Criteria for allocating summits points?

I have been unable to locate any information regarding how a summit receives its points score and bonus points. I assume it correlates with its height and difficulty of access but are there rules governing this?


Thanks, i had already looked there - obviously not hard enough, hi hi.

Dear George,

The information you want is in the Association Reference Manual (ARM). For England (G) this is here:

You will find the table of Association Reference Data in Section 2, which gives the elevation boundaries for the points bands. This is all that determines the score.

Following from Neil’s reply, read section 3.5 Guidelines for the definition of a summit, page 10. This will not help with the rationale for the points, but in brief the list of summits valid by prominence is drawn up and then divided up into points banding entirely on the basis of height, on the assumption that broadly speaking the higher summits will be more effort to attain and therefore worth more points. The points banding is usually selected to ensure that no bands have excessive numbers of summits but sometimes nature defeats that! Sometimes a higher summit will be unusually easy because of roads or mechanical access such as cable cars, etc., but the score is left unchanged so that there are some summits suitable for less able activators.

For the bonus rationale read section 3.11.1, page 17.

Phew, thanks fot that - I was just about going blind trying to find the relevant section using my phone.
Thanks to everyone for your prompt replies


Here in Colorado we have essentially:

1 point <8000 feet
2 points 8000-8999 feet
4 points 9000-10499 feet
6 points 10500-12,499 feet
8 points 12500-13499 feet
10 points 13500-14433 (Mount Elbert)

Nevertheless we have a huge, varied selection of peaks, and the thin air provides just enough oxygen for some of us to function on the highest peaks here. This is not the easiest place to get points.

The point is that each Association has its own criteria for allocating points, and these vary considerably.



“This is not the easiest place to get points.”

My nearest 1 point hill, Bardon Hill, just about makes it over 900’ . You probably have bigger things in your back garden, ha ha.

Well if ever there is an Nepalese/Tibetan association Mount Everest (Sagarmāthā/Chomolungma) would be a 10 pointer. No doubt the winter bonus would be there all year round :smile:




Nearly 40 years since I was in the Himalayas - i dont think i will be back this lifetime :joy:
However, there’s plenty of challenges in Iceland!! Dream on.

Nepal will be interesting when it comes to point banding since its topography ranges from lowland plains in the south, with the highest points about 1,000 metres, to the highest peaks on Earth. The points bands will be very wide!


There is another possibility, no doubt canvassed before. Rethink the gradings and introduce extra bands. After all the original banding was based on Marilyns. Anything over 25,000 ft has to be worth 50 points surely. Just a thought.


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Right if you are talking about today or this year or the next. Wrong when the ponder-able future is considered. It is a maybe, sometime thing.
Splitting the atom was once said to be not possible. The immutable Laws of Physics are updated continuously. Overruling a decision by the umpire in a cricket match was once unthinkable. Now it is expected.
By the time there is a Nepalese Association, SOTA may be a slightly different “game” with different “referees” so the banding rules may change. Even now there is no sensible comparison between Marilyns and peaks over 10,000 ft, let alone above 25,000 ft.
I’m not agitating for a change, but revisiting the whole basis for points will be somewhere on the future agenda, albeit after all the stuff already listed.


No. Maximum four months.

No, it isn’t.

If you activate a 7600m summit, which is just outside the death zone, you get something much more valuable than any number of points, viz: the ultimate respect from your peers, both mountaineers and amateurs.

So Everest will be 10pts with a 4month max bonus.

I think the point bands would require major overhaul to accurately reward effort, and it’s probably beside the scope of the SOTA program, which is not a competition.

13 points in DM/BW means a 10 minute stroll on a paved footpath on a nice March day. Getting on the Everest requires many many years of training, £50k, 2 months of travelling/hiking/altitude adjustment, spending many days in a tent at 7900m / -30C / 20% of normal oxygen levels waiting for the right weather and a painful trip in the death zone, on ice, most of it at night. 1300 points wouldn’t be enough, and Everest isn’t even the hardest or most dangerous.

Razvan (M0HZH / YO9IRF)


No, you have it wrong, the prominence selected for SOTA summits is the same as for Marilyns, it is also conveniently close to 500 feet. Marilyns have nothing much to do with height, they are based on topographic prominence. The points banding has nothing to do with Marilyns, anyway, it is just a way of conveniently dividing up the height distribution of the valid summits, from the lowest and least energy demanding to the highest and most energy demanding. Endless hours and pages and pages of discussion has been devoted to trying to find a better way of doing it, everything from simple logarithmic progressions to quite complex formulae have been proposed, none have been satisfactory since there are so many variables. Every time the subject is re-hashed we arrive at the reluctant conclusion that the current system is the best we can do, and conforms to the KISS principle.

Where I differ from my colleagues is the matter of the bonus. In the Himalaya you get winter, and you get the monsoon. The two do not coincide, both lead to heavy snow and severe avalanching - and to add to the fun the higher summits can be in the Jet Stream! My own feeling is that we either have two bonus periods for summits in the high Himalaya - or none, since we do not wish to encourage suicide!


Thanks Brian,

At present there is a cap at 10 points and there is also an expectation if not a requirement that the number of peaks be spread in a manner that does not give a lot of the peaks as 10 pointers. This has been accepted as part of the Rules of the Game. That said, none of us can predict the future whether that be 5 years or 50 years away. To say that that there will be no changes to SOTA Rules re point scoring is likely to be wrong even if the current system passes the KISS test. Be wary of black swans.


…and the General Rules… :stuck_out_tongue: