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Permits for High Sierra climbs?
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By Neil R
Feb 27, 2013
I understand you need wilderness permits to get to most climbs and over-nights in the Sierra.

Do the wilderness quotas fill quickly during the summer? Even during the week? Would you recommend I try to make reservations now?

I see that Whitney, in particular, fills quickly so I'll make a reservation for Iceberg lake. It also costs $15 for an over-night permit, do permits for over night stays in other climbing destinations in the Sierra cost anything? Or, are they free as long as you get one based on the quota?

I'm really excited about all the climbing I see for the summer, but less excited to deal with so many permits... Thanks for any information you have!

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By Kirk B.
From Boise, ID
Feb 27, 2013
belay slaving on some route I forgot the name of w...
There are a BUNCH of amazing places, man. Go somewhere else. Permit, shmermit. Ever been to Hamilton Dome? The Evolutions? Tehipite? There are many places to disappear into. Check it out. You'll return entranced.

FLAG
By FrankPS
From Atascadero, CA
Feb 27, 2013
Yes, permits are required for overnight stays in the backcountry of the Sierra. The permit, itself, doesn't cost anything. Starting March 1, you can make reservations in the Inyo National Forest to get a permit (up to six months in advance) and the reservation is about $8 per person. You still have to pick up the permit, but the reservation system is nice. That is handled by recreation.gov.

recreation.gov/unifSearchInter...

You can just walk into a ranger station/or the visitor center in Lone Pine without a reservation the day before your departure to get a permit, without a reservation. There's more of a chance that the particular trailhead you want is full, but you don't have to have a reservation.

It's my experience that you are much more likely to get a permit for a weekday rather than a weekend, but that depends on which peak you are doing. Whitney has a slightly different reservation system, as it is based on a lottery, which none of the others have.

Most trailheads have a quota system, but not all.

And good for you for wanting to know about the permit, and not blowing it off.

FLAG
By Fat Dad
From Los Angeles, CA
Feb 27, 2013
The Inyo National Forest has permit information (quotas, etc.) on their website. Google it and you'll find it. Apart from the Whitney area and some popular passes, like Bishop Pass, its usually not that hard to score something.

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By vincent L.
From Redwood City
Feb 27, 2013
First day of school
There are plenty of classic routes that can be done Car-to-car also .

It might be a long day but it beats carrying a camping equipment in and out , unless an overnighter is something you're into to do ...

FLAG
By Martin le Roux
From Superior, CO
Feb 27, 2013
Stairway to Heaven
FrankPS wrote:
Whitney has a slightly different reservation system, as it is based on a lottery, which none of the others have.


Just to clarify, the lottery is only for the hiking route up Mt. Whitney. Climbing routes such as the Mountaineers Route, East Face & East Buttress are accessed via the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek and are subject to the regular permit system, not the lottery.

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By Mark Davenport
Feb 27, 2013
Martin le Roux wrote:
Just to clarify, the lottery is only for the hiking route up Mt. Whitney. Climbing routes such as the Mountaineers Route, East Face & East Buttress are accessed via the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek and are subject to the regular permit system, not the lottery.


I've gotten permits for the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek (access to Iceberg Lake sites and routes on Whitney and Russell) during peak season for the last two years in a row... and in both cases, there was confusion amongst the rangers and other employees at the Lone Pine station as to just how those North Fork permits are distributed. At various times and by various people we were instructed to get in the lottery with the hikers (this is not correct), to show up for first-come first-served permits each day at 11am, to show up each day before 11am for first-come first served permits, that there are always four permits for North Fork distributed for a given day, that there aren't, etc.

Just be patient, persistent, and polite, and you should be able to rustle up a permit after one or two visits to the ranger station. If you don't succeed for a given day, just go climb another amazing route that doesn't require a permit/can be done car-to-car, like the earlier comments suggested.

Having said all that, Iceberg Lake is a great place to camp, and routes on Mount Russell in particular are some of the best I've done in the Sierras.

FLAG
By Chris Horton
From Tucson AZ
Feb 27, 2013
Awesomeness!
Speaking of which. Who wants to climb Whitney and Russel in the end of August or beginning of September? I'm about to get permits but have no partner(s).

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By Neil R
Feb 27, 2013
Thank you all so much for this wealth of information! I can't wait to explore this summer :)

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By Garret Nuzzo-Jones
From Salt Lake City, UT
Feb 27, 2013
Cleaning up in Jenny Lake.
It is very possible to get walk-in permits too, especially for the less popular trailheads. Going on a weekday practically guarantees you'll get a walk-in permit.

If the trailhead you want is full consider an alternative destination. If you pick an out of the way spot in the Sierra you can have an entire drainage to yourself. I really enjoyed having the whole Gable Lakes Basin to myself for a night. This was on the 4th of July weekend no less!
Peak 12808
Peak 12808

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