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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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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…