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Climbing legends #1 First Woman to climb Ayers Rock

Climbing legends #1 Mrs Foy and Beryl Miles
Series of posts celebrating climbers of Ayers Rock.
Updated 27 Dec 2017
The list of names from the glass jar at the summit cairn records the name of Mrs Foy on the 28th of May 1936. Isabella Foy was the wife of Hugh Victor Foy who lead an expedition in search of Lasseter's Reef. It seems Mrs Foy is the first woman to record a climb of Ayers Rock. However it also seems the names on the Foy list were not written individually raising questions as to whether all on the list actually climbed. 

Foy Family 1938. Names of Mr Foy, Mrs Foy and Bill Foy are listed in the glass jar at the summit cairn.

Isabella Foy

Beryl Miles - second woman(?) to climb Ayers Rock.
Beryl Miles, from article in The Age 31/7/1954

The second woman to record a climb Ayers rock is Beryl Miles who entered her name into the glass jar at the summit cairn in mid 1951 during an epic outback expedition.  Details of her Australian adventure may be found in her book " The Stars my Blanket" (excerpts coming soon).

Of her Ayers Rock visit the Weekly Times (23 Jan 1952) reports the following:
The expedition went next to Ayers Rock - a mighty monolith of red rock rising 1100 feet sheer out of the mulga plain and one of the three tors in the area. Around the base are aboriginal paintings and on the top a cairn in which is hidden a glass jar containing the names of those who have climbed it. Miss Miles is, as far as she knows, the first women to have reached the top and says that it was worth the climb to know that her name was safely in the jar. "We climbed the rock in high wind", she said. "As well as being a very high rock it is quite smooth and there is nothing whatever to offer foot or hand hold. You must crawl up as best you can trying to ignore the 1100 feet drop yawning below".

Isabella Foy and Beryl Miles you are both absolute LEGENDS!


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Climber's Handbook: A guide to climbing Ayers Rock.

Coming soon... Climber's Handbook: A guide to climbing Ayers Rock. Everything you wanted to know about climbing the rock at the heart of Australia but were too afraid to ask...

Indicative Contents History of discovery and climbing Facts and figures Geology and Geomorphology Route Maps Reasons to climb Climbing stories Chronicles of the fallen  Preparations Best time to climb What to wear How to climb What you can see from the summit Things to do at the summit Climbing Trivia Selected climbs and hikes in central Australia
Hoping to hit the internet book shelves in time for Christmas 2018.  In the meantime wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  I just want one thing in my Christmas stocking: a ban of the ban!

A pictorial response to arguments against climbing Ayers Rock

A pictorial response to arguments against climbing Ayers RockIt's too dangerous Group of women aged 19-70 climb Ayers Rock as part of the 1957 Petticoat Safari. This was prior to the chains being installed. Since the 1950s over 6,000,000 people of all ages have climbed the rock. In that time there have been a reported 36 deaths mainly heart attacks to older men, not acclimatised to the heat of central Australia. If you are fit and healthy and stick to the marked path climbing Ayers Rock is an exhilarating adventure but a decidedly low risk activity.

Here's Arthur Groom's take on the climbing options: extract from I saw a strange land
Various writers have described Ayers Rock as difficult of ascent, when in reality it is a trained mountaineer's job on the east-south-east corner, a rough and steep scramble up at least two places on its southern side, and nothing else but a strenuous and spectacular uphill walk on its western side It’s a Sacred Site, climbing is disrespect…

The Ban on Climbing Ayers Rock is Immoral and Illegal

The Ban on Climbing Ayers Rock is Immoral and IllegalQuadrant Magazine have placed my recent article online outlining reasons the ban on climbing Ayers Rock is immoral and illegal.

Claims that Aborigines never ascend the monolith are false and the highly sacred nature of the route a recent invention. The cultural-heritage significance of the climb to both Anangu and millions of non-Aboriginal visitors is something that should be celebrated and maintained, not discouraged and condemned.

Read the Article at Quadrant.
“In the realm of ideas there has been no better publication in Australia over the last fifty years than Quadrant magazine.”
— Former Prime Minister John Howard