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Should I Disable My Cache?


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I recently placed a cache on Skyline Ridge above Stevens Pass Skyline the Top and placed a M10coin and a WA Geocoin. Cacher from Portland OR drove up and was very fortunate to not hurt himself seriously or worse. I've added a avalanche warning and updated the ratings to a 5-5. What is the consensus on this cache? I don't feel its abnormally dangerous in the winter, but then I've hiked this area many times in the winter and know the area well. I'd hate for someone inexperienced to go up there and get hurt or need to be rescued. I know there are many dangerous caches, so where does my responsibility lie? Should I add more warnings or do you think I've covered it well enough?

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well, I'd leave it up and running. Maybe I would move some key points to the body of the cache page so it doesn' t get pushed down as people find it. Perhaps put taht text in red or at least bold.


Dandog and Cache Ahead have disabled their caches in the winter. It's your choice. I personally would leave it running as some people like that element of danger and it should be up to the person to make choices about whether to go for it or not. The geo site has a disclaimer that covers situations if somebody should get hurt.

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There are a few people that are able and willing to handle just about anything. There are a great deal of people who are willing beyond their ablities. Then there are those of us who have been there and recognize our limits. I don't know how you instill that in others, but it is their responsibility to know themselves and what they can and cannot do.


I place this disclaimer on most my caches pages and hope people stop and think before they dive headlong into something they shouldn't: "Cache seekers assume all risks and responsibilities involved in seeking this and any cache."

"May also encounter HOT coffee ~D (which may be HOT) while driving to and from cache." :o


I'd leave it up for the rare few to enjoy when they determine for themselves that it is safe.


I do not mean to imply that this cacher is not able as he is willing, it is to his credit that he turned around. Part of being able is figuring out conditions and dangers before you get to the point of no return. If you do get yourself in over your head you can only blame yourself.


Yes, I think your big red warning is fitting. Always a good idea to warn of any dangers you see. But it is the cache seekers responsiblity to proceed or not. After all, there are those who should not do it even in summer.

Edited by EraSeek
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If a cache is physically possible to do, I don't think it should be disabled. Everyone has their own idea on how and when they like to cache.


I get frustrated when a cache is open in the spring, but the owner isn't on top of it and it's still disabled. I think it just makes more work for the cache owner, and an irritating cross-out in the cache page.

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After all, there are those who should not do it even in summer.

Very true, thank you for your comments. I'll see what others have to say, but I'm leaning towards keeping it active. If several more go up there and have problems I'll yank the m10 coin. I don't want that to influence someones decision or judgement.

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could be a life threatening hike in bad weather
Depending on weather a easy snowshoe climb or a day long crawl


This is certainly enough to deter me. Even if I was to attempt it, I'd make sure I checked with the local ranger station before attempting it.


I think it's fine enough the way it's currently listed. As a 5/5, I wouldn't disable it.

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I would not place significant faith in the Geocaching.com format's "at-your-own-risk" disclaimers for cache-hunters.


I was tempted not to say anything (to avoid being the doomsayer), but, as a lawyer, I felt guilty not adding a cautionary thought. This obviously isn't an attorney-client relationship, and I'm not a litigator, so take it only for what it's worth. Depending on circumstances, there is a fair chance that a court could invalidate the disclaimers and attribute contributory negligence to the cache hider. The circumstances are everything. Knowing assumption of risk is the concept. It is important that the cache hunter be positioned as the one who made the decision to take the risks.


First -- You should assume a cache hunter hasn't actually read the online disclaimers. I haven't read them (mostly because I can guess pretty accurately what they say, I assume the worst, and I'm lazy). If you haven't read them yourself, it would look even that much worse in court. So, you should feel free to add specific disclaimers and warnings about known hazards to your own cache description. I know it looks like being a weenie, but it would give your lawyer another defensive argument if things ever went wrong. Disclosing known hazards (especially those that aren't readily apparent) is the name of the game. Making sure the cache seeker sees those disclosures is second in importance (even if they don't read the warnings, having them on the page helps).


Second -- For a very hazardous cache, you might consider also making it a premium members-only cache. While any yahoo can pay the fee and be a member (I did, from the start), there is some likelihood that the members will be a more experienced bunch of cachers, who know and understand the rules, and who might have a harder time arguing that the "assumptions" they made in seeking the cache were reasonable. At this point, it might be very difficult for Moun10bike to ever sue a cache-hider, whereas the guy who got the GPSr for Christmas, who didn't join the site, and who has only a handful of finds, might do very well against a cache-hider (especially if the seeker brought children or if they had physical limitations).


Finally- Posting a cache is very akin to issuing a public invitation. There is the potential for some liability for damages done when the public responds to the invitation. Unduly attracting people to the site only heightens the risk (the Moun10bike coin is a strong attractant - I salivated over the deposit as well, but know my own limitations). Again, being very clear about the requirements, experience, and risks are crucial in giving your attorney an argument that you did not invite every possible cache hunter who happened to see the listing.


Oops - one more thought. By just launching this thread, you've shown your concerns about your cache and that could be presented against you in court. You can, however, attempt to turn it back to your advantage. By making tightening edits to your listing, after the feedback you've received from the various respondents, you would be able to argue that you've taken all possible reasonable steps to make the hunt as safe as you can.


All of that said, I'm playing the game, I don't wrap my own cache descriptions in doom and gloom, and I don't lose sleep over it. I have steered away from a hide or two, and I have toned down to plastic, when ammo boxes might be problematic. Using a reasonable amount of sense is essential and is the best defense. At the same time, life has risks. Enjoy life!


Taking whatever action gives you peace of mind is usually the best approach.

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Some good points. Always like to hear and consider advice. So should we all be freaked out by the possiblities of litagation? Maybe. We've went through this before on other threads with other lawyers. What I've gleaned from it is this:


Geocaching has a disclaimer. Some hope there.


Geocaching is more likely to be the target of a suit than a hider. Maybe.


The biggest liability is not warning of "hidden and known" (to you) dangers. This IS your responsibility.


Any helpful warnings (or disclaimers) on the page itself is not a bad idea.


Pointing out that the seeker must be responsible for his own action, also a good idea.


Yes, perhaps making some caches member-only is a useful thing to consider. As far as public invitaion my understanding is that there is a big difference between pointing people to public places and inviting someone onto your own property. "northwest backroads" and TV programs like that "invite people to places all the time and I doubt there is any liability there.

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The threat of a lawsuit can scare the !@#$% out of you IF you choose to let it. So can the thought of being hit by a falling star. This is true of any activity and not just limited to geocaching.


From my experience as a mountain climbing instructor real NEGLECT is the issue. I feel that the chances of being sued are slim and the chances of somebody proving neglect on my part are even slimer.


A question pertaining to the invitation aspect. When would the hider start liability? When the seeker gets into the vehicle, when they leave the trailhead, when they leave the trail? It seems to me that there are a whole lot of choices that the finder makes that the hider has no control over. If I write about a risky route that I took can this be concidered an invitation thus making me liable should somebody less experienced be harmed trying to follow it?


Even if you choose to disable the cache, you put the coin there that is driving stupid people to make stupid choices. Even moving it to a less risky location comes with risk. It seems that somebody seeking the coin regardless of where it is put could sue if they found the willing attorney.


So rather than drop out of life for fear being sued, I choose to do a numbers game and live an enjoyable life. The number of geocaches hunted and found ratio to related lawsuits just do not seem worth the worry. Odds of a lawsuit related to driving an automobile are way higher by comparison but I don't change my actions by not driving. Yes I may be sued again but I choose to live life doubting that it will ever happen again!

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I agree with most of what's been said here. Leave it active if it's not a sure death-trap and post lots of info. I love cache pages with lots of info about the route to the cache. I often cache with my girls and the more info about terrain and such the better. I am actually happy when I read 'not suitable for children', because I can know that in advance without getting there and then seeing what I'm up against. I know a lot of people think that is spoiling the fun of getting somewhere, but with the kids, it's really important.


That said- any hike in the winter in snow and such involves risk. There'd be no way to take that element totally away. It's up to cachers to be prepared, but I realize common sense doesn't always carry the day in court ;)

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Just so I don't come off as a grouch, I agree with the notes that followed mine. The game has doom-and-gloom risks, but it's fun, overwhelmingly positive, and there's no reason to walk around looking over your shoulders/


I also reviewed the cache site after writing my note (maybe should have done it other way around). The revised site is pretty clear about dangers and much more protective than before (of course, I hadn't seen the cache hunter's note before either -- if he didn't exaggerate about the incident, it would have scared me a good deal). Still, I wouldn't begin to suggest that the cache shouldn't have been hidden or that qualified cachers shouldn't be free to seek it.


So enough lawyer talk.



Edited by willcall
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I appreciate all the comments. I did receive a few e-mails suggesting I disable it, but the over all majority suggest keeping it active. For now I'll keep it active and hopefully the weather will improve next week. It's not looking good for the next week with snow levels above 6,000 ft. All that new snow is melting fast, what a mess on the rivers today. Hope everyone is safe. I can think of 3-4 nearby caches that may float away.

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;) ah..yeah. me too. ;)


(for those who don't know I hurt myself doing my own cache)( suit pending :huh: )

EraSeek, you were merely the hider. It's not your responsibility. You should sue that guy who put that tempting mountain into your backyard. I mean, where does responsibility start?

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Just to let everyone know Defender1 and myself found the cache today and took the Moun10bike coin. The weather conditions were on our side and we had to use snow shoes. After reaching the top we both realized how tough it must of been for Palm Grunt to scale the mountain. I'm sure if he had the conditions we had he would of found the coin last week. Hats off to you Pal Grunt for attempting a tough climb in rough and tough conditions. Please don't take my log entry for the cache wrong. The Cavalry loves the Infantry. Sometimes we just poke fun at each other. Cache on!!!

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“I am the Infantry …… FOLLOW ME!!!” I know if you aint CAV you aint ….


METT-T definitely applied to this one Cav Scout. Good job on a great cache though.


We should meet up at Ft. Lewis soon. I want to see this coveted little baby in person. I’ll bring my Silver USA Geocoin I found on my birthday two days before my attempt on the Skyline.


Palm Grunt

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:huh: I want to thank GeoRoo for putting the cache in such a good hide spot. I'm not gonna tell anyone how it was hidden but I can tell you it was cacher friendly. And I want to thank Jerrod for going with me in case of me getting stuck or injured on the climb. Jerrod motivated me the whole way to the cache. <_< I even wanted to quit a few times but Jerrod told me that he would never look at the Army the same again if I did not make it to the cache.<_< Always cache with a friend when you are far from home.
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I place this disclaimer on most my caches pages ... "May also encounter HOT coffee ~D (which may be HOT) while driving to and from cache." :o[/color]

Oh, so *that's* what it means. On the page for "Above the Clouds", you omitted the keyword "driving". I thought you had planted some instant coffee in the cache. So when I found a packet of instant cocoa, I thought the cache had been pillaged and that was the remnants.

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