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After tragic death of experienced geocacher - what needs to change?

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As some of you might have heard already, one of our most experienced geocachers in Dresden, Germany, died this week while caching. The tragedy is too enormous to find the right words - he was only 21, shared an account with his family, was a very likeable guy, and died while attempting a cache that does not look all that dangerous. But unfortunately it was.

 

I will try to add some more facts below, and then would like to hear ideas from the collective wisdom of cachers of what we can do to try and avoid such a tragedy ever happening again. Let's please try to keep this thread just for this purpose, I specifically post this here and in English since I don't want it to mix with the sorrow and shock of our local community. But I can't stop thinking how we can avoid this in the future.

 

Some of the facts:

- together with his family, he had found almost 5000 caches and hidden more than 100

- cachers who know him much better than me describe him as a level-headed, rational guy who did NOT take crazy risks

- the cache listing (GC37G4T) looks not very dangerous - it's a district heating bridge over a small river that one had to climb on (D2/T3.5)

- he most likely slipped and fell into the shallow river below.

- most chillingly, while reading the 34 found logs, I discovered these: Cacher1: "Ich starre schön auf mein gps Radar und höre plötzlich Cacher2 von hinten quicken.da war mein fuss schon über dem nicht vorhandenem Gitter...kleiner schreck aber Cache gefunden." ("I'm staring nicely at my gps and suddenly hear cacher2 squeak from behind. At that moment my foot was already above the non-existing grid...small scare but cache found.") ---- Cacher2: "Das hätte ins auge gehn können!der Cacher1 wäre fast in die tiefe gefallen!zum glück war da noch eine querstrebe!dose sehr schnell gefunden!" ("This could almost have gone wrong. Cacher1 almost fell down into the deep! Luckily there was this other crossbar! Container found very quickly!")

 

Ultimately, I think we all agree that each and every one of us is responsible for the risks we take while caching ourselves and there is an inherent risk in anything we do in this life, including caching. However, I think we also have a responsability towards fellow cachers when we see and identify a (maybe not so obvious) risk to WARN THEM. Like the cachers did above in a way...in a log that was quickly lost in the stream of other logs.

 

My personal idea/opinion is to add a new section to every cache: "Warnings:" where specific warnings can be added to not only by the cache owner but by every cacher. A boiler plate warning just doesnt do since most of us would quickly glance over it soon. We should be quick and honest about health risks we see with a particular cache, without fear of spoilering or not - nothing is more valuable than human life and if it means more spoilers and warnings on the cache pages, so be it.

 

But this is only my own personal idea, and I hope that there are tons of others out there so we can do our part to help make sure that no other parents or children ever have to receive such a devastating message like his family did here in Dresden this week.

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First let me express condolences.

 

Looking at the cache page in a translator, it looks like the cache was properly rated and described.

 

Sometimes unfortunate accidents occur.

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Not to sound insensitive, but people need to take responsibility for their own safety and know their limits. Plain and simple. It shouldn't be up to Groundspeak or a reviewer to decide if a cache is too dangerous or not.

 

Accidents happen, and this is a tragic one. I don't think anything needs to change. There will always be extreme or dangerous caches. It's up to the finders to decide if the reward outweighs the risk.

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That's a sad story :(

 

A "warnings" section in the listing would only have helped in this case (it seems) if it could be updated by finders, not just the CO. But letting finders write to a hate-wall, which is what it would become, is just asking for angsty trouble, so I don't think that's ever going to happen.

 

Responsibility for correctly describing and rating the cache rests with the CO. I should think the unfortunate owner of this bridge cache will never let a warning in a log pass unnoticed again.

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what needs to change?

From the cache hiding / cache page creation standpoint, I would say "Nothing". The system works. In the log you referenced, it seems that the real danger wasn't the bridge or the river below, but rather, basic inattention. It appears that Cacher1 had his/her nose buried in his/her GPS instead of watching where they walked. Doing something like that while walking down a quiet sidewalk might be perfectly safe. Doing so while in an elevated position over water is a really bad idea.

 

In this case, the only relevant warning that could be added to the cache page would be, "Pay Attention As You Cross Bridge". Such a warning should be unnecessary for anyone smart enough to operate a GPS. I suppose you could also add warnings such as "Water Below", or, "Elevated", but these two warnings would be redundant, as anyone seeking the cache would realize this before they got to the cache.

 

I will agree that this was a tragic death, and I feel for his friends and family, however I don't see that adding warnings to the cache page would have changed anything. Walking can be a dangerous thing if you don't watch where you put your feet.

 

I see the owner opted to archive the cache. Not sure I would have, though I haven't been put in that position, thank Gaia. Most of the caches I own are ones which could very easily result in a cacher being killed by various hazards, which I try to point out on the page. I doubt the Internet is big enough for me to list every conceivable hazard which could exist.

 

My condolences.

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Sorry to hear this. :(

 

I don't quite understand what was involved to get to the cache. To cross a bridge? It sounds not particularly dangerous. If however, cachers were encouraged to do something unecessarily risky I would hope that concerned cachers would email the CO and hopefully the CO move the cache.

 

There are a number of caches in our area where the caches are in an unecessarily dangerous spot. One where a moment of inattention could bring tragedy and where there are many safer places to put a cache. I've often wondered what could be done. If I feel unsafe, I generally stop looking, but also understand how hard it is to pass the smilie by when you're so close. In 3 of these cases, I expressed my concern in my log, but nobody seemed to be interested. Followed up on 1 with an email to our reviewer and was basically told it was a listing service and nothing could be done unless alot of cachers complained.

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From the cache hiding / cache page creation standpoint, I would say "Nothing". The system works. In the log you referenced, it seems that the real danger wasn't the bridge or the river below, but rather, basic inattention. It appears that Cacher1 had his/her nose buried in his/her GPS instead of watching where they walked.

 

I guess the cache where the accident happened cannot be compared with walking along a side walk or crossing a bridge. It appears that one had to climb up a ladder (which serve for maintenance purposes and not as a playground for people who are bored and for cachers) and reach a location where people are not supposed to go. There are certainly much more dangerous caches around, but still these locations are dangerous if sone slips for whatever reason.

 

I agree however that warnings in the cache description would not have changed anything at all. It will never be possible to avoid tragic accidents, but it could help if cachers spend a few minutes to think about potential risks before they go for caches. This should certainly include to think about what happens if not all goes well. In my area there are several bridge caches (none of them T5) where I would not be surprised if sometimes a cacher gets killed or seriously injured.

 

Cezanne

Edited by cezanne

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My personal idea/opinion is to add a new section to every cache: "Warnings:" where specific warnings can be added to not only by the cache owner but by every cacher. A boiler plate warning just doesnt do since most of us would quickly glance over it soon. We should be quick and honest about health risks we see with a particular cache, without fear of spoilering or not - nothing is more valuable than human life and if it means more spoilers and warnings on the cache pages, so be it.

There's a lot of overlap here with a pre-existing feature - cache attributes. People already make poor use of this feature, so I doubt that these extra "warnings" would be utilized properly or at all.

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My personal idea/opinion is to add a new section to every cache: "Warnings:" where specific warnings can be added to not only by the cache owner but by every cacher. A boiler plate warning just doesnt do since most of us would quickly glance over it soon. We should be quick and honest about health risks we see with a particular cache, without fear of spoilering or not - nothing is more valuable than human life and if it means more spoilers and warnings on the cache pages, so be it.

There's a lot of overlap here with a pre-existing feature - cache attributes. People already make poor use of this feature, so I doubt that these extra "warnings" would be utilized properly or at all.

 

I quite agree with you. This is the missing danger-yes.gif, but had this attribut change everything? I think many accidents are caused by people who feel too safe. The only positive factor of this accident, I hope more and more people ask yourself "What am I doing here?".

 

My condolences to willimax.

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Definitely a tragedy but to many times society overreacted to a single incident worth an unnecessary change. Each cacher scripts responsibility for what they do. No need for change.

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I hope more and more people ask yourself "What am I doing here?".

Wise words. I've asked myself that exact question a good number of times while deciding whether to go after a cache. And I've often decided that getting that smiley just isn't worth the risk.

 

Be careful out there, folks!

 

--Larry

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Definitely a tragedy but to many times society overreacted to a single incident worth an unnecessary change. Each cacher scripts responsibility for what they do. No need for change.

 

I am so sorry to hear about this tragic loss, especially so close to the holiday season. My condolences to the willimax family, and the local Geocaching community. I don't know about an over reaction, the OP is just throwing out an idea, and looking for others. I have to say I don't like the idea of a "warning board" that the Cache owner or others could post to. I wish I had a better suggestion, but I don't.

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I have more to add but this needs to get posted early in this discussion:

 

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Cache seekers assume all risks involved in seeking a cache.

 

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Geocaching, hiking, backpacking and other outdoor activities involve risk to both persons and property. There are many variables including, but not limited to, weather, fitness level, terrain features and outdoor experience, that must be considered prior to seeking or placing a Cache. Be prepared for your journey and be sure to check the current weather and conditions before heading outdoors. Always exercise common sense and caution.In no way shall Groundspeak Inc. nor any agent, officer, employee or volunteer administrator of Groundspeak Inc., be liable for any direct, indirect, punitive, or consequential damages arising out of, or in any way connected with the use of this website or use of the information contained within.

 

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My condolences to his family and friends. :sad:

 

Definitely a tragedy but to many times society overreacted to a single incident worth an unnecessary change. Each cacher scripts responsibility for what they do. No need for change.

No so fast. When serious accidents or fatalities happen there is an opportunity to examine the sequence of events leading up to the incident that could possibly be used to prevent future incidents of the same type/severity.

 

 

I am so sorry to hear about this tragic loss, especially so close to the holiday season. My condolences to the willimax family, and the local Geocaching community. I don't know about an over reaction, the OP is just throwing out an idea, and looking for others. I have to say I don't like the idea of a "warning board" that the Cache owner or others could post to. I wish I had a better suggestion, but I don't.

 

Skimming the thread, at first I liked the idea that the OP proposed in his post, but when I went back to that post by I! and his/her completed thought matched mine. Frankly, a written warnings section that users can use might open Groundspeak and the CO to liability. Especially if that section could be edited by the CO, Groundspeak, or a volunteer. It's a legal can of worms from my perspective.

 

The Groundspeak disclaimer, online log, and attributes seem to be adequate for the physical experience...

 

However, and I have been thinking about this for some time, perhaps there needs to be more organized safety information available to users. Perhaps a Caching/Hiking safety discussion forum and a weekly safety message on the various Groundspeak media like facebook, twitter, the email newsletter, blogs, & youtube channel.

 

There is a technique called inescapable messaging that can raise safety awareness amongst users of this site without fundamentally changing anything about the process of hiding and finding caches.

 

That's just off the top of my head. Does anyone else see it that way? :unsure:

Edited by Snoogans

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I am going to stick with over reaction. First question is how many people have gone to this cache without falling off? It looks like hundreds (I got tired of paging down) It is very common to take a singular incident (without looking over the whole situation) and propose a change to address just that without considering the ramifications. The law of unintended consequences applies here.

 

I remember going to a presentation where a man wanted my organization to support 4 way cross bars at train crossings. His son was several cars back at a crossing where the two bars were down and people were waiting. He drove into the oncoming lane, around the dropped cross bar and got to the tracks at the same time as the train. Horrible tragedy but do we need a big change to prevent people from making mistakes.

 

Over and over you can see laws passed when someone suffers a tragedy and a friend/relative wants to "see that this doesn't happen again."

 

So let's not consider some change that affects the whole community over one person's mistake.

 

It looks like in this case nothing needs to change.

Edited by Walts Hunting

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I agree with snoogans' idea that caching/hiking/safety thing should be put out there. There are lots of cachers who lack knowledge in the hiking/safety area and since that is a big part of this hobby... it just makes sense. And lots of people don't necessarily know what their limits are or how to recognize them or blatantly ignore their limits. I know I did on one cache and never will again and am just happy that all of us survived doing it. Finding the preform in a pile of rocks was not worth it.

 

While it may not have prevented this issue as meddling on urban infrastructure is a beast unto itself, it may cause other people to be a little more aware of what they are doing and teach them how to gauge the risk that is involved for themselves.

 

In the end it's going to be on the finder to determine if this is a cache that they are safe doing. So it would be of benefit to educate finders.

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Considering how many people cache without even looking at the cache page (they just load coordinates and go) it is not going to do much good to put another warning on the cache page. We have a cache near a sinkhole with walls that drop 300 feet straight down, there is no fence around this hole. There was 1 cacher who almost walked into the pit because he was so intent on his GPSr. And what about people who use cell-phones to cache, they just get the coordinates and go.

 

Warnings only work if people actually read them.

 

I vote no change.

 

John

Edited by 2oldfarts (the rockhounders)

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I am going to stick with over reaction. First question is how many people have gone to this cache without falling off? It looks like hundreds (I got tired of paging down) It is very common to take a singular incident (without looking over the whole situation) and propose a change to address just that without considering the ramifications. The law of unintended consequences applies here.

 

I remember going to a presentation where a man wanted my organization to support 4 way cross bars at train crossings. His son was several cars back at a crossing where the two bars were down and people were waiting. He drove into the oncoming lane, around the dropped cross bar and got to the tracks at the same time as the train. Horrible tragedy but do we need a big change to prevent people from making mistakes.

 

Over and over you can see laws passed when someone suffers a tragedy and a friend/relative wants to "see that this doesn't happen again."

 

So let's not consider some change that affects the whole community over one person's mistake.

 

It looks like in this case nothing needs to change.

 

In spirit, I want to agree with you. I certainly don't think you are wrong-headed in your conclusion.

 

However, upping the message of personal safety, security, and preparedness couldn't hurt one bit. It would not fundamentally change how the system works. Common sense is neither common nor a sense. It is a learned behavior that comes over time and experience.

 

The cacher who died was 21yo. I can only speak for my own experience at 21.... My sense of personal risk/danger was several orders of magnitude lower at that age and I can recount several times where I could have ended my life or been seriously injured as a result. What changed was my exposure to safety info and learning from other's mistakes as well as my own.

Edited by Snoogans

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I don't wanna add too much, since I hope other people can come up with more (and better) suggestions. Just some thoughts:

 

- I can definitely follow the train of thought of not overreacting (in fact, I hate the impulse of politicians to shout for tougher laws whenever some crime happens). On the other hand, it's also obvious that even subtle change will be met with heavy resistance, if people think something "just works". Here something did NOT work, in the most terrible way.

- adding some defined place in a cache listing that outlines specific dangers with a cache that might only get noticed over time does not seem like a major change in the game to me. More like common sense - every guidebook usually has a "Dangers and Annoyances" section.

- now these warnings get lost in the logs, in the cache description (if the owner is aware), in attributes, in a general disclaimer, or maybe not even posted at all. However, I believe it only takes a small change in attitude in the community, how often do we post "logbook wet"...wouldnt it make sense to warn other cachers if we notice a danger lurking with a cache?

- Maybe a special log type could raise awareness. Like "Needs maintenance" or "SBA" - "Warning". Just another idea.

- I don't care about Groundspeak's liability, they have enough money to figure it out.

- we all like to think that we use common sense at all times. But I think most of us have done stupid things while caching, or maybe even just risky ones...that might not seem so smart in hindsight. Having a concrete warning about a cache in the back of our head reduces this behaviour, I think - at least should make us more aware.

- talking about people who only use coordinates and dont read ANY cache description is a non-argument, since we cannot reach them anyway. I think they are a small minority.

- @Walts_Hunting: 34 cachers found the cache before, one of which apparently almost fell as well. They did note this in the log.

 

Finally, The_Incredibles really illustrated well that there is a communication problem when it comes to communicating dangers:

There are a number of caches in our area where the caches are in an unecessarily dangerous spot. One where a moment of inattention could bring tragedy and where there are many safer places to put a cache. I've often wondered what could be done. If I feel unsafe, I generally stop looking, but also understand how hard it is to pass the smilie by when you're so close. In 3 of these cases, I expressed my concern in my log, but nobody seemed to be interested. Followed up on 1 with an email to our reviewer and was basically told it was a listing service and nothing could be done unless alot of cachers complained.

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Anybody that needs a warning on the cache page to warn them of danger rather than looking at the real-life situation laid out before them when they are approaching the cache site is probably not going to be helped by either. If I am caching, and I come to a bridge, I am going to access for myself whether or not crossing it looks safe or not. I might make a mistake in that assessment, but that's life (and death). Besides, what is perfectly safe for one cacher might be totally unsafe for another. How can the cache owner, or Groundspeak, make that determination?

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- I don't care about Groundspeak's liability, they have enough money to figure it out.

 

You should if you like to geocache using this listing service, but that's not why I posted about it. I'm more concerned, as a cache owner, about my own:

 

Individual geocaches are owned by the person(s) who physically placed the geocache and/or submitted the geocache listing to geocaching.com.

 

I certainly don't wanna get sued if someone were to die doing one of my caches.

 

Plus, I like this listing service. It's the best one around. I'd hate to see them embroiled in a legal battle that takes funds away from the development of this site.

 

Awareness is the key here. Without going out to the site and interviewing witnesses to see exactly what went wrong, helping users be more aware of personal safety is the way to go in the absence of proof that the system is flawed and the cause of this fatality.

 

All I have to go on are this thread and the cache page. I don't see fault with the system in what is available to me here... But I DO see a need to step up awareness and not just as a knee jerk because of this unfortunate and sad occurance.

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My condolences as well to his family and friends. Sure, I'm a noob to the sport so I do try to pay extra attention to reading descriptions, looking at attributes and reading logs before setting out. I suppose when you have 5000 finds under your belt, you get a little too comfortable with your skills and may not read everything. Unfortunately, I can see this sort of tragedy even happening in your city caches...reading a GPS, step out in front of a car, or other ground hazards. I think other than the CO maybe posting any possible warnings that they know of in the description, I can't see what more can be done. The terrain level also gives you and idea of difficulty and that caution may be needed. It's up to us cache hunters to keep ourselves safe and maybe take a pass on some caches.

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I don't wanna add too much, since I hope other people can come up with more (and better) suggestions. Just some thoughts:

 

- I can definitely follow the train of thought of not overreacting (in fact, I hate the impulse of politicians to shout for tougher laws whenever some crime happens). On the other hand, it's also obvious that even subtle change will be met with heavy resistance, if people think something "just works". Here something did NOT work, in the most terrible way.

- adding some defined place in a cache listing that outlines specific dangers with a cache that might only get noticed over time does not seem like a major change in the game to me. More like common sense - every guidebook usually has a "Dangers and Annoyances" section.

- now these warnings get lost in the logs, in the cache description (if the owner is aware), in attributes, in a general disclaimer, or maybe not even posted at all. However, I believe it only takes a small change in attitude in the community, how often do we post "logbook wet"...wouldnt it make sense to warn other cachers if we notice a danger lurking with a cache?

- Maybe a special log type could raise awareness. Like "Needs maintenance" or "SBA" - "Warning". Just another idea.

- I don't care about Groundspeak's liability, they have enough money to figure it out.

- we all like to think that we use common sense at all times. But I think most of us have done stupid things while caching, or maybe even just risky ones...that might not seem so smart in hindsight. Having a concrete warning about a cache in the back of our head reduces this behaviour, I think - at least should make us more aware.

- talking about people who only use coordinates and dont read ANY cache description is a non-argument, since we cannot reach them anyway. I think they are a small minority.

- @Walts_Hunting: 34 cachers found the cache before, one of which apparently almost fell as well. They did note this in the log.

 

Finally, The_Incredibles really illustrated well that there is a communication problem when it comes to communicating dangers:

There are a number of caches in our area where the caches are in an unecessarily dangerous spot. One where a moment of inattention could bring tragedy and where there are many safer places to put a cache. I've often wondered what could be done. If I feel unsafe, I generally stop looking, but also understand how hard it is to pass the smilie by when you're so close. In 3 of these cases, I expressed my concern in my log, but nobody seemed to be interested. Followed up on 1 with an email to our reviewer and was basically told it was a listing service and nothing could be done unless alot of cachers complained.

 

Yes, PLEASE, protect me from myself! :ph34r:

 

John

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No matter how much safety awareness you do, people are still going to die. Thats the truth.

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- Maybe a special log type could raise awareness. Like "Needs maintenance" or "SBA" - "Warning". Just another idea.

 

I like that simple idea of a "Warning" log type. If there were lots of "Found" logs that I didn't want to read thru, I can look for just the "Warning" log to see what others may have found to be worth watching out for.

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Anybody that needs a warning on the cache page to warn them of danger rather than looking at the real-life situation laid out before them when they are approaching the cache site is probably not going to be helped by either. If I am caching, and I come to a bridge, I am going to access for myself whether or not crossing it looks safe or not. I might make a mistake in that assessment, but that's life (and death). Besides, what is perfectly safe for one cacher might be totally unsafe for another. How can the cache owner, or Groundspeak, make that determination?

 

 

True, one infamous, but now archived NJ cache was on the support beams of an abandoned RR bridge about 30 feet above a shallow, rocky river. A fall would likely be fatal or at least cause serious injury Some people took one look and turned around, some used a climbing harness and safety equipment to reach the cache and others fearlessly walked out on a narrow beam almost like a tight rope walker. Everybody has different skill levels and threshold for what is dangerous.

 

It's up to every individual to decide for themselves what constitutes an acceptable risk. And sometimes no matter what you do, accidents happen. Someone triped and fractured his skull and spent 5 days in the hospital while hunting a cache of mine on fairly easy terrain. Had he hit his head the wrong way, who know, it might have been fatal.

 

Groundspeak and cache owners can't control that stuff.

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This hobby can be dangerous and individuals have to take responsibility toback out when uncomfortable. I have done it a few (very few) times and understand how hard it can be. I am one of those who has probably not read the page before going to get it (I rarely do).

 

The habit of looking at the arrow instead of the surroundings is certainly a problem and one that many do (especially noobs). I was showing a noob this hobby and he looked down at his arrow and walked past a not very well camo'd 55 gallon drum (Australion Micro) before I told him to look up.

 

Adding something to the page will only reach a very small amount of people. Most CO's seem to place adequate descriptions about danger. I occassionally read them after a close experience. There are also those who want to do dangerous ones. The below series is probably one of the most difficult and since they are on the wrong coast I probably won't get a shot at them but the logs are fun.

 

http://www.geocaching.com/bookmarks/view.aspx?guid=7252c36e-5c51-43e5-9c9c-f65dc0d28de0

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No matter how much safety awareness you do, people are still going to die. Thats the truth.

 

It's not what you say... It's how you say it.

 

As individual cacher behavior changes, so does the culture. When a minority embraces the message of safety and they reinforce it, a majority will follow in time.

 

I would rather expend the effort to try to change the safety culture of geocaching and not ever know how many lives/serious injuries were prevented rather than leave the status quo and tally up the infrequent broken bones, and almost unheard of death(s).

 

There was a death awhile back that involved a cacher having a heart attack and then falling into a ravine. No determination could be made if it was geocaching related. (Perhaps he didn't know his limitations.)

 

There was a death (fall from a cliff?) in recent memory that to my knowledge couldn't be attributed directly to geocaching either even though that cacher was on a hike that included stopping at a few caches.

 

This is the first time in my memory that the death of a cacher was attributed to the conditions at/near a cache. Rather than blame the dead guy, why not examine the culture? What could it hurt?

 

Like my own forum sig line, this comes off as a joke, but it sadly turns out to be true more often than we would like to laugh at:

 

geotfocusl.jpg

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There was a death (fall from a cliff?) in recent memory that to my knowledge couldn't be attributed directly to geocaching either even though that cacher was on a hike that included stopping at a few caches.

 

 

Search "Dishman Hills Natural Area" in this forum and you will find more info about it.

Edited by SwineFlew

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I don't see the problem with having a special section for describing risk or precautions to take when seeking a cache. Sure you can't force people to use a safety harness, wear a helmet, or go with somebody to spot them. But you certainly can indicate on the cache page that special equipment or training is recommended. I thinks some accidents occur when someone arrives at ground zero unprepared. They may think that they've come this far and aren't going to leave without the cache. Letting someone know that a cache requires more preparation could help.

 

If a cache requires special equipment it is given a terrain rating of 5.

Most people know that before attempting a terrain 5 cache they need to prepare. What happens when a cache can be retrieved without special equipment but it is still a good idea to have safety equipment or another person to help? These caches aren't given a terrain rating of 5 and someone now attempts the cache without taking the appropriate precautions. What can we do like a terrain rating of 5 that will serve as a flag that a cache needs special preparation?

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I generally agree in a how-I-conduct-my-own-life sense that it's best for people to be responsible for their own judgments about what is and isn't safe for them.

 

As far as liability goes... my best guess is that that issue would likely only rear its ugly head in a situation where a) someone gets seriously hurt, while b ) searching for a geocache, that c) was hidden on a structure for which no permission was explicitly granted, and that d) it would be hard to assume implicitly either. And I think the owner of the structure would probably have to be a party to the action in some way, for it to have teeth.

 

To be sure there are arguments against - personal responsibility, the stock disclaimer 'you assume all risks' etc. - it's not a slam dunk. But at first glance I wouldn't be particularly psyched about defending a case in which a geocacher fell to his death hunting a cache attached to the underside of a bridge owned by a government that most definitely did not grant permission, and published by a listing authority that in the past has made clear that it can and will scrutinize satellite photos.

 

That said, I could be totally off my rocker. Have any of the rogue bungee jumping companies that illegally set up jumps off of bridges / etc. ever had a situation where a client got seriously injured (or worse)? If so, I wonder what their ultimate liability was, as it pertains to the entity that owns the structure.

 

ETA - Changing item 'b' from a stupid smiley with sunglasses to an actual b-parenthesis

Edited by addisonbr

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Everyone evaluates risks differently. That is why some people eagerly summit mount Everest, and some don't.

 

Asking another cacher to define risk is a best effort activity. Sometimes it takes a group of peers to average risk and a difficulty and terrain grading is changed.

 

You can't Nerf the world.

 

No one wants to die doing this, use your common sense and leave one smiley unclaimed if it means many more years of gathering others.

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people need to exercise common sense.

 

Ding Ding Ding - we have a winner.

 

I have a problem with this attitude because it blames the victim.

 

Sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes, things happen. There may be no one to blame, or maybe the thing that you climb on was broken and it was to blame. Things go wrong all the time, and it could have happened to any of us.

 

I'm really sorry this did happen.

 

There are many dangerous caches out there that a lot of people really like doing.

 

Recently I found a 4 terrain cache that was on the side of a cliff. When I got there, there was two people walking away from it because they decided it was beyond their abilities.

Me and my friend found it. It could have gone wrong, we could have slid down that hillside very easily, The next person could slide down. It can happen.

 

We all decide what risks to take.

 

Crossing the street is dangerous too. Sometimes you get hit by a car.

Things happen.

Life is not safe.

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The cache was archived with a note that said something to the effect of, "after this accident it would be immoral for us to continue this cache."

 

We've always thought we would not want own a cache such as this precisely because we would never want to be in the situation that the cache owners are in.

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very sad story indeed :(

 

however, based on your own comment ....

 

- cachers who know him much better than me describe him as a level-headed, rational guy who did NOT take crazy risks

 

...looks like he figured he can handle the situation but unfortunately something went wrong...there is nothing anyone can do to prevent the "something went wrong"

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True, one infamous, but now archived NJ cache was on the support beams of an abandoned RR bridge about 30 feet above a shallow, rocky river. A fall would likely be fatal or at least cause serious injury Some people took one look and turned around, some used a climbing harness and safety equipment to reach the cache and others fearlessly walked out on a narrow beam almost like a tight rope walker. Everybody has different skill levels and threshold for what is dangerous.

 

It's up to every individual to decide for themselves what constitutes an acceptable risk. And sometimes no matter what you do, accidents happen. Someone triped and fractured his skull and spent 5 days in the hospital while hunting a cache of mine on fairly easy terrain. Had he hit his head the wrong way, who know, it might have been fatal.

 

Groundspeak and cache owners can't control that stuff.

 

Yep. Even I made it out on the bridge. And I have a severe fear of heights. Took a look. It was not easily findable, so I logged my DNF. Saw the photos, and never returned. I am responsible for myself.

The modern world seems to have 'entitlement'. It's your fault if I'm stupid.

I assess the possibilities. If I don't like what I see, I leave. That is my responsibility.

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Someday, someone is going to learn a hard lesson about attractive nuisances.

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We've always thought we would not want own a cache such as this precisely because we would never want to be in the situation that the cache owners are in.

 

I have quite a few caches in the 5 star range in both terrain and difficulty. Most are not strictly in that range 100% of the time, because 90 to 120 days a year they are not covered in several feet of snow, but even then the altitude and terrain are major factors in the 3 to 4 star range. I leave them in the higher range because I want folks to be prepared. At a couple of my caches there are drops of 80 to 100 feet that would be deadly falls to someone not paying attention.

 

I would archive any cache that was in any way involved in a fatality, but I wouldn't take responsibility. Just because I placed a cache and was able to get it published that doesn't make me responsible for the change of conditions at the cache site or the manner in which the fatally injured party(s) chose to approach it.

 

Heck, I almost archived a cache that a couple of cachers got escorted to at gunpoint, because they failed to heed the warnings about surrounding private property that I clearly posted on the page.

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very sad story indeed :(

 

however, based on your own comment ....

 

- cachers who know him much better than me describe him as a level-headed, rational guy who did NOT take crazy risks

 

...looks like he figured he can handle the situation but unfortunately something went wrong...there is nothing anyone can do to prevent the "something went wrong"

 

We can't reach back into the past, but we can learn from it and possibly prevent a future "something went wrong"

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people need to exercise common sense.

 

Ding Ding Ding - we have a winner.

 

Common sense comes from figuring things out on your own? Learning from others isn't worth anything?

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people need to exercise common sense.

 

Ding Ding Ding - we have a winner.

 

Common sense comes from figuring things out on your own? Learning from others isn't worth anything?

Maybe it's just me, but I like to learn from other people's mistakes in matters that might inflict injury to me. It saves me the pain. :anibad:

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- Maybe a special log type could raise awareness. Like "Needs maintenance" or "SBA" - "Warning". Just another idea.

 

I like that simple idea of a "Warning" log type. If there were lots of "Found" logs that I didn't want to read thru, I can look for just the "Warning" log to see what others may have found to be worth watching out for.

 

Warning logs like that would serve to keep some people away from the cache while attracting others. I think you'd very quickly see the law of unintended circumstances in action.

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- Maybe a special log type could raise awareness. Like "Needs maintenance" or "SBA" - "Warning". Just another idea.

 

I like that simple idea of a "Warning" log type. If there were lots of "Found" logs that I didn't want to read thru, I can look for just the "Warning" log to see what others may have found to be worth watching out for.

 

Warning logs like that would serve to keep some people away from the cache while attracting others. I think you'd very quickly see the law of unintended circumstances in action.

 

I don't think that warnings on the cache page will make a hill of beans of difference as many people don't read the cache page or past logs because of being wary of spoilers or what not.

 

I still fall back to that the onus must be on the finder to have the ability to make a decision about what to look for and what not to look for. If you go back to Snoogans' original idea about educating people generally speaking about hiking and like activities here you'd have a better chance of people making healthy choices if one wanted to be educated on that stuff.

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The accident was unfortunate, but what is one to do, Stay home and hide under the bed?

If you walk down enough sidewalks long enough, you will get hit by a falling piano.

Every morning you wake up and take your chance on survival.

Some take more chances than others.

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very sad story indeed :(

 

however, based on your own comment ....

 

- cachers who know him much better than me describe him as a level-headed, rational guy who did NOT take crazy risks

 

...looks like he figured he can handle the situation but unfortunately something went wrong...there is nothing anyone can do to prevent the "something went wrong"

 

We can't reach back into the past, but we can learn from it and possibly prevent a future "something went wrong"

 

meh...you can't change fate

 

you could do something dangerous every day for 20 years without incident, one day against all odds and logic something goes horribly wrong

 

i am talking here about situations were there's responsible people involved, as the victim seems to have been

Edited by t4e

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very sad story indeed :(

 

however, based on your own comment ....

 

- cachers who know him much better than me describe him as a level-headed, rational guy who did NOT take crazy risks

 

...looks like he figured he can handle the situation but unfortunately something went wrong...there is nothing anyone can do to prevent the "something went wrong"

 

We can't reach back into the past, but we can learn from it and possibly prevent a future "something went wrong"

 

meh...you can't change fate

 

you could do something dangerous every day for 20 years without incident, one day against all odds and logic something goes horribly wrong

 

i am talking here about situations were there's responsible people involved, as the victim seems to have been

 

I suppose if you consider texting while driving fate.

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