17 July 2018

Please don't climb Uluru

Last fall a reader in Tasmania sent me a link to a Guardian article about changes coming to Uluru:
Climbing Uluru in Australia’s red centre will end, traditional owners and national park managers have announced.

They asked visitors to understand the new rule, a long-held request of traditional owners who said they had previously felt “intimidated” into allowing the culturally inappropriate practice to continue...

Anangu have long requested that visitors do not climb the rock, both because it is a deeply sacred men’s site and because of the cultural responsibility they feel over the high number of injuries and deaths... There have been at least 36 known fatalities since the 1950s, and 74 rescues which required medical attention between 2002 and 2009 alone...

Climbing will cease on October 26, 2019, exactly 34 years after the government officially returned the site to its traditional owners.
The photo embedded at the top was posted in the Australia subreddit today, where the top comment is by a former tourguide.


  1. I first visited the Rock over 40 years ago, and I climbed it because that was what we did in those days. We didn't know any better.

    My second trip was about 15 years ago. By then we did know better, and I chose to respect the traditional owners' request not to climb. Instead I walked around the base of Uluru, which was an amazing and unforgettable experience!

    1. I climbed in the early nineties, and while standing on top of the Rock I had the awesome experience of a wedge-tailed eagle hovering ceiling-height above my head. And by "awesome" I mean . . .

  2. Amazing that they need to warn people over a year in advance that they will not be allowed to climb the rock anymore.
    If something needs doing, just do it.
    A fence, a wall, a lot of electrical hazards ... what ever.
    It's like banning those non compostable coffee things, just do it now, not in 4 years time.

    1. I believe the article indicated that the lead time was done to accommodate visitors who had already planned trips.

    2. Actually, easier than you might think. The climb can be treacherous but the first third or so has cables or chain handrails which could easily be removed. When I visited in the late 1980's, guides were already recommending that we not climb and we didn't.


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