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When is a cache a terrain 5?

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I'm in the process of setting out a series of caches for the Grahamstown Event in a few weeks' time, and I'm having difficulty deciding what rating to give the final bonus cache. The rating system on the GC website gives my terrain rating as at least a 4.5, but when is it OK to claim that the terrain is "very difficult" and hence deserve the 5-star terrain rating? I'd appreciate a few opinions from the South African community.


To give a bit of background, to get the clues for the final will require about a 8-12km hike to get the clues, a portion of which will be hiking where there is no trail at all. Then to get to the final will require another short bout of bundu-bashing, and if placing the cache was anything to go by, you'll arrive at the final location pretty scratched up, unless you find the easy way in, which is in itself a bit dangerous (well, by capeccr's standards it'll be child's play, but still).


My gut feeling tells me I should stick to a rating of 4.5 (e.g. comparing it to Frodo's Journey, which almost surely has more difficult terrain than my cache), but I'd like to get a feel for what other cachers think.

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I like the Clayjar rating system: http://www.clayjar.com/gcrs/


Difficulty rating:

**** 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:

**** 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.


Half stars on D and T are always open to discussion anyway, but fewer problems than getting it a whole star out! :lol:


You do have the option to edit/change the ratings after publication, if the finders have any comments on your ratings.

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I resenting had the privilege of doing one of Discombob's 5 star caches (not yet logged) Kloof Corner Difficult. You need to ask yourself 3 questions.


1. Is there any chance of slipping and falling to your death?

2. Are there any 10 meter vertical chains to climb?

3. At any point are you going to stop and second guess yourself?


If no to all of the above, it gets below 4 stars.

1 yes = 4 stars

2 yes = 4.5 stars

3 yes = 5 starts


Sound's like I going to have to get up early on the 24th, can't even lie in on a public holiday.

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From what I gather 5 star requires special equipment ie climbing/abseiling equipment, scuba/diving equipment. As a caveat, although I am one of a small band of warriors who did abseil to find a 5 star cache I would by no stretch of the imagination have done that without support, but that is the nature of technicalities and definitions, so one needs to take them for what they are. I think they slot a boat into "requiring special equipment" but that seems like taking opportunity of a loophole, as although a boat could be perceived as special, that does not necessarily make it particularly difficult. Sounds like you have a well deserving 4.5 star there.

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I generally look at the rating of been on a effort required base... plus the danger comes into play... not only from the falling to your death from a 100m cliff, but also regarding the elements, ie weather changes, altitude, etc. I gave my cache in the Drakensberg a 5 star rating because it is not for the unprepared hiker. Though no serious climbing has to be done, nothing more than a rock scramble, there is always the element of weather, if you find yourself signing a log book at just under 3000m and a thick cloud suddenly rolls in and you cannot see 2 meters ahead of you... it becomes very apparent that unless you know your bearings... Life is but a few steps away from certain death. Too many people do not realise how sudden and how dangerous the weather can be in these places.. So not just a matter of falling off high places but also the need for a good awareness of what situations can prevail... And when you factor a long hike into this... 12 mearly a walk in the park for some, for others it can take a loooooong time. So then what may be worthy of a 4.5 to you , can mean a 6 to others and 3 to me... Difficult to say... Stick with as high a rating as you feel, but be prepared to maybe acompany those that feel that it can be too much... Also with it been on an event you can also judge by people's reactions as to how to rate it in future... I am just so bummed that it is way too far for me to go as I would love to do some caches in that area... Have fun.

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