FKT: Kyle Williams - Half Dome, Yosemite (CA) - 2014-09-28

Route variation
standard route up & down
Gender category
Finish date
Total time
2h 23m 51s

Kyle Williams, 1h27m12s ascent /2h23m51s RT, 9/28/2014 


My name is Kyle Williams. I am a 21 year old trail runner originally from Walnut Creek, CA but attending school in LA. On Sunday September 28th 2014, I ran the round trip from Happy Isles to the top of Half Dome and back in 2:23:51.

Normally people announce their FKT intentions before their attempts, but I only had the idea to go for it about a week before. I was volunteering with the Yosemite Conservancy in Wawona (South Yosemite) for the month of September. To tell a short version of a long story, I ran in high school (at De La Salle) and suffered a serious of injuries and setbacks from June 2011 until June 2014. It seemed like I never managed to string together more than a week or two of training. This summer I have been lucky and persistent enough to enjoy a streak of healthy running. So it was only near the end of my stay in Yosemite that I realized I might be strong and healthy enough to give the record a shot. It was a cold morning as it had rained all night so I was content with a late start (10:29am). The rain helped and it hurt. It helped when I was running through Little Yosemite Valley because it made the sand a little more runable. It hurt as some footing was less trustworthy. I fell coming down the Mist Trail, hitting my right knee, shoulder, and head. Obviously I didn't pause my watch during any of the run. My splits were as follows:

Happy Isles: 0:00 [10:29am]
Vernal Footbridge: 6:46
Top of Vernal Falls: 16:05
Top of Mist Trail (by the Bathroom): 32:00
"2.0 miles" sign: 56:00
Base of Sub-Dome: 1:12:24
Base of cables: 1:20:48
Summit: 1:27:12

Bottom of cables: 1:30:19
Base of Sub-Dome: 1:35:10
"2.0 miles" sign: 1:44:20
Top of Mist Trail (by the Bathroom): 2:01:54
(I forgot to take my split at the Top of Vernal Falls)
Vernal Footbridge: 2:19:22
Happy Isles: 2:23:51 [12:54pm]

I have hiked Half Dome 5 or 6 times before (on annual Yosemite trips with my family) so I was pretty familiar with the trail. I had a Vanilla Gu 20min before I started and ran with a 22oz water bottle and a set of Clif Shot Bloks. I started the run faster than I expected but felt pretty strong for most of the ascent. The ranger that does the permits saw me from a distance and I was able to shout my information and not have to stop, which was nice. It was difficult to eat and run at the same time because my jaw was too cold to effectively chew the Shot Bloks. I ended up feeling dizzy going up the Sub-Dome so I started hiking and ate the rest of them. I ran in a pair of the Saucony Fastwitch 6.

I think there is potential for the trail to be run in 2:15 or even 2:10. Someone like Kilian Jornet could probably go under 2:00. Only time will tell (no pun intended).

Here is a link to the GPS data, collected with my Garmin ForeRunner 910XT (on the higher accuracy setting):
I have never tried to share a Garmin Connect activity before so let me know if there is more I should do to share it. Is posting this information here sufficient? Also feel free to ask me any questions! I'm leaving for a weekend trip to Bishop but I'll be back on my computer Monday.

Added by admin: More info on this and previous Half Dome FKTs here. Video interview with Kyle Williams here (thanks to Rick Deutsch).