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1.22. Challenge Caches

Please note: Beginning April 21, 2015, a one-year moratorium went into effect on all new "challenge cache" submissions. This includes cache submissions that contain optional challenges. It does not impact previously published challenge cache listings. On April 21, 2016, we announced that the moratorium will remain in place for a few more weeks while we finalize the new framework for challenge caches. Read more here. 

What is a Challenge Cache?

A challenge cache requires that geocachers meet a geocaching-related qualification or series of tasks before the challenge cache can be logged. Waymarking, Benchmarking, and Wherigo-related tasks also qualify. The additional qualification or geocaching-related tasks are considered the basis of a challenge cache, rather than Additional Logging Requirements (ALRs). 

Challenge caches vary in scope and format. All challenge caches must be in the affirmative and require that something be accomplished. Challenge cache owners must demonstrate that there are sufficient available geocaches to meet the challenge at the time of publication. Reviewers may ask the geocache owner to demonstrate that they have previously met the challenge and/or that a substantial number of other geocachers would be able to do so.

How will you know when the challenge cache requirements have been met?

Importantly, geocache owners must consider how they will substantiate claims that the geocache requirements have been met. The challenge criteria on the geocache page must reflect this consideration, and must be verifiable through information on the website. Challenges relying solely on third-party software for verification will not be published. Geocache owners will need to ensure that geocachers can verify that they have completed the geocache requirements without compromising their privacy. Challenge cache owners may also be asked to outline a long-term geocache maintenance plan.

What makes an acceptable challenge cache?

A challenge cache needs to appeal to, and be attainable by, a reasonable number of geocachers.  A challenge cache may not specifically exclude any segment of geocachers. If a geocacher is required to alter their caching style or habits, such as avoiding a particular geocache type to attain a specific percentage or average, the geocache will not be published.

The requirements for meeting the challenge should be succinct and easy to explain, follow, and document.  A lengthy list of "rules" would be sufficient reason for a challenge cache to not be published.

Additional points to consider when creating a challenge cache:

  1. Challenge caches must contain the word "challenge" in the geocache name.
  2. Challenge caches are listed as the Mystery/Puzzle geocache type.
  3. A Challenge cache must avoid undue restrictions. Specifically:
    1. Challenge caches based on a specific list of geocaches, such as those placed by a specific person or group, will generally not be published.
    2. Challenge caches cannot include restrictions based on 'date found'; geocaches found before the challenge geocache publication date can count towards the achievement of the challenge.
  4. Challenge caches need to be attainable at any time while the geocache is active.  A geocache that requires "100 multi-caches found in 2011" would not be publishable, as would not be attainable by someone new to the game.
  5. A Challenge cache based on non-accomplishments, such as DNFs, will not be published.
  6. One should not have to 'give up' finding other geocaches to achieve a challenge cache's requirements. To state that "10% of your find count needs to be Attended Logs" would require the geocacher to stop finding other types of geocaches and could affect their overall enjoyment of the game.
  7. Challenge caches may not require the publication or ownership of a geocache or waymark as a challenge criteria; challenge caches must be achievable by those who do not own geocaches or waymarks.
  8. Challenge caches must not require geocachers to log geocaches that are disabled or archived.
  9. A challenge cache should recognize the completion of a personal achievement, rather than the winner of a competition. For example, a challenge cache based on "First to Finds" is a competition between geocachers, and is therefore not publishable.
  10. A challenge cache must be attainable without the need to email the owner. The container should be located at the posted coordinates on the geocache page, or if a puzzle, the geocache page must include the means to calculate the coordinates of the container.
  11. If a challenge cache is submitted within an area where a similar challenge cache already exists, then it will need to have a unique list of qualifying criteria (geocaches, waymarks, etc.).
  12. Geocachers may sign a challenge cache's physical log at any time. However, the challenge cache may be logged as found online only after the log is signed and the challenge tasks have been met and documented.

From the Geocache Listing Requirements and Guidelines:

Please be advised that there is no precedent for placing geocaches.


At times a geocache may meet the requirements for publication on the site but the reviewers, as experienced geocachers, may see additional concerns not listed in these guidelines that you as a geocache placer may not have noticed. The reviewer may bring these additional concerns to your attention and offer suggestions so that the geocache can be published.

Note: Challenge caches published prior to the guideline update 3/12/12 are grandfathered into the game and do not need to comply with current guidelines.


Please note: Beginning April 21, 2015, a one-year moratorium is in effect on all new "challenge cache" submissions. This includes cache submissions that contain optional challenges. It does not impact previously published challenge cache listings.

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