Hey for anyone else wishing to get out there, obtaining a permit can be done on line at http://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisi...trypermits.htm
. They have an availability calendar on line and everything..
You can almost have your pick of the place November through February, as long as you don't mind shorter days and crisper nights, snow is rarely an issue. Peak season is April-May and September.. my favorite time of year is likely October, though the last week of April/first week of May ain't so bad either.
Point being, if you think you need to get out there then you should just make that happen.