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Seasonal Bonus


In reply to G3NYY:

There are some interesting comments on this subject and indeed there have been in the past. To the comments that have been made this time around I would just add a few observations:

Firstly, perhaps there is a perception issue involved in the points earned (or not) per chase or activation that is created by the fact that both the Mountain Goat Award and Shack Sloth Award are both based on 1000 points. Despite protestations to the contrary that have been aired in the past, I believe that this can lead to a perceived imbalance between chasing and activating when in fact none exists as the two activities are entirely separate and cannot be compared.

Secondly, there is evidence that there have been (and probably still are) activators that make just 4 or 5 contacts and then close down. I do not believe that this is necessarily to rush off to another summit - it could be for a number of reasons, but one thing I would say is that those that adopt the practice on a regular basis are only cheating themselves out of what I consider to be the most valuable aspect of SOTA - friendship! From the start back in 2006, I have always made it my aim to contact as many chasers as possible while on a summit. The ultimate reward has been the friendships that have grown up over the years. In operational terms this was perhaps best illustrated when I activated Dundry Down G/SC-010 at 9 p.m. on a Saturday evening as my 6th summit of the day and made contact with many regulars who were willing to get up off their sofas and into their shacks to work me. I can quote many other instances of people making themselves available at unsociable hours, helping out with revised itineraries due to the situation having changed on the ground, keeping track of where I have got to, etc, etc.

Thirdly, getting back to the topic in hand, I am certain that the winter bonus does not encourage activators to take risks. There are plenty of 2 point summits with reasonably easy safe access to satisfy even the most active activator over a winter bonus period. For those such as myself who are Uniques freaks, the situation is different, but it does not mean that we take on the higher summits without considering the risks involved. The winter bonus is set at 3 points across all 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10 point summits for a reason. That is to offer a better percentage gain on the lower summits and so encourage responsible activations. Activators should never be ashamed to amend or cancel activations in poor weather conditions - it has happened to me several times. Having an alternative plan is always adviseable and there is no substitute for experience, so people need to recognise their capabilities and keep within them. This is all basic stuff and thankfully more or less everyone involved in SOTA has taken it on board. I don’t see anyone “bigging themselves up” and taking risks as has been suggested.

73, Gerald


In reply to F6ENO:

Yes, there is a kind of competition; we try to activate new ones, but,
sure, all french summits will never be activated, it is not possible.

I would not worry too much about F association. Though the activity is not as high as in UK it is not so bad either. Comparison to UK is also difficult due to the Alps and Pyrenees - but that has been mentioned here already before.

Pity that I do not have too much time to go out in these winter conditions. For me the snow is a bonus in itself :slight_smile:

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


In reply to 2E0FSR:
I too have reservations about the seasonal bonus. I come to this as primarily a mountaineer who participates in SOTA. Living in the Scottish Highlands I have plenty of summits to activate. Many activations in the Winter bouns period have seen mild, above zero temperatures on the summits. Many activations outside the winter bonus period have been completed in sub zero temperatures. I thought the purpose of the bonus was to reward activators for the extra difficulty due to the low temperatures. The temperatures in the Highlands are generaly likely to be sub zero for longer periods than in the Lakes so why is the winter bouns period the same? Also I have climbed many summits in the Alps, in the summer, with significant sub zero temperatures on the summits. Many of these summits have taken two days to do. Yet no bonus for the sub zero temperature! I can get 13 points for Ben Nevis in the winter when it is above zero and the trip up and down takes 6 hours plus activating time. I have done Mnot Blanc in the summer, it took two days in all, the temperature on the top was several degrees below freezing. The reward had I activated (I did this before getting into SOTA) only 10 points! I can tell you that Mont Blanc involves about three times the effort of Ben Nevis.

My solution would be to get rid of the winter bonus. The rational is that I am fortunate that I can get up the hills to activate at all times of the year. I already have the advantage over fair weather activators that I will be activating 365 days a year (if I had tha time!) Why have bonus points giving me an even larger advantage over the warm weather activators? I just get on activating throughout the year, the winter bonus does not encourage me out more in the winter. If the conditions are ok I will go out.

I tend to look at my score on the database minus the bonus points to get my “Real” activator points. I know I won’t feel I have become a real mountain Goat until I have reached 1,000 activator points without the bonus points(still some way to go! The climbing activities get in the way though I did one activation after lugging the gear up a 600 ft rock face!).

I have often wondered about the need and fairness of the winter bonus but have said nothing until now. I feel it should be reconsidered, probably best abandoned or else each association should have a different time period reflecting the temperature / weather conditions prevailing in their area.

Just my thoughts!



I just think the winter bonus should also apply to chasers. After all our shacks are colder…


In reply to MM0DHY:

It isn’t only reduced temperatures that you get in winter, it is a shortage of daylight, too, making speed an important factor. As a one-time snow and ice climber I well remember arguments about what constituted a winter ascent of a route, with some ascents discounted as they were not in true winter condition. Having set dates avoids this type of argument, otherwise it might be necessary to demand proof of winter conditions, and nobody trusts photographs since photoshop! It is then up to the activator to pick good conditions (but he can’t wangle more daylight!) or go for it in poorer conditions (but within his safety margin.)

In fact each Association can determine whether or not to have a winter bonus, and the best dates for it: in the Southern hemisphere the winter bonus would be in our summer. Some countries with desert conditions might opt to have a summer bonus instead. So far we have not had to decide what to do about countries that have both a winter and a monsoon season!

As far as I can see, whilst the winter bonus makes more sense in some places than in others, there is no compelling reason to abandon it: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!


Brian G8ADD


In my opinion it’s more difficult climbing a mountain in baking temperatures than when it’s chilly.

Brian: As far as I can see, whilst the winter bonus makes more sense in some places than in others, there is no compelling reason to abandon it: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

I could have put my house on you stating a comment like that.

73 Chris 2E0FSR


In reply to G8ADD:
Hi Brian

I have done several activations at night outside bonus season, no extra points for this! Short days are just a part of the winter experience, walking back down with headtorch on is no bother. I often do this coming off of big climbs. I don’t see why the shorter days, night time decents should get a bonus in the winter but night time activations in warmenr seasons attract no bonuses! Navigation in the dark can be quite challenging. Perhaps a bonus for activations after sunset? So that only leaves the lower temperatures to justify the bonus. As I said earlier the ablilty to still activate whilst other less hardy souls wait until the warmenr weather is, in my opinion, bonus enough!

Perhaps we should have different winter bonus dates for Scotland as it tends to be colder for longer as compared to England and Wales? I had thought the justification was the likelyhood of experiencing sub zero temperatures. This should apply all year round for some of the higher alpine summits!

73 Adrian


In reply to 2E0FSR:

How gratifying for you, Chris!

The simple fact is that SOTA works as it is, there is no point in changing things and throwing everybody into confusion unless there really are compelling reasons to make a change. Speaking personally and with no intention to enlarge on the subject, there are a few things that I think could be improved, but the winter bonus isn’t one of them. It isn’t enough to say that an extra three points might tempt people into unwise choices, that is nothing more than an aspersion on the good sense of activators. You have to show that the extra three points actually does lead people into taking unnecessary risks despite the sound advice offered on the website, and to show that, you must have a portfolio of case histories, people saying that they ignored their better judgement and took unconscienable risks for the sake of the three extra points. I doubt that you can do it. The simple fact is that everybody knows that they should not go out in extreme conditions, and that applies as much to extremely hot as it does to extremely cold, or in a gale or thunderstorm. Furthermore, they do not need to, because even in mid winter you will get weather windows to take advantage of. We all know that the mountains will still be there tomorrow.


Brian G8ADD


In reply to G8ADD:

‘The simple fact is that SOTA works as it is’

SOTA is not what it used to be Brian. You’ll be telling us that it’s not competitive next.

73 2E0FSR Chris


In reply to 2E0FSR:
Dont take this as being offensive please, but if you dont like the rules then dont play the game. You cant start changing the rules just to suit a few individuals.




In reply to 2E0FSR:


Tell me when, ie which year in SOTA history from 2002 to 2009, you mean by “it used to be”, and I will unearth the stats for you to test your hypothesis.




In reply to M1EYP:

I know all about your famous stats Tom. And it’s not me you need to be testing.

73 Chris 2E0FSR


That’s not what I meant. Anyway, here are some stats taken straight from the database - anyone can derive this information, so it can easily be verified. So you or anyone else can make their own mind up as to whether SOTA is what it used to be, or otherwise:

Number of activators active in UK associations each year:

------ - G ---- GW ---- GM ---- GI ---- GD ---- UK total
2002 - 24 ----- 5 ------ 3 ------ 1 ------ 0 ------ 33
2003 - 49 ---- 10 ------ 8 ------ 1 ------ 0 ------ 68
2004 - 101 — 11 ----- 16 ------ 2 ------ 1 ----- 131
2005 - 123 — 17 ----- 16 ------ 2 ------ 1 ----- 159
2006 - 148 — 17 ----- 21 ------ 4 ------ 2 ----- 192
2007 - 156 — 15 ----- 24 ------ 4 ------ 1 ----- 200
2008 - 171 — 14 ----- 26 ------ 3 ------ 1 ----- 215
2009 - 180 — 16 ----- 29 ------ 4 ------ 0 ----- 229



In reply to M1EYP:

Those filters are very useful!

Activators active in all Associations by year:



Brian G8ADD


In reply to G8ADD/M1EYP:



In reply to G3CWI:

Thanks, that made my evening!


Brian G8ADD


In reply to F6ENO:

But, unfortunately, SOTA rules are anchored as the Roc of Gibraltar.

73 Alain F6ENO (ex RM)

Bien sûr, vous aviez raison, Alain!


Walt (G3NYY)


In reply to G8ADD:

Do you know Brian, and you’ll find it hard to believe, there are people who don’t like Jazz. I know, I know. Listening to the Duke has prompted me to rip some of my Count Basie CDs to add to the mp3 server at work.




In reply to MM0FMF:

Do you know Brian, and you’ll find it hard to believe, there are
people who don’t like Jazz.

I’m one of them, Andy. I can’t stand it!

Walt (G3NYY)


In reply to G3NYY:

I’ll let you off not liking Ornette Coleman and his Free Jazz but not liking the Duke when he swings is a crime! :wink: