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Is It Kosher To Call Other Cachers For Help?


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I recently saw this cache log:


"After missing this one the first time had trouble locating it today too, but after making calling to Xxxxxxx, Yyyyy & Zzzzzzz for help finally located this one."


Is it considered fair game to call others you see from the logs have found a cache and ask where it is?


I was kind of surprised to see this. I guess the reason it caught my eye is this was a tough find. I spent quite a while on it before I found it. I may have been the hardest one I’ve found (there are a couple I’ve never found). I haven’t yet met any other local cachers, but if I do would it be Kosher to call them to ask where caches are located?

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what's wrong with maintaining a network of friends?

Woops, must have touched a nerve. I didn't mean to make you defensive. I wasn't saying there was anything wrong with asking for the location. I was asking a question. I certainly didn't intend to imply there was something nothing wrong with having friends.

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Interesting RK - your response surprises me -


nothing at all wrong with having all the friends you want -


A posting was recently made on one of my logs that sort of ticked me off -


seeker said he called xxx ("the local call a friend network") and was told where the cache was actually located.


This strikes me as cheeting - why bother with a gps and looking at all - just call someone who already found it and ask them - then go log it and jack your numbers up.


Well Thot, I'm glad you asked the question - cuz that's my thoughts on the subject.

Edited by CompuCash
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I have had people call me before when they were at the cache site. They never asked me specifically where the cache was but they wanted a hint. I've also had cachers at events ask me for hints on a hard cache. I will give vague hints sometimes or just tell them if they were WAY off but never tell them exactly where the cache is. It kind of ruins the hunt if you give them exact locations.

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Actually what your post made me think of was a progression I've gotten to see take place.


I used to live in Kuna near Boise Idaho. As I was moving to Pocatello (I was between cities for many months) a bunch of the local cachers had all met, a few events had taken place and a core group of friends and aquantences grew out of it.


Then Twin Falls where I have a good friend had the same thing happen. Now a year later the start of the same thing is happening in Pocatello where I'm at now.


It's been interesting to see the progression happen in a few different places.


As I answered the question with the "Yes" I was thinking of Twin Falls who probably are the best at using the phone to ask things like "Where the hell did you hide this cache at?" I realized that among other things using the phone like that keeps you in touch and keeping in touch helps maintain a friendship and so not only was it "yes, but yes and that's a good thing".


Of course the entire train of thought didn't fit into one sentance...

Edited by Renegade Knight
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i'v emailed the cache owner once just to find out if i was on the right track well finding a multi cache one of the clues was kind of odd (aka) how meny letters are in this thing on this post (aka) bunny or was it hair or was it rabbit it only asked for the number of letters (aka) 6 or 5 or 4 it turned out i was in the right place just a Geomuggle took off with it darn :anibad:

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I guess I was surprised this person was so forthright about saying they had to ask somebody else. The person is a longtime cacher. This made me wonder if it was considered a common or OK thing to do among cachers who know each other.


Incidentally, I have a friend who entertains two about 10 year orphaned boys every other weekend. I’m expecting to introduce her and the boy to cashing one weekend soon. I thought I’d start with a couple of caches I’ve found. I expect to let them wear themselves out trying to find them, but if they don’t I’ll give more and more explicit hints until the do -- even if it comes to telling them where they are.

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adding to my last post___


(imho) :anibad:

the thing on the post was very miss leading

it was hard to tell what it was (aka)

the cache

as you can see it was moved before

one of the coords took me to someones yard not where the cach was at all the sec one took me to the center of a highway!! the 3 one to me to the cache witch was not there!!!!

(not to say i am a wuss well cacheing that is)

Edited by Charles Iverson
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It is absolutely fine to ask other cachers in the area help/hints on locating a cache.. so long as you dont spoil it completely. I have gotten pretty good at giving hints taht are cryptic enough to make others think but clear enough to be of actual help. If it werent for the assitance of other cachers and hte cache owners, I would have probably been frustrated and given up caching altogether a long time ago.


uhhh.readers digest version: Nuthin wrong with it at all

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I think Leatherman has it right.  It's up to each cacher as to how to play the game, whether to ask, and whether (as well as how) to answer.  It's not my business how or whether someone else finds a cache.

Exactly. If I called a friend for a hint or they called me, we did nothing to ruin someone elses experience in finding the cache.

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I think the only fair thing to do is ask the cache owner for additional hints or further information, not other cachers. However, helping children find a cache you've previously logged is OK with me. Just my opinion.

I agree completely - thanks -


I don't mind giving hints - in fact I have told people EXACTLY where a first step clue was (two stop multi). I have asked for hints to caches myself.


The idea was to get them to the cache not get them all hung up on the first waypoint. The point of the mulit was to get them to the specific parking lot to start the hunt.


But to call up a buddy who has been there and be told where to find the cache just smacks of cheating to me - and like I said - why bother with the gps at all then?

Edited by CompuCash
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I think Leatherman has it right.  It's up to each cacher as to how to play the game, whether to ask, and whether (as well as how) to answer.  It's not my business how or whether someone else finds a cache.

I’m not saying this should be an overriding factor, but the practice can affect others. If it becomes routine for local groups who know each other to ask where caches are that they wouldn’t have found otherwise, other players (including the owner), maybe players from out of the area, don’t get a feel for how hard it is to find. For example, if I see a lot of DNFs I often skip them if I'm caching along a traveling route where I don't have a lot of time to spend looking.


Also, some people are into competing for numbers (finds). Passing the location around among groups who know each other distorts this aspect of the game.


I’m not arguing for these positions, I’m just pointing them out because they came to mind when some people said telling friends the location doesn’t affect others.

Edited by Thot
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I wish I had nearby fellow cachers to call! I've met two cachers on the trail but just know their caching names. I have met and cached with one other cacher, but she's not from this area. So, if I go looking for a cache within 40 miles of here, I'm it! Nobody to call, just find or find not. Of course, if I have my husband or two youngest kids with me (16 and 10), they will find it before I do. :laughing:

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If I notice that someone else has had to call for help, I don't feel so stupid spending time looking for it. If I don't find a cache, I usually try the owners first for a clue or hint. Not hearing from them, I may write the previous finder and ask if I was close to see if posibly the cache has gone missing. I personally would not want to call very often or it might develope a reputation of not being able to find caches.

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There have been a few times while out caching that we have had to revert to calling a friend for advice. That is one reason we carry cell phones. Unfortunately when we have needed it most the friend hasn't been home. I have also been on the receiving end of such calls, though normally they are my caches. I enjoy giving those criptic clues. :blink:

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Just curious, has this question ever come up before?

The question and topic have come up before.


My take? Sure it's okay to call someone.


The level of help yo recieve is up to you. If you need a vague clue, ask for it. If you have been to a cache 5 times and are ready to give up for good, ask for more specifics.


Caches are placed to be found! Even the most clever, cammo'd, microcache is supposed to be found. If it takes a call to eventualy find it, so be it.



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I have "called a friend" and don't feel bad about it at all.......

As someone else said: Caches are meant to be found. It all depends how much of a hint you might want...I know some great people in my area who are just happy to help, without selling the farm. I don't look at GeoCaching as an Olympic Event....it's a hobby, so I want to enjoy it....not be beating my head into a wall too hard.



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I wouldn't contact anyone unless I thought the cache was missing, and then I'd contact the owner to see if I looked in the right place (i.e. if they need to make a maintenance run). If they said, "no, you didn't look in the right place" I wouldn't ask for more information.


I don't see finds as a competition with other people and don't really care if others call a friend, but the number of finds I have gives me a sense of accomplishment and I'd feel like I was cheating myself if someone told me where to find a cache!

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I would not call for help in locating a cache, that is not finding it myself, but someone else finding it.


I got a log where, in a 4 cache multi, someone had found cache 1, could not find cache 2, called someone, still was unable to find cache 2, but went on to cache 3 by the coordinates given to them over the phone, then signed the log in cache 4 as a find. How can it be a find if he did not find it, or find all the caches?

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I was maintaining one cache for some folks that moved out of town. Another cacher contacted me about another one of the owner's caches that needed a lot of help. I'd never found the cache and spent one evening chasing around a rock pile for it. Gave up and left an email note for them call me so I could really find the thing and bring it in for a major overhaul.


Well, I was back out looking for it when two things happened at the same time. I spotted the cache and the phone rang. The caller informed me of where the cache was -- which matched what I was pulling out of the hole in the rocks. I did log that one as I figured I'd really found it before being told where to find it. But there was a backup plan in case I was really stumped.


The fun for me is ferriting it out -- even if it takes multiple trips. Now, there is this one cache that I spent several hours on each of 3 trips trying to find. Found it on the last trip. Went back last week and couldn't find it in the 15 minutes I allotted myself. Guess I'll have to spend some time back there again. Maybe I'll wait until somebody else verifies that it is still there! :rolleyes:

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I won't call from the cache site even if I know my GPS has me in the middle of a vacant lot. I will always e-mail the owner for an extra hint and if we have met or have an agreement to call when I go and try to find that cache again.


I refrain from asking other cachers I know who have found a particular cache that I am seeking fo a clue. Like one of the repies on this post said "It's your game, play it how you see fit". There are no rules against asking for hints and or calling.



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The cachers I know that do that will only call once they've searched and been unable to find the cache. They usually search for quite a while before they throw in the towel.


It's not cheating unless you just flat out decide to call someone before you even go into the area.


Besides, the phone a friend network is particularly useful - especially when someone goes to a multi and a leg somewhere in the middle is missing and you know you have a friend who has that leg's cords.

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Marmetion, if they signed the log, then most cachers will call that a find. After you put the cache out, things are pretty much out of your control. The rules, if there really were any rules, are pretty vague, AFAIK. IMO, logging a find is up to the finder - the hider just put something out to attract seekers, and shouldn't be concerned about how it's found. As soon as this becomes a structured thing, pitting people against other people with strict rules, I'm gone. I do this for the fun of it and for the exercise, not to compete against anyone. Sort of like golf, but closer to being a sane activity.

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Sure...I don't think there's anything wrong with it. I've called a couple of times just to verify coordinates, or to double check on a location - never asked for an outright "where is it", and I've had a few others call me for the same type of information. My feeling is that it's really up to the "hunter", as to how much information they want - if they want an exact location, so be it...it's not much of a find, but it may be a big relief B)



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If the cache is a long way from home and I'm unlikely to go back then I'm more likely to call for help - although I ask for a clue as opposed to "which insert-object-here is it hidden in?"

I am more likely to ask "do I have to wade through 20' high nettles to get to this cache?" if I'm unsure i'm on the right track.

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I have 50 caches placed and alot of them are tough!I get email and calls almost everyday from cachers wanting hints!Many call back more than once to find a cache,I don't mind helping them at all!Isn't this a game about finding caches and just having fun?It sure isn't my desire to see cachers never find my caches!



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I occasionally entertain the idea of putting some special software on a machine and starting a 1-900-GEO-HINT service. Finders could volunteer hints, and seekers could call in with a waypoint and retrieve them, subject to phone charges. Profits would be split with the hint providers.


It's a thought...

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For me, geocaching is the journey. I appreciate if a cache owner sends me a hint after I log a DNF. That's part of the journey, too. If I had to call for a hint (haven't done that yet) again, part of the journey.


If people are honestly describing their personal journey in the logs, then it seems all good to me! That's why DNFs are important. They're not embarassing, they're an important part of the story. Lies and ommisions make for a boring, hollow story.


So I couldn't care less about hints. Attempting good logs is more important.



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It comes down to how everyone plays the game. I have myself called from the field to another cacher who I knew had found this cache and just asked for a clue after five of us had spent more than 45 minutes looking for it. It seemed to be more than 75 feet from where evryone's GPSr's were leading them too. I don't think that we did anything wrong at all. We were not told of the exact location, just a descriptive clue on a certain feature that we needed to concentrate on. It still took another 10 minutes before it was found.


I also called the cache planter of a special cache put out for those reaching their 700th find and had her on the phone while I found the cache. It was exciting for her and for me as I was describing where I was looking for the cache to her and hearing her excitement when I found the cache! That is moment that I will always remember! :blink:


Also having 67 caches placed and being called evil and twisted and diabiolical on some of them, I always get emails and phone calls from fellow cachers who want a clue! I have never told the cachers the exact location to any caches, perferring more of an off wall clue or limmerick or such and the comment I always hear back is... Da#*, it makes since now. But again that might be on there second or third attempt or more. I did have one cacher who begged me to give him the coords to one of my puzzle caches and of course I told him he would have to figure it out on his own and gave him a clue on how to do it. He never did though! ;)


I also get emails and calls from cachers looking for caches other than mine that I have found and again I prefer to give a subtle clue, I would never give them the exact location! Heck, some of those caches took me a few trips and a lot of blood and sweat to find and I certainly don't want to make it easier for them to find. If I suffer so should they! :D


In this sport or hobby or my favorite term, addiction, I have made a lot of friends from all over this state and from towns near and far and am really happy to have such a network of good caching friends!



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View 1: It cheats the owner of the cache out of the sadistic glee of seeing your DNF log on his diabolical hide. It also deprives him of the opportunity to have you beg him for a hint, and deprives him of the choice of whether or not to give it to you. Don't kid yourself - some people enjoy this, and work really hard to make sure you don't have too easy of a time. By cheating, you also cheapen the find for the people who worked HARD to find the cache on their own. Pay your dues, sonny, take it like a man, and log the big purple frownie.


View 2: People often hunt in groups, which often reduces the challenge significantly (one person finds it, everyone logs it), the online logs often contain BIGTIME spoilers, so what's the big dealio? The numbers of finds don't matter and don't mean anything. How can you cheat at a game with no score and where "winning" or "losing" is more about whether or not you had a good time? A 1/1 counts just like a 5/5 - so who's to know and who cares anyway. It's just a game for gosh sakes! Plus friends help each other, isn't that what it's all about?


Take your pick! My observation is that *many* people hold BOTH of these attitudes SIMULTANEOUSLY. They take view 1 when they are the hider, and view 2 when they are the finder. :laughing:

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As mentioned, there are different aspects to getting help.


I personally consider it bad form to ask for spoilers from a previous finder or owner. I also consider it bad form for a previous finder to provide spoilers. I'm talking about flat-out spoilers, not hints.


We've asked for hints before, but only after exhausting everything we've had at our disposal and been on site for a while. It depends on the difficulty rating, too. If we've been on site for a couple of hours and it is rated a 2 or less it could very well be missing.


While many folks, even some have mentioned it here, believe that cache are meant to be found, not everyone holds the notion that all cahes should be found by everyone. You have to realize some caches are just going to flat out whip you. There is nothing that says you have the right to find every cache you attempt. It could be you don't have the equipment to get that hydro or the skills to grab that SCUBA cache. It also could be you're just not smart enough to figure out that puzzle cache or that hideous hide.


In the end, you are the one that has to decide how you want to play the game.

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the online logs often contain BIGTIME spoilers, so what's the big dealio?

I'm not saying this to argue for either side of the main question, but I do think the spoilers in logs are different. My question was about asking for the location from other people you know who've found the cache. The logs are available to everybody, not just to people who know somebody.

Edited by Thot
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I'm not saying this to argue for either side of the main question, but I do think the spoilers in logs are different. My question was about asking for the location from other people you know who've found the cache. The logs are available to everybody, not just to people who know somebody.

OK, I agree with this. I withdraw the point. I was trying to provide the maximum amount of rationalization for both points of view.


My opinion is this:

My caches - I don't care if people give hints or spoilers to their friends on my caches unless there is a significant FTF prize attached to the cache. Once the prize is claimed, they are free to share information. I am happy if people approach my cache with a group, or use friends to help them. For that matter, I'm equally happy if they contact me - I'll give them the same information. I want 'em to be found.


Other's caches - I will not give outright spoilers other people's caches unless I know the person who owns the cache quite well, and know for a fact that they will not mind. I tend to NOT do this anyway, I'd rather give hints because it's more fun for the finder that way. My willingness to give information is based on the difficulty of the cache. I probably would tell someone where a 1/1 was if they asked me - because it might well be missing, and the owner probably didn't intend for it to be a real big challenge. An obvious puzzle, or a 3-5* difficulty, no way am I giving them even a hint unless I have express permission from the owner. I like to be helpful - but it's not my cache and it's not my place to be handing out the solutions to someone else's puzzle.


My own caching behavior - I will log a purple frown and ask the cache owner for a hint. About 1/5 of my attempts will be DNFs. I don't call friends for solutions to caches, but if a friend happens to mention the location of a cache, I will use the information - I'm not going to put it at the bottom of my to-do list for six months until I've forgotten about it.


I make no judgements about other people's behavior in these matters. That's between them, the cache owner, and their friends - it's not my business.

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I would say that if they dont have the {balls} enough to look a lil harder why even play i wouldnt even consider calling someone to ask where it was it takes the fun out of it. I cant even imagine asking for a hint. there have been many that i have looked for but not found eventually i will. (Shrugs) just my 2 cents

Welcome to geocaching!


Not to snipe at you or anything, but you have 3 finds under your account - that's hardly "many". And none of the ones you've logged looked particularly diabolical. (Perhaps this is a new ID and you have lots o' finds under your old ID - if so, my apologies.) They all seem tricky at first - at least that's how it was for me. I applaud your attitude though - very plucky!


I looked for one one time where a local fellow had managed to glue dirt and rocks to a small, round mint tin. This was really well done. When you set it on the ground - it just blended in to near invisibility. It looked like dirt. It was amazing camo. There was enough tree cover nearby to make GPSr reception uncertain, so you couldn't really zero in on where it was. That one took me 3 attempts - the final time I obtained a PHOTO of the container from the owner, and it was still pretty hard to spot, at least for me. In fact the photo didn't really help. I never found it visually until I was right on top of it - I thought about how the cache owner would find it to check on it, and that led me close enough to it to find it.


That would be the type of cache where people used "lifelines..."

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