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The Time Lord

Cache Placement

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I fear I have to raise the subject of siting caches. This is not meant to offend anyone but encourage a little more thought.

 

In my opinion, for what it's worth, The whole point in putting out a cache is to give someone an interesting day out and lead them to some wonderful site that they might not otherwise visit. Examples of this are "crack of doom", "wounded knee", "hash-cache" and the current empty quarter sites. The caches are placed in locations that are well worth a visit even if no cache was there. Getting the cache is an added bonus.

 

I am encouraged by the growing number of caches being placed in Saudi but am sorely dissapointed in the location of some of them.

 

Some seem just to be a record of how far "we got" and are in boring places not really worth a visit.

 

Come on guys and gals - lets not just put out caches because we have them with us (or sometimes even when we don't have them with us !).

 

Please think about the siting and ensure that we give the seekers a wonderful day out going to an interesting location that they might otherwise not visit. Also make reference in the description to other interesting thing nearby.

 

I welcome your comment

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Agree. When I place a cache I consider it my "signature". I'd like every cache to be remembered for something special, and make for an enjoyable day out in the process.

 

I have two caches in the truck with me right now but have failed to stash them since I've been to some boring spots lately.

 

Hopefully today will lead me to a worthy spot in honor of this holiday!

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On a more serious note M&Ms is set up to promote geocaching and we must therefore cater for the new and the 2WD owners. There is a tendency for most to want to out do the rest setting caches available only to the few. We set easier caches at popular sites so that those visiting, who may never have experienced the hunt, whilst there, can make a bag and it is important that these people are successful to bring them on. Finally we are not fans of the 5*/5* cache. If you need to bust a gut to get somewhere then you should be able to bag the cache. If the cache is hard to find then a return visit must be viable. However though newbies should always find the cache and thereby tickle them on to the hook, the experienced must expect unsuccessful attempts.

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On carrying out a maintenance visit of a cache I was disappointed to find that it looked nothing like how I had set it in both its concealment (thereby rendering the cache photo of little value) and the protection provided against the elements. It is important that baggers respect the efforts of the setter and leave the cache as found. – Note I have not logged the visit to protect who bagged the cache last.

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I echo the M&Ms comment about cache placing and difficulty numbering.

 

In my opinion there really should never be a 5/5 cache. If its a 5 to get there then the cache should be fairly easy to find - you have already done the hard bit. Conversly if the cache is easy to get to then it CAN be more difficult to find.

 

Maybe we should aim for a maximum cache difficulty rating of say 6. i.e. - 5 to get there and 1 to find, or 1 to get there and 5 to find. Or indeed any other combination as long as it does not add up to more than 6.

 

Comments please.

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Saudi Sapper states in his comments to Wounded Knee that he considers it overgraded warranting a 3.5* and not 5* for terrain. We justify the 5* grading on the grounds that this cache requires someone to make a small step onto a rock pillar across a very high drop. It is not for the feint hearted or someone not confident of their abilities. The 5* highlights this fact. A 3.5* means slightly testing for a 4WD, i.e. it is possibly one for all the family. We believe this cache to be more challenging than that and dangerous for those that do not know what they are doing.

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I certainly don't want to come across as poo-pooing the difficulty of Wounded Knee. It certainly was an adrenaline rush, after battling a fear of heights, getting onto the ledge and over the gap to the pinnacle. I applaude you for the location and the view. The only reason I suggested the 3.5 is that in my review of all forum entries, I believe I saw a discussion that recommended a 5 for terrain if you need to use some type of equipment (ropes for climbing, sand ladders, etc.) to reach the site. The route to the parking area is accessible by 2WD. The walk to the second pool is a nice, easy trek. The trip up the slope requires a moderate amount of fitness and although tricky, is no more dangerous, on the whole, than Hangover, which is a 2/2. I also agree that the step to the pinnacle is mentally challenging, but requires nothing more than some will power. In order to level the playing field and teach us newbies the fundamentals, then let's develop a Saudi-Cache standard for difficulty and terrain, and publish it in the forum. Have it cover the major points that make the levels what they are, and allow them to be discussed and altered in the forum. I recommend that Mr. Stabler and/or M&Ms take the lead on this due to experience. I am very willing to support whatever is published, as Battlebugs and I have our own plans to place caches while we are here. Thank you all for placing these caches in great sites. Help train the rest of us to follow suit and take the experience with us. icon_biggrin.gif

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Here is our proposal for openers (which we currently use):

 

Terrain:

 

1 – Paved road.

2 – Unpaved road accessible to 2WDs.

3 – Easily accessible to 4WDs.

4 – Challenging to 4WDs.

5 – This is not straightforward for some reason. Refer to the text.

 

Difficulty:

 

1 – Out in the open.

2 – Hidden but its location is obvious.

3- You will have to hunt a bit but you should find it within the hour.

4 – Expect a multiple trip.

5 – This is not straight forward. Refer to the text.

 

The debate we continually return to is this: The hunt in Saudi can be broken into three parts. The drive in, getting to the cache after the vehicle dismount and finally the search. We have decided to grade difficulty exclusively on the search. The counter argument, that we discarded, was to grade difficulty from the moment of vehicle dismount. We discounted it for two reasons. First our grading must be suitable for experienced geocachers new to Saudi. Second it is important to know how hard you have to search particularly if for some reason the cache is no longer available. The counter argument, to include all after the dismount, was promoted to take account of the climate when in summer baggers need to know how to prepare properly for the heat and this differs from cache to cache.

 

Geocaching must be fun for all and the overriding factor is that the bagger must know what to expect and therefore interpretation of gradings is for guidance only. Those caches that demand a mental or physical challenge are fun for some and therefore warrant their place but they are not fun for all. If a bagger is caught be surprise after dismounting from their vehicle then the setter needs to reassess their description.

 

Let me conclude with a final point. This interpreatation is to supplement Clayjar not replace the excellent work done on this subject.

 

Do you agree with both the interpretation of the gradings and the argument? Let your digits dance over the plastic.

 

M of M&Ms

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