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Lone Pine Creek Trail / Mount Russell Permit Question #59332 12/03/2021 6:05 PM
by Louie
What permit(s) are needed for this, day hike or overnight? I am reading up on it and seem to get conflicting information. (Looking for this coming spring/ summer)

Day hikes seem to need a "Mt. Whitney Zone Day Use Permit" (the Whitney Lottery), but overnight just needs a "North Fork of Lone Pine Creek" permit, which is available now for 2022.

So "Mt. Whitney Zone overnight" is not good for Lone Pine Creek Trail, but "Mt. Whitney Zone Day Use" is.

Is that correct?
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Re: Lone Pine Creek Trail / Mount Russell Permit Question #59354 Jan 11th a 01:27 AM
by Steve C
Steve C
Paul and others, I talked with both Hunter and Cindy at Inyo N.F. regarding the permit system this year.

The Trail Crest Exit permit is an add-on to a normal permit, and they have attached the same date to it as the date of entry. (In years before, you needed to grab a specific exit date, which made getting one even more complex.) Now, all you need is the Exit Permit addition on your permit, and there is no official exit date assigned.

They are working on a "Print Your Permit" button that should be working this year, so you won't need to phone in and email to get a printed permit. That should significantly reduce the phone load, so people with real questions (and Trail Pass requests) will be able to get through easier. People will be able to print their own permit up to a week before the hike start date.

They are still doing the 60/40 percent system on all but the lottery permits -- 60% reservable 6 months in advance, and 40% held back. But not for walk-ins... Those go online at 7 AM 14 days before date of entry, so fast fingers will be first-come-first-served.

Cancellations go back into the on-line system, I believe they are released at a random time over the next 24 hours.

No-shows... are more difficult to identify with everything being online. They are the people who don't sign-in or call in to pick up their permit before the permit deadline. Deadlines for Whitney Zone day-use is noon the day before. For overnight hikes, it is 11 AM, the day of entry. But now with the ability to print your own a week in advance, some people will print a permit, and then not actually hike--these no-shows are impossible to identify. For Day Use permits no-shows, I'm not sure what time window they will show up. And overnight no-shows... no idea how that would work. I need to ask more about that later.
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Re: Lone Pine Creek Trail / Mount Russell Permit Question #59358 Jan 12th a 12:11 AM
by Steve C
Steve C
Frank, yes there is a quota of 25 on the Trail Crest Exit permits, 15 available 6 months before, 10 available 2 weeks before. If you select the "exiting Mt Whitney" when looking for a trail permit, they only show available dates where BOTH your trail entry point AND the exit permit have available slots. If either quota is full, will show they aren't available.

Paul, yes you need to call in. I've always had pretty good luck calling in, but that's just my experience. As I wrote above they are adding the "Print your own permit" button online, so people don't need to call in now and work through email to get a permit. It can all be automatic. So they are hoping that will reduce the phone load.

The Trail Pass permit requires a phone call because there were way too many people wanting to go north on the JMT/PCT, and would select Trail Pass when Cottonwood Lakes and Cottonwood Pass quotas were full. People would indicate their camping locations, showing they were heading north, and Inyo does not allow people to do that. The are required to use the Cottonwood trails to head north. So, by phoning in, they can make sure people are actually going south or into the Golden Trout areas. Interestingly, if you call in, and are logged into, while talking to them, they will open the quota for the date you want, so you can grab the permit, and then they close it. Kinda like a secret handshake. grin
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