FKT: Scott Williamson, Anonymous - Pacific Crest Trail (CA, OR, WA) - 2009-08-12

Route variation
South to North
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
65d 9h 58m 0s

In a break-through feat of speed backpacking to that date, Scott Williamson & a hiker who wishes not to be named here surpassed not only the thru-hiker PCT record, but also Horton's fully supported record, by hiking the trail in 65d9h58m from June 8 to August 12, 2009. The pair did not use a vehicle at any time during the trip (backpackers typically hitch hike from the trail to some of the resupply points), adding about 20 miles to the trip. Williamson, who has now hiked the PCT a staggering 13 times, posted a brief summary on the Team Inov8 website, which reads as follows:

On 8/12 at 9:58 PM ___________ and I arrived at the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail, 65 days, 9 hours, and 58 minutes after leaving the Mexican border having averaged 40.5 miles a day. We have broken David Horton's record by about 21 hours, the old record being 66 days, 7 hours, 16 minutes. This was the culmination of a dream that we started on June 8Th at 12 PM. We broke this record as backpackers without any outside assistance, doing the trail as backpackers picking up prepacked boxes of food in towns along the tail. In addition we did not use any vehicles at all during our journey, but instead chose to walk into and out of all of our resupply towns which added over 20 miles of walking to the already difficult 2655.4 mile distance we were trying to cover. In the course of going after and breaking David's record I have gained even more respect for him as an athlete setting the record he did in 2005 which was a much higher snow year and thus more difficult year for a speed record than what we had. My feet held up well and the flyrocks performed well. I ended up losing about 25 pounds during the course of the trip and although I do feel somewhat run down overall feel happy to have made it to the finish after battling the flu and non stop 45 degree rain during the last six days of the hike. I will post more once settled back into the off trail life. For now I am happy to report that we met our goal and now hold the all out overall Pacific Crest Trail speed record. -- Scott Williamson, 15 August 2009.

Williamson's anonymous hiking partner provided some additional information, stressing the importance of staying on the true PCT in any speed record attempt. Further discussion of "style" is further down this thread:

One thing I would like to stress as well for anyone that hopes to challenge the record is that they need to be on the PCT every step of the way. In 2005 when Horton ran the PCT he took the detour around Glacier Peak where Scott and I didn't. This is significant as it takes a road out of the equation (no resupply for runners) and adds 10 miles of old growth blow down to crawl over. In addition about 5-6 glacial melt streams that must be forded. There is no doubt in my mind this adds significant difficulty over the reroute road option. Also in the past some of the PCT speed records have taken alternates to avoid fires etc. I would stress that Scott and I walked the entire PCT and I think if anyone wants to claim a PCT speed record in the future they would need to be on the PCT for the duration of the trip.

The pair's state times were also reported as follows, which are believed to have been records for these segments, as well as the midpoint time. Note that in 2012 the Midpoint & California times were beaten by Ryan Weidert, and in 2013 the Oregon time was beaten by Brian Donnelly (see below):
- Mexico to midpoint: 34d18h47m2s
- midpoint to Canada: 30d15h11m45s
- California: 42d18h27m
- Oregon: 10d14h14m
- Washington: 12d1h17m

An extensive interview with the anonymous hiker is on Patagonia's employee blog.