Hiking Mt. Whitney: How to enter the lottery for a 2023 permit
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If you happen to’re hoping to climb Mt. Whitney in 2023, Wednesday is the start of the drama. That’s when U.S. Forest Service officers open the monthlong lottery for permits at Recreation.gov.
The lottery might be open Feb. 1 via March 1, with candidates obliged to decide on whether or not they plan to climb in a day or over a number of days. Outcomes might be introduced on-line March 15, when good or dangerous information might be posted to hikers’ private profiles on the web site. Final 12 months, 29% of lottery entrants received excellent news. The 12 months earlier than, 28%.
At 14,505 ft (or 14,494, relying on which skilled you ask), Mt. Whitney is the very best peak within the Sierra Nevada and the contiguous U.S. The most typical path to the highest contains 6,200 ft of vertical achieve from the trailhead at Whitney Portal, 14 miles west of Lone Pine in Inyo County.
It may be harmful, particularly when snow stays on the path. The Inyo County Sheriff’s Division reported a minimum of 4 Whitney climbing deaths in 2021 and 2022, lots of them “in spring or early summer season as a result of falls on snow and ice.” Regardless of drought situations all through the West, the Nationwide Climate Service and California Department of Water Resources officers have reported an unusually heavy snowpack within the Sierra Nevada to date this winter.
“At increased elevations the snow may linger as late as July,” mentioned Lisa Cox, public info officer for Inyo Nationwide Forest, in an electronic mail Tuesday. “Folks will want ice axes, crampons, and extra expertise (and coaching) to journey on snow and ice-covered slopes. This shouldn’t essentially deter individuals from going, however [be] ready to show round earlier than reaching the vacation spot of your selection, a.ok.a the height.”
The trailhead is 8,374 ft above sea stage. From there, the preferred route is a 22-mile route up the mountain and again, together with a stretch of 99 switchbacks close to the highest. In all, the path sometimes entails 12-14 hours of climbing (and packing out your personal waste in a WAG bag, named for Waste Aggregation and Gelling).
U.S. Forest Service officers call the route “non-technical, but strenuous” when it’s freed from snow, which is normally from July to late September.
Aspiring hikers might want to give the dimensions of their group (most 15) and the day(s) they hope to hike, with as much as 10 alternate selections allowed.
Winners must pay a $6 reservation charge per allow and a $15 recreation charge per particular person and fill in reservation particulars by 9 p.m. April 21. If there are dates left open, would-be climbers can search reservations online (first come, first served; no telephone purposes) starting at 7 a.m. April 22. Although walk-up permits have been attainable prior to now, there are none this 12 months.
The overwhelming majority of hikers go up throughout “quota season,” Could 1 via Nov. 1, when officers set a each day entry restrict of 100 day-use climbers and 60 in a single day climbers. The Forest Service forbids resale or switch of permits, and there aren’t any rain checks.
Inyo Nationwide Forest’s Cox famous that some climbers who win the lottery later cancel their permits or scale back the dimensions of their group, “so permits could pop up once more.” She instructed common checks of Recreation.gov.
In 2022, officers took 26,767 purposes Feb. 1 via March 15 and turned away 71% of candidates. The 29% of group leaders who received (that’s, those that have been awarded one in all their requested dates) included 2,739 planning in a single day climbs and 4,243 searching for day-use permits (that are solely good for twenty-four hours, midnight to midnight).