Skip to content

This cache has been archived.

Shaddow: Well, we've reached the end

As posted 303 days ago (43 weeks and 2 days), the last date to post trips was yesterday 7/30/18 and they have now all been accounted for and included.

The Official Elevation File has received a final update (see the link in the description). It has all the data points used in qualifying trips, except of course for puzzle finals and multicache waypoints.

Below this log is all the posts trips, stats, and updates, all accounted for in the updates (though of course there is no control over postdating of logs)

Thank you all, I learned a lot
Now I'm going for a hike


50,000 Feet Elevation Challenge

A cache by Shaddow Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 01/01/2011
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Size: Size:   regular (regular)

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


How Geocaching Works

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

Geocache Description:

My friends and I joke that we love to get high. That is, get high above the surrounding area as well as getting a buzz from the eye candy of amazing sights overlooking below, the feeling of accomplishment over a difficult challenge and probably a real intoxication our bodies get from working them hard. Not to mention good times in the company of good friends or the serenity of solitude.

NOTE 10/2/17:
I've decided to shut this down
My last update will be on the evening of Monday 7/30/18 and I will pull the container on Tuesday 7/31/18
Plan accordingly

Three Fingers

Photo of mountain peaks from the trail to Three Fingers

I know there are other people that feel the same way. If that describes you then you’re welcome for the additional motivation to get on the trail. Or if you’re one that wonders if you feel the same way but haven’t yet been motivated enough to get out and test the theory, then here’s a great opportunity for you.

Pratt Valley

Photo of the Pratt Valley from Mt Bessemer

I’ve played with the thought of doing this challenge for a few years and discussed different ideas with friends over time, usually and most appropriately while in the trail. Final motivation came when the idea was brought up on the Hike 100 Miles Challenge (WA State) cache page, a challenge that I suggest attempting concurrently since there are many similarities.

Kendall Peaks

Photo of Kendall Peaks from the PCT

By the way, I understand that 50,000 feet sounds like a lot. It is. Though not overwhelmingly and it’s completely do-able over time. If this challenge is still intimidating then consider:

  • A lot of the hardcore ele junkies have already gotten most of the nearby caches so this challenge will be equally hard for them just in a different way as they will find it necessary to drive further and hike farther then they have before
  • Getting the 500 foot minimum for qualifying trips is relatively easy especially if done over enough distance so the slope is reduced
  • It’ll get easier as you go; getting into better shape has its benefits
  • It’s not work when you’re enjoying yourself
  • Geocaches are an easy and excellent way to find trails and interesting destinations: visit and download NW Trail Maps and NW Topo mapsets to see the incredible number of trails available in the PNW; to view the mapsets use the free Basecamp software by Garmin.

The Challenge

The basic idea is simple, all you need to do is gain at least 50,000 feet of total accumulated elevation under your own human power and do it while going to find a geocache.

You don’t even have to come down if you don’t want to though it’s highly recommended. And since this is all about the gain, when you do eventually come down you can do it the easiest way possible; if you are able to base jump off a 4,000 ft cliff and land in the parking area moments later then more power to you!

The Spirit

The spirit of this challenge cache is to:
  • Have fun
  • Promote caching, exercise and outdoor activity
  • Promote map skills
  • Provide a personal challenge

The Statistics


Geocacher Name Geocaching Logo Total Gain completion graphic: 100% Start Date Finish Date
CJJIT 54,600 Ft completion graphic: 100% 2/15/2011 5/21/2011
GrnXnham 51,040 Ft completion graphic: 100% 1/22/2011 7/26/2011
Lfppdf8&MyBetterHalf 50,580 Ft completion graphic: 100% 5/1/2011 7/31/2011
SKS 52,310 Ft completion graphic: 100% 5/7/2011 9/11/2011
lucyandrickie 54,280 Ft completion graphic: 100% 1/19/2011 10/6/2011
B+L 57,920 Ft completion graphic: 100% 1/27/2011 10/23/2011
Ruck 50,070 Ft completion graphic: 100.0% 1/23/2011 12/3/2011
Libertyfan76 53,660 Ft completion graphic: 100% 2/11/2012 7/16/2012
Brasstax 53,660 Ft completion graphic: 100% 2/11/2012 7/16/2012
Shaggy, Scooby, and Velma 54,290 Ft completion graphic: 100% 5/3/2011 5/30/2013
Boonie-Medic 58,050 Ft completion graphic: 100% 1/1/2011 7/8/2013
NeWa 52,210 Ft completion graphic: 100% 9/15/2012 9/19/2013
CoolCowCachers 52,370 Ft completion graphic: 100% 5/15/2011 2/8/2014
Qaz&Kids 58,310 Ft completion graphic: 100% 11/15/2012 8/9/2014
crouchcrew 54,250 Ft completion graphic: 100% 5/10/2013 9/16/2014
twlare 53,010 Ft completion graphic: 100% 12/1/2013 9/16/2014
jim_carson 55,670 Ft completion graphic: 100% 1/11/2011 10/11/2014
JesandTodd 58,120 Ft completion graphic: 100% 2/19/2012 10/11/2014
Curious Joe 50,070 Ft completion graphic: 100% 1/4/2014 10/14/2014
pcakes 50,460 Ft completion graphic: 100% 2/3/2011 10/14/2014
Babberly 56,980 Ft completion graphic: 100% 7/4/2013 3/1/2015
Muddy Teapot 50,000 Ft completion graphic: 100% 6/5/2014 6/4/2015
X-Huey-Drv 53,020 Ft completion graphic: 100% 3/18/2015 7/13/2015
philgeorge1 56,640 Ft completion graphic: 100% 4/13/2013 8/3/2015
obarshay 52,810 Ft completion graphic: 100% 9/10/2014 9/10/2015
PNWRich 54,760 Ft completion graphic: 100% 6/8/2015 11/7/2015
Windstorm+ 53,750 Ft completion graphic: 100% 1/30/2015 11/26/2015
blindleader 50,040 Ft completion graphic: 100% 9/5/2015 6/8/2016
gsbarnes 51,220 Ft completion graphic: 100% 10/7/2012 9/4/2016
Highpointer 50,040 Ft completion graphic: 100% 1/1/2016 9/11/2016
_Wynn 59,260 Ft completion graphic: 100% 4/21/2017 6/2/2017
mmcash 50,010 Ft completion graphic: 100% 9/4/2016 8/19/2017
rakis2 54,010 Ft completion graphic: 100% 1/2/2017 6/22/2018
bolosky 50,260 Ft completion graphic: 100% 9/3/2016 6/24/2018
boshea 50,000 Ft completion graphic: 100% 9/9/2012 6/29/2018
Id repperi 56,010 Ft completion graphic: 100% 6/23/2015 7/21/2018
Huc id est 52,220 Ft completion graphic: 100% 6/23/2015 7/21/2018
mikedawg360 60,320 Ft completion graphic: 100% 7/12/2017 7/30/2018
PippiLongstockings 51,350 Ft completion graphic: 100% 11/1/2014 7/30/2018

Active Participants List (~6 months)
Last updated July 30, 2018

Geocacher Name Geocaching Logo Total Gain completion graphic: 100% Start Date Finish Date
noncentric noncentric profile picture 50,100 Ft completion graphic: 100.0% 09/27/2014  
crs98 crs98 profile picture 50,070 Ft completion graphic: 100.0% 10/11/2015  
DM&K Cachers DM&K Cachers profile picture 31,930 Ft completion graphic: 65.0% 06/24/2014  
MegsKBrown MegsKBrown profile picture 15,420 Ft completion graphic: 30.0% 07/12/2017  
czechsaaz czechsaaz profile picture 8,780 Ft completion graphic: 17.5% 07/30/2017  
Winos_Seattle Winos_Seattle profile picture 7,440 Ft completion graphic: 15.0% 08/27/2016  

2013 2013 Participate Chart: Elevation / Time
2012 2012 Participate Chart: Elevation / Time
2011 2011 Participate Chart: Elevation / Time

The Rules

To log a find on this cache you must:

  1. Accumulate at least 50,000 feet of elevation gain
  2. Gain the elevation using your own power
  3. Do your trip on a road or trail in Northwest Topos mapset (NW Topos)
  4. Find an active physical cache that was published at least three months before you find it
  5. Gain more than the minimal amount of qualifying elevation in each trip
  6. Be current and timely with your trips and posts
  7. Log each trip per the logging requirements

Detailed information about each rule is provided below:

  1. Accumulate at least 50,000 feet of elevation gain
    • The trip to the final will be included as your last qualifying elevation gain and you can choose to either:
      1. Finish: accumulate enough elevation so that your overall total will be at least 50,000 feet when including the trip to this cache
      2. Max your Final Elevation: accumulate over 50,000 feet first then include the trip to this cache adding the elevation as a bonus to your overall total (you can add trips until your overall total is at or above 50,000 feet)

    ___________ Hike to Final Elevation Table
    Start Route Gain Min. Overall Required
    Little Si Trailhead Mt Si summit 4,280' 45,720'
    Mt Si Trailhead Mt Si summit 4,120' 45,880'
    Mt Si Trailhead Mt Teneriffe roads 3,900' 46,100'
    Mt Teneriffe Trailhead Mt Teneriffe roads 3,610' 46,390'

  2. Gain the elevation using your own power
    • Use any combination of hiking, running, snowshoeing, skiing or mountain biking
    • Descent may be by any means, or not at all

  3. Do your trip on a road or trail in Northwest Topos mapset (NW Topos)
    • Trips on trails and roads within the boundaries of, but not yet included in, NW Topos will usually be accepted the understanding that you will submit your tracks to Switchbacks for inclusion in and improving the mapset
    • NW Topos currently includes Washington, North Idaho, western Montana, much of northern and western Oregon, the areas around Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia, and Calgary, Alberta

  4. Find an active physical cache that was published at least three months before you find it
    The three month blackout is to avoid this challenge being a motive for placing caches
    • The following DO NOT count
      • Caches published less than three months before you find it
      • DNFs (you must find the cache)
      • Archived and temporarily disabled caches
      • Virtuals, Earthcaches, etc.
      • Your own caches
        Exception: finds are allowed on your adopted caches provided you found them when you are not the owner
      • Puzzle and multi-caches
        Exception: They are allowed if I already know where the final is located. Even if I don't have a found log on the cache there is still some chance that they will be accepted. For example, I may have solved the puzzle but not yet gone to physically find it. I strongly suggest getting my approval ahead of time via email or you will most likely end up finding that some or all of your elevation gain is not accepted towards the challenge. And, of course, please do not post in your logs the coordinates of, or otherwise give any critical information about, puzzles or multi cache solutions or final locations

  5. Gain more than the minimal amount of qualifying elevation in each trip
    • A trip is a single continuous human powered event; a segment is a section of gain within a trip
      The typical trip is a single segment from the trailhead to the cache and back
      An example of an additional segment is the elevation gained back up to a summit or ridge if the cache is located down the other side (elevation gained on the return counts)
      A trip can use multiple modes of human powered travel (for example mountain biking and hiking) but ends at the use of any non-human powered mode (for example using your car to go to another trailhead)
      A trip can last more than one day. For example, a backpacking trip
      Multiple trips can be done on the same trail or to nearly the same destination provided a different cache is found on each trip. They can be completed on the same or different days
    • The total qualifying elevation for a trip is the sum of all the qualifying segments
      Qualifying elevation gained is usually less than the actual elevation gained
      You need only log one segment for each trip; you may add additional segments to claim more elevation
      The trip minimum can be reached with two or more segments; for example, two segments of 250 feet meets the trip minimum
    • The minimum qualifying trip elevation is 500 feet; the minimum qualifying additional segment elevation is 100 feet
      Trips with elevation less then the minimum do not qualify for this challenge
      Many trails and routes have significant ups and downs that add to the accumulated elevation gain and these may be included as additional segments provided each is a minimum of 100' vertically and are logged per the logging requirements
    • Official elevations are based on the topo contour lines in the NW Topos Mapset
      GPSr elevation readings vary considerably and are therefore much too inaccurate to be considered
    • For elevation to qualify it must be directly related to finding a cache
      Elevation gain that is not related to finding a cache is absolutely fine to do during a trip, it just won't count towards the challenge
      It is acceptable to string together multiple caches during one trip to create a route with more qualifying elevation gain; be careful as a DNF on a cache can cause parts of the trip to not qualify

  6. Be current and timely with your trips and posts
    • The challenge starts for you when you join
      To join the challenge, let us know by posting a note log using the current date, a 'join log'; only hikes on or after this date qualify (you can post your join log the same day as your first hike but your first hike can not be before the date of your join log).
      Your official start date will be the date of your first hike.
    • Post your trip soon after completing it. Trips posted more than seven days after completed will not be accepted unless there is a compelling reason
      This challenge page is intended to show a current view of your progress and logs must have the same date they were submitted: no backdating of logs is allowed (your hike date and log date may differ). This makes it much easier on me to maintain the participation stats and keeps the chart fair and accurate for those that have already started
      The compelling reason exception will be very seldom allowed and is only for special circumstances; email me to discuss before posting a log

  7. Log each trip per the logging requirements
    • For each trip post the information in the list below in a note type log. This makes it easier to do my check and helps any of us who get inspired and want to do the same hike for ourselves. A reminder that posts must be done in a timely manner to qualify (see rule #6 'Be current and timely with your trips and posts').
      The list is numbered for reference only and the information doesn't need to be in the same order, it just needs to be included, so feel free to post in your own style. If you would like please feel free to include more than the minimum information as myself and others enjoy reading about your adventures and progress, and the information can be useful for planning our own trips. It can also helpful to number your hikes to keep track. Trips posted by others can be a great source for ideas on how to post more complicated logs such as multi-segment or multiple trips in a day.

    • Trip logs need to include the following information:
      1. Date of trip
      2. Route
      3. Total elevation gained
      4. Starting location and elevation
      5. Destination cache code and elevation
      6. Details about additional elevation segments (optional)
        For each segment:
        1. Starting location and elevation
        2. Ending location and elevation

      Detailed information about each required item is provided below:

      1. Date of trip
        • Provide the date the trip was completed
          The log date, the date on the log that is posted to this challenge page, might be different. Do not alter the log date, it should remain the date that the log is actually posted

      2. Route
        • Provide enough information so that it's possible to follow your trip
          • Name the trails in order traveled (as an alternate, attached a screenshot of your mapped GPS track)
          • Off-trail travel
            For each section of off-trail travel provide:
            • Starting location
            • Ending location
            • If your general route between the starting and ending locations is not immediately obvious then provide additional information about it by describing it accurately or attaching a marked up map to your log

      3. Total elevation gained
        • The total amount of qualifying elevation for the trip

      4. Starting location and elevation
        • Where you started your elevation gain
          Logged per the section 'Additional requirements for coordinates and elevations' below

      5. Destination cache code and elevation
        • The elevation of the cache you found
          Logged per the section 'Additional requirements for coordinates and elevations' below
        • Provide the GC code for the cache

      6. Details about additional elevation segments
        This item is only necessary when claiming additional elevation segments
        • Provide the following additional information for each segment of 100' or more that you wish to claim:
          • Starting location and elevation
            Logged per the section 'Additional requirements for coordinates and elevations' below
          • Ending location and elevation
            Logged per the section 'Additional requirements for coordinates and elevations' below
Additional requirements for coordinates and elevations
  • For locations: use the cache code, a place name on NW Topos or provide the coordinates
    If I can't find it you don't get credit
    Please provide coordinates in the format NXX XX.XXX WXXX XX.XXX (no comma) so I can cut and paste directly into software. This makes life much easier for me
  • For elevations: use NW Topos or another topo map and round to the nearest 10'
    NW Topos is the official mapset being used for this challenge. I check each trip for accuracy and if I adjust any information I will let you know in my summary log that I post at every update. There are differences between topo mapsets so if you use another mapset your posted elevation may differ from the official elevations. It may be that you very accurately determined the elevation on the mapset you're using but then I still adjust it during the check. If that is the case, please do not take it as a statement of your mapping skills but rather as a way of highlighting the differences between maps. That is meant to build knowledge and intuition about maps and navigation, a key goal I have for this challenge


  • Basecamp
    A map and GPS software by Garmin. It can be used to view the NW Topos and NW Trails and other map sets and the official elevation file. It can also be used to upload and download information to and from Garmin and some other GPSrs
  • Northwest Trails Mapset
    A very valuable map set for Basecamp or other related software. It contains many of the trails in the Pacific Northwest and is set up as an overlay which means that it can be used at the same time as another mapset in order to see the trails and the other mapset together (obtain other mapsets from other sources such as purchasing from Garmin or from free open sources on the web)
  • Northwest Topos Mapset
    Another valuable map set for Basecamp or other related software. It is a portion of the Northwest Trails data combined directly with a topo map. This is the official reference for this challenge
  • Official Elevations File (.gpx)
    Left click to view or right click and 'save as' to download. This is a file containing location and elevation information for trips already submitted by participants. I use this as my first resource to check newly posted trips and then add any new information to it as it comes up. I am making it available for you as a convenience to make your logging easier; it is not necessary to use it to log your trips. This file is in gpx format and can be opened with Basecamp or other software. It will be updated occasionally so be sure to check back if you want to have the latest version: the last updated was 07/30/2018

Other Items

  • Returning of Past Participants
    I remove from the Active Participants list all participants that have not posted a trip within about the last six month in order to keep the challenged focused on current activity and to keep the list from being excessively long. I retain all data for every participant and you are free and welcome to continue at any point in time. When you post a new trip I will add you back into the Active Participants list. If you would like to know your stats then feel free to contact me for them

Discussion Forum

  • If you have any questions, comments, feedback or find errors please feel free to discuss here

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Qrafre pyhfgre bs gerrf. Nggnpurq gb fznyy gerr jvgu ybat terra pbeq fb pna or sbhaq jura pbirerq jvgu fabj

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

Reviewer notes

Use this space to describe your geocache location, container, and how it's hidden to your reviewer. If you've made changes, tell the reviewer what changes you made. The more they know, the easier it is for them to publish your geocache. This note will not be visible to the public when your geocache is published.