Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

Hiding caches and trouble with Terrain and Difficulty Rating

20 posts in this topic

Posted · Report post

Ok, I've hid a total of 10 whole caches now and one of my latest has given me some problems when it comes to the terrain and difficulty rating. I've looked on the geocaching.com forum and people seem to be all over the place on how to rate caches and I've looked at similar caches in the area and they aren't terribly consistent either. Here is my problem:

I have a cache in Bear Creek Park in an area that floods really badly at times. You have to cross a creek to get there, but since it has been so dry lately the creek is easy to jump over. The cache is also in a large tree that extends over a very large and full creek. The cache is in a location that requires you to climb out on this tree. You don't have to climb far out and the tree is large enough to easily hold the largest of cachers. The climb is more horizontal than vertical in the first place. It can be slightly disconcerting looking down, but it would be pretty difficult to actually fall.

At first I rated this a 5 star terrain, because if the area had a normal amount of rain the creek would be more difficult to cross, plus the slight danger of climbing the tree. I've seen other caches in the area rate a 5 terrain simply because they require climbing. I then changed my rating to a 4.5 simply because right now the creek is fairly simple to jump over. I go back and forth whether this is still too high a rating.

Then the second part of my problem is the difficulty level. This is a micro cache, but the attributes in the cache state you're going to have to climb a tree and once you're in the tree the cache will be hard to miss. Does the slight danger of climbing the tree, or does the difficulty of the terrain in general, effect the difficulty level of the cache, or is the difficulty level simply how difficult it is to find the cache once you arrive at GZ?

Thanks in advance for your help, and if you're curious the cache just posted last night and surprisingly, probably since it was a work day and it was cold last night, it actually hasn't been found yet. Luckily, by reading this post it would be quite difficult for you not to be able to find it.

You Want me to do what?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

The difficulty rating is supposed to be the mental difficulty, where the terrain is supposed to be the physical difficulty. The two really are independent. You said that once you climb the tree it is pretty easy. If you state in your description that you have to climb the tree, I would put the difficulty pretty low. If not, how hard is it for somebody to figure out that they have to climb the tree (assuming they did not read this thread).

As for the terrain, I would rate it around the average conditions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

The D/T guidelines are very subjective and vary widely by geography too.

I didn't hide my first until I found 1000, simply because I too saw much inconsistency with a small sampling of finds.

I would rate it on your low end D/T until FTF and ask the first few who log it to let you know their thoughts. You are allowed to adjust based on feedback.

Oh, and I've always appreciated a note in description that indicates a tougher find under certain conditions such as full creek, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

My Goatman Series GC2HQV6 in Baytown is a 2 terrain rating until we've had a rain and I note this on the page(s). Then you may need a tow truck to get your 4X4 Toyota pulled out (or you could call me and I'll pull you out with my Jeep!!!) :) Peace!

ohl hockey guy likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Based on all your advice I lowered the difficulty of the terrain. I never stated you had to climb a tree in the description, but one look at the attributes would tell you it was required. I already had the difficultly fairly low because of this. I really just wasn't sure if I should base the terrain on how hard it is at the moment or how bad it could be, or simply somewhere in between. Thank you for the quick responses.

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Obliviously you're unfamiliar with capabilities of the 4x4 Toyota. Please, please allow me to demonstrate sometime. (Bring a helmet, a Roll of TP, and snorkel ) :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Okay, big fella, here's your chance to prove it and I'm going to need your BFF to take photos and post them here as proof. It's okay to take HoustonControl along iin case... GC42DB2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Okay, big fella, here's your chance to prove it and I'm going to need your BFF to take photos and post them here as proof. It's okay to take HoustonControl along iin case... GC42DB2

If you are up to the challenge I will gladly bring the camera.

Eagle

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

If you ever get stuck, Bert, just give me a call and I'll pull you out with my 2WD Toyota. The Tundra towed the Space Shuttle Endeavour weighing about 300,000 lbs. How much does your Jeep weigh? :2funny:

As for the original subject. Diff and Terrain ratings are all over the place, so don't fret too much. In a nutshell, Difficulty is, "how hard it is to locate the cache" and Terrain is, "how hard is it to get to the cache". Keeping in mind that people don't always look at cache attributes, it sounds like your D/T is pretty fair. I'd base the terrain rating on average conditions and put something in the cache description about how "your mileage may vary".

Another comment: Try to avoid changing the D/T rating after the cache has been out. Someone may be using that cache to fill in a needed square on their D/T matrix -- and that stuff is real important!!! :coolsmiley:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

Golden rule for 5 Terrain is ask yourself does it require special equipment (Kayak, Ladder, Climbing Gear, etc.) All of my Terrain 5 finds have required this.

These are my thoughts on what the Terrain should be.

A Terrain 4.0 - 4.5 should be of a variety that has some sort of inherent danger to it - Vertical Climbs in trees, Climb into a Rainwater Sewer Drain, etc., A 3.0 - 3.5 maybe some mild amount of danger (possible tripping, rough hikes, moderate bushwacking), 2.0 - 2.5 Off the trail a moderate amount, not much of a danger, but you need to push in through some woods possible, or thickets, 1.0 - 1.5 Urban cache hide, right on the side of the trail (LPC) also 1.0 only for something that is wheelchair accessible.

Difficulty that's a bit harder IMHO, it depends - Things like Puzzle/Mystery Caches that make you think IMO increase Difficulty, Multiple stages of a multi-cache where you have to process information makes you think and add to difficulty, but so does how difficult it is to find the cache once you're there (not get to the cache as that's Terrain) but to find the cache.

These tend to be very subjective, but an Ammo can sitting at the base of a tree shouldn't be a high difficultly unless it required a difficult puzzle, or multi-cache to get to. A nano on a park bench might be a low difficulty, but a nano placed in a drilled out hold on the bottom side of a dead fall might be a high difficulty. That said, I'd not fret too much about the difficulty rating. I've had extreme difficulty finding some 1.5 D rated items (6 DNFs on one before I finally found it) and have spotted some 5.0 D rated items in seconds and in both situations the difficulty rating was right, but I didn't spot the easy ones like I should have been able to, and I got lucky on the hard ones. I'd say the more obvious it is, the lower the D rating, the more devious it is, the higher the D rating.

I'll second HC's comment about not changing a D/T Rating later. I've had one change on me and now I'm 63/81 DT's filled, when I could be 64/81. It's annoying when there's only 1 or 2 others for the D/T rating within 150mi of where I live, and those require at least 1hr drive to get to.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

This is all very good info. I'm still wading through all the geocaching etiquette and protocol. Thank you all for your assistance.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I will say I disagree with Eagles1181 on difficulty of the cache being all mental. Difficulty can be physical when you get to the cache as well. Just ask any of the people who just did my Ninja Sandbox

I have several caches that are four terrain ratings on islands that can be retrieved via a kayak or wading to them. The requires special tools being a 5 terrain cache is incorrect per PR. Ask him go ahead as I did. He told me those are outdated requirements that have been changed with the advent of attributes. I would recommend adding those to the cache.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I was under the impression that D/T remains unchanged with your log date even if changed later by CO. Hmmm.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I was under the impression that D/T remains unchanged with your log date even if changed later by CO. Hmmm.

The D/T goes with the cache. If it is changed your rating will change. So if I go make Smithsonian a 5/5 you would no have a 5/5.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

I will say I disagree with Eagles1181 on difficulty of the cache being all mental. Difficulty can be physical when you get to the cache as well. Just ask any of the people who just did my Ninja Sandbox

I agree with LD here. A lot of it is the difficulty of making the find itself. At some level, it is physical due to placement.

The requires special tools being a 5 terrain cache is incorrect per PR. Ask him go ahead as I did. He told me those are outdated requirements that have been changed with the advent of attributes.

Knowledge book for D/T issues:

http://support.groundspeak.com/index.php?pg=kb.page&id=82

Which states 5*T "Requires specialized equipment (boat, 4WD, rock climbing, SCUBA, etc.) or is otherwise extremely difficult."

Whether or not PR thinks they are outdated or not -- they ARE the current guidelines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

FWIW: On the low end, I tend to ask myself if a cache is legitimately wheelchair accessible when deciding between a Terrain of 1, or a higher rating. Now, we do have attributes for wheelchair accessible, but it seems appropriate still.

LogDawgs: If you wanna make that fine Smithsonian cache of yours a 5/5 - I promise you I'll be okay with it :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

The difficulty is the mental part. How hard is it to figure out. The terrain is the physical part which would include crossing water and climbing the tree. If you are unsure, I would rate low and then watch logs when people find it. That way if you change it, you are increasing the difficulty or terrain and not reducing. When you change either rating, you change finders' stats and some people work on their stats specifically. If they are trying to fill in specific difficulty and terrain ratings in their stats and you change it you can mess up their stats. However, sometimes it's important to adjust rankings to get them right so I prefer to up them rather than to decrease them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted · Report post

GC42M9Y I got one working right now and one DNF and one that hasn't been recorded. It's way outside the box. I rated it a 3.5 on difficulty. 2 down already.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0