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Dean Potter Sets New Half Dome Running Record

Dean Potter has a number of records to his name, from speed climbing to highlining, and can now be known as a ultra runner or as Potter calls it, an “ultra climber.”

On May 3, 43-year-old Potter started his journey at the Sierra Point Trailhead and two hours and 17 minutes and 52 seconds later, he was back where he started. This is the fastest known time of this loop via Half Dome’s summit.

Potter’s run took him up Sierra Point Trail, up  a gully near Grizzly Peak, up Snake Dike 5.7 to the top of Half Dome and then down the cables on the south side to Lost Lake and eventually Mist Trail.

Potter’s Interview About his Run

It only took Potter one-hour and 19 minutes to summit Half Dome from the start of the trail and he carried no water, food or climbing shoes.

Dean Potter’s Half Dome ultraclimb route. Photo Jennifer Rapp
Dean Potter’s Half Dome ultraclimb route. Photo Jennifer Rapp

Potter said he wants to continue running the loop until he does it in less than two hours.

Where did Potter get the idea to start running peaks?

A few years ago, Potter spent some time running with ultrarunner Scott Jurek. That led to conversations about the Potter’s Half Dome speed summits and Jurek offered tips on how Potter could improve his time.

Potter is known for, among many things, his 2002 first solo of Supercanaleta on Fitz Roy, the first solo of the 5.13+ Concepcion in Moab, his first solo of the exposed Heaven 5.13a in Yosemite, his impressive second ascent of Southern Belle 5.12dR/X with Leo Houlding in 2006 and the first FreeBASE ascent of Deep Blue Sea 5.12+ on the Eiger. In 2010, Potter held the speed record for The Nose after a two-hour 36 minutes and 45 second ascent with Sean Leary.