Mt Whitney 2022 Lottery Cheat Codes

Mt Whitney 2022 Lottery Cheat Codes

Want to hike Mt Whitney? In 2021, only 22% of applicants were able to get a permit through the lottery. Here is how to maximize your chances of getting one!

Day-hike or backpack?

It’s easier to get a permit for a day-hike than a backpacking trip.

35%

Odds of winning the lottery for a day hike

14%

Odds of winning the lottery for a backpacking trip

Recommended itineraries

Hiking Mt Whitney in a day is possible, but it’s one of the most strenuous hikes out there. Expect to be on the trail for 12 to 14 hours.

Day-hike

Day 1
21 miles
6,600ft+ / 6,600ft-

Hike to the summit and back down with a day pack

1 night

Day 1
6 miles
3,700ft+

Camp at Trail Camp

Day 2
15 miles
2,900ft+ / 6,400ft-

Hike to the summit with a day pack

Come down to Trail Camp and hike out

2 nights

Day 1
6 miles
3,700ft+

Camp at Trail Camp

Day 2
9 miles
2,900ft+ / 2,900ft-

Hike to the summit with a day pack

Come down to Trail Camp and camp there

Day 3
6 miles
3,700ft-

Hike out

When to go?

Best month

You have the best odds of getting a permit for May, June, or October. But the trail can be snow-covered during these months. Therefore, I recommend hiking in September.

Odds: May: 87% (chance of snow), Jun: 71% (chance of snow), Jul 34%, Aug 40%, Sep 66% (Sweet spot), Oct 98% (chance of snow)
Odds: May: 58% (chance of snow), Jun: 26% (chance of snow), Jul 11%, Aug 15%, Sep 37% (Sweet spot), Oct 95% (chance of snow)

Best day

If day-hiking, you have the best odds of getting a permit for Wednesdays. Avoid Saturdays. If backpacking, you have the best odds of getting a permit for Tuesdays, or Wednesdays. Avoid Fridays and Saturdays.

Odds: Sun: 40%, Mon: 41%, Tue 60%, Wed 71%, Thu 62%, Fri 35%, Sat 15%
Odds: Sun: 27%, Mon: 21%, Tue 31%, Wed 28%, Thu 22%, Fri 9%, Sat 9%

How to apply?

  1. Enter the lottery before March 15
  2. Check the lottery result and confirm your permit (March 24 – April 30)
  3. Print and sign your permit (1 week to 1 day before your trip)

Tips

  • The smaller your group size the higher your chances.
  • Pick a date that’s less competitive as your first choice. While you can pick up to 15 choices, most people don’t even get their first choice!

What if I don’t win the lottery?

It’s far from over, there are other ways to get a permit.

Get a leftover permit on April 1 or on May 1

Unused lottery permits are released on April 1 and on May 1 at 7 AM PT. Permits run out quickly, so make sure to log in to Recreation.gov before 7 AM PT. Create calendar reminder

Snag a canceled permit

A lot of people cancel their permits. You can rebook canceled permits on Recreation.gov. Sign up to Outdoor Status Club to receive SMS notifications when we find available permits!

Hike during the off-quota season

Quota is unlimited between November 2 and April 30. Expect snow and cold temperatures. Only attempt if you have mountaineering skills.

Consider other itineraries

  • Use the Mountaineers Route, but only attempt this route if you have mountaineering skills. Permits open 6 months in advance on Recreation.gov (select the “North Fork of Lone Pine Creek” trailhead). Sign up to Outdoor Status Club to receive SMS notifications when we find canceled permits.
  • Start from another trailhead and exit through Mt Whitney. This is a great option if you want to get on a longer backpacking trip. You will need an Inyo National Forest permit (select “Overnight exiting Mt Whitney”).

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Resources

The data comes from the 2021 lottery results.

Success rates are calculated from first choices only (very few second choices are awarded). They are calculated by dividing the number of awarded permits (up to 100 for day hikes, up to 60 for backpacking) by the number of first-choice applications for that date.

Photo by Ross Stone.