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A pictorial response to arguments against climbing Ayers Rock

A pictorial response to arguments against climbing Ayers Rock

It'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 disrespectful

Climb has no cultural interest according to Traditional Owner! We are welcome to it! No disrespect is being shown by tourists climbing the rock.

Climbing Uluru goes against the wishes of the Anangu people 


Tiger Tjalkalyirri, Anangu Man, Traditional Owner and keeper of the rock, and his assistant Tamalji photographed at the cairn by Arthur Groom, 1947. Tiger acted as an early guide for visitors to Ayers Rock in the 1940s. It seems he had no qualms about escorting Groom and others to the summit. It appears the notion that the climb is against the wishes of the Anangu is a fairly recent phenomenon.
Tiger arrived and flopped straight into a pool to cool off. 'My legs get properly tight!' he grumbled, and thumped his cramped thighs. Tamalji run about too much like big euro!' “ from I saw a strange land, 1950.
 Business as usual

Prior to the handback of the Rock in 1985 the Central Land Council and Pintjantjatjara Council acknowledged the importance of tourism operations at Ayers Rock. There was no mention the climb (which was not a registered sacred site at the time) was against the wishes of the locals, instead locals were "working tirelessly to assure the people of Australia that tourist operations at the park would continue as usual". It seems this promise by the Anangu is now being broken.

It’s not imperative in gaining an understanding of Aboriginal culture

Many Aboriginal stories at Uluru involve features found on the summit and the familiarity of the locals with the summit is well documented. The image above shows an Anangu Man on Uluru's Summit sitting on the legs of the murdered Kunia Woman, as photographed by Charles Mountford 1940. For the full story see Ayers Rock It’s people, their beliefs and their art by Charles Mountford 1965. These features are imperative in gaining an appreciation of Aboriginal Culture at Uluru. They deserve to be celebrated and shared with visitors not subject to a draconian ban. These important stories were happily shared with Charles Mountford in the 1940s but it seems with the ban they are destined to be forgotten.

The views are not worth it, it's just the desert.

Photo Credit Lauren Savage. And for some, the Mona Lisa is just a painting!  It takes great knowledge to appreciate the subtle beauty of the Australian desert. Sadly some visitors do not know what they are looking at. Perhaps an interpretive sign at the summit would help visitors better appreciate the geomorphology and geology. The views are absolutely amazing!




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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!



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