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Why is "Boat required" automatic T5?


hsiale
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The question is inspired by a trip me and my GF made about a week ago (caches are logged at her account) where we drove to a nearby river, rented a 2-person kayak and spent most of the day leisurely going along with the water, with on average 4-5 caches per 1 kilometer of the river. Despite not being well prepared, having at most average experience and not really pushing hard (we started at 11, wasting 5-6 hours of perfect daylight in the morning, and then took some breaks on the way) we ended the day having found 77 caches, all of which had terrain rating of 5.0. This has hugely increased our 5.0 terrain count (from 12 to nearly 100) and it doesn't really feel like they were honest, difficult 5.0s - some were a bit tricky and required a careful approach (still nowhere near difficulty of e.g. climbing a high tree), some were a fully relaxed "walk in the park", where I could grab a cache while chatting and not really paying any attention to what was around me. Overall, comparing to several hundred various caches I have seen during last months, I would rate those we got on that trip somewhere from 2.0 to 4.0 for terrain.

 

So I went to see the guidelines and found the following description of 5.0 terrain: "Requires specialized equipment such as scuba gear, a boat, rock climbing gear, or similar." And this list doesn't make sense to me (from Central Europe point of view). Scuba diving is one of the most heavily regulated recreational activities, with a lot of required trainings and certifications. Rock climbing a bit less, but still you need to do it regularly and have a lot of skills to do it safely. On the other hand, using small recreational watercraft on lowland rivers and lakes is something completely normal, there are rental places along each interesting body of water and, while less popular, it is treated similarly to riding a bicycle - you learn it once and you know how to do this, then if you had a long break you maybe need a minute or two to get used to holding a paddle. Of course such recreational use is only for easy water, I am not talking about serious whitewater on mountain rivers or going to open sea with tides, currents and waves (both of which are far outside my skillset and I would not go there without somebody experienced).

 

I see two main problems happening because of this. First, T 5.0s start feeling cheap and easy, as people are creating "power trails" along rivers where you just get into a boat and grab one after another without any significant problems, which doesn't happen for any other type of highly rated terrain - knowing how to use climbing gear won't make you climb up difficult rocks/trees in 2-3 minutes, even fixing a safety rope properly takes a lot more than this. And then, when creating such cache, the owner loses the main way of describing the difficulty of the cache to people who can go there. Easy tree climbs are often 2.5 or 3.0, then there are some harder ones, and a 5.0 tree climb, if rated correctly, is usually something requiring a lot of skill. Automatic 5.0 due to "boat required" means that very easy caches can look on the map in exactly the same way as ones requring some (or even a lot) of experience, so it is a lot harder to decide if a cache is for me, or I should look for somewhere else.

 

Does anyone know what is the history of this rule? Are there no easy rivers/lakes in the area of Geocaching HQ, so that everyone who uses a boat there is a highly skilled and experienced specialist? Or did this happen somehow by accident and now is kept in place by force of tradition? "Boat required" attribute looks like a good enough warning that you need to get on the water, it would be nice if terrain rating could be used to say something about the actual difficulty of the trip, instead of being automatic 5.0 all time.

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1 hour ago, hsiale said:

Does anyone know what is the history of this rule? Are there no easy rivers/lakes in the area of Geocaching HQ, so that everyone who uses a boat there is a highly skilled and experienced specialist? Or did this happen somehow by accident and now is kept in place by force of tradition? "Boat required" attribute looks like a good enough warning that you need to get on the water, it would be nice if terrain rating could be used to say something about the actual difficulty of the trip, instead of being automatic 5.0 all time.

 

I don't know about the history as I started at 2010 but there has always been some discussion about D and T ratings. There is a similar loophole in D ratings too. Some D5 caches just need a special tool like a screwdriver. The difficulty level may not always indicate the meltal difficulty. I have heard that caches that need a fishing rod are rated either D5 or T5 depending local preferences. For example, in Finland they are traditionally T5 not D5. Comparing a fishing rod to a boat seems more problematic than comparing a boat to a climbing gear.

 

My own rating for terrain is quite straigthforward.

T1 is accessible using only one limb

T2 is accessible using two limbs

T3 is accessible using three limbs

T4 is accessible using all four limbs

T5 cannot be reached using only the limbs

 

Difficulty and Terrain are attributes. Their main function is to give the searcher additional information about the cache at a glance. Most applications display D and T ratings at first. Looking for detailed attributes is usually more complicated. When I see T5, I know that I must look the description deeper before I decide whether I try to find the cache or what tools I may need to reach the cache. If the terrain is 2 and the cache needs a fishing rod, I propably find myself disappointed when I notice the need of the tool at the GZ.

 

If you want to find caches that need a highly skilled and experienced specialist you should focus on T4 caches. T5 is not for you.

Edited by arisoft
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The Clayjar rating system was worked on the early Geocaching.com forums.  This site linked to it for ratings for many years, finally developed their own in house.

 

http://www.clayjar.com/gcrs/

 

I believe it's no longer possible to access older forum threads, but perhaps Keystone can get to them or may recall some that conversation. Certainly they were  USA oriented.

 

The question  of rating for flat water paddling or motor boat access caches has come up before.  At this point, it may not be something that will change.

 

If you don't own a boat, or the cache is placed such that rental is not likely, then that T 5 rating is useful in itself.

Attributes have not always been part of the site. No attributes, no filtering on attributes. Any cache with a T 5 rating is worth reading first.

 

 

1 hour ago, hsiale said:

First, T 5.0s start feeling cheap and easy,

 

If you think of ratings as INFORMATION, instead of as "points", it helps.  A T5 of any flavor is easy, if you're fit enough and have the training or equipment.  

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If you think using a boat shouldn't be T5, I'll tell you about one of my old caches.  It was a magnetic container on the top of a light pole, and the reviewer made me rate it T5 because you had to use some sort of tool to get it.  There was no intention for anyone to scale the light pole, though one person did (and sent me video which was impressive).  I hid it by duct taping a grabber to a painter's extension pole, running a rope through the handle of the grabber, and then placing the cache, which was about 15 feet up.  My intention was for people to keep their feet on the ground and my original terrain rating was 1.5 with a high difficulty.  Reviewer made me switch it up to a low difficulty but terrain 5.  

 

I loved and encouraged the spoiler photos posted of people's creative methods to retrieve the cache.

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1 hour ago, hsiale said:

On the other hand, using small recreational watercraft on lowland rivers and lakes is something completely normal, there are rental places along each interesting body of water and, while less popular, it is treated similarly to riding a bicycle - you learn it once and you know how to do this, then if you had a long break you maybe need a minute or two to get used to holding a paddle.

 

The T5 definition refers to "specialised equipment", not skills. I suspect far fewer cachers would have a boat just lying around than, say, a bicycle. Even though I live in an area with lots of enclosed waterways, I only bought a kayak when the lure of all the water-access caches became too much to resist.

 

But then again, some watercraft do require specialist skills:

 

d1f73087-aa77-4212-a7db-8c51c1fc39da.jpg

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In my area (Sweden) island caches are most often T5. Probably precisely because of that wording in the guidelines. This varies a bit with CO of course, and frequently if the body of water is narrow enough to swim, it is set lower. Which is a bit counter-intuitive to me. And at these latitudes, it is often possible to just stroll over the ice in the winter.

 

But if you don't own a boat, and there is none for rent, then it can be difficult to get to GZ. I have a cache that awaited maintenance for a couple of years because I foolishly got rid of my inflatable dinghy and couldn't get a replacement. It was only very recently I managed to get to the island to fix it.

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53 minutes ago, Isonzo Karst said:

If you think of ratings as INFORMATION, instead of as "points", it helps.

Exactly. A T5 rating is neither "cheap" nor "valuable". It's just information provided by the CO about the general nature of the cache experience. In the case of a T5 rating, it's telling you that you'll need some kind of specialized equipment that you might not normally have with you when you go geocaching.

 

53 minutes ago, Isonzo Karst said:

A T5 of any flavor is easy, if you're fit enough and have the training or equipment.  

Yep. A T4 cache is likely to be much harder to get to than a T5 cache, because the difficulty of 5-star terrain is often handled by the use of the equipment. In contrast, you generally can't use equipment to get to a T4 cache any easier, with the possible exception of extreme equipment like helicopters.

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39 minutes ago, GeoElmo6000 said:

If you think using a boat shouldn't be T5, I'll tell you about one of my old caches.  It was a magnetic container on the top of a light pole, and the reviewer made me rate it T5 because you had to use some sort of tool to get it.  There was no intention for anyone to scale the light pole, though one person did (and sent me video which was impressive).  I hid it by duct taping a grabber to a painter's extension pole, running a rope through the handle of the grabber, and then placing the cache, which was about 15 feet up.  My intention was for people to keep their feet on the ground and my original terrain rating was 1.5 with a high difficulty.  Reviewer made me switch it up to a low difficulty but terrain 5.  

FWIW, I'm used to seeing elevated caches rated with high terrain when the CO expects seekers to climb to reach the elevated cache location, and with high difficulty when the CO expects seekers to stay on the ground and use a tool to retrieve and replace the cache.

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1 hour ago, Isonzo Karst said:

If you think of ratings as INFORMATION, instead of as "points", it helps.  A T5 of any flavor is easy, if you're fit enough and have the training or equipment.  

That's how I want to think of it. I don't know about any other T5 flavor which can be done in 5 minutes without effort, no matter how super fit you are. I don't think a professional climber could get 80 difficult tree/rock caches over a single day, even having a support crew to move the safety equipment around. I am of course nowhere near being a professional paddler. I use a boat 2-3 times per year at most.

 

Also, when thinking about creating water caches (which is definitely a possibility in my city, there is one major river splitting into several parts, plus a few other minor waterways) I would like people going there to understand at a glance if all they need is understanding how to get into a boat and turn left/right (because boat rental place is close and the cache itself is so easy that you can grab it while drinking a beer and sunbathing), or they need to know a bit more (as they will have to spend an hour or more on a narrow river with fallen trees getting in the way). I can find both situations easily near me, and they both are going to be T5, so important information is lost here.

1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

I suspect far fewer cachers would have a boat just lying around than, say, a bicycle.

Of course. Because usually you don't use a boat that often and transporting it is annoying. But, for exactly same reason, small watercraft rentals are very popular at my area, they are basically in any place where people spend free time by a lake or a river (and, with the country being over 90% lowlands, you always have some recreational water area nearby). And because of this there are lots of people who don't own a boat, but know how to use one. Contrary to things like a climbing harness or scuba gear - if you know how to use those properly, most likely it is an important hobby in your life, you use that equipment regularly and either already have it or think about getting it.

1 hour ago, ChriBli said:

In my area (Sweden) island caches are most often T5. Probably precisely because of that wording in the guidelines. This varies a bit with CO of course, and frequently if the body of water is narrow enough to swim, it is set lower. Which is a bit counter-intuitive to me.

This is totally stupid. Spend 3 minutes lazily in a kayak - T5. Swim 10 minutes in cold water, or fight over several hundred meters or marsh/bushes on the shore - probably T4, despite being more tiring, more time consuming and more dangerous.

Edited by hsiale
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18 minutes ago, niraD said:

Yep. A T4 cache is likely to be much harder to get to than a T5 cache, because the difficulty of 5-star terrain is often handled by the use of the equipment.

Yes, and that is my point (and while a boat is probably the most extreme example of equipment which is easy to use and makes T5 trivial, one could find a few more). A rating system where true maximum doesn't fall in the same place where the numerical maximum is failing to serve its purpose. Although in most other cases I saw cache owners use common sense and the terrain rating is still somehow meaningful (for example trees which are super easy when you bring a few meters of ladder rarely are T5, more often something from 3.5 to 4.5).

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Not only are watercraft less common than bicycles, but almost any cache that "requires" a bike can also be done on foot - it just takes longer to get there.

 

A paddle cache is T5, but is usually low Difficulty. Contrast to a rock climbing or scuba cache which is usually high Difficulty.

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12 minutes ago, hsiale said:

A rating system where true maximum doesn't fall in the same place where the numerical maximum is failing to serve its purpose.

Why? Is the rating system's purpose to have the actual physical effort increase linearly from T1 to T5? Or is the rating system's purpose to communicate information?

 

If the purpose is to communicate information, then it doesn't matter whether the numerical (or alphabetical, or whatever) sequence lines up perfectly with anything.

 

Yes, T5 and D5 ratings are anomalous. So what?

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1 minute ago, niraD said:

Why? Is the rating system's purpose to have the actual physical effort increase linearly from T1 to T5? Or is the rating system's purpose to communicate information?

 

If the purpose is to communicate information, then it doesn't matter whether the numerical (or alphabetical, or whatever) sequence lines up perfectly with anything.

 

Yes, T5 and D5 ratings are anomalous. So what?

The rating system's purpose is to communicate information to all of its users. Not only to those who are most experienced and know about quirks and anomalies of this particular system. And communicating well to beginner users is the most important part, because those users are most reliant on understanding information given to them, those who are experienced will usually get by with their own knowledge if needed.

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1 hour ago, arisoft said:

When I see T5, I know that I must look the description deeper before I decide whether I try to find the cache or what tools I may need to reach the cache. If the terrain is 2 and the cache needs a fishing rod, I propably find myself disappointed when I notice the need of the tool at the GZ.

I was actually somewhat disappointed recently when I solved a non-T5 puzzle cache, only to find that GZ was on an island and therefore unaccessible to me. It also didn't have the "boat required" attribute. Although I didn't mind solving it, the reason I did so was that I thought I'd be able to go find it.

 

38 minutes ago, hsiale said:

small watercraft rentals are very popular at my area, they are basically in any place where people spend free time by a lake or a river

This is definitely different in other parts of the world.

 

24 minutes ago, hsiale said:

Although in most other cases I saw cache owners use common sense and the terrain rating is still somehow meaningful (for example trees which are super easy when you bring a few meters of ladder rarely are T5, more often something from 3.5 to 4.5).

Nothing is stopping you from using common sense also in this situation. If there is a boat rental nearby, then by all means don't rate it T5. Maybe you should read the guidelines and the "boat required" attribute as BYOB - Bring Your Own Boat.

 

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21 minutes ago, hsiale said:

The rating system's purpose is to communicate information to all of its users. Not only to those who are most experienced and know about quirks and anomalies of this particular system. And communicating well to beginner users is the most important part, because those users are most reliant on understanding information given to them, those who are experienced will usually get by with their own knowledge if needed.

How are beginners disserviced by the anomaly for D5 and T5 ratings? If they're following the common advice to start with low difficulty and terrain ratings, then they're avoiding D5 and T5 caches, which require some special equipment/skill to find. When they're no longer beginners, they can look into those more and decide which ones (if any) they're able to attempt.

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2 hours ago, niraD said:

How are beginners disserviced by the anomaly for D5 and T5 ratings? If they're following the common advice to start with low difficulty and terrain ratings, then they're avoiding D5 and T5 caches, which require some special equipment/skill to find. When they're no longer beginners, they can look into those more and decide which ones (if any) they're able to attempt.

 

Another way to think of it is the 5.0's are the first ratings in a different class of cache. Anything up 4.5 - on feet, with varying degrees of difficulty. Cross the threshold into T5, now you NEED something (generally speaking) more than just yo'self. Having that need, it may become super easy, but it's one step up and over the 'typical' geocache style.  If it's D5, most likely it's specialized knowledge/skill. If it's T5, most likely it's a piece of equipment that is not common, to get your body sufficiently close to the container/task.  Both of those, if you asked a beginner, would most likely say "yup, that's extreme".  Ask any veteran geocacher, chances are the difficulty curve now drops significantly between 4.5 and 5. 

I think that's just fine. Mainly because as veterans we know now what's required and we probably have experience and skill needed to find those. That doesn't mean the ratings are off. It just means you're better at what you do :P

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We could also ask the same question for the other end of the spectrum. Why must handicap accessible caches be T1. Like T5, T1 is reserved for a special category of caches.

 

I'm not handicapped, so I cannot speak from experience on this, but I did a T1 in a state park. This park was designed for handicap accessibility. Looking at the trail map, they had sections marked green, yellow and red, depending on the 'steepness' of the trail in that area. This was for a person using a regular wheelchair, without any assistance from another person, or being in a motorized wheel chair. For me, it was a little over a mile round trip. I did traverse a yellow section of the trail. I barely noticed the elevation change (about 30 meters over 500 meters). Yet for a wheelchair bound person, they might equate this to a T2.5. Taking the 'red' route could be a T3 to them.

 

As for why T1 and T5 are different, my opinion is that it was easier to change the documentation and rules, than it was to change the database.

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The Boat Required attribute isn't even a guarantee of T5. If a hiking trail runs along a river that can be paddled then it might on be a T2 due to the hike, but it should have the Boat attribute to alert seeks they can also paddle to it. A cache on an island might only be T4 if wading the creek is reasonable, but still have the Boat attribute because the creek is usually canoe-friendly.

 

And that of course assumes the use of Attributes. Unlike a D/T rating they aren't mandatory. 

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1 hour ago, Wet Pancake Touring Club said:

Why must handicap accessible caches be T1.

There are 11084 caches in the US that are wheelchair accessible but not T1.

 

5 hours ago, niraD said:

How are beginners disserviced by the anomaly for D5 and T5 ratings? If they're following the common advice to start with low difficulty and terrain ratings, then they're avoiding D5 and T5 caches, which require some special equipment/skill to find. When they're no longer beginners, they can look into those more and decide which ones (if any) they're able to attempt.

Well, a large part of the year a lot of T5 boat required caches turn into T2 as you can simply walk over ice. Or indeed, ride a bicycle. YMMV.

406D703D-1D02-49B7-B70B-653B0787650E.thumb.jpeg.32c9bd37b99ed4bbb8e2205904150604.jpeg

 

But I guess the crux of the issue is that while almost every T5 climbing cache absolutely requires at least some equipment, a lot of T5 boat caches are actually accessible with modest swimming ability. Some are accessible by wading. For some reason, cachers are comfortable creating T4 climbs but a T4 swims for some reason turn into a T5 boat required.

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9 hours ago, hsiale said:

This is totally stupid. Spend 3 minutes lazily in a kayak - T5. Swim 10 minutes in cold water, or fight over several hundred meters or marsh/bushes on the shore - probably T4, despite being more tiring, more time consuming and more dangerous.

 

I've converted some T4 and T4.5 caches into something considerably easier for me by bringing along a telescopic ladder, for example this T4 cache where the container is tucked in behind a narrow ledge part way down this five metre cliff, which I DNFed on my first attempt as I wasn't game to climb down to it. It became a piece of cake when I used the ladder.

 

14e18360-535c-4db2-8d3f-42892009bde5.jpg

 

There are other higher-terrain caches that I've made a lot easier for me by using rope to provide some hand-holds (in hindsight I could have done that with this cache and saved carrying the ladder all the way out there). For anything less than a T5, the rating is based on a searcher being unaided by any equipment, but a T5 cache is meant to be done using specialised equipment to get yourself to it. Sure, it might be possible to get to the cache without using the equipment, such as by swimming through the shark-infested waters to the island or walking over ice (that never happens here as the water's always liquid), but the intention of the CO is that it be done using that equipment.

 

8 hours ago, hsiale said:

The rating system's purpose is to communicate information to all of its users. Not only to those who are most experienced and know about quirks and anomalies of this particular system. And communicating well to beginner users is the most important part, because those users are most reliant on understanding information given to them, those who are experienced will usually get by with their own knowledge if needed.

 

Raw beginners can just as easily read the Help Centre information on D/T ratings as someone with 10,000 finds. I despair at those who want to make the game something where you just download an app, press GO and follow the arrow without learning anything at all about it.

Edited by barefootjeff
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1 hour ago, barefootjeff said:

I've converted some T4 and T4.5 caches into something considerably easier for me by bringing along a telescopic ladder

I've converted a low-terrain trailhead cache into a T5 cache by taking a boat across the lake, rather than driving around the lake to the parking lot near the trailhead. ;)

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5 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

The Boat Required attribute isn't even a guarantee of T5. If a hiking trail runs along a river that can be paddled then it might on be a T2 due to the hike, but it should have the Boat attribute to alert seeks they can also paddle to it. A cache on an island might only be T4 if wading the creek is reasonable, but still have the Boat attribute because the creek is usually canoe-friendly.

 

And that of course assumes the use of Attributes. Unlike a D/T rating they aren't mandatory. 

Agree. I have some island caches that I have rated a T4. They can be waded to and/or or swum to but boat or kayak is much easier. Since I started geocaching I have always thought there should be a seperate terrain rating for water caches, say, based around water grading used in kayaking.

 

Using a boat or watercraft (even those that "moo":P) is, in many ways, can be a less specialised skill than driving a motor vehicle.

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41 minutes ago, colleda said:

Agree. I have some island caches that I have rated a T4. They can be waded to and/or or swum to but boat or kayak is much easier. Since I started geocaching I have always thought there should be a seperate terrain rating for water caches, say, based around water grading used in kayaking.

 

Using a boat or watercraft (even those that "moo":P) is, in many ways, can be a less specialised skill than driving a motor vehicle.

So agree ratings don't make sense nor are consistent.

 

Two years ago went for GC2101 Rated 1.0/2.0 Yes at the GZ it is a 1/2 but to get there was an epic trip. Stream crossings, steep gavel roads, deep sandy rutted roads, hitting rocks, and dodging a heard of antelope passing in front of my car. Then repair bill when I got home. 

 

I say the D/T should not be the goal. Having archived finishing my grid a couple of times, I now don't let that drive me on which caches I choose to do, as many are so arbitrary and out right wrong. Use it as a hint at what to expect, I may choose to skip one that is climbing a tree, or it's a paddling cache and I'm in my car. 

 

 

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17 hours ago, ChriBli said:

Nothing is stopping you from using common sense also in this situation. If there is a boat rental nearby, then by all means don't rate it T5. Maybe you should read the guidelines and the "boat required" attribute as BYOB - Bring Your Own Boat.

For me this sounds perfect, I hope it will also sound good for the reviewer.

 

14 hours ago, thebruce0 said:

if you asked a beginner, would most likely say "yup, that's extreme"

7 hours ago, colleda said:

Using a boat or watercraft (even those that "moo":P) is, in many ways, can be a less specialised skill than driving a motor vehicle.

Exactly this! Nobody in my area would say that getting into a kayak in the morning and getting out in the evening 20-30 kilometers further down a lowlands river is extreme. You just get a bit sore hands and back if you don't use the paddle very often, but you have the same with your legs after a full day hike if you don't do that regularly. Half the people who spend free time outdoors already know how to do this and the other half knows that learning basics (enough to match speed and safety of someone walking on a footpath) requires no more than an hour of fooling around on any safe water near the rental place.

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4 hours ago, hsiale said:

For me this sounds perfect, I hope it will also sound good for the reviewer.

I could offer several examples of island caches that are rated lower than T5, all without nearby boat rental and many of them a really tough swim away from shore. So that should not be a problem, but maybe different reviewers have different views on this.

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11 hours ago, MNTA said:

Two years ago went for GC2101 Rated 1.0/2.0 Yes at the GZ it is a 1/2 but to get there was an epic trip. Stream crossings, steep gavel roads, deep sandy rutted roads, hitting rocks, and dodging a heard of antelope passing in front of my car. Then repair bill when I got home. 

 

A lot of caches from 2000-2001 have very low D/T ratings.

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2 minutes ago, ChriBli said:

I could offer several examples of island caches that are rated lower than T5, all without nearby boat rental and many of them a really tough swim away from shore. So that should not be a problem, but maybe different reviewers have different views on this.

 

Reviewers do not review D/T ratings, except T1.

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The D/T ratings are shaky, since we all have different views. A cache may seem easy for the CO, who knows how to find/solve it, but others can get sidetracked and it can suddenly be very hard. Also, how hard a physical challenge is depends on COs and visitors shapes. But it is sad that the system in some ways encourage obvious misses, where easy caches are rated higher than the harder ones just because of some trivial tool.

 

I don't find the island caches too hard to rate. If it is a short swim, safe for most people to swim: T4 or T4.5. If it is a long swim, or you cant reach the cache if you are swimming, then you need a boat and it is T5. However, it is most likely much easier than a T5 where you need rope and harness, and most T4.5s will be harder.

 

We had a CO in my area who made very hard T5's, very high up in trees, with need for climbing gears and often complicated rigging like double ropes, and also hard to find so you may need to get the rope up several times just locating it. We were disussing putting in special T5 symbols for the different kinds of T5, T5-basic (boat), T5-medium (tough climbs but straight forward so you don't need things like multiple ropes), T5-expert... They were never used though.

 

Online jigsaw puzzles and rods are two problematic ones. With a rod, you are standing on the ground and the problem is to handle the rod. D or T? Jigsaw puzzles take time, a lot of time, but they are trivial, no mental challenge, you will finish them just by spending time. D1 or D5? Both are commonly used to shortcut the high ratings, not least when doing things like the D/T "bombs", that is areas with all D/T ratings on one trail.

T5-variants.png

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2 hours ago, Ragnemalm said:

If it is a long swim, or you cant reach the cache if you are swimming, then you need a boat and it is T5. However, it is most likely much easier than a T5 where you need rope and harness, and most T4.5s will be harder.

 

Hardness is subjective, I prefer to look at terrain ratings as a guide to what you can expect to encounter between your starting point and the cache, or, in the case of T5, that you'll need something other than just your arms and legs to traverse that terrain. My first taste of kayak caching was a loop paddle with a group of friends to some of the caches along a section of the Hawkesbury River. It was a pretty long paddle for a beginner kayaker but the toughest part was the return leg through Milsons Passage where we were fighting into a strengthening south-eastery wind. I was totally exhausted by the time we got back to the launch point and had to lie on the ground for about fifteen minutes before I had enough strength to lift the kayak back onto the car. One of our group, though, half my age and with a much sleeker sit-inside kayak, zoomed ahead through the passage and had a whale of a time.

 

Map.jpg.bf03e0f9bcc4ac7183a36c651b053ff4.jpg

 

Boats also come in different shapes and sizes that require different amounts of effort to move about:

 

Boats.jpg.251cbd5776fffd4b8ee1a88a5d129098.jpg

 

Or maybe this one would be a neat way to do to some T5 night caches:

 

OvernightShipping.jpg.b2e353384432eb676f32ac1ac9557664.jpg

 

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Is there a regional element at play? There is at least one cache near me where it definitely needs a boat to access - it's on an island that no one lives on, so by default you would need a boat to get to the island, but it is not marked as a T5, instead a T1.5 as is likely more appropriate for the immediate cache location.

 

I agree that there is some inconsistency within the D/T ratings, but at the end of the day I think their purpose is primarily to communicate approximate information quickly and easily. T5, whether it means boat, scuba, climbing, etc quickly tells me that the cache will require a level of prep and investment that is not easily done. 

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On 8/4/2022 at 5:48 AM, hsiale said:

I would like people going there to understand at a glance if all they need is understanding how to get into a boat and turn left/right (because boat rental place is close and the cache itself is so easy that you can grab it while drinking a beer and sunbathing), or they need to know a bit more (as they will have to spend an hour or more on a narrow river with fallen trees getting in the way). I can find both situations easily near me, and they both are going to be T5, so important information is lost here.

 

It's only "lost" if you don't provide it - that's what the description is for.  You can't get the whole grasp of a cache's difficulty and terrain from the D/T rating only, but it's a good place to start.  The cache description is a good place to talk about the specifics of the rating, and how it applies to your particular cache.  Add necessary attributes (boat/watercraft required, etc) and someone looking at the whole of the cache page can get a good idea of what's in store when they go after your cache.

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This is an interesting discussion. Hadn't really thought about it much, but I can see the OP's point. I've definitely worked harder for some T4s and T4.5s than I have for some T5s where renting a watercraft is easy. Should boats be considered special equipment? To me it depends on the circumstance. I would say that if you MUST go through the effort of hauling a boat, regardless if you own or rent it, then I would say yes in most cases. But if you can easily pay to rent a boat from a park or something and staff can do most of the setup work for you, then I can see a case for boats not being considered "special". 

 

That all being said, I would not expect any changes to the guidance anytime soon. Trying to find a system that appeals to everyone in all parts of the world would be about a D20. 

Edited by AllstarSS
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On 8/4/2022 at 11:06 PM, JL_HSTRE said:

Not only are watercraft less common than bicycles, but almost any cache that "requires" a bike can also be done on foot - it just takes longer to get there.

 

One of my favourite caches required a bicycle (or you had to be a literal speed DEMON)

 

A T5 (special equipment required) Wherigo where you had to ride 16km (+100m of elevation) in less than 45 minutes, very enjoyable (https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC7HMF7)

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4 hours ago, AllstarSS said:

But if you can easily pay to rent a boat from a park or something and staff can do most of the setup work for you, then I can see a case for boats not being considered "special".

 

Many people I'm this thread have talked about boats from an availability standpoint.

 

Availability is largely irrelevant because the majority of people have no experience driving a boat nor the certification to legally operate one. Even if boat rental is available reaching the location still requires a special skill. (It's still T not D because the skill is needed for reaching the location, not solving a puzzle or finding the container.)

 

Paddlecraft rental is less of an issue in terms of special skill, but having been on some waterways that attract novice tourist paddlers it's still something the average person probably isn't experienced with. The need to rent something to find a cache would make it a special tool IMO. (Ladders are special tools even though they van be purchased at most hardware stores.)

 

A less clear case would be an island cache that is impractical to swim to and impossible to drive to, but for which regular ferry service is available.

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15 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

A less clear case would be an island cache that is impractical to swim to and impossible to drive to, but for which regular ferry service is available.

 

I'd think if there was a regular ferry service it'd simply be considered as public transport rather than special equipment needed. There are caches on Cockatoo Island in Sydney harbour which has a half-hourly ferry service and the only one of those that's T5 is an old virtual (2004) which pre-dates the ferry service.

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7 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

A less clear case would be an island cache that is impractical to swim to and impossible to drive to, but for which regular ferry service is available.

 

I've seen all manner of ratings for this on islands around Florida.  Most locals own  motor or paddle boats. . Most visitors don't and will pay to ride the ferry.

 

The "in house" rating doesn't use the Clayjar language of from the, "most logical approach", but if it did, I'd say the T rating is 5. Because paddle, motorboat or jetski is how locals (most seekers) will access. 

 

I owned a cache in a river, rated it 5. Easy paddle from park ramps both upstream and downstream.    But most did it as a long ugly swamp trek, as caches kept appearing in the swamps to the north. By the time they'd chased those cache south, they went  to the river bank and waded in.

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There are geocaches on Toronto Island. That requires a ferry ride. They're definitely not T5. But there are caches around the shoreline of Toronto Island which cannot be reached from the land of the island, but only by boat. Those are T5.  So even the scale of island/ferry doesn't imply a T rating in and of itself. It's all context and the CO's judgment.

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On 8/4/2022 at 7:37 AM, Isonzo Karst said:

If you think of ratings as INFORMATION, instead of as "points", it helps.  A T5 of any flavor is easy, if you're fit enough and have the training or equipment.  

 

Yep.  We have a very lengthy T5 paddle-to that will take a couple hours to complete. 

By the second year a couple people found both stages by hoofing it, "lowering" it to a T3-4 but taking most of a day.

I've found a few T5 hides in ponds, and simply waited until winter on some to access wearing korkers, dropping that 5 to maybe a 3.

 - It was "easier" than lugging out the kayak n stuff, but many times more dangerous...

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On 8/8/2022 at 5:54 AM, JL_HSTRE said:

the majority of people have no experience driving a boat nor the certification to legally operate one. Even if boat rental is available reaching the location still requires a special skill

If you look at all people in the world, including those who have zero reason to use a boat due to living somewhere with no nearby places to use it, or not spending free time outdoors, probably you are right. But if you live in an area where recreational use of boats is reasonable, knowing the basics is a very common skill. Most people I know have been using one at least a few times. There's a boat rental place right in the center of the city where I live and you see their boats on the river all the time during nice weather, used mostly by random people who decided to have a try and find out how the city looks from another perspective. They do a bit of zig-zagging from time to time, but overall they move in the direction they want and come back safely.  It's hard to call something "special skill" when you can learn enough to get around in an hour (on your own) or 10-15 minutes (if someone teaches you).

 

Also, I don't know what is the legal situation in your area, but where I live, a small boat that has neither sails nor an engine does not require a certification of any kind. You turn up, pay for rental and are good to go.

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22 minutes ago, hsiale said:

It's hard to call something "special skill" when you can learn enough to get around in an hour (on your own) or 10-15 minutes (if someone teaches you).

 

As I tried to point out earlier, terrain rating isn't about skills needed, it's about equipment. Specialised skills comes under the D rating:

 

image.png.2640ab9f05d1dcaa0e8917981cdb509d.png

 

 

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On 8/10/2022 at 6:49 AM, barefootjeff said:

 

As I tried to point out earlier, terrain rating isn't about skills needed, it's about equipment. Specialised skills comes under the D rating:

 

image.png.2640ab9f05d1dcaa0e8917981cdb509d.png

 

 

 

Note that it says "skills...to find, solve, or open" whereas Terrain says "to arrive at the location."

 

Anything required to get to GZ should fall under the T-rating.

Edited by JL_HSTRE
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On 8/10/2022 at 6:25 AM, hsiale said:

But if you live in an area where recreational use of boats is reasonable, knowing the basics is a very common skill.

 

I live and work in any oceanfront community. Of my more than a dozen coworkers, one owns a boat and I think only 2-3 other have ever driven one.

 

I would be extremely hesitant to ever drive a boat around here. Not because of the boat or waterways, but because there are a lot of awful boat drivers. On some weekends the river looks like an interstate highway with more alcohol and little pretense of qualification. I'm amazed accidents aren't more frequent. 

 

I'm specifically talking motorized boats.

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29 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

 

Note that it says "skills...to find, solve, or open" whereas Terrain says "to arrive at the location."

 

Anything required to get to GZ should fall under the T-rating.

 

Yes, you're right, the D rating should only be based on the skills needed to find, solve or open; not to get there.

 

But by the same token, skills really aren't part of the terrain rating either. The T4.5 I did for my 1000th find doesn't require any greater skills than a typical T1.5, it's just a very long steep walk with plenty of "extremely demanding movement over potentially hazardous terrain". The same goes for a T5; what sets it apart from the other ratings isn't skills but the need for specialised equipment beyond just your own body. Sure, an abseil down a 100 metre cliff or a scuba dive require greater and more specialised skills than paddling a rental kayak across still water, but they've still both genuine T5s because you need something more than just yourself to get there.

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8 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

I'm specifically talking motorized boats.

And I am specifically talking non-motorized boats. Motorized are completely different, they are expensive, require a certification, are hard to rent, they are not leisure equipment you use from time to time when you feel like spending some time on the water. I don't know anyone who knows how to use one (although I see them on the river from time to time, but they are mostly toys for very rich people, some of whom don't even bother learning how to drive them, they prefer to have a professional get them around whenever they need).

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16 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

 

I live and work in any oceanfront community. Of my more than a dozen coworkers, one owns a boat and I think only 2-3 other have ever driven one.

 

I would be extremely hesitant to ever drive a boat around here. Not because of the boat or waterways, but because there are a lot of awful boat drivers. On some weekends the river looks like an interstate highway with more alcohol and little pretense of qualification. I'm amazed accidents aren't more frequent. 

 

I'm specifically talking motorized boats.

 

7 hours ago, hsiale said:

And I am specifically talking non-motorized boats. Motorized are completely different, they are expensive, require a certification, are hard to rent, they are not leisure equipment you use from time to time when you feel like spending some time on the water. I don't know anyone who knows how to use one (although I see them on the river from time to time, but they are mostly toys for very rich people, some of whom don't even bother learning how to drive them, they prefer to have a professional get them around whenever they need).

 

Here in the land of a thousand lakes, there is no certification requirement and there are countless rowboats with an easily detachable 2-5 HP motor. No registration for this type of boat either. In geocaching context, an inflatable fishing boat with an electric trolling motor is cheap and fairly easy to transport overland. As in €150 including the motor for the cheapest models.

 

Sligthly larger fishing or leisure boats (around 4-6 meters long and 60-120 HP motor plus possibly a smaller trolling motor) aren't exactly uncommon either. These can still be easily moved between waterways with a normal car and a trailer, but they are overkill for most geocaching.

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At many recreational lakes/lagoons, it's easy to rent pedalboats. They aren't terribly fast, but they're basically impossible to swamp, and anyone who can push the pedals with their feet can operate one. 

 

But the question isn't how hard it is to use the equipment you need to navigate the terrain. The question is whether you need equipment to navigate the terrain.

 

image.thumb.png.5563c2a01b1ffb998c2a02d10317505a.png

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On 8/11/2022 at 4:47 PM, hsiale said:

And I am specifically talking non-motorized boats. Motorized are completely different, they are expensive, require a certification, are hard to rent, they are not leisure equipment you use from time to time when you feel like spending some time on the water. I don't know anyone who knows how to use one (although I see them on the river from time to time, but they are mostly toys for very rich people, some of whom don't even bother learning how to drive them, they prefer to have a professional get them around whenever they need).

 

In the US, in many lake areas, you can easily rent a small motorboat, no special skills or certifications.  You can also easily rent non-motorized watercraft such as canoes and kayaks.

 

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