More new rules for the coming year. Forest Service staff has changed the quota system at Mt. Whitney. To limit impacts by hikers and climbers on this immensley popular mountain, for years the Forest Service has issued a limited number of permits for overnight stays and day hikes to the top of the peak. Rangers limit climbers 100 per day during the peak season. While this is nothing new, this year Forest Service Staff plan to include the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek.
Most people who hike to the top take the numerous switchbacks of Mt. Whitney Trail. Climbers who want to attempt the steeper routes on the East Face of Mt. Whitney, used different trails up the North Fork of Lone Pine Creek. While the North Fork climbers needed a permit to stay overnight like elsewhere in the Sierra, day use has not been limited until now.
It appears that concerns of resource damage, crowding, and accidents have spilled over from the whitney trail into the horth fork. Forest Service staff reports that in recent years, there have also been several serious accidents in the north fork of Lone Pine Creek. Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks backcountry rangers have expressed concern about these accidents and increasing numbers of inexperienced climbers in the area.
Wilderness permits are required year round for everyone who spends the night in the Mt. Whitney Zone. Limited entry quotas are in effect between May 1 and November 1. For information about reserving permits in advance, contact the Wilderness Permit Reservation Office at (760) 873-2483, or check the Inyo National Forest website