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Cache Terrain Ratings...


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Forgive me if this is a silly question. I have placed a new cache (GCM633, shameless plug!) and although I put the terrain difficulty at 4, which it really is, I'm wondering if I should also put a warning that snow and ice on the trail leading to some stages can make for dangerous slippery conditions? This after a cacher had to turn back and another seasoned one made note of this.

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Any cache should be considered more difficult in the winter, it is just common sense. Heck, even driving to a cache is more difficult in winter.


IMHO, anyone who goes out for a 4+ star cache at any time of year without doing some research on local conditions is lucky that they just had to turn back instead of getting stuck or hurt.




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I would suggest that our rating system is based on ideal conditions similar to the speed limit on our highways. If conditions are poor then it stands to reason that the level of difficulty would increase and extra caution be exercised.

When driving conditions are bad like today was around the GTA, we all slow down to the 100 Km speed limit, right? :grin:

C-A I wouldn't change your rating level but I would put in a warning that ice and snow would make some sections of the trail extra touchy to navigate.



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Interesting question since I just did a 4 star today that really wasn't that bad but then there was no snow and ice and it's from a new hider that hasn't seen any really difficult terrain caches. I think it's always good to put some comment on why the rating is high just so people attempting it can make some judgement on the significance of the rating (ie I'd much rather see a comment that you have to walk 10km and climb up and down the escarpment 3 times than just a 4 star rating). I also appreciate comments that indicate how difficult the cache will be to get to (and to find) during the winter. Hate getting there and finding the cache is under a frozen log-pile!

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To be honest, I don't even look at the cache star ratings. I couldn't tell you what any of the last caches I have done are rated.


I look at topo maps, trail descriptions, weather conditions, the description on the cache page and the past logs of cachers. I believe that you should always be aware of what you're getting into, rather than going by the rating.


Also, many times the rating depends on HOW you approach the cache. For example, when I did Scout Lake Road cache, a 1.5 terrain, I hiked in 25 km round trip making it obviously more of a 3ish terrain.


This cache, Mt. Granger, was also interesting. It is rated four stars, but in the summer you can drive right to the top of the mountain and it's a pretty easy walk to the cache area. It's also a popular hike starting further down the road, and not terribly arduous. I would rate that trip around a 2.5.


However, I decided to bash my way up the opposite side of the mountain, which definitely made it a four-star. Unforunately, the next person to attempt it -- who didn't know the local area -- tried to follow my route with children and obviously didn't get very far. Any local would have known the normal way to get to the top of the mountain.


I thought my log was pretty clear: "Besides the murderous climb, the route involves some serious willow bushwhacking, a 10m cliff and waist-deep beaver swamp," so I have no idea what made them do it my way.


Heck, a 5-star cache could be a 1-star park-n-grab if you happen to be using a helicopter.


Bottom line: Do your research. Don't rely on the terrain rating.




Edited by Gonzo-YT
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