Uluru is a world class natural wonder that belongs to all of us. The Australian tradition of climbing the rock stretches back 35,000 years. This long established cultural tradition is under threat by a small group of bureaucrats determined to impose their way on the rest of the world. It is right to Climb because we have the right to Climb. Don't let irrational beliefs and petty nanny state bureaucrats take it away.
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Climbing legends #2 William Gosse - most wonderful natural feature I have ever seen
Climbing legends #2 Series of posts celebrating climbers of Ayers Rock.
#2 William Christie Gosse - first documented climb
Gosse's sketch of Uluru showing SW corner near Multijuju waterhole, drawn from about -25.35376, 131.03281. For recent photo showing similar view click here.
You can read WC Gosse's account of his explorations in central Australia via the Gutenberg Project (HERE). In 1872 Gosse was charged with finding a route from central Australia to Western Australia. He came across the rock he named "Ayers", after the SA governor Sir Henry Ayers, on the 19th of July 1873 and was the first European to scale the summit. You can read more about William Gosse at the ANU's dictionary of Australian Biography.
Here's Gosse's diary entry for the 20th of July 1873 documenting his climb to the summit, the first to be recorded:
Sunday, July 20.—Ayers Rock. Barometer 28.07 in., wind east. I rode round the foot of rock in search of a place to ascend; found a waterhole on south side, near which I made an attempt to reach the top, but found it hopeless. Continued along to the west, and discovered a strong spring coming from the centre of the rock, and pouring down some very steep gullies into a large deep hole at the foot of rock. This I have named Maggie's Spring. Seeing a spur less abrupt than the rest of the rock, I left the camels here, and after walking and scrambling two miles barefooted, over sharp rocks, succeeded in reaching the summit, and had a view that repaid me for my trouble—Kamran accompanied me. The top is covered with small holes in the rock, varying in size from two to twelve feet diameter, all partly filled with water. Mount Olga is about twenty miles west. Some low ranges and ridges west-north-west, one of which I think must be McNicol's Range; part of lake visible, bearing north Mount Conner 96°, and high ranges south-east, south, and south-west, with sandhills between. The one south-east. I have named after His Excellency Governor Musgrave; and a high point in same, bearing 141°, Mount Woodroffe, after the Surveyor-General. This is a high mass of granite, the surface of which has been honeycombed, and is decomposing, 1,100 feet above surrounding country, two miles in length (east and west), and one mile wide, rising abruptly from the plain. How I envied Kamran his hard feet; he seemed to enjoy the walking about with bare feet, while mine were all in blisters, and it was as much as I could do to stand: the soil around the rock is rich and black. This seems to be a favourite resort of the natives in the wet season, judging from the numerous camps in every cave. These caves are formed by large pieces breaking off the main rock and falling to the foot. The blacks make holes under them, and the heat of their fires causes the rock to shell off, forming large arches. They amuse themselves covering these with all sorts of devices—some of snakes, very cleverly done, others of two hearts joined together; and in one I noticed a drawing of a creek with an emu track going along the centre. I shall have more time to examine these when the main camp is here. This rock is certainly the most wonderful natural feature I have ever seen. What a grand sight this must present in the wet season; waterfalls in every direction. I shall start back, tomorrow, and trust to finding some water between here and King's Creek, which is now eighty-four miles distant.
William Christie Gosse: an absolute LEGEND!
Some mistakenly think he climbed up above Maggie Springs, but it's clear from the description "Seeing a spur less abrupt than the rest of the rock..." he took the easiest route to the summit which is where the current posted climb is. Pity he got the geology wrong, it's not granite, it's sandstone (arkose), but what a marvellous tale!
17th death on the Rock ABC report that a 76 year old Japanese man collapsed on the steep part of the climb and despite first aid, was not able to be revived. The elderly Japanese man likely died as a result of heart complications, probably brought on by existing (perhaps unknown) medical conditions and over exerting himself. He appears to have died revelling in the opportunity life provides. RIP Brother of the Rock. Our thoughts with his family and the first attenders who did their best to treat him. It's sad, but life goes on, and so should the climb.
His death marks the 17th death ON the Rock since 26 May 1962 when 16 year old school boy Brian Strieff, on a school excursion with Carey Grammar, wondered off the main path in heavy fog on the way down and fell to his death.
ABC's report indicate it is the 37th death, but these figures from Parks Australia have not been substantiated. It seems that many of the deaths Parks Australia claim to have occurred ON the Rock occurred in…
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…
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...
History of discovery and climbing
Facts and figures
Geology and Geomorphology
Reasons to climb
Chronicles of the fallen
Best time to climb
What to wear
How to climb
What you can see from the summit
Things to do at the summit
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!