Peak bagging

In my secret life as a radio ham, I've recently go into SOTA - Summits on the Air. This scheme lists all peaks* worldwide and allocates a number of points for each, based on difficulty (altitude). _*To count peaks must have 150m of prominence - i.e. be 150m above any saddle linking them to another peak._ You can take a look at the map of NZ peaks and point scores here: (or see the official site at Now - the question. Would other trampers/climbers appreciate such a points-based peak-bagging scheme (for non-hams). I.e. just summit to bag the peak. == There is stuff out there already: I see we have with about 87 peaks listed and no categorization. Not really enough peaks or motivation to get me out there doing it ... and no reward vs effort. I see listing peaks with all peaks of 600m of prominence for NZ. Great for alpinists - but what about normal folk who just want a Saturday stroll up a 1-pointer? == I'd love to see a scheme similar to SOTA for trampers in NZ with peaks for all abilities and scoring to suit. Anyone else interested? I'll take silence as 'no'!
I noticed the CUTC recently had a 48hr hut bagging competition and wondered if they similarly weighted points by difficulty/remoteness
There is an international peak bagger site called Peakery. It has a NZ section but not a lot of active users for the NZ peaks. Here is a link.
Fellow SOTA activator here. The points system is quite cool and gives another kick of motivation to get out there. I'd be keen for a pure peak based system as sometimes it's painful trying to get 4 QSO to qualify for SOTA. Imagine something similar to hut bagger?
Interesting. The points based system is a good idea. My beef with the SOTA rules is that unless you live near a major range, you quickly exhaust the short drive day trip options, and have to get expeditionary. I have a personal peak bagging scheme where anything marked on a map counts and still have a few local peaks yet to be climbed. Count me as interested though.
@bagger - good point re 'not enough local peaks'. == If we were to address that, then how's this for a solution? Keep the SOTA-like rules to identify principal peaks (e.g. Mt Hector - WL-004, Tararuas). Identify the area enclosed by the -150m contour line below the summit as SOTA do (lets call it the peak's 'zone of influence'). But instead of ignoring them, class every named peak in that area as a subsidiary/supplementary peak (e.g. Field (WL-004a), Atkinson (WL-004b), Ashton (WL-004c), Alpha (WL-004d...). Add a rule that a person may bag only one summit in each peak-group on a given day. == There are 3 conflicting objectives here though 1) To encourage people to get out & visit places/peaks they would not have normally gone, motivated 'because it's a 6/8/10 point SOTA peak'. I drive several hours and camp on the tops for a ridgeline with a few 'good 8+ pointers'. So having few makes them special and worth that extra trip. 2) Ensuring everyone has access to enough summits in their vicinity to make it worth participating. I know of hams - especially in Northland / Auckland who are keen, but don't get involved because there are simply not enough peaks on public-accesible land to make it worth it. 3) We'd also need a 'fair & level playing field' so that someone could not just climb onto the Tararua tops and wander along bagging every named peak with little additional effort gaining 100+ points for one day's walk. Which is where the 'separation by a -150m saddle' requirement is good. So whilst it addresses (2) & (3) it dilutes (1) so I'm not sure if that change would be good thing or not. Thoughts?
Your proposed additions make sense. If someone wanted to bag multiple "original" SOTA peaks in a day, fine, they're pretty spread out and you've got at least an 150m ascent/descent between them, but only one principal/subsidiary peak per day - agree. Maybe subsidiary peaks have lesser scores also. A related issue is that a large number of the lower SOTA peaks are on private property. I haven't had much joy getting permissions lately. This really favours diplomats over trampers. A lot of people have only limited two to three day windows, but plenty of 4-7 hour spaces (like me). Working out a way to include smaller accessible peaks would be handy, and surely could be catered for under a points based system. The SOTA system (and the Munros originally), by using set altitude rules, has an intellectual purity that a qualitative approach can't match, but it still provides arbitrary results. A two hour wander over Tauhara reaps 6 points, the same as for pt 1030 in Oriwa tiger country. This is pretty much why I don't feel bad about my open slather approach.
Had a small flash of inspiration. Perhaps use the SOTA rules as a base, then add the subsidiary peaks as a second layer. The subsidiary peaks would: 1. Have a primary and secondary point value. The primary value would be available when the peak is bagged by itself, or with lower subsidiary peaks. The secondary value would be if it was bagged with a higher peak. 2. The primary value would be set at a discount to the principal peak. The size of the discount depending on their relative difficulty. 3. The secondary value would depend on proximity as well as relative difficulty. Say Aston has a secondary value of one point, as it is close to Hector, but Marchant is worth three, as it is reasonably difficult, and quite a distance away. 4. Did a rough count on the Wellington peaks and roughly half have issues around public access. Perhaps the next highest publicly accessible peak in the "zone" could stand in as the primary peak. Sure, some cockies will probably give permission, but it gets around summits like Devine and High Misty that are strictly off limits.
IMO, you're over-thinking it. Perhaps it depends on what you want to get out of it. A competitive environment where people are focused on bagging more points than someone else might warrant primary, secondary & conditionals to ensure every point is of equal effort/value. If a more personal goal-orientated system is the aim then simplicity is more desirable, I think. The Ables in Tassie define a peak as having a 150m drop (ie same) and assigns points based on difficulty to summit. That's it - seems to work. True, a series of peaks in a range all bagged in the same trip will be easier that if all had been done separately. Does it matter? Any inaccessible peaks could be listed (if desired) with no points allocated and the reason why it's not accessible (ie private land).

Sign in to comment on this thread.

Search the forums

Forum The campfire
Started by madpom
On 2 April 2021
Replies 8
Permanent link

Formatting your posts

The forums support MarkDown syntax. Following is a quick reference.

Type this... To get this...
Italic *Italic text* *Italic text*
Bold **Bold text** **Bold text**
Quoted text > Quoted text > Quoted text
Emojis :smile: :+1: :astonished: :heart: :smile: :+1:
:astonished: :heart:
Lists - item 1
- item 2
- item 3
- item 1 - item 2 - item 3
Images ![](URL/of/image)

Mentions @username @username

Find more emojiLearn about MarkDown