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Cache Risk Ethics


flat_lander
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I've got an idea for a multi-cache that would involve finding part of the cache in mid-rappel from a local 60ft cliff. I think it would be quite challenging and make for a great hunt. However, as I'm still quite new to geocaching, and I've been reading several internet sites who suggest it is frowned upon to impose too much risk upon the cacher. I would say that each person should be responsible for themselves and should be able to choose whether a risk of getting to a chace is acceptable to them. As a climber, I've learned that risk assessment is something up to the individual. However, I also understand that putting that risk in front of people can sometimes have unforseen consequences for those without enough common sense to proceed with the correct attitude, gear, and training. What some of your opinions? Is there an agreed upon geocaching "ethic" that applies here?

 

Thanks,

 

-flatlander

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Living in KS I can assure you that cliffs (much less climbable cliffs) are few an far between icon_smile.gif Not that there aren't any. There are indeed places to rock climb (on real rock, not plastic) in KS/KC. But it is still a seriously vertically challenged state. I makes you apprecate your vacation road trips even more!

 

-flatlander

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quote:
Originally posted by flat_lander:

Is there an agreed upon geocaching "ethic" that applies here?


Uh... Yes and No. Everyone seems to agree you shouldn't lure people into an area in which they will most likely be injuried. And warning possiable visitors about known hazzards is always a good idea. But otherwise, it depends on who you ask.

 

As for a repealing required cache, its sounds ok. I personally would probly not give the exact location upfront (if I were to set up 'your' cache). The reason being someone who thinks they are superman could just plug in the coords and show up, they deside they can get the cache without the correct gear...

Maybe just give the coord to a somewhat nearby parking area(or other fairly safe location), and in the description descibe what would be needed (aren't there ratings for repealing?), and request people email you for the correct location. That way you could question them a bit about their experience.

 

The one question I have is, Where you going to hide this cache? Im not into repealing, but I think some parks have rules about leaving items in and/or damaging the rock face. So you should make sure what the regs are for the specific area.

 

waypoint_link.gif22008_1700.gif37_gp_logo88x31.jpg

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quote:
Originally posted by welch:

.......As for a repealing required cache, its sounds ok. I personally would probly not give the exact location upfront (if I were to set up 'your' cache). The reason being someone who thinks they are superman could just plug in the coords and show up, they deside they can get the cache without the correct gear...

Maybe just give the coord to a somewhat nearby parking area(or other fairly safe location), and in the description descibe what would be needed (aren't there ratings for repealing?), and request people email you for the correct location. That way you could question them a bit about their experience.

..........


 

Far too complicated IMHO.

 

It's terrain 5 per Clayjar; give the proper coordinates and state in the description you consider it needs abseiling/rappelling equipment and skills.

 

Why put the onus on the hider to judge if a prospective cacher has the required skills to attempt it? Say the hider "approved" the attempt and the cacher fell off and died - what kind of guilt is the cache owner going to have to live with?

 

There's a similar sounding cache in UK - one log shows that it was found by free climbing - no equipment used. Peoples' skills vary - let them make the decision to attempt it or not.

 

What's next - "before you can attempt my cache please email me your capability to walk and a doctor's certificate that you won't keel over and die"? icon_wink.gif

 

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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What welch is talking about has started happening since the prevalence of pocket queries. People without PDAs get their list of waypoints and download them to their GPS.

 

99.9% of the time, I'm extremely anal retentive about planning my hunts - reading the cache pages, printing topo and satellite maps. But some people try to run on coordinates only. I did this one time. It was a multicache and the clue was in the parking lot. I was frustrated, but upon reading the cache page, I understood why he did this.

 

Now, are you legally responsible for someone deciding to fly off a cliff just because you put coordiates there? Probably not. But I would personally feel guilty.

 

I agree that I would set up the cache as a two stage multi - the first part in a parking lot, second stage on the rock face. Heck - you can even list the true coordinates in the description on the cache page instead of making people figure out a clue or something. You want to be really nice about it, create a loc or gpx file and attach it as an "image" to the cache page.

 

I'd rather do the extra work than risk someone getting hurt because of my lack of preparation.

 

BTW - I'm all for placing these type of caches. There needs to be more difficult caches in the world. And yes, make sure it is also rated properly.

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocaching

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Go for it. Just place on the cahce page a list of gear needed. No need to raise the difficulty level by making them make multiple trips or go after a cache beyond their skill level.

 

But, on the other hand...

 

You could state up front that the cacher will have to have specialized gear and let them determine what they need.

 

Basically, don't make it a surprise they will need speciallized gear.

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Rate it accurately using Clayjar's Geocache Rating System and clearly describe it on the cache page. You may also consider including a clear warning such as WARNING: Attempting this cache without rappelling skills and proper equipment may result in DEATH or serious injury!

 

Or if you want to increase the difficulty even more and decrease the probability of attempts by the inexperienced, try to find a place midway up a climb that cannot be directly accessed by rappelling.

 

Hey, you might even give it a fitting name like "Survival of the fittest" in anticipation of the positive effect it could have on the geocaching gene pool. icon_wink.gif

 

A redneck's last words: "Hold my beer. Y'all watch this..."

 

Worldtraveler

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quote:
Originally posted by Markwell:

What welch is talking about has started happening since the prevalence of pocket queries. People without PDAs get their list of waypoints and download them to their GPS.......


 

Sorry - I would think if you're going after a terrain 5 without looking at the cache page and seeing why it is a 5, you're looking for trouble/disappointment anyway!

 

It seems your two stage approach is to let the cacher get to a safe location and then see the real location from a safe place? Wouldn't that be the normal situation anyway - you'd find somewhere to park and then attack the coords? Maybe not.

 

(Now I've got this image of an SUV flying off a cliff!) icon_eek.gif

 

Like worldtraveler says - just put a warning on the cache page.

 

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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quote:
Originally posted by crr003:

Sorry - I would think if you're going after a terrain 5 without looking at the cache page and seeing why it is a 5, you're looking for trouble/disappointment anyway!


 

Does your GPS state the terrain/difficulty level? Mine does not. I'm just making a case for a little protection for the people who don't read the cache pages. I'm not arguing that it MUST be done this way.

 

In fact, I agree with you. Everyone should read the cache page details for every cache they attempt. But I have personally seen too many logs from my watch list where people have said "I saw this one show up on my GPS so I decided to go for it." They had no cache page, and may not have ever looked at the page for this particular cache. Like I said: I did that once, and will not do it again.

 

I suppose Darwinism would play a hand in this. If people are stupid enough to walk off a cliff without preparing, that's one less idiot in the gene pool.

 

Markwell

Chicago Geocaching

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quote:
Originally posted by crr003:

quote:
Originally posted by welch:

.......As for a repealing required cache, its sounds ok. I personally would probly not give the exact location upfront (if I were to set up 'your' cache). The reason being someone who thinks they are superman could just plug in the coords and show up, they deside they can get the cache without the correct gear...

Maybe just give the coord to a somewhat nearby parking area(or other fairly safe location), and in the description descibe what would be needed (aren't there ratings for repealing?), and request people email you for the correct location. That way you could question them a bit about their experience.

..........


 

Far too complicated IMHO.

Why put the onus on the hider to judge if a prospective cacher has the required skills to attempt it?


I was just throwing an idea out there, thinking it might be able to screen out some of the people flat_lander seemed to wonder about.

"However, I also understand that putting that risk in front of people can sometimes have unforseen consequences for those without enough common sense..."

 

quote:
Say the hider "approved" the attempt and the cacher fell off and died - what kind of guilt is the cache owner going to have to live with?
I think it would be less than if the cache was attempted by some under-trained person without the correct gear, who met the with the same result. icon_frown.gif

 

quote:
There's a similar sounding cache in UK - one log shows that it was found by free climbing - no equipment used. Peoples' skills vary - let them make the decision to attempt it or not.
I don't so much want to outright block people from being able seek this cache, but more want to cause them a pause.

 

quote:
What's next - "before you can attempt my cache please email me your capability to walk and a doctor's certificate that you won't keel over and die"?

Depends if you can trip on the 'walk' and fall 30, 40, maybe 50 ft. The fall isn't so much a problem, its just that sudden impact at the bottom that causes most of the trouble. icon_wink.gif

 

waypoint_link.gif22008_1700.gif37_gp_logo88x31.jpg

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I've been thinking about placing a cache at a place I'd only read about until this week. I went out to take a look at it. It's a fantastic spot but a little scarey. I've about decided not to risk inviting someone to plunge to their death.

 

The location is a high (about 300-400) feet scenic overlook with a great view of a river valley below. There's even a cool natural rock arch at the site. It's just off a gravel road with a well defined parking area.

 

It would clearly be a 1/1 cache. The problem is there is no railing and the land has a slight slope toward a sheer drop-off. One wrong step (like looking at your GPS when you should be watching where you're walking) would mean instant death.

 

Judging by all the old beer cans scattered about the spot is obviously a popular hang-out. It's certainly visited often by locals, though none of the millions of people who travel to the nearby vaction destinations would know it was there.

 

My concern is the 1 in a million chance that some child or inattentive adult would fall off the edge. It would also be an ideal spot for a suicide leap.

 

After visiting the site I'll all but decided to keep it to myself. Why run the risk that someone who otherwise had no business down this gravel road would fall just for the sake of geocache? FWIW, the site is listed in a book called "Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri" that the state sells so it's not a secret spot.

 

Am I being too weird here? It truly is a marvelous site . . .

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quote:
Originally posted by Matt1344:

......

Am I being too weird here? It truly is a marvelous site . . .


 

Yes - in my opinion.

 

My only real cache hide is near a waterfall. No safety rails etc. It's a well known spot and 99.99% of the people going there aren't going there becausee of Geocaching. Absolutely no problem to go over the edge if you so desire, or if you are careless. (Cache is actually located no where near the actual waterfall).

 

Just add a comment to the description saying keep pets and kids under control?

 

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

 

[This message was edited by crr003 on February 07, 2003 at 08:36 AM.]

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Another thought. Is there going to be a set anchor. An obviously safe one like a very secure tree that you feel extremely confident others could safely use. Anchor's put in by unknown climbers should never be trusted therefore is the location going to be littered with spikes etc.

 

Is the cache going to be accessible and removeable with one hand, the other breaking the rope or is it going to be on a safe ledge that one could stand on? The cache also needs to be returned to the same spot.

 

I'm thinking of doing one too.

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quote:
Originally posted by Matt1344:

I've been thinking about placing a cache at a place I'd only read about until this week. I went out to take a look at it. It's a fantastic spot but a little scarey. I've about decided not to risk inviting someone to plunge to their death.

 

The location is a high (about 300-400) feet scenic overlook with a great view of a river valley below. There's even a cool natural rock arch at the site. It's just off a gravel road with a well defined parking area.

 

It would clearly be a 1/1 cache. The problem is there is no railing and the land has a slight slope toward a sheer drop-off. One wrong step (like looking at your GPS when you should be watching where you're walking) would mean instant death.

 

Judging by all the old beer cans scattered about the spot is obviously a popular hang-out. It's certainly visited often by locals, though none of the millions of people who travel to the nearby vaction destinations would know it was there.

 

My concern is the 1 in a million chance that some child or inattentive adult would fall off the edge. It would also be an ideal spot for a suicide leap.

 

After visiting the site I'll all but decided to keep it to myself. Why run the risk that someone who otherwise had no business down this gravel road would fall just for the sake of geocache? FWIW, the site is listed in a book called "Geologic Wonders and Curiosities of Missouri" that the state sells so it's not a secret spot.


 

Matt,

 

You bring up some interesting points, however, I think that you could probably alleviate most of this guilt if you clearly state upfront that it is a dangerous area and that you might want to leave the children at home or in the car. Beyond that, I would feel absolutely no guilt if a fellow cacher plunged to his death visiting a cache I placed. He knew the risks upfront.

 

After all, should the writer of the book that you mentioned feel guilty if someone visits the spot and dies? For that matter, what if an entire family is killed in a car accident on the way to a cache you placed?

 

My point is that we are fragile creatures and we cannot control everything in this world. Each human assesses his/her own risks and makes their own decisions. Would I feel sad if a fellow cacher died visiting my cache? Absolutely. Would I feel somewhat responsible or guilty? Absolutely not.

 

FWIW...

 

--CoronaKid

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welch - I think your concerns are laudable.

 

I guess where I come from the onus of safety rests with the seeker, not the hider.

 

A perfectly safe path in summer could be a much riskier test in winter etc. - the hider can't cover every scenario.

 

But if there's a clear need for specialized equipment and/or a warning, it should obviously be stated.

 

Maybe for people who just download and go we need a new rating - Difficulty/Terrain/Danger - maybe a skull and crossbones for danger? But then again, one persons perception of danger is not another's.

 

Eventually if these concerns are raised too high it won't be long before some "clever" lawyer/attorney starts suing if there's an accident on a cache hunt because the exact condition wasn't covered? icon_eek.gif

 

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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quote:
Originally posted by crr003:

I guess where I come from the onus of safety rests with the seeker, not the hider.


Well, I would like to think that the seeker would use some common sense. But, unfortuantly that is not always the case icon_rolleyes.gif

 

quote:
A perfectly safe path in summer could be a much riskier test in winter etc. - the hider can't cover every scenario.

But if there's a clear need for specialized equipment and/or a warning, it should obviously be stated.


I agree.

 

quote:
Maybe for people who just download and go we need a new rating - Difficulty/Terrain/Danger - maybe a skull and crossbones for danger? But then again, one persons perception of danger is not another's.

Very true. Which is why I would remind them of this danger.

 

quote:
Eventually if these concerns are raised too high it won't be long before some "clever" lawyer/attorney starts suing if there's an accident on a cache hunt because the exact condition wasn't covered? icon_eek.gif

Im sure an attorney will be by to disscuss that shortly icon_wink.gif

 

waypoint_link.gif22008_1700.gif37_gp_logo88x31.jpg

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I wouldn't do it my self. You can put all of the warnings that you want on the cache page and take all of the precaustions that you think necesssary. But if someone gets hurt, they or their estate just might come after you.

Even if the jury deliberates for two minutes and finds in your favor, you're still out a fortune in legal fees. The more likely that someone will get hurt looking for the cache that you placed, the more likely that you're going to get sued.

Jaded am I? You becha. I'm involved in a lawsuit right now where a girl in my youth program stepped off of a curb and broke her ankle. She's suing us for neglegence. There's enough dirtbag lawyers out there to take any ridiculous lawsuit that comes along. Shakespeare was right.

 

Mickey

Max Entropy

More than just a name, a lifestyle.

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That settles it then - no more cache placing for me. icon_eek.gif

 

Did you hear the one about the guy who put his new mobile home/RV in cruise control and left the driver's seat to go back and make coffee? The vehicle crashed - he was awarded over $1M (can't recall the exact amount) and a new mobile home.

 

Or the woman who tripped in a store and sued them for big bucks? But she tripped over her own kid!

 

These are apparently true - what the h?ll is wrong over there? icon_eek.gificon_eek.gif

 

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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quote:
Originally posted by MaxEntropy:

There's enough dirtbag lawyers out there to take any ridiculous lawsuit that comes along.


 

Then we might as well stay home cringing in fear.

 

At least here in SC, if you successfully defend yourself, you can ask the judge for damages and legal fees from the plantiff. Not exactly "loser pays," but it sure cuts down on the frivilous suits.

 

I say, go for it.

 

CR

 

72057_2000.gif

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quote:
Originally posted by crr003:

 

Did you hear the one about the guy who put his new mobile home/RV in cruise control and left the driver's seat to go back and make coffee? The vehicle crashed - he was awarded over $1M (can't recall the exact amount) and a new mobile home.

 

Or the woman who tripped in a store and sued them for big bucks? But she tripped over her own kid!

 


 

Sorry, not true.

Check the first and 2nd last items here:

http://www.stellaawards.com/bogus.html

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It is very interesting hearing all of your opinions. To clarify what I'm wanting to accomplish and to answer some of your questions...

 

The rappel in question does indeed have a bomber tree (2ft+ diameter) along with several other smaller trees for an anchor. Properly slinging these makes as solid an anchor as I've ever come across. I would never ask other's to do something that I was not 100% confident it could be done safely if the person has the required skills.

 

The cache WILL NOT in any way damage/affect the natural state of the cliff. There is a small ledge which would be the target for a very very small part of the multi-cache (I'm thinking of a Key that would open the next part of the cache).

 

Yes, the first part of the cache would be located at a park at the base of said cliff. The instructions there would make very clear that the next part requires proper gear, training, and a bit of risk assessment on the part of the cacher. They would also be able to see what they would be up against very clearly at that point and hopefully be able to make an educated choice.

 

While I appreciate people's ideas on how to make this safe, I do not want to play mother and father to those looking for the cache. By this I mean that I do not think it is my responsibility to judge who is and is not capable or qualified to do a rappel safely. I would rather not place the cache than have to grant permission for people to go for it.

 

I definitely think it would be appropriate to publish the skills needed to tackle this cache on the website. If they didn't see that I intend to publish the same info in part 1 of the cache (before heading up the cliff).

 

As I'm still new to this activity I love learning about a community's ethic code. I guess for me the question comes down to... In the world of Geocaching, where there are not necessarily any pre-assumed skills, is it ethical to leave risk assessment up to the cacher so long as the person placing the cache makes it possible for properly trained and equipped to safely hunt the prize?

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quote:
Originally posted by crr003:

That settles it then - no more cache placing for me. icon_eek.gif

 

Did you hear the one about the guy who put his new mobile home/RV in cruise control and left the driver's seat to go back and make coffee? The vehicle crashed - he was awarded over $1M (can't recall the exact amount) and a new mobile home.

 

Or the woman who tripped in a store and sued them for big bucks? But she tripped over her own kid!

 

These are apparently true - what the h?ll is wrong over there? icon_eek.gificon_eek.gif

 

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum


 

Actually, NO. Those aren't true at all. They never happened. That e-mail is fabricated which is strange when there are so many true ridiculous lawsuits from which to choose.

Check out http://stellaawards.com/ for the entire story.

(Returning the favor. I first learned of Geocaching from Randy on his This is True site)

 

Mickey

Max Entropy

More than just a name, a lifestyle.

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StayFloopy, MaxEntropy,

 

Interesting! I read most of these in an in-flight magazine recently - I seriously think the magazine thought they were real icon_eek.gif

 

I guess I'll just have to fall back on the "McD coffee and the old woman" incident as an example! icon_wink.gif

 

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum

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After reading so many logs stating things like 'We had to bushwhack for two hours to find the 1/1 cache and we left a bag of cookies and two golf balls we found in the parking lot' I'm coming to the conclusion that a lot of cachers need new special equipment for home, like padded rooms.

 

______________________________________________________________________

Remember that happiness is a way of travel, not a destination. - Roy M. Goodman

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"I saw this one show up on my GPS so I decided to go for it." They had no cache page, and may not have ever looked at the page for this particular cache. Like I said: I did that once, and will not do it again.

Can you really do this? I mean will it just show up? No information other than numbers?

 

Still looking!

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quote:
Can you really do this? I mean will it just show up? No information other than numbers?

Yeah, if you just download a bunch of waypoints, then transfer them to your GPS. I personally won't go after a cache without either the sheet, a pda, or a cell phone to bug someone to read the info to me.

 

------------------------------

Have you had your house checked for Rae Dawn Chong?

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quote:
Originally posted by Tonsil:

....I personally won't go after a cache without either the sheet, a pda, or a cell phone to bug someone to read the info to me.


 

Especially since it may be a virtual cache and you wouldn't know what you are looking for.

 

DustyJacket

...If life was fair, a banana split would cure cancer.

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