Sand dunes - Chambers Pillar v SD

Submitted: Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 17:14
ThreadID: 30196 Views:1904 Replies:9 FollowUps:16
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Hi Folks,
Before anyone suggests it, I have already done a search and not found what I am after.
We will be doing Rainbow Valley, Chambers Pillar and the Simpson in mid-June of this year on the way home from the Kimberleys.
3.0 L td GU III manual Patrol towing a 750 kg CT. Please do not suggest that we cross without the trailer.
How do the sand dunes on the Chambers Pillar track compare to the various routes across the SD in terms of difficulty. I fully appreciate the need for lowered tyre pressures on both the Patrol and trailer. The Patrol has Cooper STs and the trailer has Dunlop SP Roadgrippers. The trailer track matches the Patrol.
Are there dunes on the track into Rainbow Valley and, if so, how do they compare?
Any advice greatly appreciated.
Many thanks.
Jon W
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Reply By: gramps - Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 17:58

Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 17:58
Via Maryvale - very minor. You should have no problems whatsoever but I can't comment on the trailer.
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Follow Up By: JW - Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 18:38

Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 18:38
Thanks Gramps.
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Reply By: Vivid Adventures - Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 18:06

Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 18:06
Hi Jon,

The Rainbow Valley track is pretty tame and not really much of a problem - I don't think you'd call them dunes - perhaps sandy sections but pretty short ones at that. I was there last week.

Even with a load on, it won't require lowered tyre pressures - could be done by "a blackfella in a fairlane" and I don't think your trailer will be much bother either. There are no significant hills or dunes - it's all pretty flat.

Now - if it's muddy, you might want to rethink it.

June is the best time to be in the valley for the northern sun really plays well on the colours of the cliff walls and if there's water in the claypan there, the reflections can be wonderful. Camping out there including for sunset is the best - the campground is well setup (tables etc.) with one composting loo on offer and it didn't smell too bad either!

Not being a fan of trailers, however, I'll let others comment on the Chambers Pillar and Simpson tracks.

Ciao for now
Andrew.
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Follow Up By: JW - Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 18:37

Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 18:37
Thanks Andrew.
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Reply By: ROBST - Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 18:38

Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 18:38
JW Did it last september with a 80 and camper trailer. You will have no promblem at all with a CT, very easy tracks.definately a must see.
I only ever made one mistake
and that's when I thought I was wrong!

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AnswerID: 151499

Follow Up By: JW - Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 18:41

Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 18:41
Thanks Robst. However, I was mainly after some comparison between these and the Simpson to get a feel for pressures and gearing.
Thanks again.
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Reply By: Member - David 0- Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 20:22

Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 20:22
Chambers Pillar dunes are tiny by comparison and no problem should be experienced at all.

The Simpson is different, and will depend on what tracks you take and how hot, dry and windy it has been, and how many people towing trailers have been across in front of you. Late in the season, the tracks can be in much poorer condition unfortunately. Early in the season the lip can be pronounced.
Having said that, if you take it easy and lower your pressures it isnt that difficult. The trailer obviously makes it more difficult if you do have trouble. (bites tongue).

Rainbow valley track is rough but no comparison.
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Follow Up By: JW - Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 21:27

Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 21:27
Thanks David.
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Reply By: Willem - Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 21:22

Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 21:22
I took the missus' company Commdore into Rainbow Valley all the way to the cliff face. They are more like a few sandy hills

You can also do the Chamber Pillar Track in a 2wd if you know what you are doing. There is more risk of getting stuck in the Hugh River on the way there.

West to East on the Simpson is an easy run with ony the odd dune that might have you going down to 2nd gear high range.

As per usual tyre pressures are the keywords

Enjoy
AnswerID: 151531

Follow Up By: JW - Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 21:33

Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 21:33
Thanks Willem.
If you have experienced both, is the Rig Road still more trailer friendly than the French Line for a west to east crossing? My main concern is the difference in length and using more fuel. For the Rig Road I need to average no worse than 3.5 km/L.
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Follow Up By: Willem - Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 21:56

Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 21:56
I have always been against trailers, anywhere, but blow me down if I don't go out and buy one. I have gone the trsiler way for a variety of reasons. I will be in the Simspon in May and it will be a new experience with the trailer on. It is only a 7x4 off road trailer weighing in at 750kg.

The Rig Road is an easier run and fuel consumption should be lighter. In the desert I will run my tyre pressures at 15psi on the truck and the same in the trailer. If I go offroad I will most likely drop the trailer tyres to 8psi

I averaged 6.5km/l doing and East/West along the French track and then West/ East along the Rig Road a couple of years ago driving a 4.2lt diesel. I am not expecting too much to change and will probably average 6km/l with the trailer in tow.
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Follow Up By: JW - Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 22:22

Saturday, Jan 28, 2006 at 22:22
Thanks.
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Follow Up By: Member - Collyn R (WA) - Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 11:32

Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 11:32
Rig Road much easier.

Re trailers. Would only comment that when doing the Rig Road in our OKA, an accompanying Nissan 4.2 litre pulling a box trailer (and driven by a professional and very experienced 4WD tour guide) needed to be snatched out several times.
Collyn Rivers
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Follow Up By: JW - Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 11:42

Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 11:42
Collyn,
What time of year? How low were their tyre pressures?
Jon W
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Follow Up By: Member - Collyn R (WA) - Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 12:38

Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 12:38
JW

Around May. We were the first to across (West to East) after the wet.

Tyre pressures - they dropped them (from memory to about 25 psi). Probably would have had less problem at lower pressure. Ran the OKA at 35 psi most of the way and to 22 psi for Big Red (OKA has a Detroit Locker in the rear plus an Air Locker up front).

As you no doubt know - East/West is an easier crossing (dunes less steep).
Collyn
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Follow Up By: JW - Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 12:48

Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 12:48
Unfortunately, for this trip we are locked into a west to east crossing. There does seem to be a lot of opinion out there that, at different times, either direction is easier than the other.
Thanks.
Jon W
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Follow Up By: gramps - Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 12:51

Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 12:51
Hmmm.... I've always been of the understanding that West to East is the easier but I guess particular conditions may reverse that.
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Follow Up By: Willem - Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 20:52

Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 20:52
You are correct Gramps. Collyn probably made a typo.

The prevailing wind in the Simpson comes from the west. This smooths out the dunes but builds them up over a period of time making an east west crossing steeper.

Collyn,

Tyres pressures are the key as I have mentioned before.

Professional drivers should know better than to run high tyre pressures in the desert. It also depends on the trailer tyre size. A whole lot of factors have to be taken into account when doing this kind of touring and you must get it right to have a good trip.
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Reply By: time waster - Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 17:27

Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 17:27
you will have no troubles we did it sep 05 with hilux and camper, you will need a flag although the dunes are very easy just small hils really never needed 4wd,but make sure the suspension is up to it as the track is 90% corrugations.if you want a short cut from rainbow valley to chambers as you just leave the gate heading out of rainbow there is two tracks to the right we took the right one and it brings you out to the railway line and just follow that south till you hit the hugh river stock route take a left and that brings you out on the south rd. there is a sign at rainbow saying no entry or something like that but we went through and just before the line theres a sign saying desert produce visitors welcome, well worth a look. we asked him about the way we had came and he said orange creek put them up but you are allowed to travel it he said. loved the trip sure you will too.
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Follow Up By: JW - Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 18:04

Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 18:04
Thanks.
Jon W
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Reply By: P.G. (Tas) - Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 19:29

Sunday, Jan 29, 2006 at 19:29
G'day Jon. I went to Lamberts Centre/Finke/Chambers Pillar in 2002, and something tells me trailers were prohibited on the track in to Chambers Pillar. Best check further. From Maryvsle it is an easy drive in, but is narrow (single lane) for a fair part across the dunes.

Hope this helps.

Cheers
AnswerID: 151637

Follow Up By: JW - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 17:13

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 17:13
P G,
Have not seen any posts suggesting that trailers are prohibited but will check it out .
Thanks.
Jon W
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Reply By: Lyds- Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 00:54

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 00:54
you'll be fine with a trailer over the sand dunes to Chambers Pillar. You won't need to lower your tyre pressures any further.

The challenge is that it is a single track and unfortunately, you still can't tell where anybody coming toward you is exactly. I'd recommend getting a flag, and getting on to the suggested uhf channel. As there a few dunes to get over they should probably be numbered.

AnswerID: 151697

Reply By: Member - Collyn R (WA) - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 10:46

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 10:46
Apologies for the typo in second mention of the direction. . West to East (ie. towards Birdsville) is generally easier as the prevailing winds shape the dunes accordingly.

Agree entirely re tyre pressures - but do bear in mind that Rig Road is a long route and speeds must be kept low if pressures reduced throughout. Our experience is that the pressure only needed to be extra low for a few short dune sections about two-thirds across - and the final (about) 100 km into Birdsville.
Collyn Rivers
AnswerID: 151731

Follow Up By: JW - Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 17:11

Monday, Jan 30, 2006 at 17:11
Thanks Collyn.
Regards
Jon W
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