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The Steepest Hill in Dubuque

A cache by BlueDeuce Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 2/25/2003
In Iowa, United States
5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Size: Size: small (small)

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Geocache Description:

Due to its topography, Dubuque has a lot of steep hills. Being curious which one was the steepest, I bought a level with an angle measurement to find out. Using topo maps to narrow it down, and then measuring and comparing the steeper hills, I soon came to a tie between two streets: Dell (off of Loras), and Spruce (off of University). Already having an idea for the puzzle that would be solved to find the cache location, I picked Dell because it was the only one of the two hills that had potential cache hiding locations in the direction of the hill.

Parts of the math needed to solve this cache are somewhat confusing, so if the cache isn’t found within a few weeks, I might add some clues. If the cache still isn’t found a few weeks later, I might post a step-by-step method to solve for the final coordinates.


If you were to launch a projectile (ball, brick, horse, car, basically any noun you can think of should land in the same place with the given assumptions) from the bottom of this hill, and the projectile passes the top of the hill at 188 meters per second, where would it land?

The cache is located at said location.

When calculating the final coordinates, ASSUME the following:
• There is a 15.7 meter vertical elevation difference between the top and bottom of the hill. This is a guesstimate from looking at the contours on the topo map. The GPS altimeter is not accurate enough to come any closer.
• Projectile lands at the same elevation as the top of the hill.
• Projectile is slid uphill with no friction.
• Houses, trees, and other objects that might impede the path of the projectile do not exist. It will not stop until it hits the ground.
• The hill ends at Arlington. The alley opposite it does not exist.
• No wind resistance.

Given all the variables taken into account when calculating the final coordinates, it is likely that there will be a significant discrepancy between the calculated final coordinates and the actual cache location. The final location hints have been decrypted to narrow down the potential locations. If they make sense, you should be in the right area and on track to find the cache.

Before deciding upon the route to the final cache location, you may want to look around and consider the options.

The steepest hill (or hills, as the case may be) was determined using the following criteria:

• Alleys don’t count
• Hill must be at least half a block long. This eliminates short rises coming up to intersections.

If you liked this puzzle cache, look for my other puzzle in Dubuque – the sharpest-angled corner. I also have one in Waterloo, a few near Ames, and one in Ottumwa. Ames is a mecca for puzzle caches.

You can check your answers for this puzzle on

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

[Hint for puzzle:] Va Qhohdhr, 1 zvahgr yngvghqr = 6086.9 srrg naq 1 zvahgr ybatvghqr = 4487.9 srrg.

[Hints for final location:] Pnpur vf ybpngrq haqre gur sbezre sbbgfgrcf bs uhznaf.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



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Current Time:
Last Updated: on 5/16/2017 3:18:48 PM Pacific Daylight Time (10:18 PM GMT)
Rendered From:Unknown
Coordinates are in the WGS84 datum

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