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Criteria for allocating summits points?


Sometimes in the early years of SOTA it seemed as if every participant and his dog wanted to change SOTA, although no two of them (including the dog) agreed on what the changes should be. In fact the rules were hammered out over a period of months of discussion on a Yahoo Group that IIRC is now defunct, though until Sotawatch was started it was the main channel of communication. Subjectivety or objectivety, it doesn’t really matter: the rules were quickly found to work well with surprisingly little tinkering, and the rapid increase in participation and expansion in numbers of Associations proved that the scheme was meeting a need. To be frank, Arnaud, criticism is now like water off a ducks back. Pragmatically, SOTA works and works well, after fifteen years there seems no need to make any significant changes to the rules although perhaps some of them could be worded more clearly. The function of the MT is no longer to explain or defend SOTA but to expand the number of Associations and keep the wheels well greased so that SOTA continues to function. After all, get us all, Activators and Chasers alike, in one place and we would make a good crowd in a sports stadium - although many of us would slope off to the nearest bar!


Hi Andy,

Thanks for that. I actually contacted Rob as well. I did not realize that some tracks currently loaded into sotamaps had problems. All the tracks I have seen so far look good. I have asked Rob if using my call sign as an example (I only uploaded a few tracks) he could take the difference of the highest point and the lowest point and then add that difference for all the tracks. I want to see if it is a hard thing to do.



It may appear strange to you Brian but I actually I agree with you. SOTA works well and does not need to be changed, maybe tweaked in some instances here and there based on what the MT decides but that’s it. At the end of the day, your show your rules, if we’re not happy we can leave the watering hole.

Adding the ability to sum you vert when you upload tracks in sotamaps does not change the SOTA scoring system (regular or bonus), it just adds an extra dimension to the program without changing what works.

As soon as you mention the word ‘difficulty’ though, everybody’s hair gets on fire (especially in the UK for some strange reason, probably because it is the founding country where most of the veteran members live). Some arguments then starts being championed which I find inconsistent and I then point it out. I do not expect people to agree nor like me but I think it is healthy to have discussions. I think that as soon as you start viewing it as blind criticism then the purpose of having a discussion in the first place is lost.

I think it must be hard to create something from scratch where at the beginning the number of decision makers were small and then to have it migrate into a very public eye where every Tom Dick and Harry (and Arnaud) has an opinion or another. At the end it must be quite frustrating and tiring and I can completely relate to that.

I think that as long people do not just criticize but propose solutions (be they good or bad ones) that try to advance SOTA then I think it is a healthy process.

So cheers to you Brian, and thanks for your input!


P100 is not considered for an association unless it has a summit density of less than 1 P150 summit per 2,000 km^2.

As for why P150, well, why 26 miles 385 yards for a Marathon? That rule really is pretty arbitrary, but it gives you a nice race (not for me though!). When even international events are found to have messed up the course length those results don’t count for league tables any more (happened recently didn’t it?). So even though the parameter was chosen as a good working value (and depending on where exactly was the Royal Box at the 1908 Olympics) rather than according to some rule of nature its enforcement is rigorous.

Anyone proposing a change to the scoring system should consider the magnitude of the task. Currently the summits team has thousands of summits under active consideration for inclusion, in Europe, the Americas and elsewhere. Computer analysis points us in the right direction but at the end of the day it takes eyes on maps to read names and check contours/spot heights at the summit and col. Very many of these have no hiking trails shown on the map (if we have a decent map at all!) so there’s really no way we could consider anything about trek difficulty even if we could afford the time so to do.

It’s great that SOTA doesn’t have a minimum elevation requirement (other than it has to be at least 150 m to meet the P150 requirement) and I’m glad that soon we will see low summits that were missed from Italy, for instance, taking their place in the listings. Likewise for higher summits which happen to be “easy” for whatever reason. I don’t want to see the activator who struggles out of his or her car on a drive-on summit and slowly crosses to the operating position to get a lesser score towards Mountain Goat than anyone who decides to hike all the way up from the bottom of the hill.


"That rule really is pretty arbitrary"
I believe we are in agreement.

Please note that I am not advocating changing the existing scoring system as I have mentioned before and which many people seem to think. I just want to add the ability to collect data that already exists in the database.

Just being able to add Vert via Sotamap when loading tracks would make me happy. This is hardly revolutionary and does not entail changing thousands of summits. Rob, DM1CM, always forward-thinking when it comes to development has some existing capabilities in there which I have been having a look at. It looks like it is easy on a single summit but not so easy for multiple ones. That assumes I am fully exploiting the existing capabilities of the tool which I am not 100% confident of. Still looking into it.