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Whitney Lottery

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Whitney Lottery

Postby NW » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:34 pm

I know it's hard to say but what's everyone's general opinion/experience with getting dates you apply for with the lottery? I'm planning a trip for 2 mid-late July but the thing that's killing me is the airfare. It's not killing me price wise thus far but there are tickets right now for the time I can go for $836! That's round trip, 2 people! I live in eastern Canada so yep that's a sweet deal. I just don't want to buy them and then not get the dates I ask for. I want to put as many possible on my application to increase my chances but if I buy my tickets that limits the dates available. I can only go down for about a week, maybe slightly more. So you see my dilemma. If I wait I'll probably pay double that amount for ticket prices, if I'm lucky! But if I buy them I limit my chances of getting to do that trail on Whitney. I want to do the main trail because it'll be the highest I've ever been so want to go an easy way until I know whether I'm really sensitive to even that altitude or not. So opinions/experiences would be very helpful and I know that even if everyone here has managed to get the place they want doesn't mean I will, haha. Just looking for odds.
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Re: Whitney Lottery

Postby ytimk » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:57 pm

I'm in the same boat as you, I have a 2 person trip planned. I have every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday as entry dates for every week in July and August filled out. I live on the east like you. Basically I have just accepted the fact that I won't be able to plan the trip or buy tickets until April when I hear if I got a date or not.

If that doesn't work out I plan on going out to California anyway next summer to visit my family. So my backup plan is to take all my gear anyway and call while I'm out there to see if there are any walk up permits available during the time I'm there. My plan C is climb another mountain that has 13k or more elevation. Like you, I want to see how my body acts at those altitudes and I've been really excited to do some hiking that area, and get on a mountain with some altitude for a long time.

Shoot me a message if you get some firm dates and if we are there at the same time maybe we can meet up and trek together.
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Re: Whitney Lottery

Postby Princess Buttercup » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:31 pm

There are usually plenty o f walk-in premits, especially on midweek dates. So even if you don't get the permits through the lottery, it's not bad to try the walk-in process (although the showing up at 0800 and entering yet another lottery is just kinda annoying).

You can see all the unused permits here:

http://www.whitneyzone.com/wz/ubbthread ... 6#Post3436

Good luck!
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Re: Whitney Lottery

Postby Day Hiker » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:33 pm

I think there is a good chance of getting dates Monday through Thursday, but it's not certainty, of course. For weekends in late July, not so much. In either case, don't buy airfare yet if your plans absolutely must include Whitney.

If you're willing to do a different peak, just buy the airfare and see what happens. But since you're holding off and asking about probabilities first, it sounds like it really has to be Whitney.

Are you really sure you can't get cheap flights in March, 4 months in advance of your trip? Where are you looking to fly? LAS? Or ONT? BUR? LAX? From YYZ? You could drive to DTW first and probably save a couple-hundred bucks on each ticket (and you would go through customs in the car instead of in the airport).
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Re: Whitney Lottery

Postby Bark Eater » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:49 pm

I posted for a bunch of mid-week dates for this past summer and got my first choice. Not saying that it will happen again but it worked for me. Agree there is an incredible amount of hiking and climbing in the immediate area and if for some reason Whitney didn't work out there are lots of amazing alternatives nearby with many fewer people. We did Boundary Peak on our trip last summer (in addition to Whitney) and had the whole mountain to ourselves the entire day. BTW, at least this past year they gave out something like 2x day hike permits relative to overnights. So if you can physically handle a day hike that might increase your probability.

Lots of advice on Whitney at www.whitneyportalstore.com
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Re: Whitney Lottery

Postby phydeux » Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:54 pm

As stated above, there's a very good chance you can get a walk-up permit mid-week in the summer with a few days flexibility. I haven't been in the Whitney Zone for over a decade, but I used to do it all the time. If (for some bizarre reason) you can't get a permit, you can always try nearby Mt. Langely (+14K), the Meysan Lakes basin (Mts Irvine, Mallory, LeConte, and the great summit view from Lone Pine Peak), White Mountain (easiest 14K peak, and check out the area's interesting ecology), or a multitude of other peaks.
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Re: Whitney Lottery

Postby mrchad9 » Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:48 pm

If paying a few extra bucks isn't a big deal for you, I wouldn't hesitate to enter the lottery twice. Whatever the odds are, that doubles your chances.

I did that my first time (under two different names), ended up getting them both, but one was a lot closer to my preferred date than the other.

Even with a good shot at a walkup, worth the extra money to me to have a chance to use the night dropbox and avoid the line/speech.
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Re: Whitney Lottery

Postby NW » Wed Dec 22, 2010 7:51 pm

I'm starting to lean towards the cheap ticket option. When I first looked them up they were $1200 so when I saw $830 I couldn't stop thinking about it. Mount Whitney is what got me started on this trip planning but I'm also psyched about going to Yosemite and if there's other sweet mountains around there that aren't as big of a pain to get on then that could work too. I am worried about the poor mailman though if I buy tickets now... after February I'll be stalking him all week until I get a reply. So far I've found driving down to Maine then flying to L.A. to be the cheapest, with a flight to Portland a close second. I am planning on trying for Whitney in the middle of the week, like a Tuesday or Wednesday, so hopefully that'll increase my odds.
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Re: Whitney Lottery

Postby Princess Buttercup » Wed Dec 22, 2010 10:49 pm

1000Pks wrote:Last fall they told me you need 48 hours in advance to do a day climb.


The 48 hour advance is for reservations only. Inside of that time frame, you can obtain a walk-in permit.

1000Pks] So walk in is not quite as it once was.[/quote]

I haven't used a reservation in the WZ for a few years now, only did the walk-in thing. But I do have the advantage of living here and being to flex my schedule a bit to be at the IAVC in LP first thing.

[quote="1000Pks wrote:
I hear the odds of a permit are 3:1 against, but they here say otherwise, I would not know.


And you don't have a source, as well, as usual. The link above sends you to the stats. Run some numbers and get back to us.

1000Pks wrote: Usually all the spots are filled come the permit day...


Don't you just love speculation?
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Re: Whitney Lottery

Postby NW » Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:02 am

What would be suggestions as to a back-up mountain in that height range and area?
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Re: Whitney Lottery

Postby mrchad9 » Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:21 am

There are about 100 options. If you want 14ers Russell and Langley are right there, and others are very close to the north.

If you like class 3 Russell is best. Langley is class 2.
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Re: Whitney Lottery

Postby thexcat » Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:24 am

First year I applied I got my 1st choice. Second year, I didn't get a permit for any of the dates I listed.

NW wrote:I'm also psyched about going to Yosemite and if there's other sweet mountains around there that aren't as big of a pain to get on then that could work too.


There is no shortage of mountains within short distance of Whitney Portal that are well worth climbing!
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Re: Whitney Lottery

Postby Princess Buttercup » Thu Dec 23, 2010 1:35 am

NW wrote:What would be suggestions as to a back-up mountain in that height range and area?


Depends on what you're looking for. An infinite number of possibilities, but are you looking for day hiking? Backpacking? Class 1/2/3/4/5?

If you're looking for a trail to the top, then probably Langley (beautiful approach through Cottonwood Lakes, btw). But if you're up for a bit more of a challenge, there would be a number to choose from.
:D
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