FKT: Stephanie Dannenberg - Peaks of Otter (VA) - 2020-10-27

Route variation
3 peaks, open course, TH-TH
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
3h 15m 7s
GPS track(s)

Editors Note: Steph thought this effort was from the trailhead and finished at the summit of Sharp Top and raced it as such. Her split to the summit of Sharp Top was 2:44:56. Following a stop at the summit, she descended to the trailhead for her final time. 


Today I decided to go after the fastest known time (FKT) for the Peaks of Otter, 3 mountains for 3 summits, without a mileage/route (sort of a find your own way!). This is the first known time, and a challenge I wanted to do for a long time and one I think others will have a lot of fun planning out and going for. There are many routes you could take between the summits, choosing what to do first and last, etc! I tried to play to my strengths.

I did Flat Top O/B -> Harkening Hill Loop CW -> Sharp Top (finish at final summit)

The Temperature was perfect, a bit humid, but overcast and hovering around 63-67 (start/stop) degrees. I could not have asked for a better day. I did my effort unsupported, opting to not use my car as an aid station to make it truly unsupported. I would suspect that using your car as an aid stop would make it self-supported, and this could easily be done given the grounds. I found some water outside the base of Sharp/Flat Top that I got to drink from that was on the grounds, but overall, I ended up rationing water and wish I had more. I met no hikers on Flat Top and was uneventful. Harkening Hill, I passed two couples on the way down the backside of the loop. Some people were coming down Sharp Top, and met a family hiking with small children nearing the top, and a grandpa with his grandson talking about how there was no atmosphere at the summit of Sharp Top just as I finished!

I got short of 4,000 feet of gain/9.27 miles and I am overjoyed with my effort and pace on the 3 summits, averaging less than 18 min/mi which I have never done in regular training before on any summit. My time was 2:44:56. This was harder than I expected, and lost a bit of time on some slick rocks on a technical part of the sharp top climb, checking a map on Harkening Hill for direction when the trail split without a sign coming down the backside of the loop, and allowing people to pass down on Sharp Top trail. I hope I put down a good time that would be challenging to go after, and hope more will attempt this FKT as it is a beautiful area and the trails are well maintained. This course is very repeatable too! I was very lucky not too many hikers were attempting Sharp Top today, especially since I did it last and had a higher risk of traffic on trail and more waiting.