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Under rated hides


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Is it just me or does it seem like you go out for a QEF and it's a monster of a find...I believe if there is a cache with 20 :o and 10 :( then it deserves a higher rating then 1.5 star Difficulty...I see so many 1.5 stars then 2.5 3.0 stars. Maybe it's just me being a little challenged when it comes to geocaching. I saw a fake rock hide that had a 50% find ratio and it's maked as a 1 star?? Any thoughts out there.....

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Is it just me or does it seem like you go out for a QEF and it's a monster of a find...I believe if there is a cache with 20 :o and 10 :( then it deserves a higher rating then 1.5 star Difficulty...I see so many 1.5 stars then 2.5 3.0 stars. Maybe it's just me being a little challenged when it comes to geocaching. I saw a fake rock hide that had a 50% find ratio and it's maked as a 1 star?? Any thoughts out there.....

What's interesting to me is that cache rating norms seem to be regional. When I was in the Red Rocks area near Las Vegas, I found several caches rated 1.5 that would have been 2.5 or 3 in my home area. In the desert around Phoenix, there are caches rated 1 or 1.5 that say somewhere on the cache page "oh, yeah, it's a 7.5 mile hike if you don't have an ATV." I've seen caches that require a boat rated 1/1.5

Someone sets the standard and others follow...

(When I see an urban micro around here rated 1/1 I know I'm in trouble)

The main problem seems to be not understanding that the terrain should be how hard it is to get there, not how hard it is to get to once you are there! And the difficulty should be how hard it is to find if you don't already know where it is, not if you were the one who put the fake rock in the rock pile!

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We have an area here that has a string of caches along a trail. Getting to the first cache is a 3.5. But, from there to the next cache is rated a 1.5. The next and beyond are all 2.0 terrain. Question that arises is: If done independantly, should they all be a 3.5 because of the first leg? Or, if done as a series, is the 3.5, 1.5, 2.0, 2.0, 2.0 .... correct?

 

If it makes a difference, they were not all placed at the same time.

Edited by Cache O'Plenty
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I assume that we are discussing the cache's difficulty rating here, and not its terrain rating. But in both cases, even with the best intentions, the ratings are highly subjective, and also have regional norms.

 

As a cache hider, it is usually very hard to rate your own cache's difficulty. Sure... once in a while you'll get an idea (generally an idea for a difficult cache) that you just KNOW the difficulty rating for. But more often, it will seem easy to you, but when the finders show up, there are many more possibilities than you noticed when you hid it. Because it is tough rating one's own cache's difficulty, don't shy away from dropping the cache owner a polite email.

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My latest hide takes 6 or 7 hours of roundtrip swampy bushwhacking to get to. Once you get to it, it's in plain sight.

The D/T generator rated it as a 1/4.5. I couldn't stomach owning a 1, so I bumped it up to a 1.5.

 

Why not a 1 if it was in plain sight? Oh, that's right, the rating system is subjective and each cacher gets to set the D/T for their placed caches so 1 it is.

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I've noticed a reverse of this phenomenon... not sure if it's regional.

 

Someone places a cache with very unforgiving terrain (several hours of thigh deep swamp springs to mind on one in particular) and lists it as a 5 (I would've gone 4.5 but, subjective blah blah). The cache was easily spotted at GZ (Ammo can hanging from a vine laden tree, about head high). The difficulty was listed as a 5.

 

Seems some people want to own a 5/5 so much they don't care what the difficult is. They figure as long as the terrain is hard enough, the difficulty goes up, too.

 

I've found a couple of 1.5/5 and 2/5. But I don't think I've ever come across a true 5/5.

 

I've got a cache in the works that will be a 5 difficulty, but with only a couple of miles to hike (half of it bushwacking) and only about a 250ft elevation change up a mountain (more like a hill), I can't see giving it more than a 4 +-.5. I'm not that concerned about having a 5/5... It's gonna be hard enough!

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I remember my first parking lot lamp post hide, rated a 1.5 it was next to a bush and tables were very close also. I searched for 45 min and read every log to try to get a clue. once I read to do the "lift" I found it. Never even knew they lifted. I think I would have walked away with e DNF on that for sure. I often email the ftf cachers on my hide and get there thoughts on my rating. I also think its hard to rate your own cache. I have also bumped the stars up and down a little after I review the logs. Not sure if there is a cache hide ethics code or not, but I strive for accurate rating system! :(

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We have an area here that has a string of caches along a trail. Getting to the first cache is a 3.5. But, from there to the next cache is rated a 1.5. The next and beyond are all 2.0 terrain. Question that arises is: If done independantly, should they all be a 3.5 because of the first leg? Or, if done as a series, is the 3.5, 1.5, 2.0, 2.0, 2.0 .... correct?

 

If it makes a difference, they were not all placed at the same time.

They should each be rated independantly. If the first one is 3.5, and there is no other way to get to the next ones, they should all be 3.5, especially if they were placed by the same person. I have placed caches in the general vicinity of some that were already there and given it a different terrain rating because I felt the previous ones were not accurate. This seems especially true for older caches. I've seen some that were rated 3.5 or 4 several years ago that really should have been 1.5 or 2.

Here's an interesting follow-up on my previous response: The caches that I thought were under-rated (compared to my local area) were places where people get out on the trails a lot, so more folks are used to strenuous exercise. For instance, in the hills and desert trails outside of Phoneix, I would often pass literally dozens of people during a few hours on the trails. (One morning I started up a steep trail about 9AM, and at least a dozen people passed me coming back DOWN before I reached the top, which took about an hour!) Here in eastern Long Island, I can be on the Pine Barrens trails all day and not meet a single person.

Edited by hukilaulau
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Why not a 1 if it was in plain sight?

A difficulty of 1 would have been technically accurate, as the cache, an ammo can, is literally hanging from a chain from a partially fallen tree.

If you survive the journey to it, there's no way you could possibly miss seeing it.

The only difficulty in retrieving it is that the tree crosses a creek, and you have to stand in the creek to get to it.

By the time you get to that point, you'll be so covered in mud, blood and parasites, a stroll in the creek would be welcome to most.

I just couldn't stomach owning a "1", so I artificially inflated it by half a star. :(

Edited by Clan Riffster
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I'll second the regional thing. There might be dozens of identical hides in one area, so all the locals know about them. They'll be rated 1.5's. Someone from out of town would rate them as 3 or higher.

 

But it could also go the other way... someone places a new hide for an area rated 3 that is hard for the locals to find, but someone from an area where this hide type is popular can find it in seconds.

 

As for terrain, there are hundreds of caches in the desert in Southern California rated as 1-2 where a 4WD vehicle is required. Why? Probably because anyone caching in the area would already have a 4WD, so it's no big deal. Someone from out of town in a rental car would be in for a major hike in intense heat.

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I did a cache recently that was rated a 1 /1 . From the parking area you had to walk through long grassy field for around 1000' , then up and over some rocky terrain which brought you to a steep rocky slope that lead to the beach . The cache was hidden about 20' down the slope and I had to use hand holds to get down to the cache and then keep my balance while retreiving / signing / replacing the cache . Last I checked a terrain rating of 1 is wheelchair accessible . factor in the rocks I had to climb over and the steep bank I had to climb down and the terrain rating is more like a 2.5 minimum . I checked the CO's profile when I got home and they have 0 finds and 1 hide which they hid almost a year ago . Everything became clear then as to why the low rating . :P

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I did a cache recently that was rated a 1 /1 . From the parking area you had to walk through long grassy field for around 1000' , then up and over some rocky terrain which brought you to a steep rocky slope that lead to the beach . The cache was hidden about 20' down the slope and I had to use hand holds to get down to the cache and then keep my balance while retreiving / signing / replacing the cache . Last I checked a terrain rating of 1 is wheelchair accessible . factor in the rocks I had to climb over and the steep bank I had to climb down and the terrain rating is more like a 2.5 minimum . I checked the CO's profile when I got home and they have 0 finds and 1 hide which they hid almost a year ago . Everything became clear then as to why the low rating . :P

 

That one is clearly underrated. When I submitted my first cache as a 1/2 my reviewer specifically asked if it was wheelchair accessible before publishing it.

 

I don't automatically assume that a cache might not be rated correctly based on the lack of experience of the hider. There is one near me that is a nano cache on a steam train (posted as an unknown cache size). The hider has no other hides and only one find, and that was in 2004. I suspected for awhile that as a newbie he may not have followed the guidelines exactly (possibly buried under the train) or that the coordinates might be way off. Turned out the coordinates were good and it was just a very good hide deserving of the 4 star difficulty, although he has since added several hints which reduced the difficulty but it still produces a lot of DNFs.

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I think the overrated ones vastly outnumber the underrated ones.

I agree.

 

What is clayjar? :P

 

What is a 2 for a seasoned cacher might be a 3.5 or 4 for a newbie. I think people forget that Clayjar is based on seasoned cachers.

 

I also have a hunch that the majority of hiders do not use clayjar. I dunno though? :rolleyes:

 

Why is it that if people have a 5 terrain they assume it is 5 difficulty? :D

 

Kind of like when you find a micro and it is listed as a small. Or a regular listed as a large.

 

It's the nature of the beast.

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I think the overrated ones vastly outnumber the underrated ones.

I agree.

 

What is clayjar? :P

 

What is a 2 for a seasoned cacher might be a 3.5 or 4 for a newbie. I think people forget that Clayjar is based on seasoned cachers.

 

I also have a hunch that the majority of hiders do not use clayjar. I dunno though? :rolleyes:

 

Why is it that if people have a 5 terrain they assume it is 5 difficulty? :D

 

Kind of like when you find a micro and it is listed as a small. Or a regular listed as a large.

 

It's the nature of the beast.

 

Clayjar Rating System (also linked to from the cache placement form)

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The way I look at:

 

Terrain:

1 - Flat, even and suitable for someone in a wheelchair/scooter to roll right up to it and with minimal effort find the cache

 

1.5 - Flat, even, but out of reach or over grass.

 

2-4.5 - Depending on how hard the walk is I'll use my judgement.

 

5 - Special equipment required.

 

Difficulty:

1 - Magnetic keyholder under a park bench, lamp post skirt

2 - Hidden slightly better.

3 - Takes some effort and some looking.

4 - Usually involves a very tricky cammo job, puzzle

5 - Evil cache, have fun

 

I don't expect everyone to follow these, this is just what I use. Most of the time I take how hard a cache would be for a beginner and for someone experienced and decide the Difficulty number based on that.

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The way I look at:

 

Terrain:

1 - Flat, even and suitable for someone in a wheelchair/scooter to roll right up to it and with minimal effort find the cache

 

1.5 - Flat, even, but out of reach or over grass.

 

2-4.5 - Depending on how hard the walk is I'll use my judgement.

 

5 - Special equipment required.

 

Difficulty:

1 - Magnetic keyholder under a park bench, lamp post skirt

2 - Hidden slightly better.

3 - Takes some effort and some looking.

4 - Usually involves a very tricky cammo job, puzzle

5 - Evil cache, have fun

 

I don't expect everyone to follow these, this is just what I use. Most of the time I take how hard a cache would be for a beginner and for someone experienced and decide the Difficulty number based on that.

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We have an area here that has a string of caches along a trail. Getting to the first cache is a 3.5. But, from there to the next cache is rated a 1.5. The next and beyond are all 2.0 terrain. Question that arises is: If done independantly, should they all be a 3.5 because of the first leg? Or, if done as a series, is the 3.5, 1.5, 2.0, 2.0, 2.0 .... correct?

 

If it makes a difference, they were not all placed at the same time.

Perhaps the first cache was at the top of a pile of rocks next to the trail and the rest are at trail level? We have to remember the entire journey is rated, including the last few steps.

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The way I look at:

 

Terrain:

1 - Flat, even and suitable for someone in a wheelchair/scooter to roll right up to it and with minimal effort find the cache

 

1.5 - Flat, even, but out of reach or over grass.

 

2-4.5 - Depending on how hard the walk is I'll use my judgement.

 

5 - Special equipment required.

 

Difficulty:

1 - Magnetic keyholder under a park bench, lamp post skirt

2 - Hidden slightly better.

3 - Takes some effort and some looking.

4 - Usually involves a very tricky cammo job, puzzle

5 - Evil cache, have fun

 

I don't expect everyone to follow these, this is just what I use. Most of the time I take how hard a cache would be for a beginner and for someone experienced and decide the Difficulty number based on that.

 

This is the long ago agreed upon rating system, endorsed by this website (well they link to it on the cache submission page so that seems to be an endorsement of sorts). The problem is that people make up their own and don't follow this system.

 

Difficulty rating:

* Easy. In plain sight or can be found in a few minutes of searching.

** Average. The average cache hunter would be able to find this in less than 30 minutes of hunting.

*** Challenging. An experienced cache hunter will find this challenging, and it could take up a good portion of an afternoon.

**** Difficult. A real challenge for the experienced cache hunter - may require special skills or knowledge, or in-depth preparation to find. May require multiple days / trips to complete.

***** Extreme. A serious mental or physical challenge. Requires specialized knowledge, skills, or equipment to find cache.

 

Terrain rating:

* Handicapped accessible. (Terrain is likely to be paved, is relatively flat, and less than a 1/2 mile hike is required.)

** Suitable for small children. (Terrain is generally along marked trails, there are no steep elevation changes or heavy overgrowth. Less than a 2 mile hike required.)

*** Not suitable for small children. (The average adult or older child should be OK depending on physical condition. Terrain is likely off-trail. May have one or more of the following: some overgrowth, some steep elevation changes, or more than a 2 mile hike.)

**** Experienced outdoor enthusiasts only. (Terrain is probably off-trail. Will have one or more of the following: very heavy overgrowth, very steep elevation (requiring use of hands), or more than a 10 mile hike. May require an overnight stay.)

***** Requires specialized equipment and knowledge or experience, (boat, 4WD, rock climbing, SCUBA, etc) or is otherwise extremely difficult.

 

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