Help and Information about Adding a Peak

When adding an ascent to your climb log, the basic idea is to select the peak climbed from the database. This database contains over 20,000 peaks and includes most of the noteworthy, famous and prominent peaks in the world. By associating your climb with a peak in the database, this web site can track your progress on lists, cross-reference your ascent with others, and generate information about your mountain travels based on the peak data.

However, despite size and scope of the database, there are obviously still millions of peaks not present. Therefore, you can use the Add Peak page (from the link present above when you are logged in) to add a new peak to the database, so you can then add an ascent of it to your climb list. Once you add the peak, it is present with provisional status, and once the editorial staff at reviews and verifies your peak, it gets added to the main database.

Help for Add Peak Page

Required Data

To add a peak, you must enter these four items:

  • Peak Name: The name of the peak. If the peak has no official name, you can use a common local name, or a descriptive name based on nearby features such as lakes or other peaks. For the most part, do not invent your own name unless you think you may have made its first ascent.
  • Elevation: Use either feet or meters, but not both. If you don't know, use your best estimate, or get a value from the Google Maps window above. You should use the unit (Feet or meters) that the most detailed topographic map of the area uses. If you don't know that, use feet for the USA and meters elsewhere.
  • Country: Select from one of the dropdowns. The top dropdown box has a short list of commonly used countries for easy selection, and the bottom one has all 250 or so countries/country eqivalents in the world. If a peak is on the border of two countries, just pick one of them--when the peak is verified, the other country will be added.
  • Latitude-Longitude: To generate this, use the Google Map window and scroll, pan, or zoom until you can see the location of the peak. You must zoom in quite a ways. To pan the map, click and hold. To zoom in, use your mouse scroll wheel. If you don't have a scroll wheel, use the +/- buttons on the map. Once you are zoomed in far enough, click once to place a red circle at the approximate peak location. You don't have to be exact.

    As you move around on the map, you may see some orange circles. These are the locations of peaks that are already in the database. You should not add a peak that is already there, so don't add your peak where there is an orange circle. You can click or hover on an orange circle to see the name or a link to that peak. Note that provisional peaks added by other users will have a "(Prov)" suffix on their names.

Optional Data

There is also some optional data you can enter. Any item in parentheses is not required.

  • Peak Type: You can optionally enter the kind of peak here. The following types are supported:
    • Unofficially-Named Peak: Has a name that is not official and does not appear on a map. The name could be a climber's name, a name used by locals, or a name bestowed by a first ascent party.
    • Slope Point: This is a point that is not a summit but is significant as the highest point within a geographic area.
    • Sub-Peak: A peak that is close to another higher summit and often thought of as subsidiary to that higher summit. Usually has a name like "XX Mountain-East Peak".
    • Unnamed Peak: A peak with no name, just an elevation. Will have a name like "Peak 3150", "XX Range-Peak 2100", or "XX Quad Map-Peak 3420".
    • Unnamed High Point: An unnamed peak that is the high point of a named geographic area. Will have a name like "XX Range High Point" or "XX County High Point".
    • Hill: Not strictly definied, but usually a low elevation or low prominence peak with a rounded form.
    Any peak that does not fall into one of these categories can have this field left blank.
  • Elevation Interval: Very often, a peak does not have an exact surveyed elevation. In these cases, use the highest closed contour line on a topographic map as the elevation, and use the "(Interval)" field to enter the contour interval of the map. Do not interpolate an elevation. So, for example, if a peak is located inside a 8680 foot contour, on a map with a 40 foot contours, enter 8680 feet as the elevation, and 40 feet as the interval. Do not enter 8700 or 8720 feet anywhere.
  • State/Province: Once you select a Country, this dropdown will populate with a list of states/provinces/etc. for that country, so you can select the correct one. If a peak is on the border of two or three states/provinces, just pick one, and the other will be added once the peak is verified.
  • Prominence: This is the rise of the peak above the lowest saddle on a ridge connecting it to a higher peak. It is also known as vertical drop, rise, reascent, or by other terms. If you know the prominence, you can enter it here. However, it is best to enter the Key Col information (see below), and allow this field to update automatically.
  • Key Col: The Key Col (also known as the Prominence Saddle) is the lowest point on a ridge connecting a peak to a higher neighbor. The prominence for a peak is defined as the elevation difference between its summit elevation and its key col elevation. If you know the key col elevation, in feet or in meters, you can enter it here.
  • Key Col Interval: Just like for many peaks, many cols or saddles do not have exact survey elevations. In these cases, you should use the highest contour line elevation just above the col as the key col elevation, and the contour interval of the map as the key col interval. For example, if a col on a 10-meter contour map is between 470 and 480 meters, enter 480 as the key col elevation and 10 as the interval.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can add peaks?

Any registered user of the site can add as many peaks as they like. You must be logged in to add a peak.

Can I update or delete a peak I added?

Yes.  Click on the "My Peaks" link below the header bar and you will see a list of all the provisional peaks you have added.  You can click on the Edit link for a individual peak to change any entered information.  You can also delete a peak you have added from the Add/Update Peak page.

Note that you can not delete a peak if there are ascents logged for it.  If you are the only one with ascents, you can delete your ascent(s), and then delete the peak.  If other climbers have logged ascents of a peak you added, you can not delete it any more.  Contact the webmaster for help in this situation.

Also, periodically the user-entered provisional peaks are "promoted" to the main database.  Once this occurs, users can not edit their peaks any more.  You must contact the webmaster (see the Contact Page) to have any errors corrected in the main peak database.  But many errors are automatically fixed during the promotion process.

Do I get any credit for adding a peak?

The peak page for a any user-submitted peak will give credit to the user who submitted the peak, both as a provisional peak, and once the peak gets promoted to the main database. Since the database is a holistic, monolithic entity, all peak information submitted to this site becomes integrated into this database and becomes the property of

What is a "provisional peak"?

A provisional peak is what a user-added peak is called. It contans less data than the normal peaks in the database. This main peak database stores a rich set of information about the principal peaks of the world in a tightly integrated relational schema, and adding a peak with the full set of attribution and verification is a involved process. Provisional peaks have a minimum set of data (name, elevation, country, and lat/long) and are not fully verified. Periodically, all provisional peaks will be checked, information will be added to them, and they will be moved to the main, verified peak database.

How often will provisional peaks be reviewed and added to the main peak database?

The goal is to do this about once a month, or perhaps more frequently.  It varies with the number of peaks entered and the workload of the webmaster.

Can other climbers add an ascent of a provisional peak I submitted?

Yes. Once you add a peak to the database, anyone can search for it, call up it's peak information page, and add an ascent of it. There is no way to hide the peak or keep it just for your use.

Will a peak I add appear on a list?

No. A provisional peak can be found using search-by-name from the Search and Ascent Editor pages, and any user can add an ascent of it, but it will never appear on any list. If it belongs on a list that has an objective inclusion standard, once the peak is reviewed and added to the main peak database, it will automatically appear on that list. If the peak is part of a subjective "club list", e-mail the webmaster about the change, since those lists are not automatically updated.

What about personal "life lists" and "wish lists">

No, provisional peaks cannot be added to personal lists at present--even a user cannot add a peak he/she entered to his/her own personal list. There are several reasons for this, many related to back-end database issues, and this feature may be added in the future. In the meantime, if you entered a provisional peak and you want it in your personal list, email the webmaster and we will try to promote your peak to the full database as soon as possible.

Why do I have to click the location on the map? What a pain.

All peaks in the database have a latitude-longitude. This is used to calculate isolation distance, to plot the peak on a map, and to help determine many useful bits of information, such as mountain range location, topographic maps, land ownership, and other items. Manually entering a lat-long in a textbox can be very problematical due to differing datums, conventions with negative numbers, frequent input errors with long strings of numbers, and different formats such as DMS, DM.MMM or DD.DDD. Selecting the location on the map is the best way to insure that an accurate lat-long is generated.

If you find that the Google or MyTopo maps provided in the map window are not useful or poorly registered, and you want to type in WGS84 lat-long numbers into text boxes instead, contact the webmaster for help with this request.

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