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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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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…

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!