Track Diffiulty

Submitted: Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 14:30
ThreadID: 141353 Views:7401 Replies:4 FollowUps:9
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Hi there, I'm new to the ExploreOz app and trying to figure out whether there is a reference to the track difficulty on the map. I am looking at the offline 2021 version. I've tried looking at the various legends/keys but I am either missing something or it's not there? Thank you in advance for your help.
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Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 15:11

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 15:11
AFAIK EOTopo maps do not show level of difficulty for tracks. You could try 4x4Earth.

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Reply By: Nesh N - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 15:15

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 15:15
Thanks Frank - appreciate your help. On another note, what do the little red numbers next to the tracks represent?
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 15:30

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 15:30
Kilometers ?

If you go to Treks you will find difficulty rated there .

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Follow Up By: Nesh N - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 15:37

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 15:37
That makes sense. Once again, many thanks!
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Reply By: Peter_n_Margaret - Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 16:27

Tuesday, Apr 06, 2021 at 16:27
Trying to show "Level of difficulty" of tracks on a map is fraught with problems.
What experience level?
What vehicle?
Which day, because tomorrow will be quite different.
I find that the best way to find out the difficulty beyond someone's out of date comments is to go and have a look for yourself.
My personal "rating" system is how many km per day is comfortable, but it is not much use to anyone else unless they have a good appreciation of us.
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Follow Up By: Nesh N - Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 at 07:04

Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 at 07:04
Hi Peter, that makes sense. Having a common definition of 'difficulty' would be helpful and I understand you have your own rating system that you use. Thank you for your response.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 at 18:55

Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 at 18:55
The Victorian 4wd peak body, is association with Parks Victoria and DELWP have classified and categorized a wide range of tracks. There are 4 categories and it describes the experience necessary for each category.

It's a well thought out, comprehensive system. It is being adopted in other states ( eg ACT) and should be adopted Australia wide. Hema High County Maps show the category on the relevant tracks.

The same classification is displayed on tracks by the authorities.

Fantastic system.

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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Thursday, Apr 08, 2021 at 00:04

Thursday, Apr 08, 2021 at 00:04
There you go, I drove Davies Plain Drive from Tom Groggin through onto Limestone Creek in an AWD with no low range and 30" tyres about 6 or 7 years ago and it didn't seem difficult at all. Yet, it's rated at the highest rating of "Very Difficult"? I'm not special, so I just wonder how bad or totally green you have to be to have trouble on that track when the weather is fine. I'd rate it on a par with Abercrombie River NP in NSW and Subarus regularly go there.
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Follow Up By: Kenell - Monday, Apr 12, 2021 at 11:58

Monday, Apr 12, 2021 at 11:58
Michael H9 - Coincidentally the day on which you posted I completed that track. I did it in company with a mate and we were both driving 70 series Toyotas with lifts and front and rear lockers. The track was in good condition and whilst I wouldn't rate it as particularly difficult it had its challenges. From The Poplars for a few ks it was steep and at one point I actually locked the front in which is rare (for me). Mainly to save the track when I felt a bit of wheel spin which would have been creating wombat holes. The truck was going to get there either way but the surface was pretty loose. I would take a novice in there in an appropriate vehicle but I would hesitate to suggest an all wheel drive attempt it mainly because of clearance and low range. I was in low 1st a few times which I am guessing is quite a bit lower than an all wheel drive. It highlights what others have said in this thread - rating so much depends on the condition on the day, the experience of the driver and the appropriateness of the vehicle. If it was, as I found it last week, when you did it, I take my hat off to you and your vehicle.
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Friday, Apr 16, 2021 at 19:02

Friday, Apr 16, 2021 at 19:02
We did Davies Plains from Tom Groggin decades ago in a Hilux petrol and MQ Patrol diesel - no winches and no mud terrain tyres. I'd rate it M-D in dry conditions in a "typical" 4WD. The first crossing was reasonably deep at that time. The track was damp in spots and we also had some light rain overnight which made the track a little slippery - esp for the (inappropriate) wide Desert Duellers I had on my Patrol then. Haven't done Wonangatta but from what I've read there is no comparison.

Looking at the Vic classification system at first blush I think it's probably "overengineered". A good idea though.
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Reply By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 at 08:01

Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 at 08:01
Track difficulty certainly relys on the experience and skill of the driver, plus the weather conditions at the time. It also largely depends on how long it's been since a grader went through. Over the years I've seen tracks regarded as difficult being able to be driven by a Commodore and easy tracks that are impassable. I don't think you can reliably put the current track status on a map because the maps don't update often enough. A classic example is Baal Bone trail out near Capertee NSW. For a long time it has had some very difficult rock steps and ruts to negotiate. Early last year after the fires, a grader has turned them into a smooth dirt road that is now very easy. Give it some time and water, and the erosion will kick into gear and change it again unless there's constant maintenance. The main thing I look at to gauge a track is the topo lines on a map. If they're close together then it's steep and there's a big chance of difficulty. Youtube is an excellent resource for practical information on most tracks.
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Follow Up By: Nesh N - Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 at 08:13

Wednesday, Apr 07, 2021 at 08:13
Hi Michael, That makes even more sense, a map cannot recognise what the condition of the track is and whether maintenance has occurred. Best to rely on other sources or multiple sources and consider the topo lines on a map. Thanks for the help and I will certainly consult youtube too :)
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim and Trudy - Sunday, Apr 11, 2021 at 15:33

Sunday, Apr 11, 2021 at 15:33
I think there is a great potential for a small set of parameters to be established for communicating these things clearly. Maybe starting with factors that affect all driver skill levels (at least to some extent).
As a starting point:
* How much difficulty would oncoming traffic present?
* How wise would it be to tow a (variety) of trailers?
* How easy is it to turn around at reasonable intervals if you so chose?
* Is the track overgrown such that a wider than a LandCruiser would find it a paint hazard >> impassible?
* Does it suit a truck based motorhome, usually wider than a LandCruiser but also taller (as would a full height offroad caravan)?
* Is a high clearance vehicle (combo) preferred/sensible/essential?
* Does the terrain suit warning oncoming travellers by UHF in a timely manner? Channel?
* What interest does the track offer for adventure/sightseeing beauty/camping/fishing/wild-flowers/wild-life, etc?
* Any dangers to be especially aware of wrt free-camping? Nearby gaol!
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