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Big Pine, Dave C, JimC
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What on earth is going on with permit pickup? #57210 06/10/2020 7:34 PM
by 55inthefastlane
55inthefastlane
Hi,

I just set up an account specifically to ask this question in hope that some of the greybeards here who are in tune with all things Whitney may know.

What on earth is going on with permit pickup?

Inyo FS page (https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5144746) has the following instructions:
Quote
Check-in by phone 1 to 14 days in advance to have the permit emailed.

Reserve your permit online
Watch Leave No Trace Principles (video below)
Call the visitor center nearest your trail head or the wilderness permit office to check in by phone
Print and sign the permit to carry on the trail and you can go straight to your trailhead.
NOTE: Reservation will be canceled unless you call before no show deadline.

Ok. Fine. Clear enough. I called Mt Whitney ranger station and got through the busy signal -- no one is picking up. I called another time and go through -- same. Called yesterday, called today, called every number on this page, including the public services officer: https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/about-forest/offices. Nothing. Same voice message about reserving on recreation.gov, then busy signal, then phone ringing and no answer. Has everyone been furloughed? What's going on?

Those of you who've done Whitney or anything in Inyo backcountry in the past week, how did you actually "pick up" your permit?

Thank you kindly for the info.
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Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup? #57245 Jun 15th a 05:41 AM
by 55inthefastlane
55inthefastlane
OP here. Back from the trip. Here is the situation as of Jun 12-13.

1) Gate is closed. It's 3.7mi / +2000ft from the gate to the trailhead. It took my party about 90min on the way up.
2) AFAIK, no one is allowed on the tourist route. On MR we encountered 3 parties, including a guided group. All on the way down.
3) Snow line is at ~12400ft, no need for crampons until Iceberg Lake.
4) Chute above Iceberg has about 80% snow coverage. Gets super-slushy by noon.
5) Final 400 is iced-over snow and black ice on rock. Definitely want dual ice axes or tools for this. It's possible to bail onto 3rd class rock after roughly 100ft.
6) Easy Walk-off Traverse is good quality snow. A little icy in the morning, but gets sticky by ~1300.
7) Curiously, poop-drop/biohazard bins are open. So someone must be clearing them out.

Good luck with everyone's summit bids. Hope this info helps.
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Re: What on earth is going on with permit pickup? #57265 Jun 16th a 03:38 AM
by jaym
jaym
Originally Posted by whodunnit27
Thanks for confirming the MR is open. I hear both the rationale of whether the decision to close the main trail and open the MR is valid (good points made). But regardless of what this decision incentivizes, the MR still needs a permit right? And most those permits have been allocated to advanced reservations, right? What is the process for picking up a permit - is it calling Easter Sierra Visitor Center?

I see available North Fork Whitney Permits at recreation.gov:

June 17:2, 21:2, 23:4, 24:4, 25:4, 26:4

Reserve a spot online and then call the Inyo Permit Office (760) 873-2483 like a fanatic until they answer.
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