From the Desk of Moun10Bike: How to Keep Your Geocaching Streak Going in the Snow

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Moun10Bike’s desk at Geocaching HQ: where office life and geocaching magic collide.
The Geocoin that started it all turned 12 this year.

Geocaching HQ is home to a geocaching legend. His title is Community Liaison to Engineering. His name is Jon Stanley. He’s better known as Moun10Bike in the geocaching world.  As one of the world’s first-ever geocachers, Moun10Bike earned his geocaching fame by creating the first of what we now know as geocoins.

Moun10Bike agreed to share his coolest geocaching tips as we head into the winter season here in the Northern hemisphere.

Q: You are working on a geocaching streak. How many days of geocaching in a row are you up to? What inspired you to take on this challenge?

Hiking above the clouds and into the snow for a geocache. Brrr….but totally worth it! Photo by Moun10Bike.

A: On Christmas Eve, my streak will hit 700 days. I want to keep going for as long as it’s fun. The initial motivator was to have a streak that was longer than my longest slump (141 days between my first and second cache finds, back when there were very few caches around). After that, there seemed to be continued incentives that kept me going (e.g. qualifying for particular challenges, etc.).

Q: What is the biggest challenge you face in maintaining your streak?

A: We head back to Spokane and North Idaho during the holidays to be with family, where snow is a much more frequent sight than it is in Seattle. Keeping up the geocaching when everything is under a blanket of white and you’re sipping eggnog by a warm fire becomes a challenge then.

Q: What tips do you have for other geocachers who are trying to keep a streak going in the winter weather?

A: I start off by looking for geocaches that have the “Available in Winter” attribute, although this is rather hit-or-miss as some geocache owners do not use attributes. It does help identify some better ones that were intended specifically for winter, though. What helps the most is looking for geocaches that were found in the last day or two, especially if it recently snowed. This tells you that people are having success at these geocaches despite whatever the conditions on the ground may be.

Q: So what makes  for a good winter geocache?

Moun10Bike’s co-worker and geocaching friend Annie Love (Username: Love) takes a photo on their geocaching expedition. Photo by Moun10Bike.

A: Basically any geocache that is off the ground or otherwise protected from snow coverage. Some great winter geocaches that I’ve found were attached to branches in a tree. During the summer, they are many feet up in the air, but are within easy reach with snow on the ground. If a geocache meets these criteria, the geocache owner should be sure to add the “Available in Winter” attribute.

Q: Do you have any safety tips for geocachers who – streaking or not – might find themselves outside geocaching in frightful weather?

A: Dress warmly, be ready and willing to turn back if conditions turn against you, and watch out for ice! I encountered a frozen patch on a trail during an geocaching outing last winter and made a point to stomp across carefully. Despite my caution, my hiking boots slipped out from under me and I broke my arm in the process of catching myself.

Q: But you continued winter geocaching after that?

A: I absolutely did! The break came when I was only a month away from a year straight, so I had to keep going.

Keep tuned in to learn more great geocaching tips from the desk – or trail – of Moun10Bike. What inspires you to leave the warm eggnog and crackling fire behind, and head out geocaching in the winter weather? Tell us in the comments below.


Paige Edmiston
Paige (ThePaigeTurner) is a Marketing Specialist at Geocaching HQ. She likes books.
  • Teambeek

    My streak is 1063 days as of this date. West Bend Wisconsin is home base and snow is a common companion here. Plan ahead and have a fall back cache in mind if the days cache isn’t available!!Good Luck

  • Paige

    1063 days?! Wow! Good for you. It’s good to hear it’s possible even when snow is a common occurrence. Keep up the good work!

  • BlueRajah

    Congrats John. We have a local here as well. DrJay a that just hit 2500. He goes through a lot to encourage locals to place winter friendly caches so he can grab them through Dec-Feb.

  • Bryan Roth

    Moun10Bike is a #Geocaching Hero! We are very fortunate to have him with us at Geocaching HQ!

  • David Whitehead

    In response to the next to last question: if you’re ‘streaking’, wouldn’t that preclude the wearing of any clothes? Must get mighty nippy!

  • brilang

    My streak is up to 307 days as of today. I’m shooting for 365 which will happen on Feb. 14. Fortunately, I live in BC’s lower mainland, where snow is a rarity. My biggest challenge is finding enough caches between my home and my work to be able to find one a day on weekdays. I’ve nearly run out and I’m having to go way out of my way to make a find. The other challenge in the winter months is that most caches become Night caches as it’s hard to get out during daylight hours when you work 9-5.

  • htomc42

    Midnight is your friend. A couple of carefully times finds, and you can knock out 2 days worth in a single trip.

    Do -not- find the caches closest to your home, let them build up over time. These are your foul-weather reserves.
    Whenever possible, go to the far end of your daily travel range and get those caches; work your way in.

  • funkymunkyzone

    1000 or even 700 – that’s pretty good going. I did a streak to hit 3 figures a while back but it became such a chore, I stopped at 100 exactly. It was too hard for me to ignore the FTFs (now up to 1448 of them) and leave them for other days… 😉

  • Diane Stiles

    I’m impressed, but I’m a wimp. If I broke my arm while out caching, that would definitely end the fun for me. It’s supposed to hit -32 below with wind chill here in Indiana tonight, and I’m going to look through my photos and work on some waymarks instead!

  • Xavier

    Boy there’s nothing that would keep me interested enough to do it for 700 straight days. Variety is the spice of life and doing the same thing day after day just doesn’t appeal to me. But, if that’s what you are into, go for it!

  • dragon flyer

    Nope, not me; I’m pretty much a fair-weather cacher. If I’d wanted to be freezing my buns off I wouldn’t have moved from the prairies to the west coast!

  • Phydux

    I tend to save local virtual and earth caches for those days when the weather is bad. I just wish new virtual caches were being made.

  • Sonia Sura

    This interview is really inspiring for ‘Adventure Lovers’.The experience described by Moun10Bike seems to be full of courage, motivation and passion to get going no matter what!

    I am new to Geocaching. But reading the experience of Moun10Bike of exploration and adventurous journeys of finding caches has really inspired me to get out and get my own experience of Geocaching. I am sure after hunting a couple of them the passion will increase to explore more and keep moving to the upper levels!

    Hoping to have a great experience!!
    Go Geocaching!

  • sunshinegirl42071 .

    I am a fair weather cacher as well so spring and fall are when I go for the trail caches,but during winter and summer I need my fix so that’s when I get most of my park and grabs lol

  • aogagent1

    My streak is up to 523 days, including 502 straight days of puzzle cache finds (I finally had to give that up once I ran out of puzzles in the local area). One day a couple weeks ago here in Ohio it was -10 degrees Fahrenheit (not counting wind chill) with 25 mph winds and 4 inches of snow. I went out on my bicycle and found a cache anyway. This was possible because I had previously scouted out an easy guardrail hide on a major street that I knew would be the first thing cleared off by the plows. I knew exactly where the cache was hidden so there was no wasted time searching around in those conditions. The toughest part was avoiding frostbite on my toes. I used two pairs of socks, a pair of disposable eco-friendly heating insoles, and waterproof velcro wraps that kept my shoes dry from road splash (wet socks put you on the fast track to hypothermia). Even so, my toes still felt like little popsicles when I finished the ride. The key is to keep some nearby easy finds in your back pocket for bad winter conditions. Oh, and also, if you’re totally stupid like me and try riding a bike on winter roads, clean it off right away or the road salt will seriously mess up your gears and chain.

  • Jonker Fourie

    Definitively not winter in the Southern Hemisphere. A nice 30C outside today. Greetings from sunny South Africa

  • Ullrsgothi

    Winter, Stop Me?! No Way. I Have Cache Maintenance To Do!

  • Ullrsgothi


  • Ullrsgothi

    Guess Pics Don’t Post

  • Alex Popov

    Well, we have -4°F here in Moscow, Russia. The hardest thing is to grab nano caches without gloves, and use frozen pens ))
    As for regular-size caches – there’re no problems! No cache- no problem, because in Russia many caches are regularly looted no matter what time of the year it is)) But in some cases, cold winter don’t stop cachers like me. We simply got used to this. If you successfully manage to start the engine of your car in the morning- then half of the job’s done! Just get there and find the cache! ) I found lots of them during cold winter.
    Another problem: extremely deep snow. It’s not cold… it becomes HOT when you have to make your way off-road through the deep snow for a long time. If the cache has “available in winter” attribute – then it’s okay. Usually such caches can be found inside some abandoned buildings. Your GPS shows the coord-s of some entrance. Then you use legend, or hints to find your way inside and find the container.

  • Stumper14470

    In the winter months a good set of bib overall, I have mitten’s that the tip will flip over making it so I can use my fingers. In the part that flips is a pocket to put a hand warmer. A face mask .
    yepper’s look like a mummy but I’m comfortable.

  • Patrick Fabian Lange

    That let me thinking about the french Jura with few few snow !

  • -G.orG-

    Tere is this Story about writing in space (where its very cold too) but I dont know whether it is true or not…
    Whilst the Americans spended loads of Dollars for a hightech pen that never freezes an writes without gravity, the Russians wrote with pencils.
    I guess theyre born Winter-Cachers 😉

  • Alex Popov

    I guess every russian knows this story) First time I heard of it from my girlfriend during cold winter caching))) I couldn’t write a log, and asked if there is a pen anywhere created in the world which can write being objected to extreme cold temperatures much below zero Celcium and write upside down etc… She said: “Yeah, there IS such thing – called a pencil”. Such an irony nevertheless – I found and bought an american pen, cost me about $20 ))) It can really write upside down, even when it’s wet and even in cold winter! And it’s not a pencil 🙂

  • -G.orG-

    Oh damn. You were supporting the class enemy. 😀

  • Alex Popov

    That’s in the past) We’re all capitalists now, and don’t believe in communism no more… unless you speak about torrents and other things which go fo free, that supposed to be a common good for everybody by default)

  • -G.orG-

    sure. I was joking …
    Greetings from the GDR! 😉

  • Mike Rolefson

    Also from Wisconsin, in the Milwaukee area a few miles from the lake. Ended a find streak at 500 straight a couple years ago, mainly because of the cost of fuel to find a winter friendly hide each day, and living on the lake cut my available area in half. Would have ended it at 400 but about 10 days previously, I noticed 11/11/11 was going to be #401….could not do one that day, and wanted to end on a round number. The biggest tool I had available was the geocaching app on my cell phone when I would come up with a DNF late at night. The closest call I had was a find at 11:53 crawling through a deep snow bank. Thanks to the phone though, I found the next days 13 minutes later.

  • Actually I am really in ambiguity about Geocaching. Actually as a geocacher what type of benefit I have?