with preaching safety, it just seems that the more it snows the more preachers we get. Even the most experienced, seasoned climbers sometimes die, we all go out being as careful as we can and if we're lucky, we make it home. And if we don't, at least we left this world while out living in it.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
395North #59884 03/07/23 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 395North
...
Even the most experienced, seasoned climbers sometimes die, we all go out being as careful as we can and if we're lucky, we make it home. And if we don't, at least we left this world while out living in it.

That's cool as long as you have figured out how to file an effective do-not-search-or-rescue order with all the agencies potentially involved and you have funded a prepaid body recovery service. What is it all those signs say? "If you pack it in have it packed out" 0r something like that.

Dale B. Dalrymple

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
dbd #59885 03/07/23 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by dbd
That's cool as long as you have figured out how to file an effective do-not-search-or-rescue order with all the agencies potentially involved and you have funded a prepaid body recovery service. What is it all those signs say? "If you pack it in have it packed out" 0r something like that.

That's all well and good but everything we do comes with some risk, and loss of life is a risk every single hiker takes on any trail. Anyone naïve enough to think it couldn't happen to them are usually the first to go. While ascending the switchbacks, I was aware a rock (or heart attack, or a slip) could come out of nowhere and I'm finished, flukes happen anywhere.

Nobody goes up hoping/expecting to expire but knowing the dangers and there is a risk is something that gives me peace because I'm out doing what I absolutely love.

I think all those trendy hiking mantras don't quite apply to the dead, as I could not only be not packing it out, I'm also leaving a trace and quite possibly unintentionally feeding a bear shocked shocked. I suppose such a triple-violation would really trigger the vocal mob of internet Karens cry that loves to complain!

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Steve C #59887 03/12/23 06:29 PM
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I thought I remember in past years, when you put someone down as the "alternate leader" they would receive an email which they had to confirm in order to be on the permit as the alternate. Does anyone know, did that happen this year? Was that ever a thing?

(Asking for a friend) smile

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Louie #59888 03/12/23 10:48 PM
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Yes, it was that way in the past. I'm not sure of the timing, though --- whether it was when the lottery was entered, or once a trip was accepted by the applicant. I wold think it would be around the time the permit was paid for after winning the slot in the lottery.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Steve C #59890 03/13/23 09:32 AM
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I recall it had to be done before the lottery application period was over. If it could be done after winning the lottery, that would defeat them cross checking lottery applications for duplicates. Or someone could sell their permit to someone else and add them to the permit to make it official.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Louie #59891 03/14/23 08:28 AM
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I’m not sure, but I think the alternate leader has to have a recreation.gov account.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
bobpickering #59892 03/14/23 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by bobpickering
I’m not sure, but I think the alternate leader has to have a recreation.gov account.

That is what I remember. I think a few years back I added alternate leaders right before the lottery closed, but my friends did not respond in time so they were not added.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Louie #59894 03/15/23 02:51 AM
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I had made plans to do the High Sierra Trail into Sequoia starting from Whitney as a precursor to a family trip in the national park. I just got the email that I got my first choice in the lottery. The issue is because of the time constraint imposed by having to meet my family on a certain day, my permit is for the 22nd of June.

I don’t particularly want to deal with too much in the way of snowy conditions beyond maybe micro spikes at most. I was always wary of the late June date, but my research seemed to indicate it wasn’t so early as to be impossible depending on conditions over the winter.

Am I correct in thinking it’s been an unusually snowy winter and I should probably let my permit go and make alternative arrangements? Or is there a date I should wait until to be able to say with reasonable confidence one way or another? I have a SEKI wilderness permit as a backup to do some sort of loop/out and back depending on conditions at the various passes, so I’m not too gutted if the answer is give it up.

Last edited by Nicholacci; 03/15/23 02:53 AM.
Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Nicholacci #59897 03/15/23 12:23 PM
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Hi. I am new to the forum and posting as I unfortunately was informed today that my application for a permit was not successful for the 3rd year in a row. I had hoped putting a single person on weekdays between May and August with 10 entries would have worked but did not.

If anyone has an open slot in a group, I'd be happy to join pretty much any day of the week between May and August. I am open to single day or overnight and have all necessary gear and many years of experience in the backcountry (25+ years) and mountaineering in general. I am 40 this year with consistent weekly training of long hikes at elevation and should be able to go at whatever pace a group would be comfortable with (except for running :)).

Thanks!

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2022
Dauphinais #59898 03/15/23 02:58 PM
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I just got word, I did not get a spot in the lottery. What is the next step, wait for April 22?

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Nicholacci #59899 03/15/23 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Nicholacci
... I just got the email that I got my first choice in the lottery. .... my permit is for the 22nd of June.

I don’t particularly want to deal with too much in the way of snowy conditions beyond maybe micro spikes at most. I was always wary of the late June date, but my research seemed to indicate it wasn’t so early as to be impossible depending on conditions over the winter.

Am I correct in thinking it’s been an unusually snowy winter and I should probably let my permit go and make alternative arrangements? Or is there a date I should wait until to be able to say with reasonable confidence one way or another? I have a SEKI wilderness permit as a backup to do some sort of loop/out and back depending on conditions at the various passes, so I’m not too gutted if the answer is give it up.
Nicholacci: Pretty sure there will still be significant snow in late June, and people will still be using ice axe and crampons to climb the slope west of the switchbacks and the cables. In fact, the HST has a serious obstacle at that tunnel above Hamilton Lakes. It is likely that its chute will be covered with snow/ice, and ice axe and crampons would be necessary to cross. Lookup on youtube: "Hamilton Gorge HST Trail Condition 7/24/17"

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
James Cahall #59900 03/15/23 09:53 PM
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James Cahall, it's tough to find someone who will match your available times, and then link up. It is easier to be ready to go, and keep watching the days just ahead of the current day (during the summer) for a slot to appear on recreation.gov. You need to set up a link to the site and permits you want, and keep checking multiple times every day. When one shows up, grab it and go.

Teddimitri: Yes, April 22 at 7 AM a few slots will become available to the fastest/luckiest. But I am not sure how feasible this will be. I tried grabbing a Vehicle Entry pass on March 1 for Glacier N.P., and the website kept saying it was too busy to process my request. I kept trying, finally got in. But that was for 700 slots per day for all of July. The entire month's slots were gone in 30 minutes. I recommend trying to snag a permit as I wrote for James above.

Permits show up on rec.gov whenever any are cancelled (or a party size is reduced), or a permit becomes a no-show. When that happens, the permit is made available "at a random time in the next 24 hours" on rec.gov.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Nicholacci #59901 03/16/23 09:07 AM
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Nicholacci;

I hiked Whitney in 2011(record snow year) in late August and there was still 3 feet of snow in many sections. I've day-hiked Whitney every August since 2004 and have experienced all sorts of conditions even so late in the season. Going in June this year will require Mountaineering experience with record snow depth(worse than 2011) and dangerous creek crossings(though not many). Not too far away, Mammoth Summit has received 66 feet of snow with more to come. This year will be an all-time snow record with catastrophic flooding. I would personally wait until September/October time frame. There are many other majestic hikes in the Sierra's. Whatever you decide, have fun and be safe. note: Steve C-/Bob P and Wandering Jim and many others: thank you for all the informational posts. They can save ones life.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Steve C #59910 03/16/23 09:01 PM
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Thanks for the tips Steve C.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Steve C #59912 03/18/23 01:04 PM
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Do you think there will still be snow on the main trail in late July? Got permits and trying to plan ahead.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Paul King #59913 03/18/23 11:29 PM
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Thanks for all the info, everyone. I was pretty set on abandoning my plans, but it’s nice to have the confirmation. It’s just unfortunate I can’t transfer my lottery win to someone else!

I’ll just putter around some of the lower SEKI wilderness trails, Whitney will still be there in years to come!

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
acta5534 #59916 03/19/23 09:21 PM
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Unless there’s a massive heat dome that melts a lot of the snow between now and late July, plan on there being snow and ice on parts of the trail. At the absolute minimum plan on bringing microspikes and gaiters, expect to need crampons and ice axes. You’ll have a better idea of what trail conditions are come early July.

Below are a couple links for checking snow depth. I recommend looking at them frequently in the month prior to your permit date.

Current Snow Depth
SNOTEL Sites (Sierra Nevada)

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Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Nicholacci #59917 03/19/23 09:34 PM
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You can still do Whitney this year, just not by the Mt. Whitney Trail. Look for a permit departing from Cottonwood Lakes/Shepherd Pass/Kearsarge Pass with a Trail Crest exit for later in the season (late August through September). You can leave a car at Whitney Portal, shuttle to your trailhead, and spend 4-5 days hiking in the SEKI backcountry on your way to summiting Whitney on the last day of your trip.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Trapperjohn #59954 04/22/23 07:35 AM
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Got Columbus Day weekend in early October. Here's to hoping for the most snowmelt before the new stuff starts falling...

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Steve C #59956 04/22/23 06:16 PM
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I was able to get an overnight permit this morning for a July weekend. I was surprised it seemed kind of easy. There were many permits available for any day right at 7. I could see they were going quickly, but there was still weekend options in July and August 5+ minutes later. Not as bad as say Yosemite reservations where everything is gone in the blink of an eye. smile

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Steve C #59966 04/28/23 03:56 AM
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Hi Steve- what section is that video you linked to? I haven’t done Whitney but didn’t recognize that in my research.

My dad and I are set for June 16-18. Planning to take our time and summit on the 17th. I’m trying to get a grasp on what the conditions will be at that time- any insight? First time on Whitney.

We’re both avid back packers but haven’t done any mountaineering. We do have the gear most have suggested: ice axe, crampons, micro spikes, etc. Just curious how treacherous switchbacks and backside will be.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
frankthevi #59970 04/28/23 01:18 PM
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You will encounter full winter mountaineering conditions in mid June. You have the gear but do you know how to use it? Switchbacks will be fully covered in snow, and folks will be heading up the slope near them. Backside also will be mostly snow covered. If you choose to continue your trip, please be sure you are very comfortable with self arrest techniques!

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
frankthevi #59973 04/28/23 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by frankthevi
Hi Steve- what section is that video you linked to? I haven’t done Whitney but didn’t recognize that in my research.

I don't see any links in this thread. What video are you referring to? Post a link if you can.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
Steve C #60066 05/27/23 10:29 AM
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I believe I was referring to the shoot to the right of the switchbacks.

Re: Mt Whitney Lottery 2023
frankthevi #60067 05/27/23 11:36 AM
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Um, Frank, it's called a "chute" due to the shape of the topological feature. "Shoot" is what you do with a gun or bow. But you're far from the only one who misuses the word when talking about that feature on this board.

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