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Re: [pct-l] Whitney Exit...



Jeff, the ticket is for _travel_ in the Whitney Zone; it's not a TH or
camping or peak-bagging permit. The whole area is a zoo of people in
July/August, and they're trying to protect the enviorment and the
enjoyment of other hikers. Every JMY hiker is issued a Whitney stamp -
the trail up to the peak is part of the JMT, and it would be strange to
hike almost all the trail but not the most famous part. 

You can usually get a Whitney stamp (even if you plan on camping - the
Whitney Zone goes from approximately Crabtree to Whitney Portal, which is
one heckofa hike) without the tough quota-type restrictions that apply to
hiking up the Whitney Trail. Last year (admittedly October), I did a hike
cc from Shepard Pass to Portal. I planned it so I would go over Trail
Crest before the weekend, and they just stuck a (free) Whitney sticker
onto my backcountry permit, no problem. That's when I learned I needed
the sticker for my exit through the Zone, but they were really nice and I
was glad to have the pretty sticker. 

Did they actually _refuse_ to issue your friend the sticker? I find that
hard to believe, especially for a solo hiker... Tell him to explain his
situation (using Whitney to exit his hike); the Scouts do that all the
time on the popular High Sierra Trail, for instance. Maybe the problem is
that he's requesting his JMT permit for the exact time when there are
already "too many" JMT permits issued. If he can offer to plan his
Whitney Zone travel for mid-week, that would help.

 The rangers fell over laughing when I anxiously asked what I should do
if a storm or something forced me to cross into the Zone before or after
my announced day, BTW. They thought it was incredibly prissy of me, and
explained that nobody was gonna make a Big Deal over my being a bit
off-schedule in a week-long hike. They just don't want people getting
blanket permits for big blocks of time and then hiking whenever/wherever
they feel like it, which would really defeat the pupose of quotas. They
really don't care if you say you don't plan on actually summiting the
peak or not: 1) the sticker isn't just for hiking to the top of the peak,
and 2) they have no reason to take any hiker at his/her word as you can
imagine. (see below)

Please don't suggest cheating the system. One of the major reasons all
the regulations are there in the first place is because so many people
won't obey an honor system, which is kind of crummy. If anybody thinks
that paying the fine makes it okay to break the rules, then they should
at least announce their intention to the FS/whatever, and enclose a money
order for the fine - otherwise there might be the impression they're
sneaking around hoping not to get caught, or intending to get out of a
fine by forcing the FS to spend precious funds/manpower in dealing with
court challenges.               

I'm sure your friend's plight is just a misunderstanding...     bj



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