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Frozen geocaches


Mom-n-Andy
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Does anyone have any good ideas about freeing a geocache that is solidly frozen in the hollow of a tree?

If you can run a power cord to it, put a low-wattage droplight in there, and warm everything up slowly. If not and if you don't have the stuff to make a creme brulee, go home and make some hot chocolate.

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Either a chainsaw or four months of time and a warming trend.

 

A small propane torch like pastry chefs use for creme brulee?

 

Let me guess... you've got access to just such an item?

 

Sitting on my desk as I type. But the plays well with food title is for real. I'm in a restaurant kitchen. We make cheesecakes (really really good ones) from scratch in 4 cake batches and freeze them. So it's helpful to remove the frozen cake from the pan. And I have crusted a few hundred creme brulees here for catered events in the past 10 years too.

Edited by wimseyguy
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Okay, seriously this time. Would salt work? Maybe a little de-icer? I hesitate to mention the de-icer because I'm not a big fan of spraying the great outdoors with chemicals. I'm guessing the slugs are not out this time of year, so maybe salt or a little bit of REALLY salty water.

 

You think salt isn't a chemical? Salt is much more harmful to plants than commercial de-icer products.

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My husband suggested using a propane powered torch such as those used for sweating (soldering) copper pipes. Unfortunately the cache is pretty far down in a hollow log and I doubt I could get the torch down there without burning myself. And it's a couple miles out into the woods so the hair dryer/drop light thing won't work.

 

Waiting till spring is not an option. This is a cache that I absolutely positively MUST get. SOON. That's all I will say about that.

 

Best idea I've heard so far is to pack some Nalgene bottles full of very hot water to the cache site and stick them down in the hollow to hopefully thaw things out. With any luck that will work while being environment-neutral.

 

Now, any ideas for keeping a cache like this from getting frozen in the first place? Would wrapping the container (a metal box) in plastic help? Or would it just lead to a plastic-wrapped cache frozen in a hollow tree?

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Okay, seriously this time. Would salt work? Maybe a little de-icer? I hesitate to mention the de-icer because I'm not a big fan of spraying the great outdoors with chemicals. I'm guessing the slugs are not out this time of year, so maybe salt or a little bit of REALLY salty water.

 

You think salt isn't a chemical? Salt is much more harmful to plants than commercial de-icer products.

 

And every deer in the park would use the cache for a salt lick! :unsure:

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My husband suggested using a propane powered torch such as those used for sweating (soldering) copper pipes. Unfortunately the cache is pretty far down in a hollow log and I doubt I could get the torch down there without burning myself. And it's a couple miles out into the woods so the hair dryer/drop light thing won't work.

 

Waiting till spring is not an option. This is a cache that I absolutely positively MUST get. SOON. That's all I will say about that.

 

Best idea I've heard so far is to pack some Nalgene bottles full of very hot water to the cache site and stick them down in the hollow to hopefully thaw things out. With any luck that will work while being environment-neutral.

 

Now, any ideas for keeping a cache like this from getting frozen in the first place? Would wrapping the container (a metal box) in plastic help? Or would it just lead to a plastic-wrapped cache frozen in a hollow tree?

 

Get a hand warmer. One of those charcoal jobbies would probably work.

Not too much heat to damage the tree but enough to warm that little hole up quite nicely.

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I stuck 4 handwarmers (that I had intended as cache swag) in there but they were not up to the task of warmng a 15-degree F ammo box. Good thought though.

 

 

Get a hand warmer. One of those charcoal jobbies would probably work.

Not too much heat to damage the tree but enough to warm that little hole up quite nicely.

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Does anyone have any good ideas about freeing a geocache that is solidly frozen in the hollow of a tree?

 

Depends. Ammo box or Tupperware? Ammo boxes are virtually indestructable. Give a swift kick, or try to free it with a limb. Tupperware? Look around for a limb. I'm guessing I have about a 90%+ success rate with these methods. I've never broken anyone's Tupperware, but be mentally prepared to buy a replacement if it should not work out as planned. :unsure:

 

Oh, and I like the pocket knife idea, never thought of that. Are you talking encased in ice? Just some ice around the edges, or what?

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Metal ammo box. It's about 2 feet down inside a hollow tree. Not much room around it. My foot wouldn't fit in there and I couldn't apply enough force with my hand. I think what's happened is that water ran in and froze a couple of sides of the box to the wood. It's not actually encased in ice.

 

Does anyone have any good ideas about freeing a geocache that is solidly frozen in the hollow of a tree?

 

Depends. Ammo box or Tupperware? Ammo boxes are virtually indestructable. Give a swift kick, or try to free it with a limb. Tupperware? Look around for a limb. I'm guessing I have about a 90%+ success rate with these methods. I've never broken anyone's Tupperware, but be mentally prepared to buy a replacement if it should not work out as planned. :unsure:

 

Oh, and I like the pocket knife idea, never thought of that. Are you talking encased in ice? Just some ice around the edges, or what?

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Given that it is not encased in ice and that it is a metal, not plastic, box, I have some hope for the hot water idea, although I'd make it hot salt water if the tree is a dead one (to keep from refreezing as quickly). Boiling water would probably be best, but unless you brought a campstove out there with you, that might be tough. I'm hoping that the metal box would conduct enough of that heat throughout to release the icy grip. I

 

do not believe the technique would work with a solid (or nearly so) block of ice, though. You'd need a lot more very hot water to deal with something like that.

 

Good luck with it!

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Thanks. I don't really want to get too specific, but for my own reasons I REALLY want to be FTF on this cache. I found it, and now I desperately want to claim it. Oh, well is not an option. The canteen idea is a good one, except that I intend to backpack in a whole bunch of Nalgene bottles full of very hot water and use the heat to thaw the cavity and loose the cache.

 

Warm water from your canteen? Though that would leave more water to freeze for the next finder. Gentle prying? Saying "Oh. Well?"

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Okay, seriously this time. Would salt work? Maybe a little de-icer? I hesitate to mention the de-icer because I'm not a big fan of spraying the great outdoors with chemicals. I'm guessing the slugs are not out this time of year, so maybe salt or a little bit of REALLY salty water.

 

You think salt isn't a chemical? Salt is much more harmful to plants than commercial de-icer products.

Yes, salt isn't good to use around plants. Salt is so harmful, that it has been used in wartime to kill the enemy's farmlands to cause food shortages, etc. :D

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Thanks. I don't really want to get too specific, but for my own reasons I REALLY want to be FTF on this cache. I found it, and now I desperately want to claim it. Oh, well is not an option. The canteen idea is a good one, except that I intend to backpack in a whole bunch of Nalgene bottles full of very hot water and use the heat to thaw the cavity and loose the cache.

 

Warm water from your canteen? Though that would leave more water to freeze for the next finder. Gentle prying? Saying "Oh. Well?"

 

A good quality thermos will allow you to transport very hot water as opposed to just hot water.

 

Also, if you have a portable propane grill (about $20 at some stores) you could heat water on the spot.

Edited by bittsen
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Thanks. I don't really want to get too specific, but for my own reasons I REALLY want to be FTF on this cache. I found it, and now I desperately want to claim it. Oh, well is not an option. The canteen idea is a good one, except that I intend to backpack in a whole bunch of Nalgene bottles full of very hot water and use the heat to thaw the cavity and loose the cache.

:D Is that what this is all about? Getting an FTF? Geeze... I just counted, and there are currently SIX (count 'em... 6) threads on the first page alone about first-to-finds, based on the thread subject alone. This makes seven.

 

OK, I will admit that this one at least seems to have an alterior motive, and I'd love to hear what that is, if I'm right. But I'm starting to think that Groundspeak is missing the boat by not creating a new website: www.firstfinders.com! (hey, it's available!)

Edited by knowschad
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If this is for a FTF, that raises the bar. You might try some C-4 or maybe a small nuclear hand grenade. :):D

 

:D

 

C-4 would work. You just have to figure out the launch angle so that you know where the ammo can is going to land. I wouldn't suggest the nuclear grenade...that heat would melt all the McToys and leave a gooey mess inside the cache. Plus, you'd probably be vaporized and couldn't claim the FTF anyway :D

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That is a really good idea. I have a couple of thermoses and will fill them with boiling water. Then I can transfer the water to Nalgenes and stick them in the holow. Thanks.

 

I have a backpacking stove I can haul in but heating water on the spot will be a last resort.

 

Thanks. I don't really want to get too specific, but for my own reasons I REALLY want to be FTF on this cache. I found it, and now I desperately want to claim it. Oh, well is not an option. The canteen idea is a good one, except that I intend to backpack in a whole bunch of Nalgene bottles full of very hot water and use the heat to thaw the cavity and loose the cache.

 

Warm water from your canteen? Though that would leave more water to freeze for the next finder. Gentle prying? Saying "Oh. Well?"

 

A good quality thermos will allow you to transport very hot water as opposed to just hot water.

 

Also, if you have a portable propane grill (about $20 at some stores) you could heat water on the spot.

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Not only is it an FTF, but the dang thing was placed months ago and I'm the only one so far who has been able to figure out the mystery coordinates. I MUST HAVE THIS CACHE!

 

If this is for a FTF, that raises the bar. You might try some C-4 or maybe a small nuclear hand grenade. :):D

 

:D

 

C-4 would work. You just have to figure out the launch angle so that you know where the ammo can is going to land. I wouldn't suggest the nuclear grenade...that heat would melt all the McToys and leave a gooey mess inside the cache. Plus, you'd probably be vaporized and couldn't claim the FTF anyway :D

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The beer suggestion might work better if my caching name was Dad-n-Andy.

 

Thermite. But you shouldn't listen to a Californian who's never encountered a frozen cache in his life :D

 

I like GOF's beer suggestion best. But you have to time it right, and you might need several people... and I wouldn't want to be the one to retrieve the cache after the ice has melted.

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The beer suggestion might work better if my caching name was Dad-n-Andy.

If you supply the beer, I'm sure there will be many volunteers to be the, erm, hot water bottle. But that wouldn't solve the retrieval problem.

 

I think heating water on the spot would be the best solution, since if you don't have enough water, the water there's going to eventually freeze, making your job of retrieval even harder. Couple of questions - any idea of how much of the ammo can is encased in ice? And if the hollow holds water?

 

The only ideas I can come up with are rather impractical for a cache 2 miles in the woods. It involves a heater and a pump to recirculate water.

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It looks like the bottom and possibly one side of the ammo box are frozen to the wood. I don't think that there is a pool of frozen water in there. I think that in addition to Nalgene bottles of hot water and thermoses of really hot water I'll take a small backpacking stove. There is so much snow now in the area that I can make plenty of hot water that way.

 

The beer suggestion might work better if my caching name was Dad-n-Andy.

If you supply the beer, I'm sure there will be many volunteers to be the, erm, hot water bottle. But that wouldn't solve the retrieval problem.

 

I think heating water on the spot would be the best solution, since if you don't have enough water, the water there's going to eventually freeze, making your job of retrieval even harder. Couple of questions - any idea of how much of the ammo can is encased in ice? And if the hollow holds water?

 

The only ideas I can come up with are rather impractical for a cache 2 miles in the woods. It involves a heater and a pump to recirculate water.

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It looks like the bottom and possibly one side of the ammo box are frozen to the wood. I don't think that there is a pool of frozen water in there. I think that in addition to Nalgene bottles of hot water and thermoses of really hot water I'll take a small backpacking stove. There is so much snow now in the area that I can make plenty of hot water that way.

Sounds like a plan. Good luck with the FTF!

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It looks like the bottom and possibly one side of the ammo box are frozen to the wood. I don't think that there is a pool of frozen water in there. I think that in addition to Nalgene bottles of hot water and thermoses of really hot water I'll take a small backpacking stove. There is so much snow now in the area that I can make plenty of hot water that way.

Sounds like a plan. Good luck with the FTF!

 

Yes, and be sure to log it immediately. :D

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Yes, but it is a mystery cache that no one else has ever been able to solve. And I actually had my hands on the thing. And I've never yet gotten an FTF.

 

Thanks. I don't really want to get too specific, but for my own reasons I REALLY want to be FTF on this cache. I found it, and now I desperately want to claim it. Oh, well is not an option. The canteen idea is a good one, except that I intend to backpack in a whole bunch of Nalgene bottles full of very hot water and use the heat to thaw the cavity and loose the cache.

:D Is that what this is all about? Getting an FTF? Geeze... I just counted, and there are currently SIX (count 'em... 6) threads on the first page alone about first-to-finds, based on the thread subject alone. This makes seven.

 

OK, I will admit that this one at least seems to have an alterior motive, and I'd love to hear what that is, if I'm right. But I'm starting to think that Groundspeak is missing the boat by not creating a new website: www.firstfinders.com! (hey, it's available!)

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Packing in hot water is probably just going to leave you with a bigger block of ice... if not for you than for the next guy. Hot water does freeze faster than cold under some circumstances (so they say). If you use the water method, make sure its very salty or otherwise treated to keep the freezing point below whatever the temp is that day.

 

Personally I'd pack in a package of road salt and cover the exposed parts of the ammo can with it. Things will eventually thaw. Just bring something to push the salt around the crevasses between the cache and the stump and the cache will come out soon enough.

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That is a good point. My intent is to put the bottles of hot water into the hole, touching the metal box, and let the heat melt the ice. I'm thinking of a way to put the cache back to avoid refreezing. Tomorrow's weather is predicted to be about 15F and salt doesn't do much at that temperature anyway.

 

Packing in hot water is probably just going to leave you with a bigger block of ice... if not for you than for the next guy. Hot water does freeze faster than cold under some circumstances (so they say). If you use the water method, make sure its very salty or otherwise treated to keep the freezing point below whatever the temp is that day.

 

Personally I'd pack in a package of road salt and cover the exposed parts of the ammo can with it. Things will eventually thaw. Just bring something to push the salt around the crevasses between the cache and the stump and the cache will come out soon enough.

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It looks like the bottom and possibly one side of the ammo box are frozen to the wood. I don't think that there is a pool of frozen water in there. I think that in addition to Nalgene bottles of hot water and thermoses of really hot water I'll take a small backpacking stove. There is so much snow now in the area that I can make plenty of hot water that way.

Sounds like a plan. Good luck with the FTF!

 

Yes, and be sure to log it immediately. :D

Perhaps you should follow your own advice and grow up.

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ice-chopper and fire.

 

voice of experience.

 

build a fire on it and keep chipping the ice until it's free.

 

Not sure if it'd get you in any trouble in this particular park...but I was thinking of the same. Build a fire in that hollow and it'll melt enough to come out real fast. And if the snow is plentiful, you've got a quick way to put the fire out, too.

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ice-chopper and fire.

 

voice of experience.

 

build a fire on it and keep chipping the ice until it's free.

 

46 responses on how to get something out of a block of ice and finally someone suggests an ice pick.

 

To the OP...good luck on getting this one. Be sure to let us know what cache this is after you've found it. I'm close enough that I could go after it myself and I enjoy a good puzzle cache. Considering the number of good puzzle caches in your area I'm surprised that the FTF has lasted this long.

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