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Re: New for 2012: Half Dome Permits Lottery

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avatar New for 2012: Half Dome Permits Lottery
January 13, 2012 11:36AM
The National Park Service has announced its new permit system for hiking Half Dome. They will be implementing a lottery system for the permits with the lottery being held in March:

Here are the details from the National Park Service website:

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National Park Service - Yosemite National Park

Half Dome Permits

Permits to hike to the top of Half Dome are required seven days per week when the cables are up. This is an interim measure to address crowding and safety along the Half Dome Trail while the park develops a long-term plan to manage use on the Half Dome Trail.

A maximum of 400 hikers will be allowed (300 day hikers and 100 backpackers) each day on the Half Dome Trail beyond the subdome. Before the permit system was implemented in 2010, approximately 400 people used this trail on weekdays, while about an average of 800 people used this trail on weekends and holidays.

We've made some changes to the permit system this year in response to the public input and our own concerns. This year, permits will be distributed by lottery via Recreation.gov. We will hold a single preseason lottery with an application period in March and daily lotteries during the hiking season.

On each application, people can apply for up to six permits (six people) and for up to seven dates. Applications will only be successful if the number of permits requested is available on at least one of the requested dates. If enough permits are available for more than one of the requested dates, permits will be automatically awarded to the highest priority date, as entered by the applicant. Applicants may apply as the trip leader only once per lottery. Multiple applications with the same trip leader will be removed from the lottery.

The applicant must specify the name of the trip leader and may specify the name of an alternate trip pleader. Each person may apply as a trip leader only once per lottery. People applying multiple times as trip leader will have all their lottery applications canceled. Permits will only be valid if the trip leader and/or alternate specified on the permit is part of the group using the permits. The names of the trip leader and alternate may not be changed once the application is submitted, and the permits are not transferable.

Preseason Lottery
Permits for May 25, 2012 to October 8, 2012 will be distributed by lottery in early April. (While these are the dates we expect the cables to be up this year, this could change based on conditions.) Three hundred permits for each day will be available through this lottery. The application period for this lottery will be from March 1, 2012 to March 31, 2012. Applicants will receive an email notification of lottery results in early April (or can get results online or by calling Recreation.gov).

Daily Lottery
Approximately 50 permits will be available each day by lottery during the hiking season. These permits will be available based on the estimated rate of under-use and cancellation of permits (the exact number may change through the summer). The daily lotteries will have an application period two days prior to the hiking date with a notification late that night. (So, to hike on Saturday, you would apply on Thursday and receive an email notification of results late on Thursday night. Results will also be available online, or by phone the next morning.) The application period will be from midnight to 1 pm Pacific time.

Wilderness Permits
People with wilderness permits that reasonably include Half Dome as part of their itinerary will also receive Half Dome permits upon request and without further competition. (Wilderness permits are subject to a quota system.)

How to Apply for a Permit
To apply for a permit, visit Recreation.gov (this site may not contain lottery information until later in winter) or call 877/444-6777 (call center is open from 7 am to 9 pm Pacific time; online requests can be made any time during a lottery period).

Fees
Two separate fees are collected. The first fee, which is charged at the time you submit an application, is $4.50 (online) or $6.50 (by phone). This non-refundable fee, which is per application (not per person), is charged by Recreation.gov for the costs of processing your permit application.

The second fee is $5 per person and is charged only when you receive a permit. (This fee also applies to wilderness permit holders.) This fee pays for park rangers checking for Half Dome permits and providing Half Dome visitors with hiking and safety information. The $5 fee is fully refundable if you cancel your permit more than one day before the hiking date specified on your permit or if the cables are not up on the date for which your permit is valid.


Please check back on this page later in winter-we are still working out some of the details, so we may have more or slightly revised information at that time.


http://home.nps.gov/yose/planyourvisit/hdpermits.htm



avatar Re: New for 2012: Half Dome Permits Lottery
January 13, 2012 01:46PM
Sounds like a good enough idea to try out next. It does appear that they are trying to address the complaints and concerns from last year. They are at least willing and able to change.
avatar Re: New for 2012: Half Dome Permits Lottery
January 13, 2012 01:54PM
Seems like a good way to distribute the passes. I don't see any real mechanisms to minimize the scalping.

I've been up there three times with the last time (2005) in crowded conditions. I have no need to go up HD again, at least until my kids are old enough to go. So this will be interesting to watch from the sidelines.

Luck goes to those that plan ahead!!!!!!



"It is all very beautiful and magical here - a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breath it., let the sun bake it into you" - Ansel Adams
avatar Re: New for 2012: Half Dome Permits Lottery
January 13, 2012 08:56PM
Quote
Jayabrams
I don't see any real mechanisms to minimize the scalping.

Did you notice the "trip leader" thing? They didn't say it, but that implies they will be check IDs.
Re: New for 2012: Half Dome Permits Lottery
January 13, 2012 02:12PM
I wish they would add a rain check clause to the permit. I think a lot of people would be more willing to turn around in threatening weather if the permit was good for the next day or could be exchanged for a permit later in the season.

On the whole though, this is a step in the right direction. I especially appreciate the priority given to people who want to do HD as part of a longer wilderness excursion.
avatar Re: New for 2012: Half Dome Permits Lottery
January 13, 2012 04:33PM
No more walk-ups - the "Daily Lottery" is a "Two Days in Advance Lottery." No more crush at the vistor center as it's also on-line or phone.

My guess is this should curtail much of the scalping. It looks similar to the Whitney lottery and I don't see folks scalping many of those.

I agree with the rain check idea, for such a big honking piece of granite in an area prone to thunderstorms. Otherwise it will be "now or never" for a lot of folks with little experience judging weather. I hope these rules don't compel some unfortunate soul to head up when the sane decision is to head down, try again.
avatar Re: New for 2012: Half Dome Permits Lottery
January 13, 2012 05:06PM
This:
Quote

The names of the trip leader and alternate may not be changed once the application is submitted, and the permits are not transferable.

And This:

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This fee pays for park rangers checking for Half Dome permits

SHOULD keep people from scalping these permits. Of course, the enforcement has to be there, and the word needs to get out that permits not in your name are useless. IF that happens...
Re: New for 2012: Half Dome Permits Lottery
January 13, 2012 05:17PM
This is much better (and fairer) than the system that was in place last year. I like the two-day daily lottery idea too.
avatar Re: New for 2012: Half Dome Permits Lottery
January 17, 2012 02:27PM
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