Does a man-made summit qualify?

I’ve been asked many times whether a man-made high point can count as a summit. It’s always been my impression they don’t count, though I’ve never seen anything explicitly addressing this point. Then I saw the write-up on Hensbarrow Downs G/DC-008, which is “located on the top of the spoil heap created from the china clay quarries below…” This example indicates man-made hills can qualify as a summit.

This arose most recently when a ham friend asked about a local man-made hill that is ~837’ ASL.

I’m guessing that prominence is the key factor that disqualifies many (most?) man-made high points, not the fact that they are man-made. This, if over time we dumped enough refuse onto a local “Mt. Trashmore,” we might be able to meet the prominence requirement.

Am I understanding all this correctly?

73 Paula k9ir

Hi Paula,
The answer to the question in the title of the thread is YES, as long as the prominence criteria is met.
You can read this looong thread where some mentions to manmade SOTAs are made:



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There are also a couple of waste spoil heaps in Belgium that qualify on this basis.

73 Phil


The criterion that the MT applies is whether the man-made summit is active or inactive, as active summits may change, and the AZ must be covered in vegetation.

…and at least one in Germany, DM/NW-134 (Sophienhöhe) near Köln.

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A good example is a summit I added for Estonia. I thought it was a stabilised tip of coal mine spoil, as I found evidence online about landscaping work. However, once a local let me know that this was actually just a bit of the hill and the top was still very much active and growing, we cancelled its validity. At some point in the future, after they have stopped tipping, and thoroughly stabilized the summit, we will look at it again, but we need to be sure it’s a permanent feature of the topography that’s not going to grow or shrink.

Of course to qualify for a P150 association that has be be a really big pile of spoil! I found a nice one in ZS recently that had a super duper view into the crazy massive hole they dug it from (copper mine), but it still wasn’t close to meeting the P criterion. :frowning: Easier for P100 associations of course, such as ON and ES as mentioned.

Oh, and I might add that’s the only way we’d ever see a summit for W4F! But they have a way to go yet, at a still-active open-cast mine.


And there’s one in Gauteng (ZS/GP-017 ?).

The Sydney Harbour bridge almost qualifies. I think it’s only short by 10 or 20m.

And yes, we are that desperate to find even one more summit in the Sydney basin, which is more of a plate than a basin.

The G (England) Association uses the Marilyn’s (P150) list which is maintained by the Relative Hills of Great Britain (RHB). 3 years ago the RHB decided to move the summit from the highest point of the natural hill of Hensbarrow Beacon G/DC-004 to the highest point of the man-made summit if Hensbarrow Downs G/DC-008. The reason for this changed was because vegetation was growing through the man-made hill which means it becomes naturalised. Due to this I did this change so as the association is inline which the RHB’s list.

Jimmy M0HGY
G - Association Manager

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No it doesn’t! :grinning:

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I don’t think I’d relish driving over a bridge that boasted 150m prominence! :woozy_face:

I don’t think my clutch would care much for it either…

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Same for W5L (Louisiana). Andrew KD5ZZK is a pretty active SOTA activator. He has to travel many miles to find a qualifying summit. When I was assembling the W5 program back in 2009 I tried to find just one point to get W5L into the system. Even at P-100m, there just isn’t anything. Nothing at all. Not a trash dump, not a highway overpass. I never really looked, but I’ll bet there are one or two more states beside FL and LA that have no summits qualifying. If I had to guess, I’d say DE and KS, maybe one or two more…

Vy73 – Mike – KD5KC – El Paso, Texas.

When you do the bridge walk you are on the top of the bridge and that is 134m above the water below.

Lets lighten up a bit.

A colleague “won” the chance to walk up the suspension cables of the Humber Bridge some years back. Full harness etc. and you can enter the towers and come down using the stairs inside. He said he aged 20years doing it and would never, ever consider doing anything like it again but was glad he did it. The photos I saw (so long ago all 35mm B/W prints) were impressive.

That is height, not prominence. SOTA eligibility is based on prominence, not height. The prominence of the highest part of that bridge will only be a handful of metres.

Don’t expect the MT to “lighten up” on this one - we deal with hundreds of people every year that don’t understand the definition of topographical prominence :wink:

I’d have been washing my hair that day.

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Just imagine Tom that having done that and recovered from the experience, you exit the tower onto the pavement and there could be someone walking past exercising a big pack of daft dogs keen to sniff and drool over you. With that part of Yorkshire/Humberside/Lincolnshire being so very flat, the distance you can see is impressive.

Mike, you’re close – there are 5 states without summits. FL, LS, KS, DE and RI.

Thanks to all for the replies. This query started as a Skype chat room discussion in which I was explaining to a ham friend the concept of “prominence” as used by SOTA to define summits.

The comments here also answered my follow-up question about man-made structures. Several buildings in downtown Chicago have rooftop gardens, but I doubt that would qualify as “covered in vegetation.” So I guess Willis Tower has no hope ;-).

73 Paula k9ir

Hi Paula!
There is no state “LS”. I assume you meant “LA” for Louisiana.

Walt (G3NYY)

I feel ill.