How to Register
Again this year, we'll be registering in groups, as follows:
- 2015 thru hikers, beginning March 4
2015 thru hiker registration form
- Those who want to stay in a cabin, beginning March 10
Cabin registration form • About the cabins
- Past PCT thru hikers, beginning March 15
2015 previous thru hiker registration form
- Everyone else who wants to camp, beginning March 20
2015 general registration form
- Day visitors, open from March 25-April 17
2015 day visitor registration form
Registration for each group will remain open until all sites are filled. Which means, for example, that 2015 thru hikers can register any time from March 4 until registration closes for everyone (probably ~March 28). Registration for day visitors will be open from March 25-April 17.
Please don't try to game the system by registering with an earlier group. If you do, your application goes to the back of the line in your group.
But This Isn't Fair!
We made some changes to the registration process last year. In recent years, the event has become extremely popular. Five years ago, the registration window was open for several weeks; in 2013 we filled up in 32 hours. This creates a couple of problems:
- This brief window excludes folks who miss the starting gun or who, for whatever reason, can't get to their computer during that brief time. (Believe me, I've heard some good excuses.)
- The mad scramble is difficult for us to manage. In a matter of hours, our massive staff of one volunteer has to review 800+ applications while keeping a finger on the keyboard--ready to shut off the flow of applications. Last year the registration spigot was opened and closed several times as we tried to fill the bucket as completely as possible without overflowing. This on-again, off-again process is frustrating for people trying to register. Processing of this giant dump of applications and shoehorning everyone into a campsite requires working into the wee hours of the morning for many days or even weeks.
Our solution is to switch to a "rolling registration" system with several groups:
- Registration opens first for current-year thru hikers. Bear
in mind that from the beginning this event has been for and
about prospective thru hikers; they are our guests and our
priority. But there are also practical reasons for putting them
- They're busy preparing for the journey of a lifetime. By keeping the registration window open longer for them, we're removing one stress point that they don't need.
- They're in an isolated area of the campground--the part that doesn't have hookups. Those sites are going to thru-hikers whether we use the mad-dash registration system or rolling registration. (In other words, they don't take away sites from other applicants.) And it allows us to assign sites over a period of weeks rather than analyzing applications during a 32-hour (or less) deluge.
- Registration then opens for people who want cabins. The cabins provide unique accommodations, but under the mad-dash system they were poorly utilized. We ended up sticking people who didn't want to be there in cabins, while others who would've preferred cabin accommodations were stuck on the hard ground between a guy who snores loudly and a group that stays up all night talking "quietly." Making the cabins explicitly available to those who want them makes everybody happier. And again, it doesn't take away space from anyone else.
- Next up: Past thru hikers. Having more time to process these applications makes it easier to arrange the class reunion areas. Past thru hikers are a valuable source of information and inspiration for current thrus, so we generally bunch the class sites as close to the current thrus as possible.
- And then there's the "everyone else" category, which includes trail angels, section hikers, future hikers, etc. There is no shame in being in this group; in the past it was the only group! Nor is there any disrespect towards "everyone" folks on the part of ADZPCTKO organizers; we love all trail people!
Bottom line: Whether you're in the first group or the last, your odds of getting in are about the same as in years past. But hopefully the folks in each group will see a registration window as long or longer than the one brief window last year, and we'll be able to dole out campsites without pulling as many all-nighters.