Simpson Geo Centre and Geo Surveys Hill

stevemc181

Well-Known Member
Hi All,

I'm throwing this post up to gauge interest in a trip I'm thinking of doing next year around Mid May/June 2022.


8th May, depart Perth and meet others at Mt Dare on the 14th May 2022 If others from Perth are coming, your'e welcome to travel with us enroute to Mt Dare, we'll be heading across via the Anne Beadell and leaving around 7 days before we meet others at Mt Dare.

Once we arrive in Birdsville, I'll be heading back across the Simpson via one of the main routes and then onto Uluru etc making my way home. You can decide which way you go from Birdsville, dependent on where you live I guess.

Probably stating the obvious with some points below.
Suggestions for the trip:
Vehicle Numbers: prefer a maximum of 4 vehicles, may consider another vehicle.
Time from Mt Dare to Birdsville, estimate around 7-8 nights, depends on how tough the going is, some flexibilty is required, may be quicker, may be slower.

Distance from Mt Dare to Birdsville Via GSH and GC, approximately 780km, depends on exact route taken. Enough fuel to cover this section will need to be carried. I am anticipating in excess of 30lph for the off track low range sections. I'll carry around 265 litres with me, Long range tanks and 2 x Jerry cans at least.

Water/food: Enough for your needs for 7 or 8 days with at least 4 days or more in reserve.

Tyres: 2 spares minimum, and your tyres must be a strong sidewall type with at least a 3 ply sidewall construction, and plenty of tread, we may get lucky, but we may also require multiple puncture/stake repairs. If your tyres haven't been removed in a while it may pay to have the beads broken and reseated prior to the trip, makes the job much easier if you need to do it in the bush. I'll have an R&R beadbreaker and levers etc with me. Happy to share if you need it. (Bring your own patches/plugs)

Usual mechanical spares for your vehicle, and make sure its well prepared prior to doing the trip, the middle of the simpson is not the place to find you need a new radiator hose or something simple. (Stuff happens though and I'm sure we'll do our best as a group to make sure all vehicles make it. If not we'll decide the best course of action at the time for a recovery if possible)

At this stage I'll be travelling with my partner Brenda, that may change.

Remote Comms: A sat phone if you have one, (I sold my last one, but will be buying another prior to the trip) PLB at the least, if you have no sat phone. UHF neccesary for day to day convoy group comms.

Regarding trip leaders etc, I'd prefer we all take a turn at leading the way. Makes for a more immersive trip for everyone, but if you're not comfortable out front, thats fine also. Its all about us getting out there and enjoying one of the last truly remote treks we can do in this country and sharing the days events around a campfire at night.

The proposed route is from Mt Dare up to the Madigan line via Old Andado and turning onto the Colson track and heading south until near parallel with GSH, then we'll head East over the dunes to the GSH and then down to the GC and make our way following old shot lines to intersect with the French line near Erabena 1 Oil Well. (Thanks to @Les PK Ranger for sending me a list of GPX files to make the planning a bit easier)

You'll require an SA desert Parks Pass and a Madigan Line permit, I know the Madigan permit requires you to be fully vaccinated against Covid, things may change by next year, but I doubt it.

Proposed Trip Participants:


Vehicle 1: Steve and Rob (GU Patrol)
Vehicle 2: Lost1? (Triton)
Vehicle 3: cookie64 (LC 200 series)
Vehicle 4: ???
Vehicle 5: ???



Anyway, the details can be nutted out as there is plenty of time for planning. I smoke like a chimney and don't mind a drink, I may have been known to swear on the odd occasion also ;), so if that bothers anyone, this isn't the trip for you. I'm looking for adventurers who can accept a challenge and have some flexibility when things go pear shaped. If you haven't done any desert travel before, this probably isn't the trip to get your first experince on, but hey, we all need to learn somewhere, so if you're keen and have a sense of adventure and some mechanical ability with your vehicle, then show your interest.

I'm thinking 4 vehicles would be ideal, 5 vehicles maybe? I'll be in a late model GU Patrol wagon.
Whos Keen?
 
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Lost1?

Well-Known Member
If it is in July I am keen If you are happy to meet up at Oodnadatta or Mt Dare. The boss wont let me go before end of financial year. It would be me, maybe a mate if he is keen in one vehicle. Both of us work on our own vehicles.

Have done the Simpson before. Can cover the other bits mentioned. Don't mind a sip or two. But I don't go too hard when remote. I don't want to stuff up and break something a long way from anywhere when hung over the next morning.

The best part of any trip is a good camp cook up at the end of the day with a tin cup full of red in winter.
 

stevemc181

Well-Known Member
If it is in July I am keen If you are happy to meet up at Oodnadatta or Mt Dare. The boss wont let me go before end of financial year. It would be me, maybe a mate if he is keen in one vehicle. Both of us work on our own vehicles.

Have done the Simpson before. Can cover the other bits mentioned. Don't mind a sip or two. But I don't go too hard when remote. I don't want to stuff up and break something a long way from anywhere when hung over the next morning.

The best part of any trip is a good camp cook up at the end of the day with a tin cup full of red in winter.

Sorry mate, July is too late for me, needs to be mid May or thereabouts. BRB is also on in July, the desert and surrounds will be swarming with the crowd.
 

cookie64

4x4 Earth Contributer
Firstly, what colour is your Patrol ;)

Would be keen to go, it will depend on the workload at the time, hopefully I am past the bulk of it and ready to go outback and get that Simpson Sand between my toes again.

Have done the Simpson a good number of times, Colson, Hay and the Madigan so understand the terrain somewhat.

Like the occasional Cigar, with a good drop of red capped off with a glass of port, I was an altered boy so don't swear, much.

Will keep an eye out

cheers
 

rob_macca67

Well-Known Member
Sounds like an interesting trip... We did something very similar this year where we entered off the Colson onto the N/E Shotline all the way to the N/S shotline then north and turned west to GC. From this point we checked out a few local POI's before going cross country straight to Beachcombers. We were planning on heading up to Geo Hill but a couple in the crew were concerned with how their vehicles were handling the conditions and they decided to head south to the French Line and head home while the rest of us did 3 days of cross country driving to get to Beachcomber.... That was my 1st full on experience with off-track exploring and I loved it but a few things I realised during the trip:
> Not sure if we did end up heading up to Geo Hill as to whether I would have enough fuel to get to Birdsville (I carried 240ltrs)
> Anytime that u go cross country in the desert and head west - expect some seriously tough going and burning through a lot more fuel

Our last Fuel top up was Finke before entering the Desert and refuelled at Birdsville 1025kms (147ltrs). I would love to head back out there and complete the section from GC to the Geo-Hill but I doubt the missus would let me go again but will keep this in the back of my mine should things change..
 

Lost1?

Well-Known Member
Fair call Steve. I went through about two weeks after brb. The tracks were pretty chopped up. Must have been bedlam when everyone was out there. Kinda defeats why you go to remote.places tbh.
 

stevemc181

Well-Known Member
Firstly, what colour is your Patrol ;)

Would be keen to go, it will depend on the workload at the time, hopefully I am past the bulk of it and ready to go outback and get that Simpson Sand between my toes again.

Have done the Simpson a good number of times, Colson, Hay and the Madigan so understand the terrain somewhat.

Like the occasional Cigar, with a good drop of red capped off with a glass of port, I was an altered boy so don't swear, much.

Will keep an eye out

cheers

The Patrol is white, is that ok;)
Yep I’ve done plenty of offtrack work, but up in the Cape many years ago,not in the Simmo. Crossed it a few times via the usual routes and Madigan line etc.

Let me know if you’re keen and I’ll add you to the list.
 

stevemc181

Well-Known Member
Sounds like an interesting trip... We did something very similar this year where we entered off the Colson onto the N/E Shotline all the way to the N/S shotline then north and turned west to GC. From this point we checked out a few local POI's before going cross country straight to Beachcombers. We were planning on heading up to Geo Hill but a couple in the crew were concerned with how their vehicles were handling the conditions and they decided to head south to the French Line and head home while the rest of us did 3 days of cross country driving to get to Beachcomber.... That was my 1st full on experience with off-track exploring and I loved it but a few things I realised during the trip:
> Not sure if we did end up heading up to Geo Hill as to whether I would have enough fuel to get to Birdsville (I carried 240ltrs)
> Anytime that u go cross country in the desert and head west - expect some seriously tough going and burning through a lot more fuel

Our last Fuel top up was Finke before entering the Desert and refuelled at Birdsville 1025kms (147ltrs). I would love to head back out there and complete the section from GC to the Geo-Hill but I doubt the missus would let me go again but will keep this in the back of my mine should things change..
I read your trip report, looks like a great trip was had!
I've been having a look around the Web and came across a trip log on exploroz where they entered off the Colson west of the Hill and then made their way down to the Geo centre and ended up exiting onto the French line near Mirraponga Pongunna lake. So looks like a few choices out there, I'm liking the look of that route though.

I have long range tanks and can carry 225 litres, + I'll throw a couple of jerry's in, I usually plan my trips allowing 25 lph, but heavy low range dune work I'd be planning it on 35lph for that section. I haven't done the calculations yet, but will work it out once a route is chosen.
I wasn't aware fuel was available at Finke, I thought they had closed it down years ago for some reason.
Just tell the missus you're going to the shops ;)
 

rob_macca67

Well-Known Member
I read your trip report, looks like a great trip was had!
I've been having a look around the Web and came across a trip log on exploroz where they entered off the Colson west of the Hill and then made their way down to the Geo centre and ended up exiting onto the French line near Mirraponga Pongunna lake. So looks like a few choices out there, I'm liking the look of that route though.

I have long range tanks and can carry 225 litres, + I'll throw a couple of jerry's in, I usually plan my trips allowing 25 lph, but heavy low range dune work I'd be planning it on 35lph for that section. I haven't done the calculations yet, but will work it out once a route is chosen.
I wasn't aware fuel was available at Finke, I thought they had closed it down years ago for some reason.
Just tell the missus you're going to the shops ;)
Yeh, Finke was open for selling fuel this year (CV19 didn't seem to bother them) but who knows next year...
Yes, there is a couple of ways into the GC from the Colson Tk. The guy who planned our trip had previously done the northern entry to Geo-Hill and then the centre, but hadn't done the southern part the way we went in. I think he mentioned that he found the southern a little bit more challenging??
With you having one of the later Patrols, u should have the ability to install a ScanGauge II or something similar. I had one in my 2010 Defender and I use to record at the end of each day the following: fuel usage & economy. By doing this I could gauge how much fuel I was using in the cross country sections and I remember recording a daily high economy of 31.8ltrs/100kms. This got me a little concerned, especially if we had of continued up to Geo-Hill from the centre. As it turned out once we made it across to Beachcombers my economy improved drastically.

BTW: when I refuelled up at Birdsville, the fuel figures that I recorded off the ScanGauge was only a few litres off what I actually used. This gave me some confidence in knowing what fuel I can expect to use in various conditions....
 

stevemc181

Well-Known Member
With you having one of the later Patrols, u should have the ability to install a ScanGauge II or something similar.
I’ve used a scangauge II for years, I’ve collected multiple OBD scan tools, never go remote without them. The scan gauge really is only good for the basics and as you say keeping an eye on the fuel use, temps etc. For more in depth codes I use an iCar HNMII. This allows me to check/clear faults that the scan gauge can’t read.

I’m thinking the Northern entry on the Colson is the route I’d prefer.
 

79 Cruiser

Member
I would be interested to know how you get to Geo Survey Hill? We did a trip in June 2017 and planned to go there. The permit, all 4 pages of it, stated Geo Survey Hill, along with other places, is strictly out of bounds. So was straying more than 50 metres from a track, the fines where $1K/wheel including spares, so if you have 2 spares $6,000. Has this changed or do you not get permits, just asking?
 

cookie64

4x4 Earth Contributer
I would be interested to know how you get to Geo Survey Hill? We did a trip in June 2017 and planned to go there. The permit, all 4 pages of it, stated Geo Survey Hill, along with other places, is strictly out of bounds. So was straying more than 50 metres from a track, the fines where $1K/wheel including spares, so if you have 2 spares $6,000. Has this changed or do you not get permits, just asking?
From memory, you cannot travel South from Madigan Line to get to Geo Centre & Hill

cheers
 

stevemc181

Well-Known Member
I’ve been told the following regarding the proposed route.
Geo surveys hill is on crown land, you can head south from camp 5 down Colsons track but you can’t head north on Colsons.
It turns into crown land about 20km south down the Colson track. I’ve attached a screen shot from an old Madigan permit where it expressly says you can’t go North on the Colson. Nothing about going South.

There is a more direct route to GSH near camp 8 on the Madigan, this is no access allowed.

0EE0CE9A-A33C-4573-ACB6-90B23784C436.jpeg
 

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
If you want a gpx for the Erabena - Geo centre run we did (a few trips going both ways), drop me a pm with your email.
It's a pretty easy run, criss crossing a few dune 'confluences' but mostly following the dune corridors and old mining tracks that come and go.
There are some AWESOME gidgee camps right up through there, have them waypointed as well :)

We also did Colson to Geo Hill to Centre successfully once west - east, but going the other way is really hard going, especially on fuel.
Going from Geo centre to Geo hill was hard going following an old shot line marked on a map we had, but I'm sure going more due west and north from the centre and just criss crossing your way NW you could pick your way through ok.

From there it is really tough heading west tt Colson, but have a gpx for that too if you wanted it.
 

Les PK Ranger

4x4 Earth Contributer
Cheers, just replied and will send as little groups of days track logs.

Just for the record, it's ok to drive right up Colson to Madigan camp 5, only north of there is off limits.

And yes , the Madigan permit, correct that while it only allows for only the west - east travel now, it does not allow for travel south from Madigan to the Geo Hill or centre corridors.

The easiest way if travelling west - east from Colson is the way we did it in 2017, off Colson at a star dropper we chose, relatively easy picking your way east to Geo Hill, then same to centre, down corridors to French Line at Erabena.
You will go down some pretty large and steep dunes on the west face, so difficult going back if needed :)
 

stevemc181

Well-Known Member
Thanks Les, I’m keen to checkout the files, always good to have some options.

I realised yesterday the Finke desert race is on around 9th June, so I’m thinking either a 1st week start in May to be around Mt Dare by sometime in the 2nd week. Either that or delaying it until after the BRB and setting off late July from Perth. I’ll see if I can work something out regarding our work.

@Lost1? May still be possible for you to join in, give me a week and I’ll firm up a departure date.
 
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