Jan 10, 2013 at 9:11 pm #1297881
i am planning a hike in july along the JMT, starting at happy isles to whitney portal. i am looking into permits since applications are soon opening up. i will be in a group of 2-3 hikers. i have read that 60% of permits are available my reservation and 40% are walkup. first question is how many are available per day (essentially, 60% of WHAT)?
also my schedule is pretty flexible, but others may not be. anyone know the busier days for permits? i would think sat/sun starts would be harder to get, but what about monday/friday starts? ive seen the data from permits used (based on date) for mt whitney day/overnight hikes from previous years, but nothing for the JMT. does anything like that exist?
im hoping july wont be as busy as august thus easier to get permits.
also if i am unfortunate enuff not to get the permits in the lottery, how plausable is it to get 3 walk up permits?
ACJan 11, 2013 at 3:14 am #1942780
If you know your dates, then applying for the advance permits would be worth it. However, if you need a flexible schedule, then I'd try walking in, but you would need to get there early to have the greatest chance to score 3, I would think. I went in August, walked in in the afternoon and there were two left. The way it worked was they gave me a same-day permit for the first campsite at Yosemite Valley, and my JMT permit officially started the following day.
I don't know about stats, but IIRC, the website shows how many total permits are available for each day in the summer season. I seem to recall a .pdf attachment on the site showing how many permits would be issued.Jan 11, 2013 at 7:58 am #1942825
Regarding walk up permits :
if you are willing to get in line at the Wilderness office very early in the morning (like 4-4:30am) then you should have a good chance at a permit for 3.
I've gotten in line twice around 6 am and each time was able to get a permit for one, but the second time it was the last slot of the day.
In July, your assumption that mid week days are less crowded than weekends may not be true. It doesn't take a big crowd to fill up the permit slots.Jan 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm #1943009
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
So…I am a bit confused I think…
There are three of us planning on hiking the JMT over three weeks in August…exact dates TBD and somewhat flexible. I was under the impression that if I put in for our permits at the first opportunity in February we would essentially be in line first and get what we wanted….
What is the lottery and how does it work? Do I need to be careful about the dates I pick???? Any advice? I will be cutting it very close with vacation time…at this point I'm flexible but once I buy plane tickets obviously that flexibility goes away.
Hmmm…..Jan 11, 2013 at 6:51 pm #1943013
"There are three of us planning on hiking the JMT over three weeks in August…exact dates TBD and somewhat flexible."
Northbound or southbound?
Northbound, you have to contend with the Mount Whitney Lottery since you are actually starting at the bottom of the Whitney Trail.
Southbound, you have to contend with the permit situation in Yosemite Valley.
I've seen frustrated hikers come up with all sorts of creative ways to work within the permit system. For example, they start midway, like at Lake Edison, then travel all the way to one end, then come back to the midway point and travel all the way to the other end.
–B.G.–Jan 11, 2013 at 7:00 pm #1943015
"Fax (preferred): Please complete this reservation form [400 kb PDF] on your computer, then print and fax it to 209/372-0739. (You can fax 24 hours/day, seven days/week.)
"Faxes and letters will be processed before phone calls. To be considered for this priority, faxes can be received anytime between 5 pm and 7:30 am PT. Faxes and letters received by 7:30 am will then be processed randomly. Faxes received during business hours will be processed on first-come, first-served basis along with phone calls."
Your permit will be for a specific start date. On the Request you can specify a date and two alternates. Or you can pick a date and add that you can start "up to 2 days earlier or later", for instance. (just type it into the form instead of the 2 alternate dates,)Jan 11, 2013 at 7:15 pm #1943021
those planning to do JMT north bound starting at Mt Whiteny will generally have to contend with the Whitney Lottery.
here is the linkJan 11, 2013 at 7:56 pm #1943031
Bob said –
"Northbound, you have to contend with the Mount Whitney Lottery since you are actually starting at the bottom of the Whitney Trail."
The Inyo National Forest site says –
"The Mt. Whitney Lottery is for:
Day hike in the Mt.Whitney Zone
Overnight – Mt. Whitney trail"
If you are not camping in the Whitney Zone are you subject to the lottery?
I have acquired a number of walk-in permits for northbound trips. No lottery involved.
Edit: I spoke to Inyo NF. Lottery IS involved for all northbound trips. As a walk-in the Lottery has already allocated the requested permits, but each time I was there there happened to be permits available.Jan 11, 2013 at 8:54 pm #1943043
"If you are not camping in the Whitney Zone are you subject to the lottery?"
If you start northbound from Whitney Portal, after about 2.5 miles you will be entering the Whitney Zone. At that point, you better have one of two types of wilderness permits. One would be the Whitney Dayhike permit, and the other would be the Whitney Overnight permit. Of course, you don't need to have a permit at all if you intend to successfully dodge the Forest Service wilderness rangers. But then, if you managed to evade them, get over the pass, and get into Sequoia National Park… now what are you going to use for a permit when a Sequoia ranger stops you?
Yes, it is possible to get a walk-in permit in Lone Pine. Each time that I go into the permit station I see a line of backpackers queued up for that chance.
–B.G.–Jan 11, 2013 at 10:34 pm #1943063
there is actually a daily on site mini lottery for available walk-in spots.
all those milling around pull a number out of the rangers hat to determine the order in which you go up to the desk to ask for your walk in permit (cancellations and such). when the daily cancellations have been filled you are out of luck.Jan 12, 2013 at 12:38 pm #1943193
@jenmitolLocale: In my dreams....
So this is why I am confused: if the faxes are processed in the order in which they are received, what's the lottery about? A lottery usually means they take everyone together then pick out of a hat. That doesn't correlate with "faxes before phone calls, in the order in which they are received…"
We are planning to start at Yosemite and hike southbound.Jan 12, 2013 at 12:47 pm #1943196
"We are planning to start at Yosemite and hike southbound."
Then you won't be involved with the Whitney Lottery.
–B.G.–Jan 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm #1943197
"Faxes and letters will be processed before phone calls.
"To be considered for this priority, faxes can be received anytime between 5 pm and 7:30 am PT. Faxes and letters received by 7:30 am will then be processed randomly. [Poorly written IMHO]
"Faxes received during business hours will be processed on first-come, first-served basis along with phone calls."
So, if you get your application in by 7:30 AM, you and all the other "early birds" will be processed in a random order (lottery). >>>>(They could use the time-stamp on the incoming fax, but want to "level-the-field" for people who might not have the benefit of an optimal schedule, a bank of fax machines, or 22 friends simultaneously submitting applications.)
After the Pre-7:30am applications are processed the Post-7:30am fax and letter application are processed in arrival-time-order, with incoming phone calls getting the next available consideration.Jan 12, 2013 at 2:14 pm #1943213
You can get creative with your start point. There are a number of places to start other than the valley. Possibly get one of those then day hike the last section either before or after your trip. Ninjas able to do this a few years back last minute. New day hiked the TM to YV after the trip. Actually made logistics easier for us.Jan 14, 2013 at 5:16 am #1943615
I agree with Greg.
I did the JMT three times and every time, I just get in line at the TM early in the morning and I was able to get the permit.
I would assume weekends might be busier then weekdays.
If you are flexible, just get there and things will work out. There is a lot to do in the Park.Jan 17, 2013 at 1:34 pm #1944761
There is NOT a lottery for JMT permits starting in Yosemite and hiking SOUTHBOUND. For southbound you get your permit one of two ways: 1) fax in the form in advance when the permit window opens and select your dates and alternates, number of people in your party,etc. With the glut of people doing this, you may or may not be successful in getting your #1 choice of dates or even a permit. The only thing you can do to increase your chance of success is to submit the form immediately when the permit request window opens and have afew alternate dates.
(Since you have three people, I would recommend submitting an application for an advance permit.)
2) The second way to get a permit is to walk-in. As already noted, there are a certain percentage of permits held for walk-ins, but you need to queue up early at about 0400 to get in line to compete for the walk-in permits. Also, cancellations or no-shows from reserved permit-holders are made available at about noon to walk-in customers. Walk-in permits are distributed as "first-come, first-served."
If you score a walk-in permit it will probably be administered to officially start the JMT the following day, with a same day permit to camp at Yosemite Valley, which is along the JMT route anyway, so in effect you are starting that day. Your JMT permit issued here covers you for the entire route, including of course Mt. Whitney and out Whitney Portal.
If you are doing the JMT NORTHBOUND, then as Bob and other posters have said, you need to compete in the Whitney permit lottery to start at Whitney Portal. But again, since you're going SO, you don't need to worry about this.
Have a great trip.
SusanJan 17, 2013 at 2:20 pm #1944772
Faxes submitted after 5pm and prior to 7:30 am are processed in Random Order – Lottery.
After that, for the remainder of the business day it is first-come-first-served, with phone applications getting the next available "processor", ahead of post 7:30 faxes and the mail bag.
See my posts above.
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