There are over 2 million geocaches around the world and more than 500 are located in Mallorca, at the last count! There are probably geocaches near you right now. All you need to start finding them is a smart phone or a GPS.
So what is Geocaching?
Geocaching is an adventure sport, open to anyone. It gets you out and about in the pursuit of hidden caches, think of it as ‘Geeky Treasure Hunting’. Generally speaking, a ‘cache’ is a small container containing a logbook (that you sign to show you found the cache) and, depending on the size, small toys or trinkets that junior cachers are encouraged to swap with something else. The containers vary in size from something as small as a thimble to a full suitcase size container.
You just look up the co-ordinates a geocache site and then use your GPS device to go and locate the object hidden there. The object might be a log book, a metal box or a plastic container. All sorts of things. People have put the object there on purpose and then register the location on www.geocaching.com. Some of the hidden objects are in very hard to reach places.
What equipment will you need?
If you have a smart phone or GPS unit, you are pretty much set. After downloading the co-ordinates to your device (these can be obtained with a free account on geocaching.com) you are free to start hunting. The geocache owner may provide clues but it is up to you to locate the cache.
Many caches are hidden in urban environments but there are also many in the countryside some requiring large hikes and some which require dangling of cliffs, climbing waterfalls, poking around in caves or all of the above. Think of this as extreme geocaching. It turns out that Mallorca has got its fair share of these extreme geocache sites.
Majorcan extreme Geocaching
Along with the usual easily accessible geocaches, Mallorca has a whole host of inaccessible geocaches. These geocaches require technical climbing, abseiling and knowledge of ascending ropes. I got introduced to the sport last year when geocachers visiting Mallorca contacted me to borrow the following equipment (60m static rope, slings, bolt hangers, jumars/ascenders, belay device, harness and helmet) as a rock climbing instructor I was intrigued!
During their short visit they were delighted to have located 4 caches. 3 of which involved the use of the technical climbing equipment. These caches were spread throughout the island. Below is a brief description of the type caches they located -
Two mystery caches rated 3.4/4 and a 4/5:
This rating means that they are not an easy find, you’ll spend some time searching and it’s impossible to do without the proper equipment. However, it’s totally up to the cache owner to determine the rating, some caches are rated lighter or heavier than others.
One multi-cache rated 4.5/5:
This rating means that it is hard to find and it is impossible to do without the proper equipment. Technical rope access. Approximately 10% of Mallorca’s caches are of this extreme type!
One traditional cache 1.5/5:
For this traditional geocache, you need to go to the given co-ordinates, you should find it without puzzles, calculations or tricks.
Geocaching is becoming increasing popular worldwide. So if you are out and about in Mallorca and witness someone acting suspiciously they may be planning the next diamond heist or they may be geocaching, I will let you decide...
Take a look at the video above for more information on geocaching.
Sam Shelley is a UK MIA qualified climbing instructor with Rock and Ride – Mallorca. Visit their website for more information on geocaching, climbing courses, guided multi-pitch adventures, advanced coaching, traditional climbing, deep water soling and more.