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Winter-friendly attribute


L0ne.R
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The weather is getting cold up here in Ontario so my thoughts are turning to winter-friendly caches. Lately I've noticed that most of the caches I've found with the winter-friendly icon are not winter-friendly. They are on the ground. Not hanging above the snow line or not placed in a protected spot, which won't get caked in ice. One I found recently found has even been through one winter with many complaining that they had to give up the search because of all the snow and ice. Yet the owner thinks this is some kind of anomaly for Ontario huh.gif and hasn't removed the attribute (or more preferably change it to NOT winter friendly). I think part of the problem is the icon is called "Winter accessible". But still, if you live in a country/state/province that regularly gets feet of snow and lots of icy conditions why would you think a ground hide is winter accessible? Maybe the icon should say "Snow and ice accessible". Thoughts?

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Depending on where you are in Ontario, that ice storm last winter would have made even the most winter-friendly cache a block of ice. :laughing: I dunno.

 

Slight hijack: then there are the cachers that hunt out your cache (that has a NOT winter-friendly attribute on it) and talk about how it couldn't be removed from the ice, so they didn't sign the log. Well, yeah - that's why it's marked as not winter friendly! :rolleyes:

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The weather is getting cold up here in Ontario so my thoughts are turning to winter-friendly caches. Lately I've noticed that most of the caches I've found with the winter-friendly icon are not winter-friendly. They are on the ground. Not hanging above the snow line or not placed in a protected spot, which won't get caked in ice. One I found recently found has even been through one winter with many complaining that they had to give up the search because of all the snow and ice. Yet the owner thinks this is some kind of anomaly for Ontario huh.gif and hasn't removed the attribute (or more preferably change it to NOT winter friendly). I think part of the problem is the icon is called "Winter accessible". But still, if you live in a country/state/province that regularly gets feet of snow and lots of icy conditions why would you think a ground hide is winter accessible? Maybe the icon should say "Snow and ice accessible". Thoughts?

 

I guess this is quite a complex issue. It is not necesarily the case that a cache on the ground cannot be found if there are snow and ice, it depends on the hideout and if there exists something nearby which make it clear exactly where to dig for the cache. In my country there are many caches in the mountains and there are many cachers that head for caches in combination with ski or snowshoe tours and some of them are very dedicated to find caches with their equipment (avalanche shovels etc).

 

Winter friendly obviously means something different than winter accessible, even when you have only snow and ice in mind as having to dig for a cache might be quite tiresome.

On the other hand, some of these caches can be reached easier and faster in Winter than in Summer (the descent via skis can save quite some time and in Winter there are lifts in areas where there are no lifts in Summer).

 

The bigger issue than snow is often caused by ice.

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I think (all) attributes are open to a wide range of interpretations. The thing is that folks interpret them the way that they see fit, not necessarily as others would see fit.

 

Winter Friendly examples -- (by some but not all):

Area not closed during winter;

Location accessible by snowmobile;

- likewise by skis or snowshoes;

Suspended or otherwise not needing to paw through snow (notice, I didn't say "dig" -- a whole new ballgame);

Metallic cache -- suitable for metal detecting;

-- other ideas also, that have not struck me.

 

We live in a "snow-rich" environment. The average accumulation here is 152 inches , if checking - look at Munising. Locally, not that many of the caches are marked as "Not Winter Friendly" or simply not marked one way or the other. I dare say that many if not most locally are usually deeply buried under the normal ~10+ feet of accumulation.

We have found plenty mid- and late winter. Yes, deep in the snow. The real trick here is GETTING to the cache, not so much finding it, assuming that listed coordinates are very good.

 

We find a bigger(?) problem with the suspended-in-a-tree "vacation" caches, usually placed by visiting snowmobilers, are in excess of 10' from the ground during the rest of the year! No big deal to climb a tree, but not-so a with 2-3" diameter sapling (Duh!).

Probably because they are clueless as to the amount of snow underfoot and stand on their machine to hang it in a tree, too boot!

 

Yup, this avenue runs in two directions!

Edited by Gitchee-Gummee
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The weather is getting cold up here in Ontario so my thoughts are turning to winter-friendly caches. Lately I've noticed that most of the caches I've found with the winter-friendly icon are not winter-friendly.

- snip -

I think part of the problem is the icon is called "Winter accessible"...

None of the attributes I see are called "Winter Friendly" or "Winter Accessible".

All the ones I see simply say, "Available during Winter" or, "Not available for Winter".

They either are, or aren't available.

- But I understand your issue.

Rather than be a few feet above the ground, we're seeing caches under logs as Available during Winter and they are, just maybe need a metal detector and a shovel, or ice axe to get 'em.

But the attributes aren't followed much anyway.

Seems every-other year we hear of someone who got stuck in a lot for one we have marked Not available in Winter.

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Locally, not that many of the caches are marked as "Not Winter Friendly" or simply not marked one way or the other.

 

If in doubt, I prefer not marked one way or the other. Then it won't come up when I run a PQ for winter accessible caches. When there are so few truly winter accessible caches around, there's usually a lot of driving involved to get to them and a very cold walk to the cache site. It gets rather frustrating to get to a spot and read "under the fallen" in the hint when I'm standing in snow up to mid-thigh. In Ontario most trails and parks are open in the winter (can't recall one that was closed for the winter season).

 

The real trick here is GETTING to the cache, not so much finding it, assuming that listed coordinates are very good.

 

Under a log in a forest can be near impossible to find by digging. I can't remember the last time I found a cache that was actually where my gps zero'd out and would be exactly true for every finder. Most cache coords are off by 10m. (I have a garmin 62s).

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The weather is getting cold up here in Ontario so my thoughts are turning to winter-friendly caches. Lately I've noticed that most of the caches I've found with the winter-friendly icon are not winter-friendly.

- snip -

I think part of the problem is the icon is called "Winter accessible"...

None of the attributes I see are called "Winter Friendly" or "Winter Accessible".

 

 

Hmmm. I thought when I hovered over it, it said "Winter Accessible". You're right though, on the attributes page it does say "Available During Winter". In Ontario that would be just about every cache. Very few parks (none that I know of) shut down and don't allow people to use the grounds.

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Under a log in a forest can be near impossible to find by digging. I can't remember the last time I found a cache that was actually where my gps zero'd out and would be exactly true for every finder. Most cache coords are off by 10m. (I have a garmin 62s).

 

That's why I wrote that it depends on the area around the cache. At the roots of the large oak tree or at the left end of the huge rock formation or 3m from the summit cross in direction 150 degrees helps to know where to dig.

Of course a large ammo can is easier to spot under these conditions than a small film canister. I do not think however that winter accessible/friendly is 1:1 related to not hidden on the ground.

 

 

As the accessibility in Winter is regarded: In my country some roads and some trails are closed in Winter and some tours are too dangerous in Winter.

 

Snow and ice could be an issue however also outside of the Winter season the mountains, that's why Winter and snow/ice are not referring to the same anyway.

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The weather is getting cold up here in Ontario so my thoughts are turning to winter-friendly caches. Lately I've noticed that most of the caches I've found with the winter-friendly icon are not winter-friendly.

- snip -

I think part of the problem is the icon is called "Winter accessible"...

None of the attributes I see are called "Winter Friendly" or "Winter Accessible".

 

 

Hmmm. I thought when I hovered over it, it said "Winter Accessible". You're right though, on the attributes page it does say "Available During Winter". In Ontario that would be just about every cache. Very few parks (none that I know of) shut down and don't allow people to use the grounds.

Yep. In Winter it's a larger pack for a collapsible shovel and the handheld Garrett detector.

- I walk with either a snowscopic or a 100cm SMC Capra after the first snow, so a chopper's available too.

I don't do small parks, so no worries of, "There's a man with an axe!". :)

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The weather is getting cold up here in Ontario so my thoughts are turning to winter-friendly caches. Lately I've noticed that most of the caches I've found with the winter-friendly icon are not winter-friendly.

- snip -

I think part of the problem is the icon is called "Winter accessible"...

None of the attributes I see are called "Winter Friendly" or "Winter Accessible".

 

 

Hmmm. I thought when I hovered over it, it said "Winter Accessible". You're right though, on the attributes page it does say "Available During Winter". In Ontario that would be just about every cache. Very few parks (none that I know of) shut down and don't allow people to use the grounds.

Yep. In Winter it's a larger pack for a collapsible shovel and the handheld Garrett detector.

- I walk with either a snowscopic or a 100cm SMC Capra after the first snow, so a chopper's available too.

I don't do small parks, so no worries of, "There's a man with an axe!". :)

I always worry about damaging the cache. Some of the plastic containers are brittle in the cold.

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The weather is getting cold up here in Ontario so my thoughts are turning to winter-friendly caches. Lately I've noticed that most of the caches I've found with the winter-friendly icon are not winter-friendly.

- snip -

I think part of the problem is the icon is called "Winter accessible"...

None of the attributes I see are called "Winter Friendly" or "Winter Accessible".

 

 

Hmmm. I thought when I hovered over it, it said "Winter Accessible". You're right though, on the attributes page it does say "Available During Winter". In Ontario that would be just about every cache. Very few parks (none that I know of) shut down and don't allow people to use the grounds.

 

Yeah, "winter accessable" is sort of an old time term, definitely used in my area, although I guess I myself never noticed the attribute itself doesn't say that. I suppose anything off the ground, although if I hid an ammo can 3 feet off the ground where all the trunks of an old growth Maple tree with 6 trunks split off, you'd still have to dig for it. :P

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If we know it's a plastic container, just the weather often kinda scraps the idea of looking.

Though if it's listed as Availble in Winter, the CO shoulda planned for that.

- Winter's ammo can time ! :)

 

I'll download caches with "Available in Winter" attributes and add a combo ice-pick-shovel to my winter geocaching gear for some winter fun.

 

winter-ispo-2011-day-1-international-delights-5.jpg

 

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I love caching in the winter.

 

I did an awesome winter road trip into Northern Ontario and learned that the snowflake attribute means something different up there than it does down here.

 

All targetted caches had the attribute set; this is one of two that actually was within what I believe are the parameters:

 

0ad42972-6769-4158-899c-1a116501e0c5.jpg

 

Meanwhile, I also found these:

 

f9d32cd4-0081-4a03-ac37-0250255721eb.jpg

 

41711d07-6b28-4c2a-a70e-8be579e3f1d7.jpg

 

0d7356ea-d84a-4f1c-8e49-166de7126d6c.jpg

 

And I couldn't find these:

 

018c5eab-3c10-4980-b138-0c05b3c0146e.jpg

 

e8c95397-bc35-4e1b-90fb-72eafe5c0317.jpg

 

105006c4-f1de-4c06-9a49-32b66a948731.jpg

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I think available during winter is a different thing then winter friendly. I wouldn't want them to mark it NOT available during winter if it is. Who knows I might be in the mood to go dig threw snow. I would appreciate a note somewhere in the description saying that during the winter in heavy snow it might be a lot of work or hard to find.

 

I know we went on a vacation last winter. We were undecided on if we wanted to go to the snow caching or to the desert. We chose the desert. However we ended up passing a snow patch area and I seen there was a cache up in there. I said we had to go for it. Not at all prepared for the snow but it was not to far off the road. We finally dug it out but burrrrr it was crazy cold. After that one we were happy we didn't plan our trip in the snow. It was good to find one though.

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I think available during winter is a different thing then winter friendly. I wouldn't want them to mark it NOT available during winter if it is. Who knows I might be in the mood to go dig threw snow. I would appreciate a note somewhere in the description saying that during the winter in heavy snow it might be a lot of work or hard to find.

 

Do you mean "I wouldn't want them to mark it NOT available in winter" if the location is open in winter? Are you talking about the location as opposed the the cache container?

 

If so there's the seasonal-yes.gif Seasonal Access aattribute for locations that are not open during the winter (or other seasons).

 

If you want to hunt caches that are under snow, do you run a PQ for caches with the winter-yes.gif Available During Winter attribute? I suspect folks who are up for the challenge of digging through snow and ice wouldn't bother running a PQ for caches with the snowflake icon, and that caches with the winter-no.gif wouldn't stop them, they'd just go search for any cache and dig if they need to.

 

Anyone but me actually run a winter-yes.gif PQ? And if you do, why? I run it so I can walk to ground zero and have a reasonable expectation that the cache will be above the snow line and not encased in ice.

 

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Anyone but me actually run a winter-yes.gif PQ? And if you do, why? I run it so I can walk to ground zero and have a reasonable expectation that the cache will be above the snow line and not encased in ice.

Years ago, I'd agree.

With caches these days, at least in my area , it's lucky to have attributes at all.

When we first started, available during Winter (I don't think it was called that at the time) meant as you describe.

- Now, not so much.

We had such a bad Winter last year, we didn't play, but usually we just go by terrain, logs and pics to see if it'd be practical to head out (ground level under a rock ledge, between/under logs, container type, etc).

Not that I'd use one (only listed one so far), but a pq on available during Winter wouldn't be accurate (again, at least in this area).

You said yourself earlier, " In Ontario that would be just about every cache".

The pq would be hoping attributes are correct and in this instance (and a few others, D/T for one), something we haven't seen in some time.

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If so there's the seasonal-yes.gif Seasonal Access aattribute for locations that are not open during the winter (or other seasons).

 

First, this attribute has been introduced many years later and is not that well known.

 

If you want to hunt caches that are under snow, do you run a PQ for caches with the winter-yes.gif Available During Winter attribute? I suspect folks who are up for the challenge of digging through snow and ice wouldn't bother running a PQ for caches with the snowflake icon, and that caches with the winter-no.gif wouldn't stop them, they'd just go search for any cache and dig if they need to.

 

I do not run any PQs, but also outside of the context of PQs I do not rely that much on the snowflake icon.

For my own caches are regarded most of which are hidden on the ground I typically do not use the snowflake icon at all to avoid annoying debates caused by the fact that people come with completely different expectations.

 

I do have a cache where some of the stages might cause an issue if there there is a lot of snow or if it is very icy. I mentioned this in the cache description.

 

In cases where some of the stages cannot be done when there is more than a thin layer of snow, I'd set the not available in Winter icon regardless of the hideout of the final.

Such situations are definitely not covered by the seasonal access attribute as the area is fully accessible - the issue might be just to answer some the asked questions or to find micros or tags with the further coordinates.

 

I definitely would not refrain from setting the Available in Winter icon for caches that are hidden on the ground, but in such a way that it is uniquely determined where to dig for the cache.

 

This winter there has been a terrible ice rain that destroyed many forest areas (even worse in Slovenia) - under these conditions most caches were not reachable during a few days, but the greater issue was already leaving one's house without having an accident and people did not care that much about retrieving cache containers.

 

Attributes cannot take care of such extreme situations. For me it's more important to know whether I have a decent chance to find a cache under winter conditions which are typical for the area provided the person who searches for the cache is

willing to invest a certain amount of effort. Those who are not even willing to get cold fingers, might consider to restrict themselves to typical urban caching where magnetic film canisters are hidden in a way that they can be grabbed easily also in Winter time. There is be more lonesome nature in Canada. In my country in most forests hideouts that are so striking than the container hanging on a tree without being camouflaged would get muggled quickly.

 

If someone wants to cache in the winter outside of cities, this someone should come prepared to have to dig in the snow in some cases.

 

I'd reserve the not available in Winter icon for caches where the chances to find it when there is much snow/ice are very small to non existent.

 

Cezanne

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If so there's the seasonal-yes.gif Seasonal Access aattribute for locations that are not open during the winter (or other seasons).

 

First, this attribute has been introduced many years later and is not that well known.

 

 

Perhaps, but it's still quite useful. In my area (which can get quite a bit of snow in winter) there are a lot of what are characterized as seasonal roads . They're typically narrow dirt roads, often in state forests and most easily passable by a 2WD vehicle most of the year. There are a lot of great caches accessible using these roads most of the year but they are unmaintained, generally from around Dec. 1st to March 31st (sometimes later). Due to the amount of snow/ice and some steep grades even a 4WD vehicle would have a lot of difficultly on some of these roads. I have seen quite a few caches that are well off the ground near these roads, but just getting to GZ is the hard part in winter and the Seasonal attribute works well for these caches.

 

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For my own caches are regarded most of which are hidden on the ground I typically do not use the snowflake icon at all to avoid annoying debates caused by the fact that people come with completely different expectations.

 

 

That's what I would prefer. Don't use the snowflake at all for ground hides unless certain that even under 2 feet of snow, the average cacher who does not carry a shovel and pick axe, can retrieve the cache.

 

What I do with our caches is use the NOT available in the winter icon for ground caches, or nook caches where water potentially accumulates - 1. so that finders don't waste their time and 2. so that finders don't break the cache while trying to find it or get it out of it's hiding spot. I also use the Disable option when I know the cache is no longer available due to snow and ice conditions. Last year 2 of our caches were disabled for 4 months because of the severe ice storms that never ended.

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That's what I would prefer. Don't use the snowflake at all for ground hides unless certain that even under 2 feet of snow, the average cacher who does not carry a shovel and pick axe, can retrieve the cache.

 

It depends a lot on the cacher. I do not own a shovel, but I have already digged with my hands and got completely wet. I know that there are cachers who are not willing to even get cold fingers and to touch the snow at all.

So there are so many different types of cachers - there exists no average cacher around here.

 

I prefer if the icon tells me whether there is a decent chance to find the cache once someone is willing to spend the effort to be expected due to a certain snow level.

 

I need to exclude too many caches because they are unreachable to me in winter and so I rather take the risk to visit one that I happen to not find than sitting at home all the time. That's not wasted time for me.

 

Of course if a container or the hideout are such that the cache might be damaged with a high probability when retrieved in winter, that's a different issue.

 

I do not know how many caches with multiple stages you own. As I wrote, the location of the hideout is just one criterion that plays a role. I find it harder to guess whether the questions of a cache can be answered when there is snow than to make an educated guess on whether a cache hidden say at the roots of a tree is manageable for me given a certain amount of snow.

 

While almost all caches on mountains above the tree level are hidden such that they are covered with snow, there are huge differences on their findability under such conditions. Setting the "not accessible in winter" attribute for all these caches would not make sense at all. Those who visit such caches in Winter typically are equipped with a shovel and other equipment anyway due to safety reasons and not because they want to find a cache. The helpful information then is the one for which caches there is a realistic chance to find the cache and for which this is not the case.

That's the part which can be answered only be those who know how the hideout looks like in winter.

 

I would not want to filter out all caches that are hidden on the ground in Winter. I have found many caches under snow that were hidden on the ground and I enjoyed the experience. I do not think that it is a good idea to use the snowflake icon as an indicator whether the cache is hidden on the ground. In my area some people try to deduce a hint on where to search from such icons when they search for a cache in summer which does not make sense to me and which is an abuse of the snowflake icon in my opinion (I do not see it as an extra hint where to search).

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne
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If we know it's a plastic container, just the weather often kinda scraps the idea of looking.

Though if it's listed as Availble in Winter, the CO shoulda planned for that.

- Winter's ammo can time ! :)

There is nothing more rewarding than the sound of your hiking pole making contact with an ammo can buried under a pile of snow.

 

A hiking pole making contact with a Lock N Lock? Not so much :ph34r:

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I tend to avoid using the icon because it is so open to interpretation.

 

Around here, the accepted definition is that you have a good chance of finding the cache even when it snows. Typically that means off the ground.

 

During the winter, I'll often only load caches that have been found in the last xx days, with xx being defined as "how long since the last major snowfall?" I prefer letting someone else do all the hard work.

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If we know it's a plastic container, just the weather often kinda scraps the idea of looking.

Though if it's listed as Availble in Winter, the CO shoulda planned for that.

- Winter's ammo can time ! :)

 

I'll download caches with "Available in Winter" attributes and add a combo ice-pick-shovel to my winter geocaching gear for some winter fun.

 

winter-ispo-2011-day-1-international-delights-5.jpg

 

Want that! Gimme. :antenna:

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Around here, many cache descriptions differentiate between "winter-friendly", which means it should be above the snow line, and "winter-findable", which means it might be low buried in snow, but should be in an obvious location (like at the base of the large, obvious tree in the area). Seems to work for us; we do get rather a lot of snow around here!

 

Also, I'll second the love for winter caching. Much prefer winter caching to summer caching: no bugs, no ticks, no sweat, no sunscreen, no leaves, no muggles! Just me and my tuque and gloves!

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I tend to avoid using the icon because it is so open to interpretation.

 

Around here, the accepted definition is that you have a good chance of finding the cache even when it snows. Typically that means off the ground.

 

During the winter, I'll often only load caches that have been found in the last xx days, with xx being defined as "how long since the last major snowfall?" I prefer letting someone else do all the hard work.

 

I agree that the icon means you have a reasonable chance of finding it in the snow, but the name of the icon is cause for confusion. Pretty much all caches are available in winter. I can't think of many places that are completely off limits in the winter (I happen to own a cache in one), but they are so few and far between that having an icon for them would be kind of silly. Besides, if the place is completely off limits, the cache should be disabled for the winter.

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