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5 Star Difficulty

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On an EarthCache, what would you consider a 5 star difficulty? Sure 5 star terrains can be very common with an EarthCache but what would you have to do to give an EarthCache a 5 star difficulty?

 

Is difficulty looked at differently on EarthCaches?

 

Do you have any examples?

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As I recall I've got only one 5 star difficulty, White Point Hydrothermal Vents. It was difficult getting the coordinates in the surf so they may be off, the visibility in the water is notoriously low, some of the vents are hidden in between submerged rocks, and the vents are relatively small. Also the white algal mats that are the easiest way to identify them are eaten by the local abalone.

 

I would think that generally anything that is really small (less than say 1 cm) or a rather nebulous huge feature (the Basin and Range province) could get a 5. If you get into technical details in your questions, identify a the mineral, direction of sheer, etc. could also get pretty high.

 

Time to get the answer would also factor into the difficulty, multiple stops far apart, long measurement times and the like. I'm sure we could also think of some other difficult ones.

 

Difficulty is a good thing to consider and discuss.

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As I recall I've got only one 5 star difficulty, White Point Hydrothermal Vents. It was difficult getting the coordinates in the surf so they may be off, the visibility in the water is notoriously low, some of the vents are hidden in between submerged rocks, and the vents are relatively small. Also the white algal mats that are the easiest way to identify them are eaten by the local abalone.

 

 

Wouldn't most of that be considered terrain?

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Here is how I look at it, maybe I'm wrong?

 

Terrain:

 

* surf

* visibility in the water is notoriously low

* some of the vents are hidden in between submerged rocks

* white algal mats that are the easiest way to identify them are eaten by the local abalone

* multiple stops far apart

 

 

Difficulty:

 

* vents are relatively small

* technical details in your questions

* long measurement times

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Here is how I look at it, maybe I'm wrong?

 

Terrain:

 

* surf

* visibility in the water is notoriously low

* some of the vents are hidden in between submerged rocks

* white algal mats that are the easiest way to identify them are eaten by the local abalone

* multiple stops far apart

 

 

Difficulty:

 

* vents are relatively small

* technical details in your questions

* long measurement times

I see the terrain as how physically hard it is to get to the general location and the difficulty as how hard it is to find the feature once you are there. So I would only put the surf in the terrain. The visibility doesn't make it more difficult to reach the location, it makes finding the feature hard. You don't have to squeeze between rocks, but you must look around and next to many submerged rock outcroppings similar to say a micro hidden in a rock pile. Not physically hard to reach, just a rediculous number of hiding places to check. The presense of the agal mats is akin to a great camo job, maybe they are there maybe not. It doesn't make it hard to reach the general area.

 

The multiple stops far apart don't apply to this case, but I still would make it part of difficulty. If one can drive up to the multiple stops it still gets a low terrain. It is just time consuming to go to all the stops. Say an earthcache shows the geomorphology of a river as it moves toward base level (the gradient of the river decreases as it gets closer to the ocean) by looking at the Mississippi at its origins in the mountains, in the Great Plains, and by the Gulf of Mexico. Each stop is a paved 'Scenic View' parking lot, but located hundreds of miles apart. The terrain is very low since there is no physical challenge reaching each location, but the difficulty is high because of the time and logistical challenge to reach each of the locations before logging.

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Yes, all that seems to be Terrain not Difficulty.

 

A 5 Difficulty would be that you have to go through hoops in order to log it, I.E. Send in a dozen pictures, answer 100 questions, actually visit the Earth Cache with the cache owner, aad many other 'alternate' logging requirements.

 

It can't be something as simple as size.

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I went by ClayJar's rating system ? using the form. He's got a 5 as "Extreme. A serious mental or physical challenge. Requires specialized knowledge, skills, or equipment to find cache. " Strangely, that is also very similar to the 5 terrain rating, so there is some overlap.

 

On the form I chose, specialized equipment needed, no overnight stay, less than 1/2 mile, No trail, overgrowth heavy (instead of the surf and visibility issues), Basically flat, and Finding this cache requires very specialized knowledge, skills, or equipment. This is a serious mental or physical challenge. This spit out a 5/5.

 

These vents will take you quite a while to find if you don't know where to look. I spent about 3 hours finding them the first time.

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On an EarthCache, what would you consider a 5 star difficulty? Sure 5 star terrains can be very common with an EarthCache but what would you have to do to give an EarthCache a 5 star difficulty?

 

Is difficulty looked at differently on EarthCaches?

 

Do you have any examples?

 

Don't tell me you are going to make a 5 star earthcache. I mean no one can find any of your caches already :):anibad:

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On an EarthCache, what would you consider a 5 star difficulty? Sure 5 star terrains can be very common with an EarthCache but what would you have to do to give an EarthCache a 5 star difficulty?

 

Is difficulty looked at differently on EarthCaches?

 

Do you have any examples?

 

An earthcache that requires a degree in geology to be able to answer the logging requirements correctly!

Edited by shearzone

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do i understand this right (sorry my english is not the best...:unsure:)

is it possible do develop an earthcache where climbing (rope, grigri etc) is needed?

which then of course means it is terrain 5?

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do i understand this right (sorry my english is not the best...;))

is it possible do develop an earthcache where climbing (rope, grigri etc) is needed?

which then of course means it is terrain 5?

If that is the only way to see the feature, yes. But don't make it a 5 just because you can. If the same feature can be seen close by without the equipment use that easier terrain.

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