CATRTLEWATER PASS - NT

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 20:12
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G'day
Has any member taken their BT through Cattlewater Pass, NT. If so, what were the conditions,hazards, etc. Is it advisable to take this track with the BT. Any info would be appreciated. Greg
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Reply By: NIK `N` OFF - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 20:56

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 20:56
Stewart, [Black Cobra] took his 21' & BT through there, we met up with them later at Alice, he mentioned it was very slow going, very narrow in parts and some steep dips & departure angles also lots of tree branches needed to be held away from the van.

I got the feeling he wouldn't do it again, but I'm sure when he see's this he will reply,

Cheers
Mick & Vickie

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AnswerID: 574291

Reply By: Innkeepers - Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 22:05

Sunday, Feb 10, 2008 at 22:05
Hey Greg,
We did that in May-June 2006 with our 100 series and a Kimberley Kamper and it was easy for that setup....the only real problem with departure angles was at the Southern end and care would be needed with a BT...look out for your step.

The KK was a breeze, but I don't think we would take our BT down that track, as Mick mentioned...the bush would be scraping at your sides all the way....shame though as it's a good short cut from the East Macs to the Plenty Highway.

On the Plenty we bypassed Gemtree as there were too many campers in there for our liking (overflowing)...so we opted for a bush camp on the fossicking area at MudTank (Zircon field) about 15K East of Gemtree.

Mudtank can be accessed from CattleWater Pass or turn off the Plenty at the windmill around 10 k east of Gemtree. (Northern end of CattleWater Pass) While in Alice we picked up some fossicking maps at the Information Centre and they were great.

Mudtank is a large area of lightly wooded bush and there are campsites everywhere...pick one that has a pad of wash (gravel) as it's nice to step onto instead of the bull dust of the clay pan. Water was non existent so take all you can if you want to wash for Zircons at Mudtank....You can fill up your water jerry cans at Gemtree free of charge from their dam/lake......we can also give you a waypoint for a good Garnet patch too if you plan to dig..this one is easy digging....sand and lots of Garnets too....about a half hours drive East of Mudtank.

We have 6 weeks off this coming May-June too...don't need much of an excuse to go back that way...

Hope this helps
Cheers
Rick & Julie
AnswerID: 574292

Reply By: Black Cobra - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008 at 11:03

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008 at 11:03
Greg,

Like Mick said we took our F250 and 21'BT through Cattlewater Pass last September. It is really only suitable for vehicles alone or towing a camper trailer. How would I say it, it was interesting, hard going yes and no, the problem was that it is a very narrow track and once I was on it I could not reverse back or turn around anywhere other than not far in from the Plenty H'Way as this was the way we entered it from, there was a nice camp spot where 4 4WD vehicles camped without any trailers.

We past them in the morning and once past there there was no turning back. Just after that we went through a steep sandy creek crossing where at this time the 4 4WD's were behind us watching with awe as the BT and truck were at an angle where I could see all the 4 solar panels in my rear view mirror quite clearly but could not stop to get a photo as there were some huge deep wash aways on the opposite side of the crossing and it was tuff going.

I found a spot just to pull off the side of the track to let the vehicles pass and they continued on. A little further up the track another 4WD came towards us towing a camper trailer and he pulled off to let me through but we stopped and talked to him about the track ahead and he said that he had met the 4 4WD's and they said that there was this huge rig coming his way but they said there is know way he is going to get through because of the size and the wash aways ahead will stop him.

He also said that there is a very steep rocking incline and decline along further which I might not get through, the photo at the bottom of my post is actually the section he was talking about after I got through, it was steep, rocky and twisty but the photos do not do it justice.

Anyway there was no turning back as there was no where to back into as the bush was so close to the track and thick in most places.

I have photos taken from the top of the ranges of the F250 & BT in the valley between the ranges which shows how steep it is.

At one place the bush was right up to the track on the left and the wash aways were on the right and I only had enough room to get through with about 2" of track lleft from the right wheels, if the BT slipped into the wash away or the track broke away over she would have gone.

Anyway we carried on and at places for about 1km Marlene and I had to get out and break branches that would just rip into the side of the BT, still have a couple of battle scars where they lodged and had to be cut away before we could move on.

One stage Marlene was hanging of a branch but it would not budge. At one stage I was trying to break a large branch when it snapped and the end went straight into my shoulder, ripped my shirt open and left a cut about 3" long that bled for a long time, still have the scar to prove it.

Moving along and getting near to the other end there was a S bend in the narrow track and because of the length of over 15 meters I could not get around so I had to make my own track though the scrub just to be able to carry on.

Finally made it out the other end with many scratches on the windows that are still there today.

Total length of CattleWater Pass, 56km's which took me 5 hrs and 36 mins to complete, average 10km/h.

We caught up with the 4 4WD's again on the way out to Chambers Pillars and they said did we get through and I said yes and they all said that after they saw us we were the topic of conversation around their camp fire for two nights as they could not believe something so big would get through and they all were amazed that we did and all took there hats off to us for doing it.

Would I recommend doing it, YES if you like a challenge, would I do it again NO.

Cheers
Stewart

AnswerID: 574293

Reply By: CROW EATERS - Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008 at 21:40

Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008 at 21:40
Thanks Nik n off, Inkeeper and Black Cobra for info/advice. I think Joy and I will save the Pass for a separate trip when in Alice without the BT. Greg
AnswerID: 574294

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