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Half Dome permit changes 2012

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Half Dome permit changes 2012

Postby markskor » Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:53 pm

"...Some changes to the permit system this year in response to the public input and our own concerns. This year, permits will be distributed by lottery via Recreation.gov. We will hold a single preseason lottery with an application period in March and daily lotteries during the hiking season.
On each application, people can apply for up to six permits (six people) and for up to seven dates. Applications will only be successful if the number of permits requested is available on at least one of the requested dates. If enough permits are available for more than one of the requested dates, permits will be automatically awarded to the highest priority date, as entered by the applicant. Applicants may apply as the trip leader only once per lottery. Multiple applications with the same trip leader will be removed from the lottery.
The applicant must specify the name of the trip leader and may specify the name of an alternate trip pleader. Each person may apply as a trip leader only once per lottery. People applying multiple times as trip leader will have all their lottery applications canceled. Permits will only be valid if the trip leader and/or alternate specified on the permit is part of the group using the permits. The names of the trip leader and alternate may not be changed once the application is submitted, and the permits are not transferable."

"Fees
Two separate fees are collected. The first fee, which is charged at the time you submit an application, is $4.50 (online) or $6.50 (by phone). This non-refundable fee, which is per application (not per person), is charged by Recreation.gov for the costs of processing your permit application.

The second fee is $5 per person and is charged only when you receive a permit. (This fee also applies to wilderness permit holders.) "

Total read/source:
http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm
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Re: Half Dome permit changes 2012

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:43 pm

Confusing! Can you say that in plain English?
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Re: Half Dome permit changes 2012

Postby markskor » Sat Jan 14, 2012 12:51 pm

Agreed tres confusing.
Seems to say that if you are a twosome and apply for more than one possible date (hoping for just one chance) and put down your name as a trip leader on all, you will be denied on all...WTF?

Also, the part about wilderness permits costing $5 pp for the stamp to do the Dome while passing by - also confusing. What about if you are a day off on a 10-day trip? Will you still be allowed up?

Stay tuned I guess.
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Re: Half Dome permit changes 2012

Postby maverick » Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:08 pm

They seem to be really taking away the whole wilderness experience out of climbing
Half Dome.
Personally Clouds Rest offers a much better experience scenery wise, but this is also
coming from someone who has been up HD a dozen times, but if I ever feel the urge
again, Snake Dike will be my route up or go earlier in the season.
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Re: Half Dome permit changes 2012

Postby rlown » Sat Jan 14, 2012 5:12 pm

A Half Dome climb is NOT a wilderness experience; at least not now.. I agree with the Clouds Rest assessment though.
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Re: Half Dome permit changes 2012

Postby tim » Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:10 pm

This seems a lot like the Mt Whitney lottery, and it looks like you should have a reasonable chance of getting a permit in the pre-season lottery (though given you can specify up to 7 dates and only need to pay $4.50 per group to apply it could potentially be swamped). For backpackers, it appears the only change is that there will be a $5 fee tacked onto the wilderness permit if you want to go up Half Dome. There's nothing specifically stating that you have to ascend Half Dome on a specific day during your permitted backpacking trip (unlike Whitney exit quotas, though even there it seems they aren't too strict if you are a day late/early on a long trek).

However, what is NOT mentioned on the linked write-up above is how you actually get hold of the day use permit itself (at the Wilderness Center, or by printing it out online). The recreation.gov booking site (http://www.recreation.gov/permits/Cable ... rkId=79064) appears to imply that you print it online (similar to Desolation Wilderness). That is very different to Whitney, where many permits go unclaimed because you collect them in person, and the biggest problem may be that (even though the fees are refundable) its only $5 per person and people may just not bother to cancel. As a result, it might end up being relatively difficult to get hold of a permit during the season if you don't participate in the lottery. I guess like last year they will make some allowance for no shows in calculating the 50 per day additional lottery.

Overall it seems like a reasonable approach - everyone has a fair chance of getting a permit, like for Whitney, and backpackers don't have to change anything from what they did before. Its also good that permits are non-transferable, though quite how they enforce this (would they really insist on producing picture IDs at the sub-dome???) is unclear to me. Of course wilderness permits aren't transferable and I've never been asked for an ID when picking one up either - in that case it appears the rangers just take it on trust if you know the name/permit number and/or have the printed confirmation with you.
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Re: Half Dome permit changes 2012

Postby tim » Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:15 pm

markskor wrote:Seems to say that if you are a twosome and apply for more than one possible date (hoping for just one chance) and put down your name as a trip leader on all, you will be denied on all...WTF?


No it says you can specify up to 7 dates on the application and it will give you the highest priority one if successful. If you are a twosome you could (and probably should) each apply individually for the same 7 dates and then pick whichever outcome is most favorable - it will only cost you $4.50 extra because the $5 per person fee charged to successful applicants is refundable if you cancel more than 48 hours in advance. That's very different to Whitney where you lose the ($15) per person fee if you cancel, so it does tend to imply the pre-season lottery might get swamped...(though it appears you can't play the same game in the daily lotteries during the season).
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Re: Half Dome permit changes 2012

Postby maverick » Sat Jan 14, 2012 7:28 pm

Rlown wrote:

Half Dome climb is NOT a wilderness experience; at least not now.


True, it sure is not like it was +35 years when my first climb of HD took place.
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Re: Half Dome permit changes 2012

Postby maverick » Sat Jan 14, 2012 8:24 pm

Oh no, not that other over crowded, overused place in the Sierra.
Mount Whitney is another place that I avoid for the exact reasons, over crowding,
especially during the high season, and to much red tape, though completely agree
that the mountain needs to be protected from over use, and abuse like HD.
When hiking the JMT for the last time a decade ago, it was a bummer to have
experienced the hordes of people (50+) in some parts of the trail on their way up
to summit Mount Whitney.
Will never again go up MW via the trail, but use the mountaineer's route instead
(which is much more fun), but realistically probably will not do that either since
there are many beautiful peaks in the vicinity with much better views, and whole
lot less people, which really just diminishes the whole wilderness experience for me
like it does on HD.
Will always recommend to folks who ask about the southern terminus of the JMT that
they forego exiting out the Portal (a day trip up Whitney from Crabtree Meadow or
Guitar Lake area is fine), and instead exit out to Horseshoe Meadow, and including
Miter Basin as a side trip.
Both have become too commercialized with lotteries, applications, and fees.
Is this what John Muir envisioned as the wilderness experiences for the future when
he wrote:

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as
sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the
storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves".

By tidings he surely did not mean fees, applications, and lotteries!
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Half Dome permit changes 2012

Postby freestone » Sat Jan 14, 2012 10:02 pm

I visited Reserve America and the site does not recognize Half Dome yet. I've made reservations with this agency before and they have really improved over the years, so I think once the location is online it will be user friendly for most of us.
My vote is for Half Dome is wilderness. Just because there are cables up for 3 or 4 months does not negate the altitude, weather, and wildlife factor of the location. I personally prefer to view Half Dome from the valley, not hike it, but it is a challenge and I respect that.
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Re: Half Dome permit changes 2012

Postby maverick » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:17 pm

Freestone wrote:

My vote is for Half Dome is wilderness. Just because there are cables up for 3
or 4 months does not negate the altitude, weather, and wildlife factor of the location.


No, those 3-4 months cannot negate those factors, but the lines that some times form
going up or down, does take away from it, at least for me it does.
HST= Wilderness Adventurer who knows no bounds, except for their own imagination.

Have a safer backcountry experience by using the HST ReConn Form 2.0, named after Larry Conn, a HST member: http://reconn.org
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Re: Half Dome permit changes 2012

Postby rlown » Sun Jan 15, 2012 12:23 pm

For me, wilderness starts when I don't have to say "hello" more than once an hour when on a trail. Once a day is almost perfectly wilderness.
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