A Rant About Terrain/Difficulty Classifications.
We would like some feedback about classifications.
We found a multi today that was listed as a 1/1. It was 1/4 mile to the first location, and 1/2 mile to the next one. Had there not been another cache on the way, we would have skipped it - our policy being qualtity over quality wqhen making overnight caching trips.
Well, the total trip would up being over 2 miles, mostly on flat terrain but probably 1/3 over a narrow trail with roots and a couple of mudholes, and one gully with just a very narrow trail to use to get around it.
The owner is now very experienced, but this cache was placed when he first started out and then might have been a 1/1 - before he converted it to a multi.
Question: does a 2-mile hike constitute or exceed a "1" in difficulty?
I'm very sensitive about this myself as a couple of my caches have been criticized because of their ratings.
I have been under the impression that any category with a "1" means that it could be handicapped accessible and don't think that from what you described would be under that category.I think the guidelines are pretty explicit when it comes the numbering system. I think that a lot of the caches are under rated if you ask me but there are some exceptions. Most of the mistakes that are under rated in my opinion are in the terrain rating.
Taken from ClayJar's Geocache Rating System:
* Easy. In plain sight or can be found in a few minutes of searching.
** Average. The average cache hunter would be able to find this in less than 30 minutes of hunting.
*** Challenging. An experienced cache hunter will find this challenging, and it could take up a good portion of an afternoon.
**** 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.
***** Extreme. A serious mental or physical challenge. Requires specialized knowledge, skills, or equipment to find cache.
* Handicapped accessible. (Terrain is likely to be paved, is relatively flat, and less than a 1/2 mile hike is required.)
** 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.)
*** 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.)
**** 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.)
***** Requires specialized equipment and knowledge or experience, (boat, 4WD, rock climbing, SCUBA, etc) or is otherwise extremely difficult.
From what you described, it seems close to a 3 to me. It is unfortunate that many hiders don't know there are standards for rating caches. I think difficulty is a lot harder to determine than terrain as you never know how a cacher is going to approach the cache.
BRDAD hit the nail on the head as far as I'm concerned. RULOST2? and I felt that this was at least a 2/3. I also think that ANY multi-cache exceeds a 1/1, regardless of the terrain. Even the hints to the sites were rather cryptic - hardly a 1.