Monday, March 26, 2012

Mt. Whitney 2012 - Chapter 1: Lottery Application

At last, the wait is over! Thousands of hikers entered into the lottery on February 1st to obtain permits to climb Mt. Whitney this year. The initial lottery period is now over and I am grateful to have learned that I have been granted my first choice for a permit to climb Mt. Whitney on June 18, 2012. It will be me, my brother who will camp at over 10,000 feet, and then attempt the summit as an overnight.

Check out Mt. Whitney right now - MT. WHITNEY - LIVE WEB CAM

On February 1st, literally at about 12:01am, I entered my lottery application and specified five different possible dates for my hike. My first and second preferred choice was for Monday, June 18th for either an overnight or a day hike, and then I selected three additional Saturday entry dates, all in August. It was my hope to be awarded the June permit so to coincide with an already planned trip to Las Vegas for a friend's wedding.

Since before February, I have been compiling information on Mt. Whitney to help me plan everything I need to plan and know. This year was the first year that the lottery system was done electronically through While some reported experiencing bugs in the system, everything appeared to have gone perfectly regarding my application. I was able to figure out everything I needed to do simply by reading the first-timer and permit information in the forums at

Just like I do when I embark on a challenge in the mountains of NH, I create a hike planning sheet where I list pretty much everything I want to know that's cool and important about the hike, such as facts that I want to know, sunrise and sunset times, and then of course the logistics of getting there. Since planning for this involves traveling across the country, renting a car, and maybe even shipping my equipment and more, its sure to be a challenge just to prepare - but all the reason why its important to have a good plan on any hike.

Below is some information from the first part of my planning sheet. My favorite facts listed below are who it is named for, that it is the 8th highest peak in the United States - That is totally awesome! AND its the 81st most prominent peak in the world, which is a pretty astonishing fact. Then, it is the highest peak on the Martin Luther King "I have a Dream" peak list. This would be a great one to complete someday.

Mountain Details and Facts (from multiple sources I've read in my planning)
Mt. Whitney

  • Elevation: 14,505 feet
  • Location: Whitney Portal Road, Lone Pine, California
  • Mountain Range: Sierra Nevada
  • First Ascent: 1873 by Charles Begole, A. H. Johnson, and John Lucas
  • Named after state geologist of California, Josiah Whitney
  • Difficulty:  Strenuous
  • Tallest peak  in the lower United States
  • 8th highest peak  in the United States
  • 39th highest 14,000 foot peak in the US
  • 81st most prominent peak in the world
  • State of CA highpoint
  • Highest Martin Luther King “I have a dream” peak
  • 76 miles from Badwater, CA, the lowest point in the United States

Here is the emergency contact information for the Mt. Whitney area.

Emergency Contact Information

Mt. Whitney Ranger District, Inyo National Forest
640 S. Main Street, P,O. Box 8
Lone Pine, CA 93545
(760) 876-6200

Eastern Sierra Interagency Center
Highway 395 & Route 136
Lone Pine, CA 93545
(760) 876-6222
Inyo Country Sheriff’s Office: 760-876-5606
Inyo County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team
760-873-6431 or 760-873-7887

In terms of logistics, I've already booked my flight to Vegas and my hotel. Now, I am able to book my flight home, arrange the rental car, AND establish my vacation time! That's it for chapter one. Trip planning for the most amazing hike of my life is in full swing. More on logistics, itinerary, pack lists, and more in chapters to come! 


  1. Sounds exciting. I had entered the lottery but was unsuccessful this time. Looking forward to hopefully finding a workable date when things come available on April 1st. I really enjoyed your blog and wish you the best of luck with your Mt.Whitney adventure! (Sorry for the earlier deleted post, I fumbled it after updating my username)

    1. Hi Pete, Thank you. I was wondering if I should have put more entries in when I read how many some hikers were putting in. However, based on some things I've read, it appears many have success with the post lottery reserving or walk-in permit if the logistics are flexible. Being in Vegas, I likely would have drove out to try a walk-in the same date if I did not get a permit. Good luck! and thank you for stopping by and reading.