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?