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#6736 - 08/19/10 08:43 AM Best strategy for a permit?
pmcag Offline


Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 4
Loc: ga
Planning to visit Whitney with my son between Sept. 11 and 16 and attempt to summit spending one night on the mountain. What is the likelyhood of getting a released permit that is unclaimed and what days would give us our best chance for a permit. We would like to hike Mt. San Gorgonio prior to Whitney if possible. We are traveling from Georgia. Any suggestions are welcome. I have hiked Whitney twice.


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#6737 - 08/19/10 09:02 AM Re: Best strategy for a permit? [Re: pmcag]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7680
Loc: Fresno, CA
First, look at last year's Unused Permits 2009 information. Sept 7 was Labor Day. While the Friday and Saturday following were pretty well used, from Sunday on, there were no less than 14 unused permits available.

And those numbers are from the END of the day. If you get there when the unused permits are first reassigned, there is a very high possibility that you will get one.

Read the Wilderness Permit Options information (link on the left), especially box 6 about how to pick up the unused permit.

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#6739 - 08/19/10 09:34 AM Re: Best strategy for a permit? [Re: pmcag]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Where in Georgia?!

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#6740 - 08/19/10 09:48 AM Re: Best strategy for a permit? [Re: Bulldog34]
pmcag Offline


Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 4
Loc: ga
North GA - Calhoun

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#6741 - 08/19/10 10:09 AM Re: Best strategy for a permit? [Re: pmcag]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
That's now 3 of us Georgians on this board (4 if you count my wife). I'm in Marietta and "catpappy" is in Acworth. In fact catpappy (John) plans to be out there roughly the same time you will. Hope you run into each other!

Good luck with the permit. I went out there last month empty-handed and snagged two overnight permit cancellations by calling the Inyo Forest Service office twice a day every day (760-873-2483) until two finally became available around the time I was looking for. Sure beat waiting in the line at the Lone Pine InterAgency center the day of, hoping for a no-show, and then getting a really late start up the trail. It being close to a holiday period, you still may wind up doing that, but the time spent calling in advance might save you some headaches while you're there.

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#6742 - 08/19/10 10:23 AM Re: Best strategy for a permit? [Re: Bulldog34]
pmcag Offline


Registered: 08/19/10
Posts: 4
Loc: ga
Thanks for the tip on calling the Inyo FS office. I did not know they released permits. Just planned on waiting in line for one that wasn't used.

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#6745 - 08/19/10 10:46 AM Re: Best strategy for a permit? [Re: pmcag]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
It's not really a release by the INFS, just a matter of conscientious permit-holders calling to cancel or reduce a group's size, freeing up permits for re-sale. This usually happens beginning about a week out from a given departure date. I began calling about two weeks out from my preferred date of 7/15, twice each day since a lot can happen at that office during the course of any given day. I always asked about my preferred date as well as the two days on either side (7/14 and 7/16). I kept getting skunked till finally on 7/12 two cancellations came in for 7/14. Slight adjustment in plans, but well worth it to have firm permits in hand.

The only downside to this is that you still have to pay the $15 reservation fee for each permit. If you wait to walk in and hope for the best with no-shows the day of, and score permits, there is no fee.

Also, don't trust the listing of available permits (or non-availability) on Inyo's Mt. Whitney website. They admittedly do not update this regularly. Calling is always the best tactic.

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#6754 - 08/19/10 09:21 PM Re: Best strategy for a permit? [Re: pmcag]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1253
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
Just come!

Chances are you will get a permit. Someone is always canceling or not showing up. The worst...and it could be best,thing that happen is you go to your Plan B. What I've found is the Plan Bs can be a lot more interesting.

As for San G, that may be your bigger problem, if your plan is walk in to get a permit on the weekend. It's usually sold out well before the ranger station opens on Saturday or Sunday...that is if your plan is to utilize the Vivian Creek Trailhead. If your plans are for a weekend, go to SWGA fill out the permit application a fax it in.

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#6763 - 08/20/10 09:33 AM Re: Best strategy for a permit? [Re: wbtravis]
Norris Offline


Registered: 06/14/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Del Mar, CA
I agree with wbtravis, just show up. I got an overnight main trail permit for two last Saturday for entry on Sunday if you can believe that, and mid-August is much more popular than mid-September. Note there are 3 times of day that are important in terms of getting day of issue or no-show/cancellation permits: 8:00 am, 11:00 am, and 2:00 pm. The rangers conduct a little mini-lottery at those times for the hikers who are present at those times and looking for permits. The permits given out at 8:00 am are for same day entry, the ones given out at the other times are for next day entry. So plan your arrival in Lone Pine accordingly.

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#6764 - 08/20/10 09:41 AM Re: Best strategy for a permit? [Re: pmcag]
Norris Offline


Registered: 06/14/10
Posts: 22
Loc: Del Mar, CA
Regarding San Gorgonio permits, easy to do by fax using these instructions: http://www.sgwa.org/permit.htm

Bigger hassle is getting the National Forest Adventure pass hang tag for your car. If you don't have one, you may get ticketed at the trailhead. They sell these at sporting goods stores like REI.

I think these are regional, so you may need to wait until you get out here to buy one for So Cal, not sure whether you can buy one in Georgia that is valid out here.

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