Sir Frederick Range safe turnaround points?

We'll be on the Sandy Blight Junction Road in mid to late July. We will be a group of three couples in three vehicles. I doubt that any one of us will wish to drive the full length of the road to Sir Frederick Range summit (vehicle preservation), so we will be looking for safe turn around points.

A 2015 blog (non ExplorOz) described a turnaround point at 2km, but it sounded as though, even at that point (with still about a kilometre or more to the summit), the going had gotten pretty tough.

For those of you who have driven the summit road, do you have any recollection of safe turnaround points prior to the two kilometre point?
Ray
Back Expand Un-Read 0 Moderator

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 15:44

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 15:44
Hi Ray

The information that you have rear elsewhere sounds pretty well on what the conditions are like. The actual turnoff is very easy to find and you will not miss it.

The track will start off on flat level ground and then it will go just straight up. Before even starting the climb it is 100% low range first, as even here the ground is very rocky, with the rocks the size of a football and smaller.

The safe turn around point is at the top of the first incline, with an extra area where those that have had enough can leave their vehicle there and then mountain goat climb the rest of the way on foot.

The track is extremely rocky and the last 10 metres or so from the top then seems to go just straight uo and you are looking at nothing but sky, and when we did it, it was extremely cut up from wheel spin, and the rocks here quite larger, and we were glad that we had under vehicle protection, as the sounds of the rocks under the car was a distressing sound for my non lifted Prado. The very first thing that I did, before even getting out the camera was to make sure that there was no damage under the Prado.

The area at the top is very small, and two vehicles was tight, and three would be very cosy indeed.

I was travelling in a small group of 4 vehicles, a Navara, Mazda , Old Troopy and my Prado. Because of the noise of the rocks under the vehicle, both the Mazda and the Nissan were left at the turn around point and they jumped into the Troopy and then hung on for grim death. The images that show one vehicle ahead of the 2 at the turn around point, was the Mazda, and he feared that he was going to badly damage his vehicle, so he very slowly reversed back down the the turn around point.

These images will get you a better idea if what the terrain is like.



Cheers



Stephen





Roxby Downs Special

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

AnswerID: 626081

Follow Up By: Member - Ray S - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 16:25

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 16:25
Thanks, Stephen. As usual, very helpful information. Just a clarification: so I am assuming that the turn around point that you refer to (where the Navara and the Mazda were left) is likely to be the same one that I read about elsewhere i.e. about two kilometres from the turn off from the main track to the summit? And therefore, is the one and only possible turn around point from the turn off until the summit is reached? Ray
1
FollowupID: 899748

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 16:38

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 16:38
Hi Ray,

Yes this is the only place where it is safe to turn around, in a relatively flatter area, with room to do a three point turn, where as the rest of the track hugs the ridge line and if you reached a point where you were not comfortable, it will be a rather scary reverse back down the the turn around point, which is what happened to the Mazda.


Cheers



Stephen
Roxby Downs Special

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 899749

Reply By: Member - Ray S - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 16:40

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 16:40
Okay - thanks again, Stephen.
AnswerID: 626083

Reply By: Member - JOHN C16 - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 16:41

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 16:41
A few more photos.









Stephen’s description is accurate. The sounds of the rocks under the car are distressing.

When you reach the top spare a thought for Len Beadell. He drove up by a different route and thought he might have difficulty descending. He was relieved to find there was an easy way down. Len’s easy way down is the route we drive up.

Also spare a thought for Doug Stoneham. He drove a bulldozer to the top to grade the track and to create the turning points.

Cheers, John
AnswerID: 626084

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 16:53

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 16:53
Hi John,

Your second image is great, and as with all photos, still does not show just how steep it is.

I just wished I had stopped to take such an image.


Cheers


Stephen
Roxby Downs Special

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

1
FollowupID: 899751

Follow Up By: Member - Ray S - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 17:00

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 17:00
Thanks, John. Photos are great. Yes, I've read Len's description of his drive up (in Beating Around the Bush) - and his choice of driving a different route down, which became the ultimate route. I suppose we are lucky he chose the latter 'easier' route!

Maybe we'll take our cue from Scotty: my memory is that he turned his grader around very early on.
1
FollowupID: 899752

Follow Up By: Ron N - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 20:50

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 20:50
That slope is nothing for a dozer. You can drive up, or across 1 in 1 slopes (45 deg or 100% slope) with a dozer.

Dozers have dual oil pickups for both engine and transmissions, so they don't starve of oil on exceptionally steep slopes.
The engines have oil pickups sucking from sumps at the front, and the rear, of the crankcase.

The problem with steep side slopes with dozers is when the ground is greasy, slippery clay, they will slide sideways.

I frightened the living daylights out of myself once, on one of my Cat dozers, sidecutting across the front face of a dam I was finishing off.
The clay was a lot wetter than I thought, and the track shoes were very polished - and I slid sideways from top to bottom of the front face (about 15 metres), in seconds!

But the dozer stayed upright - there's little fear of them tipping over, unless really drastic angles are reached, such as 60 deg or more.
You will actually start to fall out of the seat before the dozer reaches its tipping point!

Rubber-tyred earthmovers are a different kettle of fish, they don't like excessive slopes at all.

Cheers, Ron.
3
FollowupID: 899759

Follow Up By: Ron N - Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 10:56

Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 10:56
Mick O has put up a good YouTube video of the Sir Frederick Range climb.

That last section is certainly a difficult scramble, with the steep slope covered in those nasty, smooth, rounded rocks, by the boatload.

One of the problems that arises with climbing, with any vehicle or machine, is that you need your weight positioned well forward, to enable good weight distribution to the wheels, on steep slopes.

But virtually all 4WD's set up for long-distance touring and camping, are loaded with a weight bias towards the rear.
This is the exact opposite of what you need on steep slopes, if want you to climb steep slopes with ease.

If you examine the design of the old Cat dozers, they all have long noses with the engine well forward - and some even have big counterweights under the radiator.
This is what enables them to bulldoze full blades of soil up steep slopes without the weight transferring to just the rear of the tracks, which makes them lose traction.

Cheers, Ron.


0
FollowupID: 899767

Reply By: Mick O - Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 18:44

Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 18:44
Ray, she's a bit tight along the length of the track. You can turn around between the first and second big climb (base of the second) but after that, it's easier to continue on and turn around up on the summit. If any of you are towing, leave your trailer down at the fork of the track on the Sandy Blight.

I know Ron has popped up a link to a video of mine on Youtube but here it is in Vimeo. The quality is a bit better (pretty crappy video camera back then).

Cheers

''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message
Moderator

AnswerID: 626097

Follow Up By: Member - Ray S - Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 21:53

Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 21:53
Thanks, Mick. We had come across your video previously. It was probably the impetus for me to ask about available turn around points. So, thanks also for the specific advice on the location of a turn around point at the base of the second big climb.

Stephen talked about the size of the rocks, and their impact on the underside of his Prado, being a distressing aspect of the approach to the summit (on the second big climb). How much of an issue are the size of the rocks, traction and 'ravaging' of the underside of the vehicle on the climb up the first big climb?

Woops! Just noted that Stephen says "the ground is very rocky, with the rocks the size of a football and smaller", I'm guessing even at this stage (on the first big climb).
0
FollowupID: 899784

Reply By: Mick O - Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 00:16

Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 00:16
Ray, probably dependent on the size of the furrows in the track at this stage and the suspension lift (if any) you have on your vehicle. My Nissan at that stage had a 2" lift with an additional 20mm or so from an upsize in tyres to 285R75's. With the current 6" lift on the Toyota and 31575R16's, I wouldn't expect a rock to get within cooee of the chassis rails.,

It's a technical piece of travel but rocks are rocks, take it easy with tyre pressures down and rear diff lock on (if you have it) and you should be fine. Scott had to put the foot in because he was running MRF's on splits. He was also running them at to high in pressure hence he had to stick the boot in on the second face. I'd be more worried about the corrugations on the northern end of the SBJT than the climb up the Sir Frederick

Enjoy what was Len Beadells favourite road....and you'll see why. It is a magnificent stretch.

Cheers

Mick





We had a little disaster on the SBJT due to the corrugations. We laugh now!








''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message
Moderator

AnswerID: 626105

Follow Up By: Member - Ray S - Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 16:37

Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 16:37
Thanks for the tips, Mick, and the explanatory notes on your 'journey' to the summit. It's all really helpful.

Incidentally, this will be the second trip on the Sandy Blight for my wife and myself (first trip 2017), but we didn't allow enough time to either drive or walk to the summit of Sir Frederick Range on that occasion. On this forthcoming trip we are especially looking forward to sharing the Sandy Blight with good friends who have yet to travel it.
0
FollowupID: 899806

Follow Up By: Mick O - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 00:25

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 00:25
It's a magnificent track Ray and one I know you'll enjoy. Travelling it with friends makes it all the better. Could you do us all a favour and check the hand pumps along the way for operability and also quality of water. A report back to the forum would be much appreciated.

Safe travels,

Mick
''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  Send Message
Moderator

0
FollowupID: 899910

Follow Up By: Member - Ray S - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 09:15

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 09:15
I shall do this, Mick. I only have a clear memory of one hand pump from our trip two years ago (maybe that says something about my powers of observation - or lack thereof). Do you have a bit of a description of the approximate whereabouts of the pumps you know about, so that we can watch out for them? [I think I may have picked up from our ExplorOz website that there is one somewhere near the turnoff to Tjukurla? Stephen's description?]

The one pump I do remember was pretty easy to spot. We came across it about half way through the day after leaving our overnight camp near the Sir Frederick range summit turn-off and our next night's camp at the base of Mount Leisler. It was on the right hand side of the track (as we travelled south to north). It was in among a stand of trees, but with good spacing between the trees (I remember thinking it would make a good camping spot - but it was a bit early in the day for us to camp). At that time the pump was operational, and the water was nice and clear, but I can't remember anything about its taste.
0
FollowupID: 899917

Follow Up By: Bob Y. - Qld - Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 11:08

Saturday, Jun 15, 2019 at 11:08
We camped at this Bore that Ray mentions, on 1/07/18, while heading south on one of the last legs of our WA trip. There was another group already set up around the pump, so we moved further back into the mulga and found a good spot, with ample firewood.

Grabbed a bucketful of water & had a bogey, much better than the previous "sponge bath". Pretty sure I did a taste test, Mick, & it seemed quite OK. I may have even topped up one of my tanks too, but didn't record that task in my journal.

Don't recall seeing the 2nd Bore at all. Too busy admiring the scenery!

Bob.

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

Lifetime Member
My Profile  My Blog  My Position  Send Message

0
FollowupID: 899921

Follow Up By: gke - Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 18:01

Sunday, Jun 16, 2019 at 18:01
Hi Mick and others,
On 11/4/2019 there was excellent water from the pump mentioned by Ray.
The northern section of the road had rough patches and corrugations whereas the southern sections were being graded and excellent travelling up to the pump area. From the pump there was a graded road heading west, I believe to a community.

Bungabiddy was very low, and lots of country burnt out by earlier fires from lightning strikes.

Cheers, graham.
0
FollowupID: 899966

Reply By: splits - Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 at 10:18

Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 at 10:18
My wife and I drove to the top exactly six years ago. We were both 68 and on our own. The man running the shop at Kintore told us three days earlier that he could not get is Landcruiser Troop Carrier up the last hill so we did not know what to expect.

I looked at each one and thought they were nowhere near as steep as many hills we had driven up in the VHC and other parts of the Great Dividing Range so I walked up each one first.. The first one had a couple of deep looking holes so I filled them with rocks. The next two looked ok.

The car was a 2003 Hilux diesel manual with standard suspension and stock size 205 x 16 tyres running on the same handbook pressures that we left Sydney on. Tyres were Goodyear Wrangler TG. It was 200 kg under GVM. Its only mechanical modification was an automatic locking front diff.

I drove up the first one in first gear low range. I soon realised it was too low but I stayed in it until the top. I used second low for the next two hills.

On the way down a rock lightly touched the back axle but that was our only contact with the ground.

If you are fit enough then walk the hills first and see what you think. The first rule when four wheel driving is to make sure you can get through, not hope you can.
AnswerID: 626122

Follow Up By: Member - Ray S - Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 at 12:05

Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 at 12:05
Splits, thanks for being quite specific in your description - it's helpful knowing pretty precisely what you did and about your preparation. Thanks also for the tips.

Ray
1
FollowupID: 899824

Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 at 13:45

Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 at 13:45
A locking front diff is a big secret to good climbing ability.

Cheers, Ron.
0
FollowupID: 899826

Follow Up By: splits - Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 at 14:19

Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 at 14:19
Ron

That is why I installed it. I have heard many people argue that it is not needed because the weight on the rear axle increases on a steep hill and the car should keep going. I have always thought if you loose traction on the front axle, it is a hell of a big ask for the rear to do the lot.

I have no doubt countless cars have reached the top of Sir Fred without a front locker so I don't know if it helped me or not. What I do know is the car just rolled up without a worry in the world.
1
FollowupID: 899827

Reply By: Candace S. - Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 03:25

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 03:25
What is the total distance from the turnoff to the summit?
AnswerID: 626134

Follow Up By: splits - Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 11:18

Wednesday, Jun 12, 2019 at 11:18
The close up photo of Len's sign further up this page says 2 miles
1
FollowupID: 899837

Popular Content

Popular Products (13)