Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

For all your general chit chat, caching or not.
nutwood
Posts: 393
Joined: 01 April 11 6:02 pm
Location: Tasmania

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by nutwood » 11 October 11 10:20 am

belken wrote:You are wrong. Re read all posts umtil you get it.
Of course I'm wrong, assuming one can be wrong in a discussion? I don't need to re-read all posts to know the way caches are rated.
I'm merely interested in other's opinions on the matter. For instance, you consider the journey is part of the cache. Reasonable point, but it immediately throws up the grey area that there may be many different ways to get to the cache. Obviously a cache in the middle of the Simpson desert should attract a high terrain rating and a 4WD is a required, but once you get to less isolated areas it seems a bit more vague. If the only way of reaching a cache is a 10km hike, it'll probably be a 4, if however the track's good enough and you can drive to it in your 4WD, it becomes a 5?! :-k
As Laighside Legends points out, there is the potential for death on a 4WD expedition. However the same could be said for a cache that involves crossing the road.
I think Phillipp's comment on the previous page is correct. It's inconsistent and don't worry about it. I only really re-visited the terrain issue because I liked Zytheran's system of terrain rating. Makes sense, even if it is wrong! :D

belken
Posts: 447
Joined: 15 January 05 12:31 am
Location: Melville

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by belken » 11 October 11 2:19 pm

Of course you can be wrong if you are making an assumption based upon a wrong premise.

Your example about the 4WD in your last post is wrong. The terrain rating would stay the same. An attribute can be added though. Your opening post mentioned a cache that rated a 5 because of the 4WD. In my experience they are few and far between. MAybe the rating was a mistake. It was pointed out to you that you could have a terrain rating of 5 because of a 4WD. The assumption that all caches that use 4WD are automatically a Terrain 5 is wrong. Its just not the case in my experience.

You imply that the journey may not be part of the Terrain rating. That is false. It is an integral part of getting the terrain rating. The finding of the cache when at the co-ordinates is the Difficulty Rating.

Using the Terrain rating of 5 as a guide to the difficulty of the cache is wrong. A terrain 5 just says that specialised equipment or major preparation is required. The cache may also be extremely difficult/dangerous but can not be assumed due to the rating of 5. You may just need a blow up boat or a UV light source.

There are 9 levels of terrain rating. 1 is simple terrain, wheelchair accessible, 1.5 is simple terrain not wheelchair accessible. Then .5 increments from there.
A rating of 4.5 should tell you that cache is not going to be easy for an individual to get to ie distance or elevation etc. You wanted a rating that meant that this might kill you, a rating of 4.5 should do that. We need new caches to recognise the ratings for what they are and take approriate steps and not think of them as a score.

We have had new caches asking for caches to be archived because they considered them dangerous. In each case it seems the caches are rated correctly. Its the misunderstanding of the rating that causes a problem.

SA_ParrotHead
4000 or more? I'm officially obsessed.
4000 or more? I'm officially obsessed.
Posts: 355
Joined: 31 August 04 9:25 pm
Location: South Australia

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by SA_ParrotHead » 11 October 11 5:51 pm

It always gives me a chuckle when I read someone comparing driving down to their local park with an extreme 4WD drive into one of Australia’s deserts as the same sort of terrain challenge.
When we did “Under the shade of the Coolibah Tree” there was a sign on the front door of the police station at Birdsville which read - ”Do not go into the Desert in summer you will die”.
Yep no difference in terrain between here and your local park.
Having just gone on another remote 4wd trip I can say the difficulty was high because 3 different lots of entry passes had to be obtained to get to the cache, time off had to be arranged for the length of time required to reach the cache, then the car had to be prepared and jerry cans of fuel strapped to it, tent and camping supplies (with a weeks extra ration supplies in case of an emergency) also needed organising. Then it almost all got cancelled as the track was closed for bushfires the day before we arrived. So Difficulty is high because you can’t just jump in the car to get the cache.
Then I feel the terrain rating is also high since for me caching is as much about the journey to get to a cache rather than the last 15 metres of the trip regardless of if you have walked, drove, swam or kayaked up to it. I think most experienced cachers would know when the terrain challenge to get to a cache begins and for me with the Totem cache is was when we turned off the bitumen at Coober Pedy.
It was a 500 kilometre round trip in our “comfortable” 4WDs over some of the most corrugated tracks I have travelled. Three vehicles went in and after two days all of them broke in some way, a recovery team had to be sent out to retrieve one, mine is in ARB having its front struts replaced and the other one lost both batteries. There were blisters on hands from hanging on to the steering wheel and lots of aching muscles. It took 2 days but at any time that could have been extended by floods, bushfire or all vehicles breaking down.
Zytherans Law fits beautifully with these caches because if you are involved in a serious vehicle , camping or hiking incident or get stung or bitten then a medical retrieval team probably wont get you out of their in time.
Still as long as the status quo remain where the people who put these caches out give them high ratings and the people reading the descriptions complain about them I am happy with that.

nutwood
Posts: 393
Joined: 01 April 11 6:02 pm
Location: Tasmania

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by nutwood » 11 October 11 6:02 pm

belken wrote:. 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.
???

nutwood
Posts: 393
Joined: 01 April 11 6:02 pm
Location: Tasmania

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by nutwood » 11 October 11 6:12 pm

SA_ParrotHead wrote:It always gives me a chuckle when I read someone comparing driving down to their local park with an extreme 4WD drive into one of Australia’s deserts as the same sort of terrain challenge.
Precisely my point. If you automatically make all 4WD caches a 5, the terrain rating becomes meaningless. Some 4WD caches simply save you a walk. Some are a serious challenge.
I spent two weeks in December 1982 travelling the areas you mention. Hot place at that time of the year! Ended up with a log for a front spring support. Lasted all the way back to Sydney, much to the amusement of those who noticed. Is the double decker bus outside the Betoota pub still there? Is the Betoota pub still there?

Whoops, just realised you said "500km round trip". Of course you never got out of SA. For some reason I was thinking you'd done the full circuit through three states. Thank goodness for "Edit"! :oops:

belken
Posts: 447
Joined: 15 January 05 12:31 am
Location: Melville

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by belken » 12 October 11 11:00 am

nutwood wrote:
belken wrote:. 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.
???
Maybe the problem we have is our paradigms. When I wrote that the intention was to point out that an individuals choice does not make the terrain rating wrong.
My perception is that the cache is rated 5 for a reason in this case the 4wd requirement. So when I read a 4wd cache, I think GCMBWY. The distance from the start of the cache to the actual container as the crow flies is about 40k. It could be done with 2Wd and walking if you so wish but I don't think I would change the rating at all.
In 800 odd finds I have seen many caches(over 100) that recommend a 4WD only 5 have ever rated the cache a terrain 5 due to the 4wd component. I haven't analysed all the caches but one did cause me to raise my eyebrow as I wouldn't have expected it there.
Your perception that 4WD caches are automatically made a terrain 5 is skewed. Its just not the case. But even if people did that its still not a problem. The problem is when you look at terrain 5 as something special or the ultimate challenge when it is not and has not been for a long time.

team waldron
2500 or more caches found
2500 or more caches found
Posts: 193
Joined: 27 May 05 10:44 pm
Location: South Australia

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by team waldron » 12 October 11 11:11 am

Just as a matter of interest we recently did part of the Anne Beadall Highway and this trig point TP0066 is along the track.

It is rated 2 terrain. This is desert country, the terrain should be at least 4 probably more.

We had a car, in our group, break down out there and it needed to be recovered. The only thing I wish we'd taken was a sat phone as it would have sped up the recovery of the vehicle. If you go out here in summer expect temps in the 50s, 10 litres of water per person per day would not be excessive.

User avatar
caughtatwork
Posts: 16237
Joined: 17 May 04 12:11 pm
Location: Melbourne
Contact:

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by caughtatwork » 12 October 11 12:43 pm

team waldron wrote:Just as a matter of interest we recently did part of the Anne Beadall Highway and this trig point TP0066 is along the track.

It is rated 2 terrain. This is desert country, the terrain should be at least 4 probably more.

We had a car, in our group, break down out there and it needed to be recovered. The only thing I wish we'd taken was a sat phone as it would have sped up the recovery of the vehicle. If you go out here in summer expect temps in the 50s, 10 litres of water per person per day would not be excessive.
All TrigPoints were loaded as 2/2.
If you feel that the terrain should be changed, please edit the cache listing and amend it accordingly.

SA_ParrotHead
4000 or more? I'm officially obsessed.
4000 or more? I'm officially obsessed.
Posts: 355
Joined: 31 August 04 9:25 pm
Location: South Australia

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by SA_ParrotHead » 12 October 11 2:23 pm

Yep I agree with Waldron on this rating.
I just believe some remote caches don’t get treated with the terrain rating they deserve because people seem to think that because someone can drive up to them they should have a low terrain rating regardless of the environment.
A terrain rating in populated area is a completely different issue for me. Driving on Thompson beach is a lot different than at Purnie Bore. I am just concerned about the remote caches and I don’t believe that a cache get an automatic 5 because you need a 4WD. I just see the 4WD as a piece of specialised equipment to be used to get you to the cache.
I would hope that the rating for a remote cache is the same regardless if you walk to it or roll up in a 4WD. I think Zytherans law works beautifully with these types of caches because it reflect the hazard that people are putting themselves into. I want people to come back out and be able to talk about their remote caching experiences and a rating in these locations should causes people to stop and reflect on what they attempting.
Geocaching is a world wide game and there is the potential for tourists to be misled by a terrain rating that doesn’t accurately reflect the environment they are putting themselves into in their hire 4WD.
Outback Australia can be a hostile environment for the unwary, just check out the marker to the German tourist on the Lake Eyre track out from Williams Creek.
I can imagine that if a tourist is driving down the Stuart Highway from Darwin in their hired 4WD and they see a cache/trigpoint up a dirt side road less that 80ks away with a terrain rating of 2 they might turn off to it without any preparation, after all some of us equate a terrain rating of 2 as being no more difficult than climbing a small tree. If however it was rated at 4 or higher maybe that would cause them to think about what they might be getting into before they turn off.
I think we should error on the side of caution when asking people to seek a cache in a remote place. We don’t want to read about someone receiving a Darwin award because a cache was rated as terrain 1.5 or 2.

PS To Nutwood. What a fantastic effort to do all of that track. Spoke to the lads at ARB this morning and they told me that contrary to the reports we had that the road got better after Emu it was just as bad when they last went through. We though it a bit rough and we only did a little bit. Well done. =D>

nutwood
Posts: 393
Joined: 01 April 11 6:02 pm
Location: Tasmania

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by nutwood » 12 October 11 8:30 pm

Thanks SA Parrot Head. There were two of us in a 1953 Willys. Lots of water, lots of fuel, two spares, lots of tyre patches, a large box of tools, a shovel and an axe. Apart from the Birdsville pub (where they locked the door and pretended to be closed!) and the Betoota pub, we didn't see another soul. Bit different now I suspect!

ollave
100 or more tracks walked
100 or more tracks walked
Posts: 11
Joined: 08 May 04 6:05 pm
Location: Melbourne

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by ollave » 26 October 11 10:50 am

Hoojar wrote: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.
The one terrain 5 cache I've done said in its description that a kayak or a canoe was required. Thus I couldn't get there by walking. As I don't have (and can't transport) a canoe or kayak, I substituted alternate equipment and go the cache.

In practice, 4.5 seems to mean "really really hard" and 5 could be a set of attributes: you will need (boat, helicopter, SCUBA, ...). But we're used to what we've got and I've left at least one 1.5 terrain cache as the rain came down: it was starting to get slippery and dangerous.

I've also twisted my ankle on a 1.0 terrain cache (mildly, happily). Outdoors is not a safe place. :D

User avatar
Richary
6500 or more caches found
6500 or more caches found
Posts: 4156
Joined: 04 February 04 10:55 pm
Location: Waitara, Sydney

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by Richary » 27 October 11 8:55 pm

I really suspect what we are saying is that a cache also needs a "Danger" rating. For example I have (had) 4 4WD access caches. But at least 2 of them have been found by people without 4WDs, by the simple expedient of walking a few km along the track. So it's not 4WD absolutely required, it just makes things a lot quicker.

The difficulty or terrain shouldn't be 5 as in both cases even if you broke down (or tripped and broke an ankle while walking) someone is likely to be along within a few hours so you probably won't die.

Maybe the answer is not to make the cache 4WD only (unless it really is). Rate it for the walk saying you will need to do a 10km return or whatever walk along the sand to find it, and to be prepared and make the rating for that. You can then comment that having a 4WD will make things a lot easier.

User avatar
lemmykc
2500 or more caches found
2500 or more caches found
Posts: 328
Joined: 29 August 10 1:36 pm
Location: Hampton, Victoria, Australia

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by lemmykc » 10 November 11 7:32 am

I think that difficulty/terrain ratings are something that don't make sense if you think really hard about them. I always go with my first instinct: mind you, I don't place high terrain caches.....

covert
150 or more caches found
150 or more caches found
Posts: 476
Joined: 30 July 08 11:47 am
Location: VIC

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by covert » 10 November 11 8:58 am

lemmykc wrote: (BTW, I also chose the 5/1 combo because I know some P81 junkies who needed it. it would probably be a 5/1.5 in truth, however I don't think half a star makes much of a difference when it is that low. I was just being kind :D
Generally if a cache has a terrain of 1 it is considered it can be accessed by a wheelchair.

User avatar
Yurt
4500 or more caches found
4500 or more caches found
Posts: 1509
Joined: 01 May 09 10:08 pm
Location: Northern Suburbs, Sydney

Re: Cache difficulty/terrain ratings

Post by Yurt » 10 November 11 11:27 am

Might be simpler if the half ratings weren't there at all but that's not going to happen.
How many 4.5/4.5 caches would there be? You could get a lot of visitors (relatively speaking) to your cache by having a weird combination. I can't see how a difficulty 1/terrain 5 cache could exist as terrain 5 immediately makes it tricky. Or is it for caches that you can see but can't get to without ropes etc?

Post Reply