View Full Version : Terrain Rating - Need your help!

02-19-2006, 12:34 PM
Sometimes we let things slip, and this is one where we did!

The Terrain Rating of 1 was originally reserved as the indicator that a cache is handicap-accessible.

There was a lot of controversy over just what was a handicap, and not having a good answer for that a number of us Reviewers stopped enforcing the guideline.

We have agreed to use a still-fuzzy but more commonly understood and easier-to-evaluate standard of 'wheelchair-accessible'.

Yes there are degrees of capability even in that - I can take a wheelchair places lots of folks can't walk, for instance, and go on crutches to places most folks think an old fat one-legged fella can't get, and I am sure that you know quite capable yet disabled folk like that that make handicap ratings difficult, but let's agree please to use a simple understanding; one should be able to roll up to, find and reach the cache without standing.

No curbs, ditches, soft sand or other impediments between the parking area and the cache itself.

Since this hasn't been adequately defined or enforced most of us don't think of this when we are listing a new geocache.

Many of you will have noticed that when you listed a new cache in the last month or so with a Terrain Rating of 1 you got a note from me asking if the cache is wheelchair-accessible and asking you to raise the Terrain Rating to 1.5 or higher if not.

I have been sending the note and trusting that geocachers would make the change to the listing on their own, rather than holding up the listing while the owner makes the change.

The response, unfortunately, has been underwhelming. Therefore, I will have to hold all 1-terrain-rated new listings until I hear back regarding my note unless you tell me in the description or a Reviewer Note that the cache is indeed wheelchair-accessible.

I am asking you to please help me with this.

Since I am far from infallable, often review caches at 1 a.m. after a long day, and otherwise may overlook this detail, I need you to keep the issue in mind and use 1.5 or higher by default when listing any cache not wheel-chair accessible.


02-19-2006, 12:45 PM
On this topic, while you are certainly not required to, if you want to review the hides that you already have listed and bump any that are rated 1-terrain which are not in fact wheelchair-accessible up to 1.5 or higher that would be a nice and appreciated thing to do!

02-20-2006, 06:15 AM
I just went back and adjusted all of mine that needed to be raised. Thanks for the info, I will keep this in mind in the future when I hide more caches.

02-20-2006, 01:30 PM
You know, I guess that I had just wandered off of instruction. Any how when I reviewed my thirty two, I found that I had five or six that needed to be adjusted.
Thanks for the heads up !

02-23-2006, 03:08 PM
If you use the Diff/Terrain wizard will your ratings be OK?

02-23-2006, 04:51 PM
The rating wizard will get you close - common sense will get you closer!

The current rating tools were written before the Terrain Rating of 1 was reserved for wheelchair-accessible caches.

This means, unfortunately, that the 1-terrain is the only clearly-defined rating - the cacher can roll up to, find and retrieve the cache without standing - every other rating is open to interpretation!

Have fun,

02-28-2006, 12:38 PM
Seems that the terrain rating of 1 would go almost unused. I can't think of a single cache I've ever visited that you could get to without at least having to get out of the wheel-chair. For that matter I'm not sure anything you could reach from a wheelchair could actually count as being hidden!

I had been planning to hide one under a local park bench specificlly for people in wheelchairs, but by definition I wouldn't be able to list it as handicaped accessible because a person would have to shift themselves from their chair to the bench before they could actually reach the cache. (Or be really, really limber from the waist up) :(

02-28-2006, 05:56 PM
That's why this rating thing is so hard to do!

The cache you describe should be a 1 terrain.

A lightpole cache in a parking lot would be a 1.
A lok-n-lok cache in a knot-hole in a tree in a park could well be a 1.
A cache attached to a rope and hoisted to the top of a flagpole is a 1, as long as the cacher can get to the flagpole!
A gallon plastic jar set in a stump hole in the woods can be a 1, if there's nothing to block the way in.
A magnetic keyholder pushed 20' up a lightpole can be a 1, as long as there's a stick handy for cachers to reach up and slide it down!

Try this - sit in a chair at your table in the kitchen, or better yet, in a roll-around chair at your desk. Reach for stuff, high and low. You can reach under the table to feel the legs. You can reach up on the wall to things which may be hanging there. Use your imagination - if you can reach it from your chair, most handicachers can reach it from theirs.

A multi in a park with stage 1 coords written on a fake leaf in a tree, stage 2 a fake or hollowed out pine cone, stage 3 a 1.5" PVC pipe driven in the ground with a film can set in the top of it so that the camo-taped top is even with the surface can be a 1.

All of these are evil high-difficulty caches regardless of being 1 terrain!

Guard-rail caches at a scenic overlook. Caches hanging from a bridge with fishing string. Fake sprinkler heads in a garden border. An ammo can in a cubbyhole most anywhere.

A pipe stood next to a phone pole. You have to find it, lift the cap and pour in water for the cache to float up to you!

Trust me, there are thousands of wheelchair-accessible caches out there.

There is no reason for a wheelchair-accessible cache to be 'lame', no pun intended!

A cache might be an ammo can 5 miles down a rails-to-trails path.

Being accessible does not mean easy.

Again, the handicacher should be able to roll from parking to cache, find, reach and replace the container without standing up.

That leaves an awful lot of territory open! Nothing says a wheelchair needs pavement. Nothing says it has to be on a trail at all.

Creeks, mud or sand where wheels will sink, trees across the path, stuff like that will defeat someone that can't stand.

Most handicachers have full use of arms and upper body strength to bump up over a curb.

My take on the rating is that we assume this is true.

Hope that opens your imagination to some of the ways geocaches can be both accessible and yet plenty of fun for able-bodied cachers as well!

Oh by the way - I have one leg and a broken neck that limits my left arm use - but I own or have done every one of the hides mentioned here, and thousands more!


02-28-2006, 05:58 PM
Actually, we have one that is totally a 1 rating. Paved path in a park - cache hidden within an arms reach at wheelchair level maybe a foot or so off the paved path (still on hard compressed dirt).

Just hidden where you may not normally look! :twisted:

Of course - we're not gonna tell you which cache or which park!

03-08-2006, 08:29 PM
I have 3 or 4 that are 1's