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St Mary's Peak on the banned list?

St Mary's Peak is the highest point in the Flinders Ranges in South Australia. It's the end point for a spectacular scenic 20km bush walk that rewards with 360ยบ views of the ranges, salt lakes and surrounding plains.
In 2012 Oliver Pfeil wrote the following on reaching the summit:

360° Perfection
The Lady of the Outback had been kind to us that beautiful autumn morning and, as I scanned across the moonlit valleys and far-reaching vistas of the Flinders Ranges, I was overcome with a mixture of relief, excitement and a feeling of total freedom that I was able to enjoy an adventure of such calibre in our very own backyard.
With a rising sun in the east and a full moon in the west, the 360° panoramic views of Wilpena Pound, Lake Torrens and the jagged backbone of the northern Flinders Ranges would forever be etched into my mind.
Other climbing tales for St Mary's include:

This wonderful challenging walk, accessible to most people of moderate fitness with a little planning and a spirit of adventure, has been under threat for some time by the beliefs of the Adnyamathanha people who believe that the Peak is the head of an ancient serpent who’s body petrified forming walls of  Wilpena Pound and prefer you don't visit. 

Their request that visitors not climb the peak’s 1171m summit is similar to the Anangu people’s request that visitors to Uluru not climb it.

Few people undertake the walk and those that do have earned the right to go all the way to the summit without having to pander to another's religious beliefs. There is an existing marked trail and the walk does no damage. If the Adnyamathanha don't want to visit the summit that is their decision. They rob no one but themselves of the joy and sense of wonder of reaching the summit. The views at the top are far superior to those at the saddle lower down. It is a complete travesty that people are being made to feel guilty for simply enjoying the natural world. 

The ban on climbing Ayers Rock had its roots with a similar request, and like Ayers Rock a full ban is only a stroke of a pen away from becoming reality. If you believe the natural world is there to be shared and enjoyed write your Member of Parliament and make sure your views are known.


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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
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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