Climbing Uluru

Climbing Uluru


Posted 2019-05-14 by Paula McManusfollow
In 1873, Englishman William Christie Gosse became the first European to climb Uluru, dually known as Ayers Rock. Nearly 150 years and millions of visitors later, it's become the most famous rock in the world and people flock to Australia's Red Centre to look at and climb the rock.

This year, on the 26th of October 2019, the rock climb will close permanently. The date coincides with the 34th Anniversary of the handing back of the rock to its traditional owners.

For many years now, the Anangu have requested that visitors refrain from climbing the rock . There are spiritual and environmental reasons for doing so. The entire area is a sacred site for the local Aboriginal people and the foot of the climb is a sacred men's area.

Added to this is the fact that the climb is treacherous. The pathway up the rock is a steep incline with a height that equals a 95 storey high building. The climbing path is 1.6 kilometres long with only a chain to hold on to. It's hard on those whose fitness is not able to cope. To date, there have been 37 deaths on the rock - mostly due to heart attacks or dehydration.

Also - there are no toilets on the top of the rock. People go anyway and, when it rains, there's a large amount of evaporated and concentrated urine and human waste flowing into the waterholes. The precious water that supports many different species of wildlife is at risk of being polluted.

It's amazing to hear that, despite all of the requests for visitors to not climb, there's been an explosion in visitor numbers to the rock. Are they rushing to the rock in an attempt to climb it before the October deadline?

Accommodation places are at bursting point already with peak season about to hit. Forward planning and advance bookings are critical as those who haven't already booked a room or campsite will find themselves turned away from Yulara and Curtin Springs and may find themselves completely stranded on the side of the road.

Do you want to climb? Or, do you take pride in the fact that you choose not to? What will your t-shirt say? "I climbed Uluru" or "I didn't climb Uluru".

There is no ban (at least until October 26th), so the decision lays with each individual who visits Uluru.

Traditional owners ask that those who wish to climb, make an informed decision .

Information signs have been in place at the foot of the rock since 1992. The signs explain the sensitivity of the area and appeal to visitors to reconsider their desire to climb the rock.

If your main reason for visiting Uluru is to climb the rock, then you may leave a little disappointed. The Ayers Rock climb is closed more than it's open because of strong winds or high temperatures.

For many years, the main attraction for tourists visiting Uluru is the climb. But, it appears that our mindset has changed over the past couple of decades and we're listening to the traditional owners. The number of people who climb the rock has dropped to less than 20% - down from approximately 80% in 1990. A visitor survey in 2013 showed that 98% of people would still visit Uluru even if the climb was closed.

These days, visitors are choosing to walk around the base rather than climb it. The beauty of Uluru isn't seen from a worn track in the rock - it's seen by walking around it, being immersed in it and hearing its stories. Every inch of it is different and uniquely beautiful. There's nowhere else like it in the world.

79859 - 2023-06-11 05:22:46


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