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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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17th death on the Rock

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 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…