North Fork Big Pine Permit

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hannahrose894
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North Fork Big Pine Permit

Post by hannahrose894 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:50 am

Hey y'all! Going on my first trip to the Sierras in a few weeks, and would love your advice regarding walk-up permits. I will be going with a group of 5 (maybe 6) hoping to spend 3 days backpacking the North Fork of Big Pine (Friday 08/11 to Sunday 08/13). We weren't able to secure an online reservation for an overnight permit, so we plan to get to the Visitors Center on Thursday to get a permit to head out Friday morning (we've already got a campsite reserved for Thursday night). My question is: how early do we need to get there on Thursday? Permits start being handed out at 11 the day prior, but do people usually get there even earlier than 11 to line up? Thanks!








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JeffEndicott
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Re: North Fork Big Pine Permit

Post by JeffEndicott » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:25 pm

I'd get there as early as possible. North Fork is popular as it is, and the climbing season for the big peaks (North Pal, etc) was delayed this year because of the heavy snow fall, pushing more people into a smaller summer window.

If it doesn't work out, South Fork is much less crowded but just as nice. You could also hike up Contact Pass to the east of Temple Crag and explore the North Fork that way on days 2 and 3.

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maverick
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Re: North Fork Big Pine Permit

Post by maverick » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:28 pm

Hi Hannahrose894,

Welcome to HST! As Jeff mentioned, you will want to get there early, there could be a line, especially on a Friday, and there are also only 10 slots available for walk-ins.
Oh, Contact Pass will be above your level 2 experience, snow this year will make it even more precarious.
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Re: North Fork Big Pine Permit

Post by hannahrose894 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:32 pm

Thanks for the feedback!! We're making a pretty long drive out there, so I'd love any further input -- early, meaning 8AM on Thursday? 6AM?

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Re: North Fork Big Pine Permit

Post by maverick » Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:56 pm

Where are you coming from, you can also pick up permits at Mono, Mammoth, and Lone Pine.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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: North Fork Big Pine Permit

Post by hannahrose894 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:27 pm

maverick wrote:Where are you coming from, you can also pick up permits at Mono, Mammoth, and Lone Pine.
Coming from San Diego area -- is the Eastern Sierra Interagency Center the best bet?

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Re: North Fork Big Pine Permit

Post by Wandering Daisy » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:37 pm

At 11AM, you can get a permit for either the same day, or the next day. If you cannot get 6 permits the same time, you could temporarily split the group, with some getting same-day and others getting next day, and plan to meet, say at Third Lake.

It is wise to have one or two back-up routes, with maps in hand. For example, McGee Creek up to Big McGee Lake. This trail is not as popular. There are also more permits available for the South Lake Trailhead. Lots to see on the east side of Bishop Pass, including Treasure Lakes and Chocolate Lakes as well as the main drainage. South of Big Pine, you get into the difficult 6000ft+ passes to get into the mountains (except Kearsarge and Cottonwood).

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Re: North Fork Big Pine Permit

Post by hannahrose894 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:46 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:At 11AM, you can get a permit for either the same day, or the next day. If you cannot get 6 permits the same time, you could temporarily split the group, with some getting same-day and others getting next day, and plan to meet, say at Third Lake.

It is wise to have one or two back-up routes, with maps in hand. For example, McGee Creek up to Big McGee Lake. This trail is not as popular. There are also more permits available for the South Lake Trailhead. Lots to see on the east side of Bishop Pass, including Treasure Lakes and Chocolate Lakes as well as the main drainage. South of Big Pine, you get into the difficult 6000ft+ passes to get into the mountains (except Kearsarge and Cottonwood).
Thanks so much! Those other suggested routes sound really great. In your experience, are folks typically lined up much earlier than 11AM for next-day permits?

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Re: North Fork Big Pine Permit

Post by maverick » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:49 pm

Coming from San Diego area -- is the Eastern Sierra Interagency Center the best bet?
Yes, and at least an hour before opening.

With all the snow around, lower elevation areas that have opened up will get high usage, like WD recommends, have 2 alternate areas to visit. Cottonwoods Lakes, which would be closer to you for a 3 day trip, has 24 walk-in slots.
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I don't give out specific route information, my belief is that it takes away from the whole adventure spirit of a trip, if you need every inch planned out, you'll have to get that from someone else.

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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hannahrose894
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Re: North Fork Big Pine Permit

Post by hannahrose894 » Thu Jul 20, 2017 1:54 pm

maverick wrote:
Coming from San Diego area -- is the Eastern Sierra Interagency Center the best bet?
Yes, and at least an hour before opening.

With all the snow around, lower elevation areas that have opened up will get high usage, like WD recommends, have 2 alternate areas to visit. Cottonwoods Lakes, which would be closer to you for a 3 day trip, has 24 walk-in slots.
Wow! Cottonwood Lakes look gorgeous!!!

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