The crossing of the
Simpson desert. (16/07-21/08/2008)
The Simpson desert.
The Simpson desert is the most
arid desert of Australia, sometimes called the dead heart of Australia.
Walking alone in this extreme environment is very rewarding to see
unique the wild life and fauna that has been able to adapt itself
to the desert. It's the world largest parallel sanddunes desert.
Cross the length of the Simpson
desert (North to South) passing through its center. A world first
attempt. To immerse myself into its beauty, explore a new route.
Take photos of landscapes, wildlife and film the adventure. On the
map, I have to go at least from point 1 to point 4.
• Description : The width
of this desert is regularly traversed (East-West) by 4 wheel drives
on tracks. But it’s only in June 2006 that an Australian attempted
the first crossing by foot without using tracks and passing through
the center of the desert. This man succeeded it by pulling a homemade
desert cart weighting 160kg containing his water, food and gear.
His route was 400 km long. I aim to carry 35 days of water and food
and walk around 800 km. Alone and by foot, I am silent and it allows
me to approach wild animals more easily.
• Originality : When you
reach the South of the desert, you are still far away from civilization.
I have to continue further and pass lake Eyre, the biggest lake
in Australia. This means my journey has to eventually go to point
5 and ideally point 6. This lake fills in about 4 times per century
so it’s a saltpan. I have to build a desert cart that can
resist to a load of 200kg and invent a wheel that will resist the
different types of hostile surfaces I will encounter.
• Heat > 30°C in the
shadow increased by reverberation
• Winter : min -2°C, shorter days; I have to walk during
the night and using the moonlight
• Sandstorms, insects
• Rain : rare but would melt down the saltpans of the lakes
and uncover a thick mud.
• Wild animals: deadly snakes, dingoes (wild dogs), wild camels
• Spinifex : sort of desert plant that looks like a giant
skewers ball: the best way to puncture tires.
• The « CamWheel »
(Camel on wheels) is made of a new wheel concept to go across the
harsh terrains of this desert. The wheels must be flat free, almost
indestructible. It’s possible by using airless plain tires.
The extra weight is compensated because I don’t need repair
• The problem is that plain tires of a large diameter and
large width do not exist ? invent a specific wheel for this desert.
The wheel concept is based on « greentyre » bicycle
wheels. Because of the heavy load, a normal wheel would collapse
under stress and fatigue, wheels have thus to be doubled by welding
(like for trucks). To realize this, new spokes, axles and hubs have
to be designed. The whole cart will be made of aluminum.
• The cart will be dismantled in 3 parts for transport (airplane)
: wheels, frame and 2 pull bars.
The preparation and the adventure
You can see it all on the expedition's
Desert Trek Australia