The Reflector has been mostly quiet the for a few hours, so I thought this might be a good time to bring up a question about QUICKLY determining whether or not a specific spot (that looks very promising visually) actually has sufficient SOTA prominence to qualify as a Summit. I had a specific area in mind, and I have read that it is not uncommon for Association Managers to field questions about this. Someone is certain a particular spot just has to be a Summit and they want to know how to get it listed.
The area I had in mind is Mt. Penn, which overlooks (towers above it actually) Reading Pennsylvania. I thought that surly the W3 Association Manager must not be familiar with the area, and it somehow just got overlooked. Then I looked up the address for the Association Manager. It turns out that he actually lives in … (wait for it) … Reading Pennsylvania. Well, so much for that theory.
I contacted him anyway, and was basically advised that if I could demonstrate prominence, if verified it could be added. OK, how hard could it be? The high point of Mt. Penn is where the Fire Tower was built at a base elevation of 1120 feet at the coordinates of ( N 40.3467, W 75.9026 ). All I had to do was follow the 600 foot elevation contour line around that Tower, and I would be set (I do understand that would have slightly exceeded the actual prominence requirement). It turned out that contour line weaved its way through 5 counties, and eventually enclosed a slightly higher elevation point (a listed Summit) nearly 15 miles away. Wow. Is it unusual to determine the true Summit is that far away, and have slightly lower competing Summit candidates disqualified over that large an area?
I had my answer. It wasn’t exactly easy and after all that it was NOT a Summit. Is there anyone out there that could have come to that same conclusion much quicker and easier? Being able to introduce a custom sea level to an area at any elevation I choose would have instantly answered my question. I found discussions about “flooding” an area. But I could never figure out how to do it. That is a mapping tool I would like to experiment with.
This is probably just an academic question now. If SOTA already knew that Mt. Penn is not a Summit, I seriously doubt any place that has been equally analyzed will yield any more “hidden” gems. Has every association been equally analyzed?