Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

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nutwood
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Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by nutwood » 29 September 11 8:04 pm

I'm curious to know others opinions on cache ratings. I came across a cache description that said that it was a terrain 5 because a 4WD was specialised equipment. I understand the logic, but in my experience, anywhere a 4WD can go, my legs can also go. The possible exception being that my legs can't cover 200km in a day, however in my fairly extensive travels I've encountered very few places that a determined walker, combined with a 2WD car (possibly someone else's?) can't get to. Most of Australia was explored before cars were invented.
I have a similar problem with difficulty ratings. The guide suggests that a level two cache can be found in 30 minutes and a level three should take most of the afternoon. This just doesn't match reality. Most caches are simply not subtle enough for this definition. In most cases (not all) if you haven't found it in 30 minutes, you're not going to find it, not if you search till you're tripping over your beard. Where does this leave #'s 4 and 5?
This isn't a really serious question; I'd just love to hear (read?) others thoughts on these matters.

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noikmeister
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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by noikmeister » 29 September 11 8:49 pm

I think you should use common sense and rate caches sensibly and similarly to others in your area. This is important IMO since local cachers should get an idea of what YOUR cache is like from the perceptions they have built up by the ratings on local cachers.

I think that if you can drive your 4WD to a cache that it should reduce the cache rating, not increase it.

As far as difficulty ratings go I tend to agree with you. If you don't find it within 30 minutes of unfettered searching you probably wont find it (unless you say "Right. That's it. I'm going." That usually works for me because I often find it right then :)). We have a couple of non-puzzles that are difficulty 4 and I didn't have the patience to find them and resorted to a FAF for both. Others who have found them without help have had multiple visits.

My thoughts on difficulty ratings go like this:
1: In plain sight or really only 1 place to hide a cache of that size
2: Well cammoed or a significant number of hiding spots
3: A micro hidden in a stupid spot

My issue is rating the difficulty of my puzzle caches. Some which I have considered easy have given the hunters considerable trouble.

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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by MtnLioness » 30 September 11 12:31 am

Actually.. I'd have to agree with you to some degree Nutwood.
I have come across some interesting interpretations of certain terrain ratings lately too.
Like a terrain 1 where I had to scramble up a slight incline and fosick in a bush, sorry, Don't think a wheelchair bound person could manage that one!! #-o
Another problem I have is one I did recently involving a 40-50m paddle across a flat river (in contrast to a raging tumultious river :-k ) to an easy island where in the middle sat an Ammo box for the GZ. Ok... a boat is specialized equipment but it just felt to me that a 5 terrain seemed a bit much, I dunno... Maybe I'm wrong but does EVERY cache involving a boat merit a 5 terrain? I have seen others which need water transportation that don't have an instant 5 terrain rating.......???

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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by ian-and-penny » 30 September 11 12:45 am

Caches should be rated according to this system.

It is available when submitting a cache.

Note the specialised equipment listed.

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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by Zalgariath » 30 September 11 4:56 am

Yep I dont agree with boats and 4x4s counting as special equipment... not when compared to Climbing gear and scuba.

There is a huge difference between being able to catch a ferry to the island and having to do a 5km sea kayak.

I FTF'd a terrain 5 cache yesterday which with a bit of thought required 200m of walking across a paddock. I felt a bit dirty as it was intended for a boat to be used... but the hider didnt realise the cache was on a peninsula, not an island! :twisted:

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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by belken » 30 September 11 9:36 am

I thought the point behind the terrain rating was to give the finder an idea of what preparations they may have to take. A 5 terrain to me says that I must read the cache page and make the appropriate preparation. It never meant, to me at least, that 1 terrain 5 is rated against another terrain 5 as far as those preparations go.

In the case of walking I would agree that nearly every cache can be got to as by walking. However if I put a cache that can be got to by 4WD i will rate it as a 5. If after reading the page you decide to bounce your partners car up the track and walk 10k thats your choice. That doesn't change the rating.

belken
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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by belken » 30 September 11 9:56 am

I should point out that I put out walking caches. I do mention 4WD's in some but the caches are rated as normal car + walks.

I have done a couple of 4wd terrain 5. One was Queen Victoria Springs and the other was a multi where the co-ordinates were on a 4WD trail. You could do both without 4wds but it would become a major task.

You can have terrain 5 walk in caches. There are a couple around the country. I was within 10k of one 5 year ago in the Flinders Ranges. 10K for me is a mornings walk. This 10k however I was not at all prepared for. Thus the terrain 5 rating.

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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by nutwood » 30 September 11 10:01 am

Thanks for the input. I can see that there's a range of opinions on this matter, especially the higher rated terrain. It seems the difference is whether you look at the expedition or the actual cache recovery. My feeling is that the terrain rating should reflect the potential difficulty/danger that is faced by the cacher, rather than how you get there.
I recently visited a cache on the top of a mountain. This involved walking to it. I noted that an earlier visitor had come by helicopter, definitely specialised equipment, does this make it Terrain 5?

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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by ian-and-penny » 30 September 11 10:25 am

nutwood wrote:I noted that an earlier visitor had come by helicopter, definitely specialised equipment, does this make it Terrain 5?
NO, definitely not. It was the cachers choice to use specialised equipment, not the cache hider.

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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by Hoojar » 30 September 11 10:28 am

Zalgariath wrote:Yep I dont agree with boats and 4x4s counting as special equipment... not when compared to Climbing gear and scuba.
The reviewers do not agree with you. My two caches that required paddling were rejected initially and were only published when I changed the terrain rating to 5.

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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by belken » 30 September 11 10:55 am

nutwood wrote: My feeling is that the terrain rating should reflect the potential difficulty/danger that is faced by the cacher, rather than how you get there.
When I first read this bit my first comment was, "Then that would make you wrong then". But after re-reading I am confused by your thinking.

The terrain rating is the difficulty/danger faced by a cacher in getting to and retrieving the cache. Which is nearly what you suppose above. The difference in your thinking is the it seem that you do not place the journey as part of the terrain difficulty.

So when you see a Terrain 5 cache, it may require a blow up boat, scuba gear, 4wd, paddle steamer, an overnight walk, abseiling equipment. The mistake is to say a blow up boat does not compare to a paddle steamer. It never was meant to compare. It is just an indication that you need to prepare with something that you normally wouldn't have in the back of the car.

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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by PesceVerde » 30 September 11 11:11 am

My feeling is that the terrain rating should reflect the potential difficulty/danger that is faced by the cacher, rather than how you get there.
I'd call that Difficulty. Terrain is geo, land, bush, mountain, gully, creeks, ocean, and other terrain/obstacles between you, and somewhere else.

IMO the only definites are:
terrain 1 where it's wheelchair accessible
terrain 5 where special equipment is needed (or recommended by the hider).

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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by Philipp » 30 September 11 11:31 am

The problem is that the whole system is inconsistent. In this thread is a discussion whether a certain cache should be a 5/5: http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopi ... 1&start=15

The following items aren't considered "special equipment" and therefore don't lead to a Terrain 5 rating:
- torch
- UV light
- chirp / wherigo GPSr
- WiFi
- Screwdriver

These other items are considered "special equipment" and therefore do lead to a Terrain 5 rating:
- 4WD
- boat / kayak
- climbing gear
- ladder

... and if you stick to clarjar D1 to D4.5 / T5 shouldn't exist at all. Don't break your head over this. It's not worth it.

nutwood
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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by nutwood » 30 September 11 1:58 pm

Thanks to all. I'm not busting my head over this one, just curious. I can see that the grey area is whether you really need the specialist equipment and that varies from cacher to cacher. A 300m swim and a 6m duck dive is something that many people can easily do with goggles and flippers and some with no equipment at all, however many others may require a boat and scuba gear.
The same can be said for mountains. Some may hike up with ease, others may require that helicopter.
I think Terrain has been pretty much covered. Any thoughts on Difficulty. Speciality equipment aside, does it come down to puzzle caches to push up the difficulty rating? I can see that a nano disguised as a small stone and hidden in a gravel pit could occupy many hours of searching but, assuming you're not looking for a needle in a haystack, and assuming the co-ordinates are good, are there many hides that are so fiendishly subtle that they'll take most of an afternoon to locate?

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Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by caughtatwork » 30 September 11 2:24 pm

Shelter III (and others).
http://coord.info/GCVQCN

4 finds, 220 DNF's.
I think a cache CAN be tough to find, even if the co-ords are good. They may just be so well hidden, you literally can't see it.

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