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Inyo quotas show available space

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Inyo quotas show available space

Postby SSSdave » Fri May 01, 2015 5:27 pm

May Day May Day...

Yeah that time of year again and our season is upon us earlier than ever.

Submitted a request today for a wilderness permit reservation at recreation.gov and after considerable pain secured a permit. See my thread under our Backpacking 101 sub-forum. In the process had a good look at the available space for all trailheads that now into early May looks good. However there are already areas of blank holes where large groups apparently secured dates. So anyone going to work on their summer plans in the next couple weeks ought to be able to fit something in without much effort. However by mid month as is usual, the public senses Memorial Day weekend ahead, begins thinking of camping, hiking, backpacking, so those availabilities are likely to shrink. With the extreme drought this year, more groups will be going earlier than late so there is that too for motivation getting reservations set up.

The 9-day permit I reserved was for a start on Saturday July 4 from Coldwater Creek Trailhead in Mammoth Lakes over Duck Pass. Of course a hugely popular starting point right on the holiday and it surprisingly had 17 spots open that I knocked down to 14. A fair indication that space is still easy even on big dates at most popular THs.

Our trip is going to be a really easy lake to lake short hike, semi base camping fest stopping at Duck, Glenn (Ram), Hortense, Virginia, Purple, and then Duck again with 2 layover days in the mix.

David
http://www.davidsenesac.com/Spring_2015 ... 015-1.html



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Re: Inyo quotas show available space

Postby JWreno » Sun May 03, 2015 5:47 pm

Thanks for this timely topic. i haven't reserved out of Inyo since 2011 and obviously things have changed for the busier. I was planning a trip entering at Piute Pass/North Lake and exiting MgGee Pass. I had to reverse the plan because Piute Pass is pretty much all booked up. Nothing for 3 people for all of July until August 25th. I used up 3 slots of the remaining 9 for my entry date for MgGee Pass. Last year I did southbound JMT out of Happy Isles and had to book it 6 months to the day and got my 3rd choice.

I have entered at Cottonwood Pass 3 different times on about 2 week advance request for northbound PCT/JMT hikes. I noticed that it is already getting booked up for several days in July. I guess more people are using this trailhead as an option to do the JMT. Almost all my backpack trips have involved the southern Sierras since 2007. Looks like I need to start focusing on less popular trailheads.
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Re: Inyo quotas show available space

Postby Hobbes » Mon May 04, 2015 7:03 am

Inyo only allows 60% of their trail quotas to be reservable - 40% are held-back for walk-ins. The one exception is Whitney, where it is 100% reservable and conducted from a lottery, but that's only for a Portal entry permit. The same 40% walk-in factor applies if you come from the west and exit to Portal.

Even with reserved permits, the same old 80/20 applies, whereas a portion of those with reservations cancel, etc, freeing up those spaces for walk-ins. SteveC @ the WhitneyZone maintains a list compiled over the years of permits issued, permits used, and available permits for walk-ins. I recall maybe a few days (like the 4th of July) where one couldn't simply walk up and grab a permit, and that's for Whitney.

I've never not been able to get a walk-in permit. And I practice what I preach: we're taking our small RV up to Tuolumne the 3rd week of June sans reservation. I understand for larger groups - especially with kids - there's a demand to have everything planned nice & tidy. But, if you're willing to be flexible, there's no substitute for physically being present and wait listing. (And that's actually a misnomer, because you can almost always grab & go the same day.)

Here's a great story from last year of a PCT hiker discovering the hidden secret of getting a walk-in permit for Half Dome:

https://resonantliving.wordpress.com/20 ... ays-66-67/
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Re: Inyo quotas show available space

Postby SSSdave » Mon May 04, 2015 9:25 am

Lots of us for years have not been successful getting walk-up permits on popular trailheads for Saturday mornings because they are usually gone by Friday midday since they become available by 11am the day before. That will never change with the current system. And of course most of us are m-f 8-5 working people that start backpacking trips on Saturday mornings far more than any other days. Mid week of course is a different story.

One of the issues with reservation no shows is there is no incentive for those who have reserved permits to bother informing reservation services when they cancel. I personally have always done so because I complain that others don't do so. Years ago an issue with reservations before fees or when they started with I recall $5 fees was that some people were making lots of summer reservation but only using few because the cost was so low. Although the fees are now higher, they are still low enough that it is chump change to many of us. There ought to be incentives to calling or emailing in cancelations that reduces subsequent permit request fees. The current fee is $5 per person plus $6 processing. Thus a minimum of $11 for one person. They could add a $10 refundable charge tied to one's account that would pay towards a future reservation IF one actually used a permit or sent in a cancellation. Of course the NFS and NPS know when permits are not used because the actual permits are not written up or picked up.

The other thing I've got up on my soap box many times about is that they need to do away with being able to get walk-up permits for (only) Saturday mornings the day before because that puts the vast majority of we m-f 8-5 working people at a disadvantage. Some suggest just go a day early. Well that doesn't work for enthusiasts that visit our mountains frequently as a working person's PTO is limited and valuable. Otherwise those who want to begin backpacking early Saturday morning need a reservation and everyone else would then have a fair and equal chance to simply be early in line at forest or park service permit offices.

David
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Re: Inyo quotas show available space

Postby schmalz » Mon May 04, 2015 10:19 am

I agree that walk in permits are almost always attainable, especially if you have some level of flexibility. The main incentive that I have to reserve permits is to be able to drive up on a Friday night and pick up the permit out of the night box. That can give you a 2-3 hour earlier start on Saturday, well worth the cost of the reservation.
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Re: Inyo quotas show available space

Postby ExploreABitMore » Mon May 04, 2015 10:50 am

I've used the walk-up option a bunch over the years too and have always had good luck getting permits this way, even on busy trailheads. I think the only exceptions to this have been when we showed up on a Holiday weekend and, well, you're kind of asking for it in those cases. But, even then, I think we were able to secure something on a more esoteric trail.

It's amazing how fast the permits book up these days. My wife and I were commenting the other day on how busy the Sierra seems to have gotten compared to 20, or so, years ago. Anybody else notice that?
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Inyo quotas show available space

Postby cahiker » Wed May 06, 2015 12:38 am

Hobbes wrote:Here's a great story from last year of a PCT hiker discovering the hidden secret of getting a walk-in permit for Half Dome:

https://resonantliving.wordpress.com/20 ... ays-66-67/


Thanks for posting that Hobbes, I got a good laugh!

I have been really lucky with first come first served permits - I always show up with a long list of options and end up with my first choice. We wandered into the Tuolumne office around noon one day last August and had a really hard time deciding where to go when we were told everything was available for that day.


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