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What makes a difficulty 5, terrain 1 cache?


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I am thinking about placing my first cache. There are very few caches here (all 1/1). The only locations available for caches are terrain 1...small local parks. I want to make the cache more challenging by placing a truely difficulty 5 cache. So...give me suggestions or describe caches that you have seen that were difficutly 5. Do caches that are 5/1 interest you or not worth the trouble?

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An extremely hard to solve puzzle with multiple legs would constitute a 5 difficulty. Remember the definition of a 5 star difficulty is: Extreme. A serious mental or physical challenge. Requires specialized knowledge, skills, or equipment to find cache.

 

Here are all the definitions for your convenience:

Difficulty rating

1 star - Easy. In plain sight or can be found in a few minutes of searching.

2 stars - Average. The average cache hunter could be able to find this in less than 30 minutes of hunting.

3 stars - Challenging. An experienced cache hunter will find this challenging, and it could take up a good portion of an afternoon.

4 stars - Difficult. A real challenge for the experienced cache hunter - may require special skills or knowledge, or in-depth preparation to find. May require multiple days / trips to complete.

5 stars - Extreme. A serious mental or physical challenge. Requires specialized knowledge, skills, or equipment to find cache.

 

Terrain rating:

1 star - Handicapped accessible. (Terrain is likely to be paved, is relatively flat, and less than a 1/2 mile hike is required.)

2 stars - Suitable for small children. (Terrain is generally along marked trails, there are no steep elevation changes or heavy overgrowth. Less than a 2 mile hike required.)

3 stars - Not suitable for small children. (The average adult or older child should be OK depending on physical condition. Terrain is likely off-trail. May have one or more of the following: some overgrowth, some steep elevation changes, or more than a 2 mile hike.)

4 stars - Experienced outdoor enthusiasts only. (Terrain is probably off-trail. Will have one or more of the following: very heavy overgrowth, very steep elevation (requiring use of hands), or more than a 10 mile hike. May require an overnight stay.)

5 stars - Requires specialized equipment and knowledge or experience, (boat, 4WD, rock climbing, SCUBA, etc) or is otherwise extremely difficult.

 

[This message was edited by BrianSnat on June 24, 2003 at 04:53 AM.]

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I think some of the reasons include the need for a boat, climbing gear, extended hike etc. Go to the hide a cache section and look for the star ratings. There is a program that will help you determine the number of stars for a cache. You can play around with that to get a better idea.

 

E

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A cache that requires a short, effortless walk to an area where the container is so supremely hidden that people might search for several hours before finding it (or giving up.)

 

Caches like that are a lot of fun when the cache container is of a decent size and it obviously took a good deal of imagination and thought to conceal the container in a natural manner.

 

Of course, one could also just toss a film canister into a boulder field, but most people won't bother looking for a cache that required so little effort of the person who placed it.

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quote:
A cache that requires a short, effortless walk to an area where the container is so supremely hidden that people might search for several hours before finding it (or giving up.)


 

That would be about a 3/1 under the published definitions.

 

"Au pays des aveugles, les borgnes sont rois"

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As others have said, there are two ways to give your cache a difficulty of 5: clever hiding/camouflage or a tough puzzle. You can also mix and match: a puzzle that leads to a well-hidden cache. Multiple stages also add to the difficulty.

 

Note though that hiding a cache extremely well in an easily accessible area makes it more likely that any cache seekers will be observed by others. They will be sticking around for a while, possibly cursing and fuming, in a place that's easy to reach, so... you would have to worry more about plundering.

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Thanks to Brian for posting the definitions. Though I've found my share of caches with 4 or 5 star difficulty ratings, I now realize that none lived up to those standards.

 

Thank God for those puzzle caches that keep cachers sitting on their posteriors for hours and hours ... we all need the occasional 5 minute break to go snag the cache (and to purchase another six-pack and bag of chips.) icon_wink.gif

 

[This message was edited by BassoonPilot on June 24, 2003 at 05:18 AM.]

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quote:
Originally posted by BrianSnat:

 

That would be about a 3/1 under the published definitions.


 

By the published definitions, but not by the practical application of those published definitions. For example, you have placed a number of caches with 2.5 or 3 difficulty stars, yet by the published definitions, none should exceed 1.5 - 2 stars. (But I think your caches are correctly rated for the way the published definitions are applied in this region.)

 

We better start downgrading all those NJ caches with 3 and 4 difficulty stars to 1.5's and 2's then. Someone alert the NJ Admin.!

 

I also got a kick out of how the definitions for 1 - 3 difficulty stars center on the importance of "the hunt" (think "unwashed savages") while "knowledge" and "mental challenges" are only mentioned in the definitions for 4 and 5 difficulty stars ... and notice that in the 5 star definition, one does not "hunt" a cache at all, but "finds" it. Very interesting choice of words.

 

I've been wrong all along; clearly, the 5 star difficulty designation has always been intended expressly for those cachers who don't want to "go out and get dirty." icon_wink.gif

 

[This message was edited by BassoonPilot on June 24, 2003 at 05:46 AM.]

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After much reflection, I think I'll make the cache a 4/2. I can make it a 5 by making the puzzle part really difficult (some college math required), but I won't. There are just too few caches here, and anyone that does geocaching here will probably want to go to all the local caches. There just aren't enough caches to "eliminate" a few because they "require special skills or equipment" that the average geocacher does not have. There are currently only 3 traditional caches within 25 miles of where I live, a dozen or so within 50 miles. I will make it as hard as possible without special skills...lots of basic geocaching research, multiple cache hunts, simple middle school math puzzles, extremely well hidden, etc. so it will deserve a "4". I'm going to up the terrain to a "2". There won't be much walking, but it will likely be in wooded areas that are not wheelchair friendly. It is going to be a Cd only cache (to reduce trash) and written to resemble a tacky mystery story. Hope ya'll can come see it when it is set up. Thanks for the suggestions...keep them coming while I continue to refine my plans for the cache.

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quote:
By the published definitions, but not by the practical application of those published definitions. For example, you have placed a number of caches with 2.5 or 3 difficulty stars, yet by the published definitions, none should exceed 1.5 - 2 stars. (But I think your caches are correctly rated for the way the published definitions are applied in this region.)

 

Actually, I have several 2.5 star difficulty caches, rated as such only because they are multi stage caches (the Clayjar program automatically assigns a 3 star difficulty to multi caches and I bump it down a half) and one 2.5 star, traditional cache that has stumped some of the most experienced geocachers in the state. Some several times. I don't own any caches above 2.5 stars difficulty. Terrain, several.

 

"Au pays des aveugles, les borgnes sont rois"

 

[This message was edited by BrianSnat on June 24, 2003 at 08:24 AM.]

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As you roll up to the cache in your wheelchair you

1) Reach for your special cache retrival equipment you had to bring for the cache, even though you can reach it in your wheel chair.

 

or

 

2) Know that it's going to be virtually impossible to find unless you are as twisted and dimented as the hider and are in the 'zone'. The only clue you have is that you can stay in your wheelchair.

 

=====================

Wherever you go there you are.

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quote:
Originally posted by BrianSnat:

... the Clayjar program automatically assigns a 3 star difficulty to multi caches and I bump it down a half ... I don't own any caches above 2.5 stars difficulty.


 

(You might want to check the rating on "Not the Fighting Parson." It remains three difficulty stars as I type this.)

 

Yes, I've noticed that the program consistently overrates caches and apparently assigns stars by parameters not included in the definitions. That's one of the major reasons for the inconsistencies of cache ratings.

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Clayjar consistently rates a bit high, but I suspect a lot of people don't use it because I more commonly complain that local caches are rated low, at least on terrain.

 

This was a good terrain 1, difficulty 4.5 cache. You had to decode a whole page of ones and zeroes, which turned out to be a takeoff on the aricebo(sp?) message. It was a multi (but again, EXTREMELY easy terrain), the first waypoint was very hard to fetch due to its public nature, and figuring out how to decode the message stumped more than one cacher. Some people hared off into the desert to false coordinates, despite the warning not to go anywhere till you'd decoded everything. It all worked great with the theme.. pity the Futuro House at the final cache site vanished, necessitating its archival!

 

I like puzzle caches. I'm not a fan of, say, college-level math puzzles, but this and Off to Find a Wizard were a lot of fun. (Though Wizard brought up the question... how do you terrain-rate a cache that requires about 200 miles of driving? The final walk was quite easy -- I'd have given it a 1.5 or 2 -- but man, we were driving all day. If anyone wanted to do it without a car, they'd have been out there a week.)

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quote:
The only clue you have is that you can stay in your wheelchair.

 

The knowledge that a cache is wheelchair accessible made Die Kunst Der Fuge infinitely easier to find, yet it had gangs of geocachers tearing their hair for hours at a time on multiple visits.

 

What makes the evil doctor's caches so difficult is the fact that you have no idea what you are looking for, and when you find it, it will most likely be something you've never seen before and probably never would have thought of while in a normal state of mind.

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quote:
Clayjar consistently rates a bit high, but I suspect a lot of people don't use it because I more commonly complain that local caches are rated low, at least on terrain.

 

I've found that as well. I use the Clayjar program and usually have to knock down the terrain and difficulty a half a star or more.

 

I pay more attention to the actual definitions that the program displays (shown in my earlier post in this thread).

 

 

quote:
(You might want to check the rating on "Not the Fighting Parson." It remains three difficulty stars as I type this.)

 

Oops missed that one, but it could be a legit 3 since it could require multiple trips and a long walk around the park to find the correct cache offset.

 

"Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, he'll sit in a boat and drink beer all day" - Dave Barry

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quote:
A cache that requires a short, effortless walk to an area where the container is so supremely hidden that people might search for several hours before finding it (or giving up.)

 

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

That would be about a 3/1 under the published definitions.


 

What if once you found it you had to crack a safe using puzzle clues to sign the logbook? icon_biggrin.gif

 

These changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes;

Nothing remains quite the same.

Through all of the islands and all of the highlands,

If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane

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