Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016

Posted by: Steve C

Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 01/29/16 11:02 PM

Edit March 23, 2016: Lottery results are in. Those who applied to the lottery can log into their Recreation.gov account to see whether they scored a permit.

Recreation.gov links:   DAY USE of Mt. Whitney Zone     Mt. Whitney Trail Overnight Permit

The lottery statistics are posted on page 2 of this thread. Here's the link.



Originally posted Jan 29, 2016:


This announcement showed up in the Fresno Bee, Jan 29, 2016.

Good luck in the lottery, everyone.

We will keep this thread updated with up-to-date news from this year's lottery.
Last year's thread is here:  Whitney Permit Lottery 2015.

Here is the info from the Recreation.gov website regarding the lottery:


Mt. WHITNEY LOTTERY INFORMATION:
The Mt Whitney Lottery will start on Feb. 1, 2016.

We will accept lottery applications for the 2016 season on-line from Feb 1, 2016 to Mar 15, 2016 (midnight Eastern Time). Lottery results will be available on March 24th.

Please submit only one application per group.

Trips sponsored by organizations or commercial groups must contact the Inyo National Forest wilderness permit office before applying for a Mt. Whitney permit.

Road Work: Road construction will affect trips March-November, 2016. Parking will be limited. Allow extra time to arrive at the trailhead. Hikers are strongly encouraged to carpool, arrange to be dropped off, or use a shuttle service. At times the Whitney Portal parking lot will be full, with no roadside parking allowed. Reserving a permit does not guarantee a parking space. Road information can be found here.

Fees: No Refunds
Transaction Fee: One application may list up to 15 trip choices and 3 alternate leaders for one $6.00 fee.
Reservation Fee: Lottery winners must pay a $15.00 per person reservation fee by April 30, 2016 to claim any awarded date. Unclaimed dates will be canceled.
Seasonal trail information, Lottery Tips & Statistics, can be found here.



WhitneyZone road construction info:   2016: Whitney Portal parking & Road Construction



Here is the Inyo National Forest's "Lottery Timeline" info:
Feb 1, 2016 to March 15, 2016: Enter lottery online at www.recreation.gov (closes on March 15 at midnight Eastern time) Late applications will not be accepted. All the applications are processed together in one lottery after March 15.

March 24: Preview results by logging into your account and view your lottery application. Acceptance period begins April 1.

April 1: Mini- On-sale. Any remaining space opens for real time web reservations for the remainder of the season.

   Cancelations and declined space will be added back to the reservation calendar within 24 hours at a random time.
   On-sale opens at 7 am Pacific Time (No phone reservations)

April 1- April 30: Accept or decline if you won a date from the lottery. You must complete your trip information and pay the $15 per person reservation fee to claim your reservation.

April 30: Deadline closes at midnight Eastern Time. You must accept and pay the reservation fee, or the reservation will be canceled.

May 1: All unclaimed dates are canceled and released for web reservations (space is released within 24 hours at a random time).


Posted by: wagga

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 01/29/16 11:54 PM

Being "Down Under", I'm into the next day ahead of US Pacific time. Do you think the site will take that into account?

Is this a profit opportunity? wink
Posted by: Whitney Fan

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 02/04/16 01:52 AM

I hope to return to Whitney's summit this year for the first time since my one and only climb back in 2004. I'm curious as to how an age 71 body will fare in contrast to when I was 59.

But it seems two big obstacles this year may be tougher than the climb itself. Getting a permit . . . and the question of road delays and getting parking space.

I had "won" in the lottery back in 2004. Since then I -- and others -- learned that winning the lottery wasn't crucial, with all the "no show" permits released. But now this year it will be important, what with all the talk that walk up permits may either be denied or reduced contingent on the parking situation at the portal.

All of this is a long winded prologue to a few question I have about the present lottery system. The answers are undoubtedly online, but to save lots of searching I'm sure it will be more expedient to just ask here. I'm also sure the answers will be helpful to others besides me.

First -- what is the basic methodology for the lottery (day use permits)? I'm guessing that all those who have selected a specific date are vying for the quota of permits for that date? I.e., if there are 60 permits allowed for one day, and there are 120 who have picked that date, then there will be 60 losers. Is this correct? (If not, please advise.)

If this is correct, and one can choose up to 15 dates, then isn't it almost guaranteed that you'll "win" if you are flexible about your trip timing? I.e., you may lose 2, 3, or 4 times with your first date options, but the match means -- with 15 separate dates/lottery draws -- that you'll probably get at least ONE of your choices. Am I understanding all this? Or am I all wet (hopefully with IPA's, LOL)?

If that last paragraph is correct, then I arguably have displayed poor technique by entering the lottery specifying only one date. (I always was an idealist!) If it doesn't work out I suppose I will then be in a "game" of still possibly getting what I want through the published process about the lottery as far as what happens after the initial winners are selected.

What a hassle for this year. I can see -- if I don't win my date -- that it will be a "down to the wire" monitoring game up to August (when I plan my hike) as far as deciding if I should even drive to Lone Pine, and then, if I go, if I can actually make the hike, and on and on and on . . . even if I get some firm news that I'm good for my hiking date then there's still a hassle to visit the portal before the hike for doing a preliminary back and forth hike to Lone Pine Lake, hanging around to acclimatize, etc. (Because of the parking situation).

Enough for this post -- Steve or/and others, I (and others) will appreciate clarification as indicated above regarding the process. Thanks!
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 02/04/16 08:46 AM

You have a much better chance of getting a slot if you enter a lot of dates on your application. Here's how it works:

In a random process, your application is pulled up to be processed. If yours is one of the earliest pulled up in the process, you have a very likely chance of getting your first choice day. If yours is processed later in the run, after most (or all) dates are filled to the quota, you are out of luck.

When your application is processed, if you have specified only one date, if that day is full, you are out of luck. If you have specified other dates, the process checks each one, in the order you entered them down to the last one, checking for an open date. If there is an opening on one of the days, you get that slot.

Here are Lottery results from 2013 go give you an idea of your odds:

year 2013 2015
total applications 12,153 11,662
successful 4,591 5,015
unsuccessful 7,562 6,647

When specifying dates, understand that weekend slots fill up first, so if you enter lots of Mondays through Thursdays, you have a better chance.

Last year, about half the lottery entrants actually received a slot from ALL their choices.

With your lottery entry, I am pretty sure you can go back and revise it, before March 15, and change or add more dates to it at no extra cost.

As for parking, Whitney Portal is the only area affected. If you want to acclimate, you can go up to Horseshoe Meadows or Onion Valley for a day or two before hiking.
Posted by: John Sims

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 02/04/16 10:58 AM

One other variable is "number of hikers" on the date specified. I guess that the entries with large numbers have diminishing likelihood as the number of hikers increases. An entry with only one entry will have an easier time finding an opening. Probably not a huge influencer, but will improve your chances.

Also, I do not think Steve's numbers reflect those successful applicants who apply after the Lottery. Not taken and unclaimed entries are made available. April 1st, and April 30th, so more opportunities are available.

Finally, if you have the flexibility you could consider Sept. Fewer applicants for Sept., and higher chance that the construction at the Portal is complete. The section closest to Lone Pine can be avoided by using Lubkin Canyon and Horseshoe Meadow roads.

Good luck!
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 02/04/16 03:52 PM

Turn your volume WAY Down before playing this. laugh

Someone posted this on FB as an indication of their mood for getting a permit to hike the JMT, but it might apply to the Whitney Lottery as well.

Current Mood

Current mood:

Posted by 103.5 KTU on Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Posted by: Whitney Fan

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 02/04/16 07:00 PM

Thanks, Steve, John . . .

Your replies indicate that my understanding of the process is correct -- there IS a quota limit for any specific day. And, like a lottery should work, whichever entries for any of those specific days come up first "win".

Also, you've confirmed that those with multiple dates selected have a better chance to get at least ONE approved date. For me though (Mr. Perfectionist, with an optimal choice made for his hike!) I'm not that interested in other dates beyond the one I selected. (Which, incidentally, IS a week day . . . a Thursday.)

I was already aware that the parking problem will be only at the portal. (But then again, my understanding is that you can't park on the shoulder of the road away from the portal if it's in a construction zone. Right? So even if you DID want to hoof it for extra distance and elevation gain by parking away from the portal you probably don't have that option anyway.)

I was also aware that hanging around at higher elevation could be done at Horseshoe Meadow as well as the portal. More concerning to me is that I'd like to do a small hike at elevation two days before the main hike. To and back from Lone Pine Lake is ideal for that (did that in 2004). But I suppose there is a similar hike that could be done from Horseshoe Meadow? (No need to comment on that . . . let's let this whole ugly process play out this year to see what will or won't be mini-problems needing solution.)

I'll just wait until the lottery results are made known on March 24, and if I'm not successful bone up on the options (as John mentions) to see if that works out. If I still don't have my approved date by then I'll have to monitor what exactly is happening leading up to August to get a better idea of the feasibility of showing up for a "walk up" permit.

We'll all hopefully learn more about how things will tumble out as time goes on and postings are made to this thread when new things are known. (For example . . . might one or two shuttle services start up? And, if so, might that influence more granting of walk up permits?)

(I thought "logistics" were only a problem for the Grand Canyon rim to rim trek, right Steve?! Hah!)
Posted by: Snacking Bear

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 02/05/16 08:12 AM

God I love this.

One of may favorites. Hopefully I will have an easier time of nabbing a permit.
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 02/05/16 10:44 PM

Feb 4 progress report:

        3,505 applications submitted

Whitney Trail Overnight Whitney Zone DAY USE
Quota: 60 people per day 100 people per day

Appli- Appli-
Date cations Hikers Date cations Hikers
----------- ----- ------ | ----------- ----- ------
Fri, Aug 05 81 406 | Sun, Aug 07 32 327
Sat, Jul 02 87 398 | Sat, Jul 23 46 263
Sat, Aug 06 59 355 | Sat, Aug 06 45 255

Sat, Jul 23 48 290 | Sat, Aug 20 38 221
Fri, Jul 15 47 266 | Sat, Aug 13 38 181
Sat, Aug 13 47 255 | Sat, Jul 16 33 162

Fri, Jul 29 46 254 | Sat, Aug 27 26 153
Sat, Jul 09 45 229 | Sat, Jul 30 31 147
Fri, Aug 12 42 227 | Sat, Sep 03 27 135
Sat, Jul 16 45 215 | Sat, Jun 25 21 114


The full report is here:  Lottery Progress Report

The link can be found on the Permit Reservations information page.
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 02/12/16 12:13 PM

Feb 10 progress report:

        4,918 applications submitted

Whitney Trail Overnight Whitney Zone DAY USE

Appli- Appli-
Date cations Hikers Date cations Hikers
----------- ----- ------ | ----------- ----- ------
Sat, Jul 02 107 551 | Sat, Aug 06 65 359
Fri, Aug 05 104 509 | Sun, Aug 07 36 350
Sat, Aug 06 84 465 | Sat, Jul 23 57 311

Sat, Jul 23 66 359 | Sat, Aug 20 55 298
Fri, Jul 15 65 349 | Sat, Jul 30 51 251
Sat, Aug 13 62 325 | Sat, Aug 13 49 245

Fri, Jul 29 54 311 | Sat, Jul 16 46 224
Sat, Aug 20 52 311 | Sun, Aug 14 24 212
Fri, Aug 12 56 298 | Sat, Aug 27 34 194
Sat, Sep 03 55 294 | Sun, Jul 31 27 170


Lottery Progress Report
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 02/19/16 09:25 AM

From the Mount Whitney Lottery info page:

Feb 19 progress report:

6,473 applications submitted
31,091 hikers

Whitney Trail Overnight Whitney Zone DAY USE

Appli- Appli-
Date cations Hikers Date cations Hikers
----------- ----- ------ | ----------- ----- ------
Sat, Aug 06 117 660 | Sat, Aug 06 92 506
Fri, Aug 05 126 647 | Sat, Aug 20 80 416
Sat, Jul 02 127 619 | Sun, Aug 07 42 390

Fri, Aug 12 88 525 | Sat, Jul 30 73 369
Sat, Jul 23 85 458 | Sat, Jul 23 67 362
Fri, Jul 15 83 438 | Sat, Aug 13 60 322

Sat, Aug 13 75 407 | Sat, Jul 16 64 325
Fri, Jul 29 68 399 | Sun, Aug 14 32 274
Sat, Jul 16 81 395 | Sat, Aug 27 43 249
Fri, Jul 01 80 383 | Sat, Sep 03 43 238


Lottery Progress Report
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 02/25/16 12:53 PM

From the Mount Whitney Lottery info page:

Feb 25 progress report:

7,565 applications submitted
36,041 hikers

Whitney Trail Overnight Whitney Zone DAY USE

Appli- Appli-
Date cations Hikers Date cations Hikers
----------- ----- ------ | ----------- ----- ------
Sat, Aug 06 133 758 | Sat, Aug 06 105 574
Sat, Jul 02 144 701 | Sat, Aug 20 90 472
Fri, Aug 05 135 694 | Sun, Aug 07 47 410

Fri, Aug 12 101 596 | Sat, Jul 23 76 406
Sat, Jul 23 97 508 | Sat, Jul 30 80 401
Fri, Jul 15 94 486 | Sat, Jul 16 79 390

Sat, Aug 13 87 463 | Sat, Aug 13 67 361
Fri, Jul 01 94 447 | Sat, Sep 03 53 297
Sat, Jul 16 92 447 | Sat, Aug 27 51 295
Sat, Sep 03 88 433 | Sun, Aug 14 32 274


Lottery Progress Report
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/04/16 09:40 AM

From the Mount Whitney Lottery info page:

March 3 progress report:

8,977 applications submitted
42,725 hikers

Whitney Trail Overnight Whitney Zone DAY USE

Appli- Appli-
Date cations Hikers Date cations Hikers
----------- ----- ------ | ----------- ----- ------
Fri, Aug 05 168 872 | Sat, Aug 06 122 667
Sat, Jul 02 164 780 | Sat, Aug 20 97 512
Fri, Aug 12 126 780 | Sat, Jul 30 92 477

Fri, Jul 15 112 574 | Sun, Aug 07 55 473
Sat, Jul 23 110 568 | Sat, Jul 23 90 469
Sat, Aug 13 104 545 | Sat, Aug 13 79 462

Sat, Jul 16 111 543 | Sat, Jul 16 91 435
Sat, Jul 30 106 535 | Sat, Aug 27 63 374
Fri, Aug 19 82 517 | Sat, Sep 03 64 347
Fri, Jul 29 91 508 | Mon, Aug 01 52 312


Lottery Progress Report
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/11/16 10:41 AM

From the Mount Whitney Lottery info page:

March 10 progress report:

10,504 applications submitted
50,422 hikers

Whitney Trail Overnight Whitney Zone DAY USE

Appli- Appli-
Date cations Hikers Date cations Hikers
----------- ----- ------ | ----------- ----- ------
Fri, Aug 05 168 872 | Sat, Aug 06 122 667
Sat, Jul 02 164 780 | Sat, Aug 20 97 512
Fri, Aug 12 126 780 | Sat, Jul 30 92 477

Fri, Jul 15 112 574 | Sun, Aug 07 55 473
Sat, Jul 23 110 568 | Sat, Jul 23 90 469
Sat, Aug 13 104 545 | Sat, Aug 13 79 462

Sat, Jul 16 111 543 | Sat, Jul 16 91 435
Sat, Jul 30 106 535 | Sat, Aug 27 63 374
Fri, Aug 19 82 517 | Sat, Sep 03 64 347
Fri, Jul 29 91 508 | Mon, Aug 01 52 312

Lottery Progress Report

Edit:
Note that the last day to enter the lottery is Tuesday, March 15. Entries must be completed and payment made BEFORE the cutoff time of midnight, Eastern Daylight Time, or 9 PM California Time (PDT).
Posted by: spitzer

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/14/16 11:27 PM

Is it possible to correct an error on the lottery application? Or if not, can you cancel an application and enter another?
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/14/16 11:41 PM

I am pretty sure you can sign back into recreation.gov and alter your lottery application. Please try it.
Posted by: spitzer

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/15/16 12:05 AM

I looked for a button or a link to do that but didn't see one.

The application web form is a piece of junk. It's so slow that the fields will reset themselves after being set. That's how I ended up with a mistake. I set a field to one thing and the form set it back to something else without my noticing it.

The error is on the exit trailhead so maybe it doesn't matter?

(edit)

I found the answer myself here:

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=stelprdb5150055

"Once an application is submitted (cart checked out) you cannot make changes to any of the information on the application."

"Corrections to itinerary or exit location can be done when the permit is issued."
Posted by: Marty

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/17/16 09:16 AM

The application web form is poorly designed. After data is entered it then disappears, erratically. I have made numerous comments to rec.gov, which they obviously ignore.

Another problem: they retain the entire $15 per person fee if you cancel. Therefore, there is no incentive to cancel. This prevents timely listing of dates that would be available on line (as opposed to just being available to those waiting for no-shows on site the day before.)
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/17/16 12:22 PM

Marty, rec.gov and Inyo N.F. know about the website problems. They have had them ever since the online system started. I don't know why they can't fix the problem. At $6 per application x 10k applications (and that is just for Whitney lottery applications), you would think they could get that problem fixed!

I have suggested they offer partial refunds for cancelling permits, but they have always said that is a bigger problem than it seems. (I know, businesses do refunds all the time, so why not recreation.gov???)
Posted by: eje67

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/23/16 09:34 PM

Lottery results are in...unsuccessful for me. I had requested a Tuesday, August 30th day hike (with 8 backup dates, all week days in late or early August), 1 person. I have a Whitney Portal campground reservation for the nights of August 29th and 30th, so the backup plan is to try for an August 30th walk-in permit, as I will already have parking.
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/23/16 11:13 PM

From the Mount Whitney Lottery info page, and 2016 Lottery Statistics

2016 Mt Whitney Permit Lottery Results

13,638 applications submitted
5,010 (36%) were successful

3,134 won first choice date (34% were day use,66% overnight
1,876 won alternate choices.

Whitney Trail Overnight Whitney Zone DAY USE

Appli- Appli-
Date cations Hikers Date cations Hikers
----------- ----- ------ | ----------- ----- ------
Sat, Aug 06 240 1457 | Sat, Aug 06 174 948
Fri, Aug 05 230 1203 | Sat, Aug 20 152 872
Sat, Jul 02 226 1058 | Sat, Jul 23 144 743

Fri, Aug 12 117 971 | Sat, Jul 16 145 725
Sat, Aug 13 172 172 | Sat, Aug 27 105 651
Sat, Sep 03 178 895 | Sat, Aug 13 120 638

Fri, Aug 19 139 863 | Sat, Jul 30 116 602
Fri, Jul 15 169 855 | Sat, Sep 03 85 500
Sat, Jul 16 163 807 | Sat, Jul 09 86 455
Sat, Jul 23 153 801 | Sun, Sep 04 78 445


Lottery results became available about 9 PM March 23 (Pacific Time).

- - - Timeline - - -
March 24:  Preview results by logging into your account and view your lottery application.  Acceptance period begins April 1.

April 1:  Mini- On-sale.  Any remaining space opens for real time web reservations for the remainder of the season.  On-sale opens at 7 AM Pacific Time (No phone reservations)

April 1- April 30:  Accept or decline if you won a date from the lottery. You must complete your trip information and pay the $15 per person reservation fee to claim your reservation.

Cancellations and declined space will be added back to the reservation calendar within 24 hours at a random time.

April 30:  Deadline closes at midnight Eastern Time. You must accept and pay the reservation fee, or the reservation will be canceled.

May 1:  All unclaimed dates are canceled and released for web reservations (space is released within 24 hours at a random time).
Posted by: splake

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/24/16 05:44 AM

Disappointed - unsuccessful again this year. However, I am not sure if I understand how the lottery works. My first pick was Sunday 7/31 which shows no spots left, but my first alternate date (Sunday 8/7) still shows 6 spots open. My 10th and 15th choices also show available quota. Do they not continue through the applications and fill the spots until they've all been processed? I'm not sure why I couldn't have been awarded a permit for 8/7 when it was my first alternate and there are more than enough spots available to award it to me. I appreciate any insight you guys can give me to help better understand it!
Posted by: Bullet777

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/24/16 06:41 AM

Have you tried clicking on Lottery Applications rather than Current Reservations?

I thought I missed out too, but when I went to the right place 'Lottery Applications' I found that I was in fact successful with my 1st choice.
Posted by: Briang191

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/24/16 06:44 AM

I won the lottery for June 11th. I didn't fully understand the conditions of MT Whitney in June will after the lottery closed. From reading online June will is the early season and snow will be a major factor. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. I'll be declining my entry. Has anyone on the form had success joining a random group? I'll be searching this thread for other options.

April 1 see what dates are left and may 1 check for the random release.
Posted by: splake

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/24/16 07:02 AM

If the April 1 sale this year is anything like April 1 of last year, I would almost say don't bother. All remaining available summer openings disappeared literally within seconds. May 1 you may have better luck due to the randomness of it. And then throughout the season some openings do appear at random.
Posted by: eje67

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/24/16 07:52 AM

Originally Posted By: splake
Disappointed - unsuccessful again this year. However, I am not sure if I understand how the lottery works. My first pick was Sunday 7/31 which shows no spots left, but my first alternate date (Sunday 8/7) still shows 6 spots open. My 10th and 15th choices also show available quota. Do they not continue through the applications and fill the spots until they've all been processed? I'm not sure why I couldn't have been awarded a permit for 8/7 when it was my first alternate and there are more than enough spots available to award it to me. I appreciate any insight you guys can give me to help better understand it!


Same thing happened to me. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that the list is showing first picks only. Your first pick date was someone else's backup date, and when their application was processed during the lotter their first choice date was not available so they got your date instead. The list does not reflect that though, it only shows the number of applications/people who selected your first pick date as their first pick date.

Quote:
This data is from the first choice only. When alternate choices are considered the number of people requesting a date is greatly increased.
Posted by: UglyOldMan

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/24/16 10:56 AM

I don't understand the lottery either... My first choice date shows availability that is greater than the number of people in my party. Why wasn't I chosen? Could it be that some people already cancelled on that date? Or the website isn't accurate?
Posted by: splake

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/24/16 12:22 PM

eje67 - I wasn't going by the application results. I went to the recreation.gov site and searched again and it shows R on days where there are no available spots and an X with a number of permits available on other dates. For example, right now at least, August 1 shows available quota of 5.

Now of course the issue could be that the website just isn't accurate right now.
Posted by: UglyOldMan

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/24/16 03:05 PM

same here except on my first choice....
Posted by: Frankie Bones

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/24/16 04:25 PM

Fortunate -- 1st choice awarded for 4 starting August 19th. Good luck everyone!
Posted by: Barbara

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/24/16 04:49 PM

Last year I didn't get anything in the lottery but was able to score 4 spots for the exact dates I wanted in August, when I went to the site on May 1. Ans even looking on May 2 and 3, there were still spots for 4 in various dates in August (overnight). So go back May 1, and keep checking throughout the day, because they are not all released at once, as Steve said.
Posted by: eje67

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/24/16 06:18 PM

Originally Posted By: splake
eje67 - I wasn't going by the application results. I went to the recreation.gov site and searched again and it shows R on days where there are no available spots and an X with a number of permits available on other dates.


The plot thickens. ; ) It's showing 2 available spots on my first pick (August 30th). I wonder what the deal is?
Posted by: LuvAdventure2014

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/24/16 06:30 PM

Hi -

I received a confirmation email when I submitted my app back in Feb. I have not received an email with the results for my lottery app. I have a confirmation #. Is there a way to search for results by confirmation #?

I also logged into my recreation.gov account and my lottery app is not listed.

Any idea how I find out the status of my app?

Thank you,

Paula
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/24/16 11:15 PM

splake, eje67, UglyOldMan, LuvAdventure2014:

If you see slots available for any of your choice of dates, it is my guess that people have already cancelled the slots they won. It is highly unlikely that any dates in June through September had any remaining slots left after the lottery process ran. Also, when you talk about seeing slots available, make SURE you are looking at the overnight or day use displays.

Those slots that you can see will become available at 7 AM on April 1. But good luck, since they vanish in seconds. You are likely to have better chances on May 1.   On April 1, using the recreation.gov website to grab available slots, you will have better chances of success if you practice: Click "update availability" repeatedly until the 7 AM time they show available. When the "A" for available shows up, click it, then click Book Permit -- as fast as you can! Make sure your group size is already set correctly.

Posted by: eje67

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/25/16 09:22 AM

Thanks Steve C, I submitted an inquiry on the Forest Service website and they confirmed that the available slots were cancellations, and that all dates in July, August and September were filled by the lottery. (Really quick turnaround on the inquiry!)
Posted by: splake

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/25/16 09:59 AM

Thanks Steve - that makes sense. Last year I was unsuccessful in the lottery, on April 1, and then on May 1, but I did find a permit for early August sometime early in the summer. I didn't make it to the top due to illness (possibly altitude, but I felt bad for the next 3 days so who knows?), so I'm itching to try again this year.
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/25/16 10:28 AM

splake, good luck this year! Coming from so far, give yourself a little more time to acclimate. Best way is to drive up to Horseshoe Meadows and spend two nights before you attempt a day hike. That will really help with the AMS issues.
Posted by: Intrepid

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/26/16 06:15 PM

Hi all,
Readers of this blog may remember me from my aborted attempt on the mountain last October when I was snookered by a heavy snowfall.
I am up for another shot, however was not successful in the lottery despite requesting 15 midweek slots in August/September. Am now wondering whether I can risk a couple of thousand hard earned on the chance of picking up a walk in permit?
Of course I will be exhausting all other avenues before I resort to those extreme measures.
I have to admit that I felt cheated last year so am eager to take on the challenge again!
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/26/16 09:43 PM

Hi Intrepid,
My guess is that there will be an abundance of walk-in permits available this summer. Which is good, ...for the reasons below. However here is the really bad part:

Due to the road construction on Whitney Portal Road, there will be a period, likely during most of the prime hiking season, that there will be NO parking allowed on the side of the road where most of the overflow parking has been in the past summers.

Also, due to the road construction and the limited parking availability, people MUST have a parking permit to park anywhere near Whitney Portal. People who snagged a permit in the lottery will be given ONE parking permit per hiking party.

And for the worst part: People getting walk-in permits will NOT be getting a parking permit. They MUST arrange transportation to the trail head that does not require parking.

So... if you can arrange a shuttle service, or can hitch hike to the portal, you will be ok. Shuttle services are few, and are listed in the first post of the Road Construction thread.
Posted by: Intrepid

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/27/16 08:58 PM

Hi Steve,
Yes the roadworks and parking (i.e. lack of it, looks like a real issue). It seems that there is a real risk that I could turn up for a walk in permit only to be told 'Yes we have permits but we are not issuing them because of the road congestion and shortage of parking'
At least that is the message I am getting from the posts about the road construction.
I am hoping to maybe pick something up on 4/1. It would be great to have some certainty before I launch from 'down under'
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/28/16 12:11 AM

Originally Posted By: Intrepid
Hi Steve,
Yes the roadworks and parking (i.e. lack of it, looks like a real issue). It seems that there is a real risk that I could turn up for a walk in permit only to be told 'Yes we have permits but we are not issuing them because of the road congestion and shortage of parking'
At least that is the message I am getting from the posts about the road construction.
I am hoping to maybe pick something up on 4/1. It would be great to have some certainty before I launch from 'down under'

This is a quote from my Inyo N.F. contact:

"Walk in permits will be issued if quota space is available. However, walk in permits will not be issued a parking pass so it is essential the party has alternate transportation that does not require parking."

Regardless, your 4/1 (and 5/1 too) plan is best.
Posted by: sarahD

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/29/16 07:18 AM

I was unsuccessful in the lottery so I went the next day and climbed it smile heres to no permit season!
Posted by: 111san

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/29/16 05:21 PM

Hi Guys,

our group got the lottery for the first day of the lottery period - May 1st. We did the hike last year on June 8th and some of us even went up the chute but that was horribly slushy then. I am guessing the snow will be much better on May 1st but anyone with experience around that date know what sort of weather and trail conditions to expect? Our group has used crampons and ice axe before on whitney and shasta but nothing technical. Any idea what the conditions will be like on different sections of the trail from whitney portal, through trail camp, trail crest and onto the summit? Thanks for any info.
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/29/16 10:41 PM

Hi 111san, welcome. Are you day-hiking or spending a night? I'm not sure why you would choose May 1. That is so early that you are guaranteed to have considerable snow to trudge through.

If you pick any day in May in the lottery, it's nearly a sure thing you will get a permit. In fact, you really shouldn't enter the lottery for a May hiking date, unless you are shooting for Memorial weekend. If I were you, I'd decline the permits you got (and save your money), and choose a later date. Starting April 1, Recreation.gov opens up and you can log on and simply pick any date where permits are available. Even then, other overly-anxious people may tie up all the slots. But, if you look at the Unused Permits data, you can see that any day in May and June, except Saturdays in June, you can walk in and pick up a free permit. (Only this year parking permits are required, and they don't give parking permits to walk-ins. So maybe that isn't the wisest choice this year.)

If you go May 1, it will likely be an ok hike, only more difficult due to the miles you will do over snow. Just be SURE you watch the weather and hold back if it is stormy. (But I would choose a later date.)
Posted by: Briang191

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/31/16 07:09 AM

Steve are you able to keep the lottery winning date and also attempt reserving another date on April 1st?
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/31/16 08:26 AM

Originally Posted By: Briang191
Steve are you able to keep the lottery winning date and also attempt reserving another date on April 1st?

Yes. Lottery entry was supposed to be limited to a single application, but that was enforced by staff looking for duplicates. The online system does not have any restrictions, and actually there are no rules against it.

Of course, to keep your first winning date, you have to pay the $15 per hiker fee, and it is non-refundable.
Posted by: WanderingJim

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 03/31/16 10:29 PM

Originally Posted By: eje67
Lottery results are in...unsuccessful for me. I had requested a Tuesday, August 30th day hike (with 8 backup dates, all week days in late or early August), 1 person. I have a Whitney Portal campground reservation for the nights of August 29th and 30th, so the backup plan is to try for an August 30th walk-in permit, as I will already have parking.


Start checking in May when people have canceled dates they won in the lottery for various reasons.

Last year I found better permits than what I got in the lottery.
Posted by: Briang191

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/01/16 07:19 AM

As expected. Didn't have a chance this morning. Not sure how all the dates got reserved so fast. On to my 1st.
Posted by: bagerson

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/01/16 07:32 AM

Good morning everyone,

I won a permit this year (mon-weds trip), but trying to accept the permit from recreation.gov isn't working.

I just get a message "This permit reservation cannot be processed. Please try again later." I've been trying since last night, but no luck.

Is anyone else having this problem?

Thanks!
Posted by: Marty

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/01/16 07:33 AM

Denied again. Had my finger on the key at exactly 10 A.M. for a date with multiple openings in October...but no luck. Actually I had better luck back when they put the paper permits in a closet and used a fan to 'randomize' them!
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/01/16 07:58 AM

Unfortunately, you and dozens of other would-be hikers probably had their fingers on their keyboards, too. The available permits disappear instantly.

May 1, with the permits showing up throughout the day would be better, since people will have to check multiple times, so fewer people will be at the ready.
Posted by: Golden Ram

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/01/16 08:05 AM

Yes, I started clicking at 9:57am. Anyway, Steve C, as people accept and cancel their permits through April, will dates show up randomly during April or does the system hold that inventory until May 1? I thought May 1 was just when not accepted dates are auto-canceled.
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/01/16 08:30 AM

I think if people log in and cancel their reservation, it will show up, and probably "at a random time" over the next 24 hours. But people have already had the several weeks to do that, so what are the chances anyone else will?

The May 1 permits will be all those of the do-nothing people -- those who won in the lottery, but did not log on and either decline or pay for their slots.

I don't have any idea how large a pool that is... maybe I should inquire.
Posted by: sneakyengineer

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/01/16 09:40 AM

Dumb question: why there're permits today?

I saw tons of permits available today right before 10am EDT, e.g., 30 permits for a popular day like 08/14. As stated in the rules, you can accept or decline a winning lottery starting from 04/01. It does't convince me that so many people declined their permits between mid-night and 10am EDT.
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/01/16 09:52 AM

sneaky: Contrary to what you wrote, I believe people were able to log in and decline their slots already. So those 30 slots were simply declined winnings. There aren't any there now. I saw those permits, too, leading up to today.

My guess is that some large groups got many people in their group to apply for the lottery, and more than one of them won slots in the lottery. So all but one logged on and declined their slots, resulting in 30 slots showing up available.
Posted by: Briang191

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/01/16 10:18 AM

Update I able to secure a permit for August 14th. I wasn't successful from my desktop PC. I was successful on my iPhone and this was about 15 mins after my original post this morning. Good luck to everyone on May 1st
Posted by: sneakyengineer

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/01/16 10:25 AM

It makes sense.

Anyway, all weekend permits gone when I woke up and checked the website at 7:01am. :-(
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/01/16 01:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Steve C
I think if people log in and cancel their reservation, it will show up, and probably "at a random time" over the next 24 hours. But people have already had the several weeks to do that, so what are the chances anyone else will?

The May 1 permits will be all those of the do-nothing people -- those who won in the lottery, but did not log on and either decline or pay for their slots.

I don't have any idea how large a pool that is... maybe I should inquire.

So I inquired... May 1 will see far better chances, but you will need to check often, due to that "random time over the next 24 hours".
Last year, "more than 1,000 groups" forfeited their reservations on May 1.
Posted by: bruce

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/04/16 09:08 AM

I think a large percentage of those do-nothing people simply forgot to log in and pay. I was one of them last year, but fortunately was able to scramble and get another date (probably somebody else's spot who also forgot to pay). They really need to send a reminder email on April 1st. Either that, have you pay it all at once like before, or give you the chance to pay it as soon as the results are known.
Posted by: Halfdomer Homer

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/07/16 07:36 AM

Snagged me a single day Saturday Sept 10 that was just sitting there online, cya on the MT!
Posted by: 111san

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/07/16 11:24 AM

Hi Steve,

thanks for the reply. I had put in 15 dates in june, august and may for a group of 8 but this is the one I got the permit for unfortunately. Our plan is for a day hike from whitney portal. From what I understand there will be snow/ice for most of the trail even before reaching Trail Camp? Ideally of course we would only need the crampons for beyond Trail Camp on the chute and maybe microspikes from Trail Crest to Summit. Our plan will also include arriving the morning of the previous day and camp at whitney portal (I forget the campground name) and start the hike at around 12am that night after sleeping through most of the day. So I guess one factor for us to consider while looking at potential walk-in permits in June is the availability of this car campsite at whitney portal.

Thanks.
Posted by: heatpro

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/11/16 03:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Briang191
I won the lottery for June 11th. I didn't fully understand the conditions of MT Whitney in June will after the lottery closed. From reading online June will is the early season and snow will be a major factor. Someone correct me if I'm wrong. I'll be declining my entry. Has anyone on the form had success joining a random group? I'll be searching this thread for other options.

April 1 see what dates are left and may 1 check for the random release.


I went on June 9th in 2013 and there was only a bit of snow left on the switchbacks where the cables are. We all made it to the summit without any gear and it was very safe in my opinion. I do not know what the weather is shaping up to be like this year but I am hoping it will not be an issue as I won a permit for my group on June 20th.
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/11/16 05:58 PM

The last three years were really dry, so the snow cleared earlier than usual. This year is bringing more snow, but it still is below average.

Mid-June conditions is a question mark right now.

It is easier to get an unused (no-show) permit than joining a random group. Only this year, people without reserved permits will not get a parking permit for Whitney Portal (required this year due to construction and no parking allowed along the road). If you can snag a ride with a "random group" you can probably pick up a no-show permit pretty easily.
Posted by: 111san

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/13/16 03:43 PM

Hi Steve,

was looking at other threads and people seem to prefer the Mountaineers route early season since its shorter. Does that need a separate permit or is it the same as for the Main Trail? Also I am guessing the chute on the Mountaineer's route is steeper than the chute on the Main trail. But is there anything else that makes it more technical? Where can I learn more about that route and what are your thoughts on giving that a try on May 1st? None of us have any experience with technical ice climbing so if that is necessary it will immediately rule it out of course but am hoping the gear list does not change.

Thanks
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/13/16 04:57 PM

The MR as a day hike requires exactly the same permit as the main trail: DAY USE of Mt. Whitney Zone.
But overnight use is outside the lottery -- you need the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek JM34 permit. Quota is 10 per day, 6 are reservable 6 months in advance, 4 are available to walk-ins at 11 AM the day before starting the hike.

The MR is shorter and steeper. But if you have to tramp through snow, shorter is better. The MR chute is only a little steeper than the Main Trail version. The Final 400 is definitely more technical than anything on the main trail -- steep third class. Guides rope-up their clients. Most without guides just go up. There is an alternate "Easy walk-off" route that is not as steep, but in May might have some nasty steep icy sections, so crampons and ice axe would be practically mandatory.

The other part of the MR: If you don't really know the route, you can get off track and waste lots of time thrashing around. Also, the Ebersbacher Ledges are legendary -- fun for many, terrifying for a few.

Here are the Mountaineers Route info and links   Find the link in the first post in the Reference forum.

Posted by: Andrewzuber

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/26/16 04:10 PM

Hey Steve,

Any idea what a good time is to start checking about these on May 1st? Should I be clicking refresh on the recreation.gov site at 5am like a maniac?

We won the lottery and summited last year but no luck this time around so we're hoping for a better chance now. Thanks for all the info you provide here!
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/26/16 08:28 PM

Well, recreation.gov runs on Eastern time, so I'm going to start checking at 9 PM Pacific time.
Posted by: Andrewzuber

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/27/16 08:27 AM

Good to know! (I assume you mean 9pm PST the night before.)
Thank you!
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 04/27/16 08:30 AM

like!
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 05/01/16 11:11 AM

Hmmm.... I started checking at 9 PM Pacific time, and later, but didn't see ANY permits showing up. Not until after 10 or 11 AM Pacific have I seen any more permits.

That is for day hike permits. Looking at overnight, there is nothing as I write this.
Posted by: Pistachio

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 05/01/16 12:36 PM

Just got four permits for August 2, 2016 as relates to the day hike.

I have also been repeatedly checking the site since 9 PM last evening and recently noted the available slots.

I guess they are releasing the available permits currently.

Best of luck to all.
Posted by: MtP

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 05/01/16 04:26 PM

Yay!

I got nothing from the lotto. But my primary choice was available today. Twice in fact. I gave it a pass the first time I saw it at 2am edt. It was gone when I woke up, but this evening more slots opened up on that day.
Posted by: eje67

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 05/01/16 05:05 PM

Today I was able to reserve a Tuesday, August 30th day hike permit (which was my first choice in the lottery). The first week of April I was also able to get a Tuesday, September 20th day hike permit, so I'll need to choose one or the other, or hike twice! I have Onion Valley and Whitney Portal campground reservations prior to both dates so I'm pretty much set.
Posted by: Andrewzuber

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 05/01/16 05:57 PM

I started looking last night as well but didn't see much - same with this morning. I tried to grab one and it was gone by the time I'd clicked on it, but was eventually able to get 3 permits for August 1st. I also seem to have nabbed the last available site at Whitney Portal on July 31st which was exciting. I do see quite a few more available now, though August looks pretty limited.

Looking forward to doing this again this year! We summited last June and hit some snow on the way up past Trail Camp so it'll be nice to give it a bit more time to reside before we go for it this year. Also doing a single day. We camped for three nights last year. I never want to carry a tent that far again.
Posted by: sneakyengineer

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 05/01/16 10:54 PM

There're tons of permits in the system right now (well, except weekends) :-)
Posted by: Halfdomer Homer

Re: Mt Whitney Permit Lottery 2016 - 05/02/16 08:07 AM

Yayyy another weekend snag! Cya'll up there on Sat July 30th! There were at least 14 more for that Sat just now.