the 2018 backpacking season

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bobby49
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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by bobby49 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 12:35 am

I did the Whitney Trail successfully as a dayhike for 40 consecutive years, and I did not do that by showing up and hoping that I could get a permit.








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KevinDo
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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by KevinDo » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:13 am

bobby49 wrote:I did the Whitney Trail successfully as a dayhike for 40 consecutive years, and I did not do that by showing up and hoping that I could get a permit.
Up to you mate! Almost all of my trips are fcfs and I havent had much issues snagging a permit. Sometimes I'll get a permit that I want and sometimes not. Much better chances though if you get there the day before and get in line.

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by Dave_Ayers » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:58 am

I have a different approach. I usually take one of my trips to the Sierra the 1st week of August every year regardless of conditions, not often revisiting an area. Then I experience whatever conditions there are and get to adapt and enjoy them. Over the years I accumulate a wider range of experiences/memories/photos/stories that way. I only tune the date or location for Sunday entry and to last about week (for 1-week work vacation) and to avoid full moons (for stargazing) and forest fire smoke.

There are a only a few locations where I'll tune the date to take advantage of certain conditions (e.g.: just passable water flows in the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne). Otherwise, variety is spice.

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bobby49
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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by bobby49 » Tue Dec 26, 2017 1:06 pm

Each individual places a different value on their own free time. I guess that some people like to drive hundreds of miles to some permit office, then stand around in line and hope that they can get a permit to go where they want to go. For many others, this simply doesn't work. Maybe we place a higher value on our free time. In some cases, we are going to start the backpack at one trailhead and end up a hundred miles away, and we need to arrange in advance for transportation at the end. If we don't know for sure that we are getting the permit in the first place, this is problematic.

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by QITNL » Tue Dec 26, 2017 2:15 pm

One nice thing about Inyo permits (except Whitney) is you can call them and they will leave them in the dropbox at the ranger station of your choice. Faster than a McDonald's drive-through. Yosemite permits require an in-person visit, but they often put you first in the queue; they know it might take 3 minutes to process you versus 15 minutes for a FCFS. You know where you are going, you know the drill. Inyo permits are for a specific trailhead/entry date - no changes. Yosemite permits can be updated.

I don't mind cancelling a permit or two over the season if roads haven't opened or conditions are unfavorable. They aren't expensive, I consider it a donation. Even though I'm usually traveling solo, I'll cancel to make them available to others; I consider no-shows unacceptable. My hunch is that this may be another low snow season so I've already booked May-June next year. Hope I'm wrong, don't mind betting against myself here.

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by Wandering Daisy » Wed Dec 27, 2017 10:23 pm

I believe you have to drive to the permit office in Lone Pine for a Whitney Trail permit, even if you get a reservation. You can pick up the reservation in the drop box. Just saying if you do not draw a reservation, you do not to have to give up on the Whitney Trail, if willing to try to get a cancelled (first-come) permit. If you get the first-come permit at 11AM for the same day, you can easily reach Outpost to camp.

I got soured on reservations because I have been burned by having to plan so far ahead. After many tries to get a permit, I finally got one for a group of three; the weather went south, two bailed on me, and I ended up losing $$. A week later I just did the trip solo and easily got a first-come permit. I'll never reserve again.

Each person is in a different situation. Reserving is difficult for me because I rarely know if I will be available that far in advance (aging parents, emergency babysitting the grandkids, other last minute demands). Others, because of work schedules, have to pick exact vacation dates and/or have more complex transportation that also requires reservation. It is not just a matter of valuing one's free time or not.

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by balzaccom » Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:05 pm

We've done it both ways. When we can plan well in advance, and know where and when we want to go, we've made reservations. And yes, I'd guess that we've cancelled about 30% of those over the years, because our situation changed--and once had a permit pulled because of a fire in the area we had planned to visit.

But we also take a lot of hikes each year with no reservations, or in an area that doesn't required them. And I can't remember the last time we took exactly the hike we had planned--maybe from Leavitt Meadows to Hetch-hetchy a few years ago, with a car waiting for us at the far end. We usually end up making plans as we go along...

Either way, we get out into the mountains. That's the most important thing.
Balzaccom

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by CAMERONM » Wed Dec 27, 2017 11:59 pm

I mostly do FCFS walk-up permits, but I think that it is becoming more dicey to get a same-day permit than in the recent past.
I learned at Lone Pine this year that showing up super-early is not an advantage; they make everyone draw numbers only five minutes before they open the door. Draw a high number, and you may have to stay another day before the permit kicks in.
However the Tuolumne and Roads End rangers do respect the line. At Tuolumne, several people at the front of the line often get the much sought after southbound Donahue Pass permit.
Back to the OP; if you discover a way to accurately predict the weather several months in advance, LMK !

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bobby49
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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by bobby49 » Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:01 pm

We had an interesting interaction at the Roads End permit station early one morning. I got there super early, about one hour before the scheduled opening time. There was one guy ahead of me, and he was all dressed up in a down parka for the cold. He sat by the window and was dozing. I approached, so that meant that I was second in line. The first guy stood up and wandered off. I stepped forward to be the first in line. Pretty soon, there were six or eight in line. The ranger showed up and announced that he would be open in a few minutes. Then the guy who had been first reappeared and started to push his way toward the head of the line. The guys in fourth or fifth position paused him to ask him where he thought that he was going, and he announced that he was at the head of the line. I informed him that I was now at the head, but that there was plenty of room at the back. There was a whole discussion about the unwritten rules of standing in a line and what it means when you leave the line.
Of course we can only accurately predict weather in the short term. However, based on climate and recent history, we can make some good guesses about how the summer trails will be, even if that is six months in advance. Group-think is slightly better than just one guy's guess.

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Re: the 2018 backpacking season

Post by gregodorizzi » Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:10 pm

That sounds like it'd be a good plot for Curb Your Enthusiasm.
bobby49 wrote:We had an interesting interaction at the Roads End permit station early one morning. I got there super early, about one hour before the scheduled opening time. There was one guy ahead of me, and he was all dressed up in a down parka for the cold. He sat by the window and was dozing. I approached, so that meant that I was second in line. The first guy stood up and wandered off. I stepped forward to be the first in line. Pretty soon, there were six or eight in line. The ranger showed up and announced that he would be open in a few minutes. Then the guy who had been first reappeared and started to push his way toward the head of the line. The guys in fourth or fifth position paused him to ask him where he thought that he was going, and he announced that he was at the head of the line. I informed him that I was now at the head, but that there was plenty of room at the back. There was a whole discussion about the unwritten rules of standing in a line and what it means when you leave the line.

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