Geocaching.com


Geocaching

Welcome, Visitor!

Sign in with Facebook

Sign in with Geocaching

Forgot Username/Password

Unknown Cache

Spinal Tap

A cache by The Lazy Loppers
Hidden : 12/19/2008
In California, United States
Difficulty:
2.5 out of 5
Terrain:
4 out of 5

Size: Size: regular (regular)

Join now to view geocache location details. It's free!

Watch

How Geocaching Works

Please note Use of geocaching.com services is subject to the terms and conditions in our disclaimer.

Geocache Description:


The Backbone Trail (BBT) is one of the jewels of the Santa Monica Mountains. Find all the caches along the trail, and you're eligible for the Spinal Tap!

Conceived decades ago, the Backbone Trail was originally to run from Point Mugu to Griffith Park. Mansion building outpaced trail development, and a continuous trail east of the 405 became infeasible, resulting in the almost-70-mile trail with its eastern terminus in Will Rogers State Historical Park. The entire trail is open to hikers except for an incomplete section near the Ventura/LA County line, with many parts open to bicyclists and equestrians.

One of the prime movers behind the BBT was the legendary Milt McAuley. Milt led hikes and volunteer trail maintenance crews. He was equally comfortable lobbying political figures to gain support for parks and trails, and negotiating with landowners for access. He wrote Hiking Trails of the Santa Monica Mountains, Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains (for which he also drew the identification images), and of course a Guide to the Backbone Trail, along with books giving more details about the individual state parks. The books are widely available in local stores, especially Adventure 16 and REI, who deserve your patronage in return. Milt died at age 89 as we (paleolith and Don_J) were preparing Spinal Tap. We both express our gratitude for all he did for us and for our friends.

Naturally the BBT has been popular with geocachers as well. As of the publication of Spinal Tap, 88 caches were reasonably accessible from the BBT (including Spinal Tap itself). The number reached about 250 by 2013. This is even though some long stretches of the BBT pass through NPS lands where geocaches are not allowed, notably a stretch of about 25 miles between Sandstone Peak and Corral Canyon. You could find all the caches on a single BBT through-hike, though it's expected that most seekers will spend a lot of time enjoying many parts of the Santa Monica Mountains while making progress on the Spinal Tap.

The official list of caches on the BBT is Don_J's Backbone Trail bookmark list, known here as "the BBT list". The list includes all active caches within roughly 250 feet of the BBT; see the bookmark list for details. If you notice errors or omissions in the list, send a message to Don_J. His word is final as to the content of the list. You can also view the caches on a map, though the map usually lags the bookmark list by quite some time.

The basic rule is that you must find all the other caches on the list to be eligible to log a find on the Spinal Tap final. However, you are given some leeway so that you don't have to chase down caches placed just as you are trying to finish: you don't have to find caches published within three months of your find log on Spinal Tap. Of course you are encouraged to find them all. Important exception: some caches may be temporarily excluded due to environmental concerns. These will be clearly noted on the BBT list. Further details are under Other Rules, below.

The final cache location is not a secret or puzzle -- and of course it's on the BBT! When you have found the prerequisite caches, you may find the final cache. As with all caches, you are required to physically visit the final cache and sign the log. Only those who have completed the rest of the BBT list are allowed to log a find on the final cache, though others are welcome to log visits.

Getting to the final: The D/T for the final cache are 2.5/2.5. It's about 20'-30' from the posted coordinates, but only because posting the true coordinates might lead to confusion. It's close to the trailhead, which isn't waypointed for you, since if you've found all the BBT caches, then you certainly know where the trailheads are! Ah, OK, if you need help with the trailhead, check it out on Trailheads in the Santa Monicas. There's a minor scramble to reach the final, and finding the correct route is important, justifying the ratings. The wrong route could be bad for your health. At the sharp turn in the trail, go a few feet up the drainage, make your way up to the rock wall that looms over you through the vegetation, and follow the wall up to a crack. Opinions will vary on whether this is a large crack or a small crack, but you've seen and probably passed through smaller ones on the way to other caches. You will need your hands and knees. The cache is in an open area at the top. It's also possible to go a short way past the opening and climb over rocks to reach the cache, but that route is probably more difficult than the crack.

Other Rules:

New caches (three-month rule): to avoid a version of Zeno's Paradox on the BBT, you do not have to find very recently placed caches. This is defined to mean that if the publication date (the reviewer's publication log) is within three months of your finding the Spinal Tap final, you don't have to go back and find that new cache. The length of this timing window is subject to change, but any such change will not decrease the length of the window for caches published before the change. The three-month timer is suspended while caches are environmentally excluded (see below).

The "date hidden", being completely under the control of the cache owner, is not used, only the date of the reviewer's publication log. Also, the date added to the BBT list is not used. The Spinal Tap cache owners (paleolith and Don_J) cannot guarantee that caches will be added rapidly, though Don expects to maintain the list. This means that if you only watch the BBT list, your window on new caches could be smaller than three months. If you are nearing completion and this concerns you, you should set up notifications from geocaching.com to make sure you are alerted to new caches.

Disabled caches and caches believed to be missing are to be handled exactly as they are in other situations. They are not excluded from the prerequisites except as otherwise noted herein. You might simply wait for the owner to take action. When appropriate, you might contact the owner and offer to help. When necessary, you might post Needs Archived or contact a reviewer privately. These are the same options you have for any cache. (However, there is an exception when the cache is disabled to avoid environmental damage. See following paragraph.)

Environmentally excluded caches: if attempts to find a cache are likely to result in damage to the environment, it will be temporarily excluded from the challenge. Any cache so excluded will be clearly noted on the BBT bookmark list as "temporarily excluded due to environmental concerns" or similar wording. This status is referred to as Env-Ex. Although Env-Ex caches will often be formally disabled by the cache owner or a reviewer, the Env-Ex status is independent of disablement. Choosing to mark a cache as Env-Ex is solely the judgment of Don_J, who should be contacted regarding the Env-Ex status of any cache.

When a cache is marked Env-Ex, the three-month rule (see above) does not apply at either end. Once a cache is placed in this category, you don't need it for the final until it is marked as no longer Env-Ex. Once the cache is no longer Env-Ex, you also do not have a grace period unless the cache is still within three months of publication. However, the three-month timer is suspended while the cache is Env-Ex.

Prerequisite caches means all caches on the BBT list except the Spinal Tap final and caches excluded by the "new caches" and "environmentally excluded" rules.

Archived caches: You do not have to find archived caches, even if they have not been removed from the BBT list.

Prepublication finds: If you found a cache before publication of the Spinal Tap, it does count -- you are not expected to revisit caches you already found.

Hiders keepers: You get automatic find credit for caches you hid.

Claims: This is for fun and you are on the honor system. Issues about the validity of finds on caches in the list are between you and the cache owners.

Logging the final: You may only log the Spinal Tap final cache after you have logged finds on the prerequisite caches. You must log all your qualifying finds on geocaching.com. Non-completers are welcome to visit the final, sign the log book as visitors, and log notes to the cache page. If you visit the final before completing the prerequisite caches, you must revisit and re-sign the log afterward to log your find on Spinal Tap.

Finding vs logging: You must visit the final and sign its log ("find" it) after finding all prerequisite caches (visiting them, and signing their logs except for virtuals and Earthcaches). You must log all your prerequisite finds before logging your find on the final. You do not need to actually log your other finds before your official physical visit to the final. Many finishers have found several caches near the final, then the final, and then logged them. In fact, you could through-hike the entire BBT, finding all the prerequisite caches, go back and sign the final, then go home and log them all. This isn't as complicated as it sounds—it's really just the natural way of doing it—but it's difficult to eliminate ambiguity without spelling it out in detail.

Complex situations can arise and will be resolved on an individual basis. For example, caches being archived while attempting to complete Spinal Tap can create a mess, and cachers who live a long distance from the BBT may find revisiting the final to be seriously inconvenient. The cache owners reserve the right to make exceptions for individual cachers to the specific order described. Exceptions should be requested in advance when possible, by contacting paleolith and/or Don_J.

Terrain: Parts of the BBT are only accessible to strong hikers. As of publication, there are no caches on the BBT list which require physical skills beyond strong hiking. We reserve the right to exclude future caches which would require additional skills, such as rock climbing. The point is to keep this cache accessible to all strong hikers.

Difficulty: As is typical of hiking caches, the BBT list caches are generally easy to moderate in difficulty (as opposed to terrain). We reserve the right to exclude caches whose actual difficulty proves to unreasonably prevent cachers from completing the Spinal Tap.

Difficulty/Terrain: The listed difficulty and terrain (2.5/4.0) are the maximum you will encounter while completing the BBT list. This is the D/T in my judgement. Henry's Cache (the oldest on the BBT list by seven months) has a difficulty rating of 4.5, but this is a misclassification.

Follow the code: It's the GCxxxx code that matters. Occasionally cache names change, though we are not aware of any on the BBT list changing.

Cachers who have completed the challenge as of 2014-04-22:

Name Found
or
Owned
Date
Completed
Found
at
completion
Big Eagle 274 2008-12-23 88
PezCachers 246 2009-01-02 94
sr.hikers 96 2009-01-05 94
Mountain Cat 180 2009-01-21 90
Don_J 251 2009-01-25 96
OLdweeb 273 2009-01-25 96
robb_dogg 115 2009-01-25 94
SoCalifSue 222 2009-02-19 91
TOHiker 277 2009-02-23 98
GeoCraig 223 2009-03-14 95
BWidget 245 2009-04-19 101
Big Foot Moose 270 2009-05-08 105
erik 265 2009-05-10 112
pianofab 161 2009-09-07 118
paleolith 118 2009-09-26 117
dbir 120 2010-03-15 120
Cairngorm 182 2010-03-27 118
Let's Fly 208 2010-05-16 139
location_scouts 139 2010-06-17 133
benandjayme 136 2010-10-03 136
benh57 142 2010-10-03 140
foomanjoo 135 2010-10-03 135
forest22 135 2010-10-03 135
Albackore 218 2011-01-30 165
foon 173 2011-01-30 162
camsoradap 177 2011-05-27 175
fastflyer 254 2011-05-31 176
VCTrails 198 2011-06-19 180
cahikerchick 188 2011-06-19 180
GWRoss 201 2011-08-22 180
3rd wheel 183 2011-09-29 176
Feral Kat 184 2011-09-29 177
NakoTacoPatrol 203 2012-02-03 192
lostpup4 262 2012-03-13 198
TRUROKR 194 2012-03-21 194
the chick 194 2012-03-21 194
TropicalJoe 249 2012-09-13 229
Timoteo70 217 2012-09-26 212
bleed_blue_LA 251 2012-10-10 247
EcuaDeb 257 2012-10-13 249
Foocachers 248 2012-10-13 246
Marzenbac 250 2013-01-19 249
Gummyfrog 253 2014-03-29 253
RCKen 259 2014-03-29 259
RocketBrewer 255 2014-03-29 255
lightningstar 254 2014-03-29 254
qbee37 252 2014-03-29 252

Cachers with 25 or more finds as of 2014-04-22:

Name ----- Number of Caches Found or Owned -----
Total Active Archived Remaining
TOHiker 277 252 25 complete
Big Eagle 274 247 27 complete
OLdweeb 273 253 20 complete
Big Foot Moose 270 249 21 complete
erik 265 239 26 complete
lostpup4 262 244 18 complete
RCKen 259 252 7 complete
EcuaDeb 257 245 12 complete
RocketBrewer 255 252 3 complete
fastflyer 254 243 11 complete
lightningstar 254 252 2 complete
Gummyfrog 253 252 1 complete
qbee37 252 252 0 complete
bleed_blue_LA 251 238 13 complete
Don_J 251 227 24 complete
Marzenbac 250 238 12 complete
TropicalJoe 249 239 10 complete
Foocachers 248 236 12 complete
PezCachers 246 223 23 complete
BWidget 245 227 18 complete
GeoCraig 223 204 19 complete
SoCalifSue 222 203 19 complete
Albackore 218 204 14 complete
Timoteo70 217 207 10 complete
Let's Fly 208 191 17 complete
tozainamboku 205 186 19 58
NakoTacoPatrol 203 192 11 complete
GWRoss 201 188 13 complete
VCTrails 198 183 15 complete
the chick 194 183 11 complete
TRUROKR 194 183 11 complete
cahikerchick 188 173 15 complete
Feral Kat 184 174 10 complete
3rd wheel 183 174 9 complete
Cairngorm 182 172 10 complete
Mountain Cat 180 164 16 complete
camsoradap 177 167 10 complete
foon 173 158 15 complete
Kurdt Green 162 162 0 82
Pain and Panic 162 162 0 82
pianofab 161 147 14 complete
Insidevc 147 132 15 112
lapetus 143 136 7 108
benh57 142 129 13 complete
interbang1 139 133 6 111
klk8675309 139 136 3 108
location_scouts 139 126 13 complete
benandjayme 136 127 9 complete
foomanjoo 135 126 9 complete
forest22 135 126 9 complete
duprev 130 127 3 117
w_bovine 128 118 10 126
dbir 120 108 12 complete
paleolith 118 104 14 complete
robb_dogg 115 100 15 complete
Emma&Roo 114 111 3 133
gerfmeister 108 108 0 145
monkeydogfish 108 108 0 136
chaosmanor 106 99 7 145
crossbow spartan 104 102 2 144
sr.hikers 96 79 17 complete
Team Stash-N-Cache 92 92 0 153
Virge 90 90 0 155
TOcowboy 89 84 5 160
ca.scubastar 87 87 0 157
RiverBoatKing7 87 87 0 157
gsmX2 82 78 4 171
Sond813 80 79 1 165
Seashock 75 67 8 177
tom4props 71 66 5 178
capdude 70 65 5 179
4marknbethb 67 67 0 177
Jebs and Lebs 67 67 0 177
deeznutz® 65 55 10 189
mrdsw 64 57 7 187
sissopolis 62 61 1 183
badfeet 61 54 7 190
KF6JML 61 56 5 188
space_man 61 52 9 192
LAEd 60 56 4 188
EMC of Northridge, CA 57 46 11 198
DC21 54 48 6 196
Eagle Rock Rob 54 51 3 193
drewton 52 52 0 192
70type3 51 51 0 193
slomoot 51 51 0 193
Greymalkin 50 47 3 197
BenM1 47 47 0 197
1SGRock 46 43 3 201
Aravinda24 46 44 2 200
MaxGold 44 38 6 206
TerryDad2 43 35 8 209
earth4217 42 40 2 207
HH242 42 41 1 203
6_Fan 41 33 8 211
retrofit 41 39 2 205
GoinHikin 40 36 4 208
J-Man 40 36 4 208
spoondoggie 40 37 3 207
Wanderer7 40 34 6 210
piquets 39 37 2 207
Bambi1581 38 38 0 206
lifesajrny 37 30 7 214
lribbeck 37 35 2 209
rubynlukas 37 37 0 208
AWEMM 36 34 2 210
Cachemanian Devil 34 32 2 212
GIS_Cacher 34 34 0 210
ojait 34 27 7 217
Tabo^2 34 32 2 212
805toes 33 31 2 213
javaa 33 28 5 216
CacheyMcCowski 32 28 4 216
mrlinus 32 32 0 212
shamrock67 31 31 0 216
CacheKidz! 30 30 0 216
Pitt Monqui 30 30 0 214
djohnson28 29 29 0 215
MightyYT 29 28 1 216
skinnyquest 29 29 0 215
TheScoobs 29 29 0 215
Réd 28 28 0 216
Bella-geo 25 25 0 219
markals2 25 25 0 219

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

perrx fvqr hc penpx

Decryption Key

A|B|C|D|E|F|G|H|I|J|K|L|M
-------------------------
N|O|P|Q|R|S|T|U|V|W|X|Y|Z

(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

Advertising with Us

Inventory

There are no Trackables in this cache.

 

Find...

105 Logged Visits

Found it 47     Write note 54     Publish Listing 1     Owner Maintenance 1     Update Coordinates 2     

View Logbook | View the Image Gallery of 54 images

**Warning! Spoilers may be included in the descriptions or links.

Current Time:
Last Updated: on 4/22/2014 8:21:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time (3:21 PM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum