The month of May is the most popular time of year for climbing the tallest mountain on Earth, Mt. Everest. While there is an Earthcache at the very top, most of us won’t have the time or money (guide services can cost thousands) to make the summit. In fact, many of us (me included), will have to just visit this amazing place through photographs and videos. However, for those who do make it to Tibet, a stop to find this week’s Geocache of the Week, Roof of the World (GC9A9E), is a must.
While this geocache is rated 4 for difficulty and 2 for terrain, some might think it deserves a few more stars. The geocache description says that the 4 stars for difficulty is just for getting into Tibet. With strict controls on tourism by the Chinese government, geocachers outside of the area may have to jump through a few hoops to even have the opportunity to access the geocache. And while the physical terrain is right in line with a 2-star rating, don’t forget—the altitude is around 16,700 ft (5100m). If you aren’t acclimated to the thinner air, even a leisurely stroll can seem like a strenuous hike.
Despite the difficulty of entering Tibet and the thin mountain air, an exclusive club of about 40 geocachers have made the journey, earned their smiley and left great logs that inspire the rest of us to reach our geocaching “peak”. “This cache is for sure amongst the more difficult ones to reach (permits, roads, coldness and over all the altitude sickness, which not a few people have up here) and therefore there is a little adventure in every find…To see the Everest was on my list since I was a child and we came on a perfect day with no one else in the base camp except us. The weather was bitterly cold, but due to only little wind and the strong sun we were able to stay there more than two hours to enjoy. The searching for the cache was something new for our guide and he was filled with enthusiasm, maybe he will be the owner of some of the first caches in Lhasa? :)” said geocacher Saurons_Bass.
This geocache has even helped with a bit of high-altitude romance: “Wow, what a stunning view! Thank you very much for placing this wonderful cache. It provided a much needed rest in this high altitude walk and gave me (Frank) the opportunity to make last preparations for my marriage proposal to Vanessa. SHE SAID YES!!!!” said geocachers Frank&Vanessa.
Mountain summits make for some of the most scenic and beautiful geocache sites. What is the highest altitude you’ve earned a smiley at? Tell us your story in the comments.
If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, send an email with your name, comments, the name of the geocache, and the GC code to firstname.lastname@example.org.