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Penalty for not adhering to entry point

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Re: Penalty for not adhering to entry point

Postby giantbrookie » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:49 am

rightstar76 wrote:Solution to stuff coming up on day of trip is Plan B. Easy in the Sierra Nevada if you're flexible and willing to give up spectacular scenery for nice scenery.
Actually, I think the High Sierra is so large with so much to offer that Plan B, C, D etc. simply involves exchanging spectacular for spectacular scenery compared to your Plan A. I've done this for a very long time.

In the pre-electronic era we'd have to reserve permits by snail mail, which meant you sent in your prioritized list of alternative entry points (ie Plan A, B, C, D). You didn't know what you got until weeks after you sent in your reservation request. First come first serve did not begin the day before in those days, either but rather at opening time (usually 7 am) at whatever ranger or entrance station you were at. There was this entrance kiosk on Bishop Creek road that was amazing at 7 am. Folks would camp in the sage around there or lay out their bags in line. I managed to get a Bishop Pass Labor Day entry in 1984 and it was one of those "never again" experiences. Some very clever manuevering (ie super fast point guard stuff) when they split the line into two was the key for being the very last under the quota. I had slept UNDER my vehicle to avoid being run over by folks pulling in. Anyhow, to this day I have Plan A, B, ... although with the new system (can tell electronically whether you can reserve your choice, plus the day-before walk-up for first-come) I have rarely had to call the audible.

The last time I had to revise the game plan a bit was for my 2015 Little Lakes Valley-North Lake off trail epic. I couldn't get the desired Little Lakes entry (from which I planned to do Spire Lake then Italy then Bear Basin then Pinnacles Creek, then Ramona Lake, thence out in 5 days) but ended up with Pine Creek, which would have been a much tougher day 1 going to Spire. The new game plan was to hold on to this permit just in case, but cancel it if I could get first-come-first-serve the day before entry at the Mammoth ranger station. It turned out I got the first-come-first-serve Little Lakes Valley permit, cancelled the reservation and ran my trip as per the original Plan A. Another thing that can happen is that unforeseen circumstances may alter a trip plan even if you have the reservation you want. This worked out well for me in 2008 when picking up my permit to go out of Rancheria for Tehepite (and loop out via Goddard Creek and Tunemah, the "Tunepite" plan). There was a fire burning in Tehepite (which would burn all year, as it turned out) so I opted for going out of Hoffman Mtn.(Ranger told me Hoffman Mtn counted as "Rancheria" under the entry quota because there is no Hoffman Mtn entry, but he would have adjusted to the paperwork to Woodchuck or other ne3ar to Blue Canyon to Tunemah then looping back through Woodchuck Country (Tunechuck 2008, arguably my all time greatest off trail backpack and fishing experience I've had). The bottom line is that you can always find a Plan B or C or D of equal appeal in the High Sierra. It is a huge mountain range with so many amazing places, so advanced planning to set alternatives is a good idea, even if one usually gets their Plan A. Even though I've been backpacking up there for 50 years plus and try to always do something new for my best trips, I still have multiple "new" options that more or less equally attractive.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: ... ayshi.html

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Re: Penalty for not adhering to entry point

Postby Vaca Russ » Thu Jun 14, 2018 3:08 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:True confessions! ......

Guess who wrote this story about an event on Aug. 5, 1998 (somewhere in southern Lyell Canyon, YNP)?

"Somewhere in the middle of this, around 3:30p, I came across a ranger talking congenially with a backpacker. As I strolled by, giving a little wave, the ranger turned to me and politely asked if I had a Wilderness permit. Busted. Of course I didn't since I had arrived late the previous evening after the office was closed. I was unsure of the penalties, but they are rumored to be quite high, somewhere around $100. Rather than confess and plead for mercy, I chose the other tack, which is to lie and see what I could get away with. I calmly replied that I was on a dayhike, and did I need a permit? He looked at my backpack rather skeptically, unconvinced. I explained that I had left Agnew Meadows (near Devils Postpile) at 6:30a, and planned to reach Tuolumne around 6p, where a friend was picking me up. I had brought a sleeping bag and bivy sack in case it was necessary to bivy at the pass since I had little info on the snow conditions that might be encountered there. I very little else with me, I pointed out. He was still unconvinced, hardly believing I could have walked 20+ miles already. I pointed out that the shirt I was wearing was from the Big Sur Marathon, and that I routinely hike very long distances. This seemed to do the trick, as he came around to where he wanted to believe me. He explained that a new regulation, enacted just this year, prohibits carrying of backpacking gear (sleeping bags, tents, etc) without a valid overnight permit to counter just such false claims that happen quite frequently (this way they don't have to actually catch you in the act of overnighting in the wilderness). I replied that I was unaware of such a regulation, but that as a visitor to the Wilderness I should be responsible for knowing all pertinent regulations, thus I would be perfectly understanding should he decide to give me a citation. This seemed to mollify him to where he decided to only take ID info from me, and not issue a citation. He warned me that my name would be kept "on file", and should I be found in a similar situation in the future, the fine would double. Happy as I was to keep the money in my wallet, I forgot to ask him just how much money these darn citations would cost. "

I will give you a hint, he is not human. :D :D


"...Or have you only comfort, and the lust for comfort, that stealthy thing that enters the house a guest, and then becomes a host and then a master?"

Kahil Gibran.
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Re: Penalty for not adhering to entry point

Postby rightstar76 » Fri Jun 15, 2018 5:06 am

Dunno if this really happened or not, but in any case entertaining story. :)

As far as penalties go in the above tale...

2. Stern lecture from ranger
3. Anxiety about being caught by ranger
4. Extra impact on the trail and surrounding environment because of breaking trailhead quota

Also, #6 (lack of #5) - see the post AT wrote.

I remember reading an article in a mountaineering magazine which made light of regulations. Don't remember which magazine it was as it was a long time ago. The gist of it was that if you needed to be rescued in the backcountry, just break a regulation i.e. make a campfire above the tree line or shout at the top of your lungs that you don't have a wilderness permit. A ranger will show up to issue a citation. It was a funny article, but I don't think it's funny to break the rules. I've noticed since my earliest days in the mountains that #6 (lack of #5) seems to permeate some elements (though not all, thankfully) of backcountry/mountaineering culture.
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