Simpson Desert going solo

Submitted: Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 11:32
ThreadID: 131752 Views:3210 Replies:12 FollowUps:18
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Hi, I'm planning an outback trip this year, Cameron Corner, Marree, William Creek, Oodnadatta, Mt Dare, Birdsville, sticking to main tracks, my question, is it safe enought to go with out a second vehicle, is there usualy enough traffic that if something happens, im not sitting there for days
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Reply By: Sigmund - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 11:44

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 11:44
Birdsville Tk and the other dirt highways get a deal of traffic but you should be prepared to wait for over an hour in daytime and overnight in the dark. If you have a health crisis or a crash, that might be enough to see you dead.

Depending on the time of year you may face heatstroke.

Depending on the Simpson route you may need to be ready to wait for days.

If you're ill-prepared your request for help won't of course be welcomed. You'll be messing up someone else's trip.

Why not just hire a satphone or PLB?
AnswerID: 597014

Follow Up By: mountainman - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 12:37

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 12:37
Just have a vehiclr checked over and necessary precautions. As well as good communications.
I think the wait an hour and your dead is a drastic way of thinking.
it takes more than an hour to get medical help anyway, soo your stuffed as it is.
Enjoy your trip and plan for cruising and you should be ok.
Cheers
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FollowupID: 865992

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 13:09

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 13:09
Yeah, it's a drastic way of thinking. Also an informed way. IIRC at least two folk died on the Birdsville in vehicle crashes last year.

I picked up a crashed motorcyclist on it last July - he'd come off in a floodway at 90+ kmh. He'd been waiting as it happens for over an hour. Plenty of time for shock or internal or external bleeding to have done him in. He was just lucky it was less serious - and that I came along - and that I had a satphone to talk to RFDS about my amateur diagnosis of his injuries - and that I could take him to the nearest nurse and aerodrome.

Hope for the best they say. But plan for the worst.
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FollowupID: 865996

Follow Up By: mountainman - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 23:47

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 23:47
I seen a bloke in mackay
.
Dead on the ground
paramedics arrived quick as the first response vehicle was sent.
didnt help him..
he was under a tarp on the ground the next hour.
soo doesnt matter where you are or how bad things get.
live it than worry about the worst thing that can happen.
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FollowupID: 866027

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 06:29

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 06:29
The original poster's question indicates that he's considering relying on others to get him out of the pooh if necessary. I don't think he shares your fatalism.

In my book that's unwise and bludging - cos he's relying on luck and cos he wants others to do what he won't organise for himself.

He has alternatives:

* Get a satphone or PLB
* Don't go until he can organise a mate
* Join a club and go out with them or lead a trip out there for it
* Make a post on 4wdtrip
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FollowupID: 866029

Follow Up By: Bob W12 - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 19:37

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 19:37
My only concern about going solo is if i get bogged with no way out via winch or treads or digging.
i understand that i should never rely on others to get me out of the pooh, and i have a well equiped vehicle.
The reason for my questions was to get advice on what i should bring and arrange before i go solo.
i take on board your advice Sigmund and thanks

Cheers
1
FollowupID: 866050

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 22:44

Sunday, Mar 06, 2016 at 22:44
Get some MaxTraxs.

Don't push your luck. Going solo is no time for ego or macho traits. Stop and think!

if you feel that there is a chance of getting bogged don't go there. About the only time you will have trouble if there is some rare rain or you get off the beaten tracks. The shortest way across a wet clay pan may be the longest way. Observe where the latest tracks go. There may be a good reason that they went that way.

Phil
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FollowupID: 866059

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 04:51

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 04:51
Rain is in fact among the likeliest cause of problems. Eg. William Ck was cut off for several days three or four times last year. The roads get closed after just light rain. A heavy rain can have you waiting for a few days anywhere along a track before you can continue.
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FollowupID: 866065

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 04:58

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 04:58
Phils advice above re getting bogged, yes many take the harder (more fun) looking route over some of the dunes, while there is a nice contouring track option, suppose some like the challenge which is natural for a lot of people, me included :)
Ok if you're in a group, but solo take the easier route (up Big Red for example, not that you're likely to get stuck on that one).

Sigs note on rain. For sure especially the eastern side claypans, and as mentioned Eyre Ck on QAA (there is a bypass for when that's flooded, + approx 60km) mostly wet during the Summer times (though it's closed then of course) and shoulder seasons.
The popular months through Winter and its shoulder times is usually pretty dry up there.
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FollowupID: 866066

Reply By: Mikee5 - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 12:50

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 12:50
I have done the Simpson solo. A well prepared reliable vehicle is essential. Don't flog it. Tyres @ 16 ish or less. Extra fuel. I took an EPIRP. There would not have been many hours each day when the CB wasn't busy. I don't have a lift or big fat wheels. The better you are prepared the easier the crossing becomes.
AnswerID: 597019

Follow Up By: vk1dx - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 07:15

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 07:15
True Moke

And how different it is on the tracks through the Simpson. In five days on the Madigan not one peep out of the radio and we were half way between Poeppel and Big Red until we heard anything on the QAA. That's nothing between Old Andando, Hay River etc with nothing from the uhf, and it was on scan as well. Thinking back to our first trip (W - E) using the WAA line via Lone Gum to Poeppel, we only met or even heard one group on that track as well. The CSR was like Pitt Street in comparison!!

A good reason to take more than the UHF. We prefer the Satellite phone as you can talk about your situation and not get the Army, Navy and Air Force out for a new fan belt or a bit of water.

Phil
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FollowupID: 866068

Reply By: Member - Keith C (NSW) - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 13:25

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 13:25
Bob, You can hire a sat-phone at either side of the simpson,a sand flag is a must, uhf is very handy as is an epirb. Don't hurry and don't worry too much about trouble as long as you are well set up,and not overloaded, we went from mt dare on the french line in 2013 in an 80s cruiser no troubles at all, we went alone and enjoyed every K. Air down when you hit the dirt.Don't forget a parks pass.Keith.
AnswerID: 597020

Reply By: Bob W12 - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 13:38

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 13:38
Thanks to everyone who has replied, all good advice, i will defenetly be properly prepared and take my time.
Cheers guys
AnswerID: 597021

Follow Up By: Stephen F2 - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 13:52

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 13:52
Or you could go tandem across Simpson part of ya trip if you happy to go with someone else....cheers.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 14:06

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 14:06
We(2 vehicles) went across the Rig Road last October, Bob, and only saw 2 vehicles, both travelling together. From Oodnadatta on, I travelled by myself down through William Ck, Marree, Lyndhurst, up Strezlecki Track to Moomba, Innamincka and up the Arrabury Road and onto Diamantina River Road, back to Winton.

Plenty of traffic on the Strezlecki, road trains, mining & road works gangs. Didn't see too many on the Oodanadatta track, ute & 'van, couple of graders, and a bloke foot walking south.......think he might have been on a push bike? :-)

Did meet a couple at Innamincka, late 60's-early 70's, in a small Jeep towing a pop top van, that were heading up the Cordillo Downs road, from Innamincka. Intrepid souls, I thought, 'cause it was bloody hot, mid 40's, so hope they got home alright. They did say the road across from Cameron's Corner was very good, that is up the Old Strezlecki, to Innamincka.

I carry a sat phone, plenty of fuel/water, and plan well ahead as to when I'll need fuel again. Also had lots more tucker than I needed, but it was too hot to eat. Might define my comments here, I had a new Landcruiser ute, only 4 weeks old, and was only moderately loaded.

You haven't said what month you'll be doing it Bob? Keep away from hot months and I'd reckon you'll see heaps of people..........maybe even too many! :-)

Bob

Seen it all, Done it all.
Can't remember most of it.

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AnswerID: 597023

Reply By: vk1dx - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 14:47

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 14:47
You should be fine Bob. I do recommend a sat phone. You can hire at both ends of the Simpson. I read your response about the car being well prepared so you appear to have the right approach.

We crossed the Madigan Line last year and as usual went solo. We didn't see another vehicle between Old Andando and the Hay River track. Five days!! Loved it.

Take care and enjoy the solitude. Go where you wish, stop where and when you wish and even sleep in as long as you want. All the benefits of solo travel. You are your own boss and not ruled by the mob. Ha

Catchya

Phil
AnswerID: 597024

Follow Up By: Bob W12 - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 18:34

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 18:34
The solitude is the main reason i want to go solo
Thanks Phil
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Follow Up By: vk1dx - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 18:41

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 18:41
Just like this??? No doof doof and you could almost read a book by the starlight.

Phil



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FollowupID: 866014

Reply By: Danny B3 - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 15:25

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 15:25
This post has been read by the moderation team and has been moderated due to a breach of The For Sale/Wanted to Buy Rule .

Forum Moderation Team
AnswerID: 597025

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 18:06

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 18:06
Hi Bob

If you are an experienced Outback Traveller and know your limitations, then you will have no problems at all.

We have travelled the Simpson many times with friends, and three times Solo.

The other tracks that you mention are main roads, with lots of passing traffic, so you will not be alone out there. Keep your tyre pressures down and if the sand is soft out in the Simpson, I always go straight to 14psi and you will be able to crawl over all the sand dunes without having a second attempt.

Being solo, you need to have every base covered, extra tyre repair gear, good first aid kit, extra fuel, food and water, as well as good reliable communications in the event of trouble. For long range communications, I have a Satellite phone and HF Radio, and a UHF for closer communications. For added safety we carry a PLB. When in the Simpson, the recommended UHF channel is 10, but you will always find other groups and individuals that insist on being different and use other channels. For this reason, we always run our UHF on scan. Also make sure that you have a good sand flag. You want to be seen, and again, you will see other vehicles, including solo vehicles with no sand flag at all.

Do your homework, fully prepare your vehicle with a pre trip inspection by a qualified auto technical and you will have a great time.


Cheers



Stephen
Simpson Desert Colours

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AnswerID: 597032

Follow Up By: Les - PK Ranger - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 20:07

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 20:07
Yes, the two UHFs with one on scan is really getting necessary.
I think larger groups breaking away from 10 isn't a bad thing, as it frees the channel up somewhat, but the leader should be calling 10 from dune peaks every now and then (say every 4 dunes) to find other travellers as they close the gap (if they answer that is !).

Have seen some without flags out there (now mandatory), and no radios, very awkward sometimes, and could be dangerous if the wrong circumstances with position were present.

Personally I wouldn't say it's ok solo unless I knew what month you were going.
It can get very quiet out there in shoulder seasons, but regardless if solo I'd hire sat phone either end and return when across the other side, it's a one way hire deal, check Mt Dare website (Google it).
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FollowupID: 866016

Reply By: LandCoaster - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 20:56

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 20:56
Becareful of those thorn bush's between White Cliffs and Willcania on the Cameron's Corner part of the run....

I got 6 flats in that area...
First flat was from the road...
3 more flats pulling off the road to fix the first flat...
Yep, you guessed it, got 2 more getting back onto the road....
Ended up using a liquorish stick as a bung

Then I ran out of fuel 12K's short of Willcania due to a hole in my jerry.. Patched it with some 'instant metal" and started the hike in.

About an half-hour into my walk the local motel owner came by but was only interested in helping with a lift if I was going to book a room. I offered him a cold 6pack instead, but nope, he wanted the full $90 for the 10K lift to which I politely declined.

Got most of the way into town when an Amercian woman that runs a station pulled over and got me the rest of the way in.

In town I got banged $10 for 4 efttos transactions plus the $2/ Litre fuel... no wonder people are angry out there...

Got out of town, settled into my stride and was offered a lift by a couple heading to White-Cliffs....

For the fours days I was out there, there where only 5 vehicles that went past and for Sigmonds sake, I wasn't hitching

I was traveling solo-solo, ie one-out, just me, It was one of the best trips I did, Adventure, drama, a beautiful 15K hike and a new understanding of the bigotry in Australia...

AnswerID: 597042

Follow Up By: equinox - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 21:26

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 21:26
Hi Landcoaster,

How did the liquorice go?
Cheers
Alan

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.
"Outback Yonder"


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FollowupID: 866021

Follow Up By: LandCoaster - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 21:37

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 21:37
lol, the liquorice went well..
.
Only needed it for the 30 Metre run back onto the the road but it held quite well.

It had been sitting on the dash for some time, i didnt like liquorice back then, now I always pack a stick or two, just in case i run out of bungs...lol..
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FollowupID: 866022

Follow Up By: equinox - Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 21:46

Saturday, Mar 05, 2016 at 21:46
Thanks for that, always good to hear of other ways of doing things....

Looking for adventure.
In whatever comes our way.
"Outback Yonder"


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FollowupID: 866023

Reply By: Sigmund - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 07:37

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 07:37
There's some sound advice on outback travel and preparation on the Mt Dare Hotel website Bob:

http://www.mtdare.com.au/the-australian-outback
AnswerID: 597085

Reply By: Baz - The Landy - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 17:20

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 17:20
In a word - Preparation!

With that anything is possible.

It is about sitting down, thinking through the risks, how you will manage them and whether the potential outcomes are acceptable to you and your level of experience.

Cheers, Baz - The Landy

AnswerID: 597123

Reply By: Member - Young Nomads - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 22:18

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 22:18
Not a problem Bob.
We travel alone all the time.
Maintenance ..tyre pressures low on sand..Don't drive fast on dirt/ stone!.80 kms is too fast on most roads out there...averaged 50 kph on Strez track..towing
plenty of people out there now.
The Simpson is busy as...you would be lucky to get stuck there for 1/2 a day!.
Just don't watch Wolf Creek before you go though LOL

AnswerID: 597145

Follow Up By: Bob W12 - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 22:21

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 22:21
A few people said, dont watch Wolf Creek, lol, thanks for the advice
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FollowupID: 866138

Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 23:12

Monday, Mar 07, 2016 at 23:12
You're pretty safe if you steer clear of hot young girls. Psycho's aren't interested in old ordinary looking people.
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FollowupID: 866140

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