The NFS has unveiled its 2001 permit process for Whitney
This is similar to last year's process (and does not reflect any of the proposed changes discussed earlier). The upshot is that your best chance of getting the dates you want is by entering the lottery IN FEBRUARY for dates (particularly the most popular weekends in August).
Judging from past experience this is ONLY TIME you can get camping permits on Whitney. If you are just wanting to day hike it, it is not as essential that you enter the lottery (unless you are wanting permits for holidays, August or weekends).
If you are flexible and can climb the mountain midweek or in months other than August then you can probably still get those dates even after the lottery.
The Feds are a little more high tech this year making a couple changes:
+ An application is available in Word 6.0 format
+ On May 1 they will begin accepting phone reservation by phone