Have you ever noticed the difficulty rating on geocaches? I mean REALLY noticed it? Most geocaches seem to hover somewhere between 1 and 3 for both terrain and difficulty.
But there are those geocaches out there that are not for the faint of heart: The EXTREME Geocaches!
Extreme (5 Star) Difficulty:
A serious mental or physical challenge. Requires specialized knowledge, skills, or equipment to find cache.
Extreme (5 Star) Terrain:
Requires specialized equipment and knowledge or experience (boat, 4WD, rock climbing, SCUBA, etc) or is otherwise extremely difficult.
Of course, since the cache owner rates the cache, the ratings might be subjective!
So, what does it take to go after an “extreme” cache?
1. Read the cache description carefully.
The cache owner will most likely give you lots of advice as to what is needed to complete the cache. This might be anything from special tools to special equipment.
2. Read all the logs!
I recently went after my most extreme cache to date (video coming soon!) but I didn’t do a good enough job reading all the available logs. The logs gave details about how the cache was attached and also outlined troubles that prior finders had experienced.
3. Remember this is a game.
If you don’t feel safe doing something, stop! There’s no need to risk life, limb, or sanity in the pursuit of a smiley face. It’s especially challenging when not only is the cache hard to get to (terrain 5) but is also so well camouflaged that it’s frustrating once you’re at ground zero.
4. Bring the correct gear.
Nothing is more frustrating than getting all the way to the cache site only to realize that you needed specialized gear to retrieve the cache! Examples would be a swim suit, SCUBA gear, climbing ropes, or a waterproof flashlight.
5. Make sure your gear works.
So you’ll be doing a water cache, huh? Does your waterproof flashlight work? Is it firmly attached to your wrist?
6. Use the buddy system.
Not only tell a friend where you’ll be going and what you’ll be doing, but you might want to bring them along as well. A friend might not go with you on the climb to retrieve the cache, but he could make sure you get there and return safely. A lot of extreme caches recommend going in pairs for safety.
You know I’m a big fan of descriptive logs on geocaching.com. Extreme caches are the time to demonstrate all your creative writing skills! Give us the play-by-play and totally ham up your success. There will be a lot of folks that will only ever see the cache vicariously through your logs so spare no details of how you were almost eaten by an alligator, chased by a man-eating rhinoceros, and barely avoided the buffalo stampede. You don’t want to give too many spoilers, but don’t just say: “TFTC SL” for crying out loud!
Readers Weigh In:
- Have you ever done an “extreme” geocache? Did you find it? Was the effort worth the find?
- What has been the most difficult (terrain OR camouflage) that you’ve searched for to date? Did you find it?
- Would you make a habit of going after the “extreme” caches?
August 1, 2010 @ 11:11 pm
Kim, I put together a group of seven friends for an amazing day of adventure on June 5th, 2010. I put together a challenge cache and the seven of us went out to find and complete 4 5/5 geocaches in one day. The bigger thing is we went out and found four different icons, and in doing so, completed the challenge to make 5 different 5/5 geocache types in one day! The challenge geocache is http://coord.info/GC29TED How’s that for Extreme Geocaching?! There are more out there to be found…
August 2, 2010 @ 9:36 pm
Riverside Ruins GCN874 (archived)
A cache hidden at the top of an abandoned mill works in Laurel, Maryland. Several cachers had recommended climbing gear, but I had looked at the gallery and thought – I can do this. Lucked out and met up with a cacher from Oregon who spotted me on the climb. The hard part was finding a micro at the top.
A few weeks later I helped a friend make the ascent. I forgot to tell her to wear long pants! OOPS!!!!!!
August 20, 2010 @ 3:59 pm
I do indeed joy Extreme Geocaching. It is a way for me to get even more exercise and try to conquer my fear of heights and drowning. Having said that, I’d like to share the following: GC1MHD0, GCX2E0, and GC110WD. I have located some 5/5 caches and am going to go after them.
October 2, 2010 @ 6:31 pm
This past February I went to Australia and did a 5-star cache. It was located on an island out in the bay and the hardest part was finding a boat to borrow so we could get out there! It was fun!