Myself and Francesco from AUS4x4 SALES ended up going to Mt. Disappointment yesterday, unfortunately the other 2 attendees couldnt come for personal reasons. But we made the most of the day ourselves.
I hadn't been to Mt.Dissa for a good 9 years, before the Black Saturday Bushfires tore through the place. So I did a bit of research last couple days and spoke to a few people and I got a little trip route mapped out and a couple tracks to target. And thats what we did....
We firstly drove a couple fire trails I was told abouot, which really werent all that crash hot or exciting, thou if they were wet it could have been a different story. The terrain is very hilly, undulating hills, very dry and dusty clay, and some of the tracks we encountered later on had serious rocky section with jagged edges everywhere. After the first 2 or 3 firetrails we swung past Andersons Camp Ground to suss it out for future reference, but due to it being full found a little open area just outside it to hang a quick piss.....conveniently, there were a couple mounds we thought we'd take advantage off to park the trucks up on and pose!
The little bit of extra trimming to the rear fender I did a couple weeks ago has worked wonder being able to properly stuff the 295's fully without issue.
From there we headed towards a track called "The Bump" - all I knew about this track was what I had seen on youtube and the reccomendations of others. It was known for having a V-shaped chisselled section that was a bit of a challenge. So we soon found it, but the entrance to it had a couple long sections of bogholes which looked menacing especially for someone who's had back experiences with hilux's and water in the past......I hate water like cat's do. Luckily, after checking the depth with the good ol gun tree stick gauge, it was found to have very hard base and not overly deep....so on we went towards the unknown.
The track had a few drop down ruts going to more bogholes and high embankments......nothing the hilux's couldnt wade easily through.
as the track went on, the bogholes disappeared, adn we came across a large water puddle, that looked like an overflow from the dry creek bed further ahead. There was a track to the right hand sidce to go around it, but it was not wide enough for the track width of the hilux without falling either way, either down an embankment to one side or into this pool of water.....so we went through the water.....wasnt as bad as it first looked, we couldnt see the bottom, but it had a hard rocky bottom and wasnt as deep as we thought it might had been.
After we got through the water, we crossed the dry creek bed, and by passed a couple insane tracks heading uphill to the right.....kind of tracks you'd surely have to winch yourself up to the top of.....we weerent prepared to risk our lux's here or yet, something a winch comp truck might attempt. so we pushed on.....on past the over grown bushes, getting used to the squeal of the branches brushes over the panels...like nails on a chalkboard. the track soon cleared and we came up to the V-shapped chisseled section of the track that I had been told about.
The track now looked pretty gnarly. Picture a v-shapped cut out in the track, the middle of the track was the point, right hand side was smooth flat rock, left hand side was hard clay with rough rocky embankments, all the while going up up and steeper and steeper. making you lift wheels as you go along.
The following pic of Francesco
driving up the track from the front shows the profile of what we drove.....
We crawled to the top up and out of "The Bump" and headed to try and find a track called the "3 Sisters"......we got a bit lost a long the way with misreadin maps, and in the end we realised that the track had been closed where it should had been and was overgrown. So agt the intersection of 3 tracks where it was, we found another unnamed track going up a ridge line which we gave a run up, which had many alternating ruts all the way up, a place to turn around at the top and we got to experience it on the way down too.
Frankie coming out the bottom of the track.
From here we drive a little while, bout a good 10 or so mins to look for another reknowned track called "Quarry Track". This is a long winding track that takes you up mountain ridges and back down again all along very rocky and rutted terrain. We got onto this track about at the half way point of what it is. We found some great open ruts that allowed us to play with our vehicles, and in all honesty, we were balancing them on 3 wheels most of the way down....Frankie balancing on 2 alternating wheels at one stage. (I cant wait for Frankie to edit the video footage from the day his mate tapped.....my vids and pics just dont do anything any justice).
From here, this is where
got really interesting...................
The signs were all around us. The track got gnarlier, the hill climbs and decents more difficult. There was one rocky side track that was pretty steep that I gave the hilux a run up that Frankie tapped....definitely front locker made it doable. As the terrain became more unforgiving, we came across something.....that really put things into perspective, and quickly brings any offroad enthusiast down to earth.
It was a memorial, friends/family of some one that had died at that spot on a dirtbike had put together.....A pole, both of his dirt bike tires mounted on it, his Recreational Rego plate screwwed into it, a spot where his photo once had been, and around both tires were little plaques, messages left for him by friends and family. But what got us....was the center plate/plaque....."Died doing what he loved best.....he was only 24 years old.....so we gave a moment of silence to him.
I think its implortant when we are all wheeling that as much fun as we are having, at the end of the day, we all want to get home to our loved ones in one piece....our Hilux's can be repaired or replaced, but we cannot.
On our map, it showed the track was nearing the end....but we couldnt see it yet. I was told that there was a rocky climb near the end....but what we came across had Frankie looking hard for a chicken track or something to go around it......but it was not to be.....there was only one way out....and that way was UP!
I guess it was another sign that we should respect this track when we saw at the bottom of it, a Triton that had obviously rolled down the side of the track from the top. We could see a clearing through the trees where this triton had broken trees coming down. coming to a rest against a large gum tree....we only hope nobody was hurt in the event. Above Frankies mates head, if you look closely, you can see the top of the track up and behind in the distance. this triton rolled a fair way.
This is the view from the bottom of the track....it was seriously steep. as we all know photo's dont do it justice, but this was borderline too steep and shouldnt be attempted if ever wet. Not only steep and rocky, but there was a deep rut to the upper left and the upper right, with a rock ledge that makes the vehicle lift up even steep whilst climbing it......this was going to be no mean feat......after having a good day wheeling, we second guessed ourselves for a moment if we should be attempting such a traxck this late in the day?
If you zoom in on the pic below, you can see my daughter, "just" on the top left at the top of the track behind the log and where Frankies mate is on the right.......
We walked it up.....planning the route to best take and the possible dangers. The issue with trying to keep either your LHF tyre in the rut going up the left hand route or keeping your RHF tyre in the rut up the right hand route, was that in the middle was a bulging rock embankment/mound....so it would throw you over on a even greater side angle, at a point when you need both traction and some momentum, stopping your forward advance whilst throwing the inner wheel even higher up in the air when your on a crazy angle already......I beleive this is what got the triton unstuck given where he had rolled from.
So I told Frankie, Im going to give it a go. The obvious and typical line you take whilst offroading, to try and keep your tyres in the ruts, I beleived would not be the best or safest option in this instance.....I didnt want to risk rolling of either side of the track. With front locker engaged.....I decided I would hit her up straight up the middle....up the guts.....even if the center mound would raise her noise even higher, but there was more room possibly catch yourself should it be required either side......but drove up her I did.
I was a little concerned about Frankie.....with only the factory rear locker and a little less experience....he even considered giving me the keys to his hilux to drive it up.....I said I couldnt do that mate..... I carefully explained to him where I wanted him to place his tyres, where and when to give it a little extra pedla, but not too much given the angle we faced.
So,with his total faith in me guiding him, he took a deep breath, pointed that TRD Hilux towards God.....and toldme later that he had prayed "Please dont let me be that Triton....please dont let me be that Triton!"
Frankie started driving up, slowly steered from the left hand side up towards the middle and had her straightened up in time for the big mound in the middle where I told him to give it a little more....I didnt want him to enocunter a situation where he would loose momentum and end up bouncing with front wheels spinning on that rocky surface.....that was a CV breaker in that scenario.
So as he approached the center lump.he gave her some pedal.....but IMO a little too much, and my heart stopped.......as he got BOTH FRONT WHEELS OFF THE GROUND at a point where the Hilux was already on a good 35 degree angle........before I could even say,....."TOO MUCH PEDAL". but as the front end landed.....he kept powering on and made it up.......Hats off to you my friend....you surpassed any limits you may have thought you;d ever attempt there on that track.
I dont have video of that track, but Frankies mate did video both our trucks going up, so we will have to wait a week or so until Frankie edits it and posts it up. In the meantime....look at the video below....fast forward to the 33 second mark, and you will see a great profile of the track and how the vehicles there struggle to get up
After I got over the uncomfortableness of Frankies massive bear/man hug......and me having to hold him up for a minute to stop his knee's from shaking so he could calm down over what he had just driven up, we continued on. The track was still going uphill with rocky ruts challenging our vehicles and traction all the way.
But we made it up to the Main Rd being Spur Track, fixed our vehicles to be ready to go back on the road, and headed back towards the Hume Hwy and the servo further down to air up.
Ended up being a great day, some really gnarly tracks tackled.....our vehicles are constantly surprising us with their ability to conquer challenging terrain, and we left, not having damaged our vehicles or ourselves and it doesnt get much better than that!
Cant wait for the Vids once AUS4X4SALES edits them, Ill post em up here in a week or so when done, theres some kick arse Hilux action that I couldnt get on my phone.
Thankyou for taking the time to read my trip report.