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Logistics for JMT permit for Happy Isles

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Logistics for JMT permit for Happy Isles

Postby bheiser1 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:39 am

I feel like I should apologize in advance for bringing up this topic since it's so commonly brought up, and the basic question of how to get a permit is such a FAQ. But I've actually done quite a bit of searching and have read numerous accounts of the process for getting a walk-up permit. I understand the documented process. But I've seen very little in the way of actual experiences - mostly what I've seen indicates "this is what you can do", not that it has actually worked for anyone. So my reason for asking you all is to solicit comments on your actual experience with this scenario. Thanks in advance for bearing with me :).

So say I want to do a solo trek of the JMT this summer, ideally starting sometime in July, and needless to say, I don't already have a permit. But I'm a purist and will only do the trail if I can start and finish at the actual end points (no coming back later to finish a section such as from YV to TM). I would like to leave a vehicle at Whitney Portal, and already have a ride lined up from there back to Yosemite Valley (though getting there at 4am may be a challenge as it would be highly inconvenient for the people giving me the ride).

From what I've read, one needs to show up at 4am or thereabouts and wait in line at the permit office until they open at 11am. At this point they "may" get a permit for the next day, and with this permit in hand they can stay that night in the backpackers campground.

But what if they don't get a permit for the next day. They they are in YV without a place to stay, and without transportation to leave & come back the next day to try again. Plus they have their full pack with them so they need to lug that around with them anywhere they go in YV.

Have any of you been in this situation? How did you approach it? And based on your actual experience, how likely is it that one would get a permit for the next day, for Happy Isles, not TM, on the first try?

Weekdays would be fine and probably preferred anyway. I assume one should avoid Jul 4th week. Based on your experience do you have any other suggestions on this approach?

I guess the other obvious option is for me to drive myself to YV at 4am, and if I don't get the next-day permit on the first try, drive out of the park, stay somewhere, and keep going back each day til I succeed. This means lots of driving, potentially, but it's an option. Then I'd park in YV & try to synchronize my arrival at Whitney Portal to meet the people who'd pick me up for the ride back to YV to pick up my vehicle. It's that latter part (the assumption that I'll definitely arrive on a specific day) that seems less desirable (it gives me less flexibility in how I time the trip), hence the first approach if I can work out the logistics.

Thanks in advance!



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Re: Logistics for JMT permit for Happy Isles

Postby maverick » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:50 am

Hi B,

Cannot comment to your concerns is regards to the permit, but an idea would be
to plan your start mid week. Go to Yosemite early the day or 2 before and stay at
Camp 4. At $5 a night register for 2-3 nights, and you'll only be out a few dollars
if you get your permit sooner than later, plus you'll save a lot of time, gas, and
money which would be wasted going back and forth out of the park.
Staying a few night at Camp 4 is okay, plus you can have fun taking photo's, which
ain't all that bad. :wink:
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: Logistics for JMT permit for Happy Isles

Postby bheiser1 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 11:58 am

Maverick, thanks, that really helps. I didn't realize there was anyplace one could stay in YV without reservations months in advance. The plan you described sounds like it would work! If I end up being there multiple days I can do some warm-up hikes.
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Re: Logistics for JMT permit for Happy Isles

Postby maverick » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:02 pm

Your welcome, and here is the official word: http://www.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/camp4.htm
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: Logistics for JMT permit for Happy Isles

Postby tim » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:23 pm

Better would be to simply call up and book a Happy Isles-Illilouette permit in advance (its available for nearly half the days in July, see http://www.yosemiteconservancystore.com ... sPage2.htm). Arrive the day before and collect the permit, then sleep in the BP camp that night. If you can switch for a Sunrise pass-through as a walk-in at that point then great, but if not you only have to go a few miles out of your way on the first night (you have to camp in the Illilouette drainage), before returning to the JMT and going on your way on Day 2.
Last edited by tim on Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Logistics for JMT permit for Happy Isles

Postby bheiser1 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:24 pm

It looks like even getting in there may be iffy. Hmmm :).
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Re: Logistics for JMT permit for Happy Isles

Postby AlmostThere » Thu Jun 07, 2012 12:25 pm

If you are one person walking in midweek you will be likely to get a next day permit - they give out Same day permits that are reserved then abandoned too.
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Re: Logistics for JMT permit for Happy Isles

Postby bheiser1 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:07 pm

AlmostThere wrote:If you are one person walking in midweek you will be likely to get a next day permit - they give out Same day permits that are reserved then abandoned too.


That sounds reassuring, thanks!
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Re: Logistics for JMT permit for Happy Isles

Postby maverick » Thu Jun 07, 2012 2:15 pm

During the reservation system preceeding the current one I did the JMT twice as a
walk-up, and would have no issues trying to do the same with the current system
with a mid-week start.
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: Logistics for JMT permit for Happy Isles

Postby bheiser1 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 8:44 am

Thanks again for the feedback. I'm making my plans now! Woo Hoo! :D
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