Colson track

Submitted: Sunday, Jun 14, 2015 at 20:25
ThreadID: 119180 Views:2652 Replies:6 FollowUps:3
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We are doing a trip in about a week and trying to do the Colson track from Birdsville. Any thing we need to know before doing this? We are going into Mac Clark Park from here. We are not crossing any Aboriginal lands, just to keep things simple.
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Reply By: cookie1 - Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 19:02

Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 19:02
According to all of my maps you require a Permit for the Colson Track and apparently is very hard to obtain, happy to be corrected if I am mistaken as it will solve a problem next year.

AnswerID: 556004

Reply By: lindsay - Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 19:35

Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 19:35
I have tried twice to get permits from the C.L.C. but could not get one.
AnswerID: 556005

Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 20:24

Monday, Jun 15, 2015 at 20:24
We were GOING to cross Colson only up from Geosurveys Hill to Hale R and through to Mac Clark the other month, but the plan didn't go through in the end.
Long story.
There was a tiny corridor between the 2 triangular lands that supposedly has a gate for transit into Andado property, and they say all ok to travel station tracks.
The only stipulation I saw in there was it was requested that no camping at Madigan 2 (Twins).

All our research showed we could do this without going onto any Aboriginal lands, but the way the maps are marked it seems as a transit road into there, they may be off limits to following the Colson itself, and maybe even technically just driving across as we had intended.

Loong at CLC maps of permits required, Colson isn't even marked on there as a permit track, a bit poor not having it shown on the list or map they produce.
Which roads require permits ?
Permit requirements in CLC region

From what I have heard / read, the Colson access was forever closed after some 4wdrs disrespected some sacred areas some years ago, causing damage either intentionally or unintentionally.
AnswerID: 556007

Reply By: Echucan Bob - Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 22:23

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2015 at 22:23

the Colson does go through CLC lands. It took a huge amount of effort/negotiation to get approval. Some white employees of the CLC see aboriginal lands as their private preserve.

You will never ever, encounter an aboriginal person or official (or anyone else for that matter) on the Colson.

However, by the sound of your trip, you are some somehow crossing from the lower part of the Colson to the Old Andado track, perhaps along the Madigan Line.

AnswerID: 556057

Follow Up By: Julie S2 - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015 at 08:14

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015 at 08:14
Thanks for this, yes that is what we want to do. Hopefully be able to go ahead with these plans if possible. I have emailed Mt Dare to see what they say about track conditions etc.
FollowupID: 842179

Reply By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015 at 08:58

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015 at 08:58
Mt Dare are very helpful, they gave me detailed ways to avoid any Aboriginal lands, and cross Colson with minimal fuss, just a 90 degree cross over only.

I have read it's very common to exit and cross Colson outside the Verbotton zone, and head up to head up to Madigan 6, BUT, you say you are doing "BV to Colson track from Birdsville . . . We are going into Mac Clark Park from here . . . We are not crossing any Aboriginal lands, just to keep things simple".

At all costs, I would avoid travelling west across dune country, the dunes are extreme on the east side, and country in between very 'mongulated', slow (down to ~ 50km traveled for a whole day), and fuel sapping (like double normal use or more !).
We altered our plan and did a bail out from near Geo Centre to the south, as we would likely have had issues with fuel if we kept heading west via Geo Hill and across raw dunes.
We found very few signs of tracks anywhere in the centre . . .

Madigan might be better to drive E-W, some might give advice there, but if you were planning to "do the Colson Tk form Birdsville" to get through to Mac Clark, you aren't near 95% of Madigan anyway ??
If leaving BV and traveling Madigan, then you only cross Colson normally, not travel up or down it.

If going across the desert, Colson (where entering hale River region) to Madigan 6 or the other way, you need to be VERY confident with your nav, set up, comms, and suitable minimalist load, plenty of fuel / water / food etc.

I don't want to put you off, but your text to date on your planned route / direction is very unclear.
AnswerID: 556066

Reply By: Julie S2 - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015 at 10:36

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015 at 10:36
Thank you so much for this advice, we would like to err on the side of caution and not take undue risks. We may try and go in from Mac Clark park rather than from BV. We may by then have more advice on the route. We don't want to run into trouble, as we will have a youngish child with us and there is only two cars travelling in our group. So maybe we need to be extra cautious. Will get more advice and then decide. Don't want to make a foolish decision on someones whim to do this.
AnswerID: 556073

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015 at 12:20

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015 at 12:20
Indeed Julie, good to consider right through the plan.
If you go in Mac Clark, and drove Madigan 1a, 2, Hale River, and the exit to come to Colson, THEN the big question is :

Option 1 - Do you need permission to transit the track say south to French Line, and go in from there ?
I haven't seen or driven Colson above French Line, all I know is if you go to Google maps and sat view, zoom in and find it, it isn't that easy to see !! Not like French Line and other Simmo Tks.

Option 2 - Across Colson and bearing to Geosurveys Hill, Simmo Geo Centre, then down corridors to French Line and to BV from there. NOT an option for the inexperienced, at all.
You would need to really know your stuff, very tough, very slow . . . we bailed before the Hill coming the other way, we would have made it if there was some sort of a track, even a faint one from the Hill to Colson, but we hadn't found ANYTHING substantial in the way of tracks the previous 3 days, so weren't taking a risk.

Option 3 - From corridor east of Hale River and crossing Colson, bearings across corridors and over dunes to Madigan 6 (probably untracked), then east along Madigan and down Hay R Tk to BV (big permit cost $200 ?). Again, not for the inexperienced.

Option 4 - A simpler Simmo crossing, French Line, WAA, Rig, Knolls, or a combination, up to Poeppel, QAA to Birdsville.
Best option for relatively new desert travellers, plenty of company usually travelling both ways, still need good prep, tip top vehicle condition, reasonable nav, you would get good paper maps in the SA Desert Parks Pass info, (cost $150).

Good luck with the planning, if you need further advice, ask away and I'm sure some can assist.
FollowupID: 842195

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015 at 12:23

Wednesday, Jun 17, 2015 at 12:23
Oh, and for any option, hire a sat phone (if you don't have one in the party) at Mt Dare, you can drop off Birdsville.
Even if there is a HF in the group, or another sat phone, take a second one . . . if option 4, one or either HF or sat phone would do though.
FollowupID: 842196

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