Summits never activated

In regards to activating summits, if a summit has NEVER been activated, does one gain points if one activates it or… do you only get the privilege of probably being the only person to do so and ever will do so.
Up here in Far North Qld, from the tip/ out west and down the coast, nearly every summit I search thru in summit mapping has never been activated.

I know why. Crikey, if its not walking for ages in the outback rock country to get there, its the thick jungle you have to beat through.

Most level 2-4 summits around here would take around 4 hours to get to the top. Well … you’d want to make sure you activated it which means you may have to work “the grey line” to do it. This means spending the night up there hanging in your hammock (that’s ok too), swatting mozzies and everything else that flies, crawls and squats in the mud.
So, back to the original question, …does one gain an extra point for activating a summit that’s never been activated prior?

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Short answer. No.

But you get bragging rights - which is surely worth a lot more than a measly point!

We have similar 1-2 pointers on the West Coast of Fiordland NZ. No mossies or snakes or croc’s (though we probably have the same biomass of sandflies, by weight). But anything from 2-6 days on foot to reach them (one way), probably carrying a packraft to cross the sounds & lakes. Plus alpine gear to get over the main divide. No tracks, bridges, hut or facilities other than the occasional bit of flat ground not covered in water on which to pitch a tent - if you’re lucky.

In other words - the kind of paradise some of us spend all year waiting for the opportunity to get in to.

Have fun - and make sure you get those bragging rights you deserve.



Hi Mark,
Echoing what Matt says - no bonus point for being the first to activate a summit. Just that your call sign will be shown under the first activation heading on the summit information page on the SOTA site.

By the way, there is a difference between ‘activating’ and ‘qualifying’ a summit.
If you get one contact from a summit you have activated it but to get the points for the summit, you need to have contacts with at least 4 different stations.
So if you reach one of the remote summits and only manage a contact with say, 2 other stations, you have activated the summit and will be listed as the first activator but wont get any activator points for it.

73 Ed.


Woooo!! it’s a great reward :rofl: :rofl:


It certainly is. The respect of your fellow peers is worth much more than points.


Well if anyone feels they need a certificate to acknowledge anything, well anything that’s legal, I can print them. However the SOTA copyright restricts what can be done. Oh and it’s not free. PM me if you really really want one.


I love to be the first to activate summits… it’s a bit of a first ascent… I enjoyed this on holidays last year.

When SOTA was founded, every peak was a first activation (at least in relation to the SOTA program). Every peak was virgin to SOTA… If you look at who first activated these peaks in SOTA, there are calls there that are already no longer heard. But in this way they will live forever. That’s much more than a few extra points …

Actually there are 3 reasons why a summit has never been activated:

  1. it is too far away… (or not accessible like a military training area or a natural monument)
  2. it is too difficult to reach, because you have to be a good climber.
    (often it is a mixture of 1 + 2)
  3. or there are simply no SOTA activators in the area. (those are the ones I can walk on first).

An activation of a rarely visited ( or never visited ) peak is also interesting for the Unique list… also for the chasers!

Sometimes, as a first activator, you also pave the way for subsequent activities… you can e.g. document parking places, paths and sights… and you might be rewarded with a complete, like me at I/LG-059 tnx @DL6FBK :wink:

…actually already enough reasons for a first activation

73 Armin


Something doesn’t add up here and I think SOTA is a little biased to the northern hemisphere.

So let me get this straight:

Let’s say we have a summit that’s worth 10 points in the northern hemisphere and it has a road going up almost to the top (its a lookout) but, you have to walk the trail the last 1km or 2). Now being that its a leisurely climb, open fields warm sun and its summer (23 degrees in the sun), you get 10 points for activating.

Now winter comes. So you throw on a jumper and jacket etc to keep warm and go for a walk (or you could use a snowmobile and go to the top and walk the last 20 metres) and somehow you gain an extra 3 points !!! For what!!
Being in the snow!!
Sure it might be cold, but from our end it doesn’t add up. Sure, trying to walk through soft snow is hard work ( I done it when I was younger), but maybe you should try what we do.

Now let’s look at Far North Qld or the tropic regions. Using the same mountain as an example,

For starters,

1/ there is no road or walking trails to 98% of the summits. That means we have to hike from the bottom to the top. Sometimes it may mean crossing several mountains to get to the summit . Overall though, its not an easy stroll. Its damn hard yakka in the jungle.

2/ Now here In winter here its gets to a mild 28 degrees and summer its in the 33-36 degrees. Out west in the outback (we lived out there when I was a miner, it get to around 48 degrees. Things are getting a little warm. In other words, the sweat is pouring out of every orifice in your body

3/ There are no trails. Period. We have to hack our way thru the jungle and this could take a full day just to go up. This means not only are you expending energy walking, but your also expending energy cutting and slogging your way through the vegetation. Beware the lawyer vine and the like, as they want to tear you to shreds as you slug your way thru

3/ Then there’s the heat and humidity. Once you get in there, the temperature goes up by another 10 degrees and the humidity goes up to around 90%. Believe me , its like being being wrapped in a hot wet steamy blanket and there’s no escape. If the wet season is on, it worse. The mozzies and the like are in plague proportions. Believe I know. I do a lot of jungle fishing in there.
And, I can see why the tropic summits haven’t been activated. Its hard work.

So with all this in mind, why is a summit in the north worth an extra 3 points for winter when all your doing is putting on a jumper and jacket?

Just a thought

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For a major part of the alpine summits, an activation in winter is far more challenging than in summer. It requires better skills (e.g. avalanche risks), it is typically bloody cold even for short activations, infrastructure (e.g. cable-cars) are sometimes operated just in summer, etc.

Many alpine summits that are easy hikes in summer are entirely different beasts, often prohibitively so, in winter.

73 de Martin, DK3IT


OK - I live in a densely populated area in Europe … and a lot of things are developed here.

But even in Europe there are very remote places with summits that will probably never be activated.

In terms of first activations:
OK - there are more summits in Europe but also more hams.

And in terms of landscape, Europe has almost everything except large deserts and rainforests… and the temperature differences in Europe are also remarkable!

73 Armin

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I will be frank.

I think you need to read the Rules again, absorb the height banding logic and then get out and activate. Enough of the armchair stuff. Don’t worry about getting it perfect first time. After hundreds of activations I still make mistakes.

Don’t get sidetracked with notions about new rules. equalising points and difficulty. This is impossible. It’s been thrashed out enough here before. About every two years.

Yes SOTA has a certain tinge of English quaintness. It that is a problem then find another scheme that suits. For thousands of operators it adds spice to hill climbing and radio fun.

If you partake of any organised activity you will soon see how things could change to suit you. But the governing body is unlikely to change anything.

The important thing is to participate. Get into the hills young man
Edited to remove typo


I’m 60 years old Ron.
This means I’ve been around the traps long enough to earn the right to question. I’m not a young buck that rolls over and told to shut up. The question is a valid one. Why is it that most summits in FNQ have never been activated.
Its a valid thought and the question still stands.

probably too remote and too few hams…

like so many other places in the world:,19.824180/5.0,-104.924864/9.1

73 Armin


Hi Mark,
I trust that nobody will deny the existence of regional differences e. g. in climate, accessibility of summits and so forth. The question is, if any global award scheme (not just SOTA) could set up rules which are fair to any participant. Often the attempts to balance injustice/inequality increase at least the complexity in sets of rules and are fraught with risk of generating new (perceived?) disadvantage. It looks to me a bit like „mission impossible“. Just my 2 cents…
I hope that you can still enjoy SOTA despite all imperfections. :wink: 73, Peter



I thought you answered your own question pretty well.

BTW I recommend the Android Apps, SOTA Finder and Sotlas and Australian Toppo for locating summits near you, general planning and track and AZ identification respectively.

I started in SOTA when I was 69 so by my metrics you are a young bloke.



Give over with the wind-ups, Mark! You don’t treat winter ascents with contempt! Look, mate, people actually die on these mountains, every year there is a butcher’s bill, though in a proportion of cases it may be classified as Darwin awards. Even on a one or two point summit things can get interesting if a sudden heavy snow shower blows up, dumping several centimetres of snow in minutes, laced with wind gusts that try to knock you over (and sometimes succeed!) - and its even more interesting if its thundersnow! Add to that that the sun is low in the sky and in Scotland, for instance, it is rising around 0900 and setting around 1600 so speed is necessary - just when you are carrying extra gear like extra clothing, an ice axe and crampons. It isn’t a matter of throwing on another layer of clothing (and I’ve never even seen a snowmobile!) it is a whole new game with different skills. Last time I climbed Ben Nevis in winter I cramponed up on nice hard neve and descended in horrible clinging slush, powder snow is the least of your worries even if it does m,ake you work hard.

Rememberr, its the wearer who knows where the shoe pinches!


Hi Mark,

Have you considered emigrating?



You’re obviously not aware that there are both Winter Bonus and Summer Bonus points. Summer Bonus points are made available for when conditions in Summer make it harder to summit than the rest of the year.

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Yes, a valid question indeed; and you’ve hit on likely answers.
Ken’s Theorem: “When you get a peak that that has never before been activated, you’re liable to find out why”
Also, there is the satisfaction of being listed as the first activator, as well as an opportunity to describe the route, take pictures, etc. to make it easier for others. Often, on the way down, you’ll discover even better routes than the way you went up.
All Best, Ken


G’day all,
My comments were not meant to be condescending, nor derogatory. I just gave a simple example. Its just that we can be at time on both ends of the extreme at times. You with the extreme cold and here with the extreme heat and humidity. In both cases, people die if caught out and they do. But its not always blowing a blizzard or extreme cold conditions nor is it 45 degrees scorching hot with us. But if it is winter, you lot get an extra 3 points. Just questioning why that’s all.

Yes, I can understand that SOTA can’t take into account for everything worldwide. And being that it started in the UK, it started with its local conditions. So I totally accept this and naturally it spread throughout the northern hemisphere and down into the southern states in Australia/NZ where it can be applied. But what about the opposite extreme? Could it not be applied in summer for those that live in the Tropics. ? Not all summits naturally, but some should be considered

As to summit points, well… thats just a part of it. Overall its the challenge of SOTA and all that it entails is what its all about and what I’m looking forward to.

No, I haven’t done my first activation (still waiting for my gear to arrive…its caught up in the UK’s international postal hack where everything has stopped), but I have climbed a few summits here. The biggest problem here is the heat and dehydration. And… its because of this and what I know that I posed the question. One can ask a question? Yes?

Emigrating? No mate. Lived overseas and I’m happy to live down under. Too crowded overseas for my liking. Just too many people everywhere (LOL)
Anyway… I think the question has been answered …to a degree. So I think I’ll leave it at that

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