The Banning of Climbing Uluru (Ayers Rock) - thoughts on this article?

Submitted: Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 18:22
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Came across this article about the banning of climbing of Uluru (Ayers Rock) - Just wondering what people think??

Banning of Climbing Ayers Rock...
Cheers..... RobM
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Reply By: Erad - Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 19:37

Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 19:37
My wife and I have climbed Ayres Rock - twice. The first time, the weather was diabolical, but we knew no better. We got to the top and the clouds had socked in so badly we almost had trouble finding the white line to get back down. The weather got worse as we started going down. Our 11 year old daughter was so lightweight that the wind kept blowing her off her feet, so my wife had to go down the chain on the upwind side, my daughter on the downwind side of the chain, and I had to stand about 5 feet further downwind and catch my daughter when the wind lifted her off her feet. We got to the bottom after a long time, thoroughly soaked, exhausted and cold.

Next day, we were going to head off to Alice Springs, and after we packed up and started down the road, a check in the mirror showed a perfect clear blue sky approaching, so we turned around and went back and set up camp again. That day turned out to be perfect - the Rock was a brilliant colour and it changed late in the day. There was water cascading from every nook and crack. Absolutely perfect, but no way were we going to climb it again.... So we saw the rock in its many facets over the two days we were there. Absolutely awesome in all ways.

The second time was 4 years later, when we went back with one of our daughter's friends. We arrived about 1:30 pm, and set off for the top. Sunny, hot winter's day. On the way up, we met a lot of people coming back down. Most of them told us that there was a man selling Coca Cola up there at the top. Yeah - Right! Well, when we reached the top, sure enough, there was a bloke selling coke cans at $2.00 each (at the time you could get them in the shop for about 60 cents). He had 2 slabs in his rucksack. We didn't buy any from him on principle, but I had to admire his guts in carrying a load like that up that hill. No idea as to what he (or others) did with the empty cans either. I really don't like that type of use of the Rock.

Three years ago, we made another trip back to Ayres Rock, but didn't climb it this time - age and respect for the elders seemed to overcome the urge to climb it. Do I support banning climbing the rock? No way. But equally, I don't advocate putting a mechanical powered or anything like that lift up there so oldies like me can get up there easily. However, if climbing is not stopped, many more people will get into trouble and then others will have to risk their lives in order to recover them - dead or alive. So maybe banning climbing is the right thing to do.
AnswerID: 626064

Reply By: Member - MIKE.G - Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 20:11

Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 20:11
Hi RobM.
A very interesting article.
My wife and I ran a motel at Ayers Rock in 1975.
At that stage, apart from the Women's Cave, the elders had no issue with people going near, photographing or climbing the rock as they knew that there was nothing up there of interest to them, particularly no food. They thought it strange that people would want to climb!
We have visited a few times since and on our last visit in 2011 after coming through from WA, I was asking after some of the older local people we knew in '75 and was told by a girl doing dot paintings, that there was only one of the old local people still alive (Names withheld out of respect) and she was to be found in the ranger station. Upon asking about any other local people and where they were, or their children, we were told that there were none of the original inhabitants there and all the indigenous people were in her words, "blow-ins from WA around Laverton and Wiluna" During our conversation I was told to stop talking to the woman and leave the area, by who I gathered was the manager of the gallery, where there were six women sitting on the floor doing dot paintings, no doubt for his benefit. (excuse my cynicism)
No problem with the safety issue in closing the climb as I had to rescue unprepared climbers on more than one occasion.
There is no easy answer to this dilemma but I fear that other natural icons in this country that will potentially be locked up for the benefit of a few.

Mike.
AnswerID: 626067

Follow Up By: Ken - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 15:06

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 15:06
Mike, I was at Ayres Rock in 1976 when the motels were on the doorstep of the Rock. Llike you I also had the same message of blow-ins from further west, Docker River was mentioned. The term blow-ins was used by "Tiger" and the Ranger in charge when I asked where the small group of aboriginals carving lizards and snakes from mulga and making patterns with hot fencing wire lived. Can't recall the Ranger's name but he was there during the Azaria fiasco and often seen in news reports.
The story then was this was Marla country but only one or 2 from that totem were still alive and that there were plans to have a pregnant woman camp there to continue the line.
The story I got from the current administration at a more recent visit was that the Marla were a fierce warlike mob that tried to drive off the current claimants.
Who knows where the truth lies but certainly claims of sacred significance are a recent concept and I remain highly skeptical of it.
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Follow Up By: Member - MIKE.G - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 20:24

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 20:24
Hi Ken.

The head ranger was Derek Roff in '75 and you are correct, he was there in '80 when Azaria was taken.
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Reply By: rumpig - Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 21:14

Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 21:14
I did a trip with the family last July to specifically give my kids the chance to go climb the rock, last visit there they missed out as the climb was closed ( had climbed it previously many years earlier). Thankfully on that latest trip my kids got to enjoy the views from a top the rock, it's a shame others won't get that same opportunity in the future. I have zero interest in heading back there once they close the climb, and I know others that say the same....i only have to look at how many people were there last year (it was a madhouse) and how many people I know are going this year or want to go before the climbs closure, to know that climbing the rock is the major attraction for many.
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Reply By: Graysey - Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 21:30

Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 21:30
Just my two cynical cents, give it a few years and we might find the cultural sensitivities can be appeased with the addition of a fee to climb.
AnswerID: 626069

Reply By: IvanTheTerrible - Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 22:00

Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 22:00
Honestly cant see the sense in climbing. People only do it so they can say they have done it which is quite sad really.
AnswerID: 626070

Follow Up By: rumpig - Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 22:19

Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 22:19
The view from the top is well worth the effort of the climb, we spent quite a while stopping at various points along the way taking in the views....but I guess it's just easier to rag others that want to climb it, which is quite sad really
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Follow Up By: Member - Bigfish - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 08:10

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 08:10
Same can be said of hiking into any place, viewing from any lookout and indeed all sightseeing. I,ve worked in the area and never climbed the rock. AS has been stated...climbing was never an issue. The issue is the people calling themselves original owners, custodians, keepers etc.etc. when they are not even from the area.

I,ll guarantee a fee to climb will become the norm one day.
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Reply By: harryopal - Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 23:06

Friday, Jun 07, 2019 at 23:06
A very interesting accompanying article to carry the case against banning the climb but one that sweeps aside rather a few issues.

There is a lot of weight given to "superstition" as being an irrational basis for banning climbing. Unless one regards all religious and traditional belief systems as superstition it denies the historical reality that almost everywhere in the world there are beliefs underpinned by religion and superstition. Since before recorded history, worldwide, people have developed heartfelt notions of what is sacred and precious in their beliefs and have been deeply offended when their concepts of sacred and what is blasphemous are ignored. Retribution has often been deadly.

Aboriginal people are as entitled to having their beliefs respected as would Catholics at the altar should non believers decide to set up a tripod in the middle of mass. We are a long long way from having laws and rules being only based on rational thought.

As an Australian whose schooling taught that there was some conflict with Captain Cook's arrival but by and large Aborigines were decimated by alien germs for which they had no resistance, I find it ironic that the decision to ban climbing is felt as inherently "unfair". It is only since the late 60's that gradually the realities of dispossession by murder, atrocity and denial of rights by successive governments have been exposed to the light. It was only in 1967 a referendum allowed that Aborigines could have citizenship rights. There has been little "fairness" across the centuries of European occupation as Aborigines lost their land until the Mabo decision recognized land rights.

Having lived in the Aboriginal community at Uluru I can tell you that most Anangu would prefer to be left alone on their land and feel very keenly a sense that they are almost living in a zoo to be photographed by the tens of thousands of tourists each year let alone cope with the disrespectful attitudes of visitors to places that are felt to be sacred.

It should also be remembered that there are hundreds of majestic places across Australia which are totally closed to members of the public by pastoral property owners and multi national mining corporations.

I first climbed the rock in 1963 and do feel that Uluru has a kind of spiritual attraction to many Australians who feel it is the "heart' of Australia. Unfortunately I can think of no instance where non Aboriginal Australians have tried to explain this to Aboriginal people. We have just been used to taking what we wanted and pushing indigenous people aside. The tide has turned somewhat. I suspect the Pitjantjatjara might respond to such an argument were we to seriously respect their beliefs and submit that non Aboriginal Australians be allowed a kind of spiritual pilgrimage rather than just wanting access as another item on the bucket list.

As for deaths on the climb, at one time there were brass plaques being placed at the foot of the rock for those who had heart attacks or whatever and died. It soon became apparent that this area would just keep on growing and the practice was abandoned. Death from climbing is not really a serious element in the processes which have finally led to a ban on climbing. It is ultimately based on finally having respect shown for the sacred Uluru; something the Anangu have been seeking for decades
AnswerID: 626072

Follow Up By: Candace S. - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 11:46

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 11:46
So on one hand I have people telling me the sort of things you just did.

And on the other hand, are people saying that this notion of it being sacred is something new and imposed from outside.

So which is true? My "hunch" is that the latter is closer to the truth.

For my part, when I was there in 2008, if the climb hadn't been closed due to high winds or whatever, I would have climbed it in a heartbeat!

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Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 18:23

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 18:23
We lived in the Northern Territory in the 1970's.
The Aboriginals wouldn't let you take a photo of them as it would "take their Spirit away. We had respect for these oldies.
We had aboriginal friends mostly the older ones who've passed over long ago.

I've been told now, that you pay & you can get a photo.
I didn't climb the rock because I knew I would get Vertigo and for other personal reasons.
As far as we've seen, the younger ones haven't got a clue about the old ways & don't respect the old ways.
There are some young ones who have done well & are a delight to speak to.
Others, in the young groups just couldn't care less.

White do-gooders have a large part in running these communities.
Some of the do-gooders are only pushing their own barrows, sadly and yes,
there are these blow ins from other communities as well as blow-in whites who are just as disrespectful of whites & Aboriginals.

I make a point that our generation aren't the people who hurt them when the Engish took over Australia. There were terrible things done to both whites & Aboriginals.
Our Taxes are helping them as best we can now but for some,( on both sides) it just isn't enough.
Take a look at what is going on in the cities, it's just the same. Nothing satisfies those who can't or won't be satisfied .
Take care, safe travels Ma.


Pa,Ma&Gus
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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 13:59

Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 13:59
"Nothing satisfies those who can't or won't be satisfied ."

That is one of the most salient points made in this discussion - on both sides of the argument.
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 19:19

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 19:19
Hear hear Harry.
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Reply By: David I1 - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 09:12

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 09:12
I must say I agree with the article. I 1st climbed the rock in 1970. We had an aboriginal guide who pointed out many features as we walked. Since then I have walked to the top at least a dozen times and at least on 3 occasions had or saw a "local" guide telling groups about the rocks past history etc. Until recently I had never heard anybody say it was not OK to climb it for some "sacred" reason. I can understand the dangers etc and the risks, and the costs associated with retrieval of persons who are not physically capable of climbing but still try. As such I still drive past the rock on my short cut trip between Perth and Brisbane. But now I no longer stop there or pay anything to do so. To me the place is just a great "white fella" rip off place and as such think there are better places than Ayers Rock to visit. Mt Augustus is a bigger monolith than Ayers Rock, and as of last year still free to see and climb. But I am sure if it becomes too popular, some one somewhere will suddenly find a way to stop the climbing and also charge money to get to see it. I guess we can call that progress.....sigh.
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Follow Up By: Graysey - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 09:28

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 09:28
All good except Mt Augustus is a monocline, not a monolith.
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Follow Up By: David I1 - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 10:05

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 10:05
Taken straight from Parks & Wildlife Services WA Quote:

Mount Augustus is often referred to as a monocline (meaning one sided slope) or monolith (meaning one rock) and is often compared to Uluru.

Dont care what geologists call the formation but in every sense its bigger than Ayers Rock and as yet not subject to any restrictions
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Reply By: nick g1 - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 09:29

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 09:29
As mike said the original old elders had no problem with people climbing, end of argument. Everything after that is political correctness and bull...t. We pay our money to get into the area we should be allowed to climb. We should also be allowed to climb the olgas, as their much less steep! I was there once and 3 british young guys came to the bottom to be stoped by a ranger saying the climb is closed today for some reason. They said how much is the fine? $500! They all pulled out the money and paid and climbed!! The said we didn't come all this way around the world to be stoped at the last point!
We are all Australians, we should be allowed access to all our icons! We should marching on parlament house with banners protesting the total bulls..t assoiated with AYERS ROCK!
AnswerID: 626076

Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 09:42

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 09:42
Hi Nick

This topic has been raised here on the forum.

As I mentioned then, an old chap now living here in Clare was based at Ayers Rock as a Ranger when it was first made a National Park.

He witnessed first hand wild Aboriginals coming in from the bush and making first contact with White Man.

Over the years he made great friends with these true people of the desert. Yes the area was of Spiritual significance, and Keith ask many times about climbing the Rock, to which they had no problems at all.

It is strange how in just 2 generations, it has gone from true bush born Aboriginals saying it was fine to climb, and now so called experts saying it is not.

There is far too much influence from so called “Spinifex Fairies” and white do gooders.

I am glad I was brought up when it was still all dirt roads, you camped at Ayers Rock and over the years we have climbed it 5 times, something sadly our grandchildren will not be able to claim.



Just my 2 cents worth.


Cheers


Stephen
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 11:50

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 11:50
In 2008, I recall the fine was $5000. A bit too much even to climb The Rock!

Edit: My bad, I was off a bit...the fine in May 2008 was actually $5500...

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Reply By: Alloy c/t - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 10:47

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 10:47
Money / $$$$$ will win in the end / Ayers Rock is NO different than any other natural formation and will be climbed , rules or no rules , as long as there is a dollar to be made ...Mt Everest is extremely 'sacred' to the Nepalese yet $$$$ 's win ..it will be the same for Ayers Rock .....already if your too old / frail / lazy to do the climb you can helicopter up ...how 'sacred' is that .....
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Follow Up By: Candace S. - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 11:58

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 11:58
I know you can take a helicopter ride over and around the Rock. I don't think they land on the top!
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 14:47

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 14:47
Candace , if not yet [ allowed to land on it ] it will be soon after a 'full' climbing ban is imposed .....it's ALL about the $$$$$$ to be made , nothing more....
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Follow Up By: Matthew G3 - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 15:14

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 15:14
Its funny that the contracts to remove the white paint, post+chains and fill in the holes is about to commence after the date but the 3 heli spots up there are going to stay. For $$$$$$ later?
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Follow Up By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 15:48

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 15:48
Hi Matthew

And who do you think will be paying for this cost?....... the good old Australian Tax payer.



Cheers



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Follow Up By: Shaker - Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 14:06

Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 14:06
Exactly, as we have to obtain permits & pay to drive on the Outback roads that we pay for!
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 20:00

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 20:00
Had to go to hospital for a procedure a little while back and despite my taxes I found I had a few hefty bills to pay. Bugger me, I even have to pay for parking in most cities. The old "taxpayer" furphies are hollow at best and at worst....
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Reply By: Ron N - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 12:32

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 12:32
As soon as Left-wing lawyers saw a huge opportunity to "right" the wrongs of the past against the Aboriginals, they didn't take long to learn how to manipulate the white mans laws.

I'm quite happy to have people believe in their superstitions and religious beliefs - provided they don't try to impose their beliefs on me, and seriously crimp my chosen lifestyle, which may go against their beliefs.

Interestingly enough, I climbed the Rock in July 1969 and there was virtually no-one there, and I certainly didn't run into any Aboriginals protesting that my climb offended their traditions and beliefs.

I occasionally worship in Christian churches, if some excitement-seeking clown wants to scale one of the churches I worship in, I'm not going to get upset about it, nor try to pass laws or regulations banning climbing Christian churches.

But in my opinion, high things just pose a challenge that must be beaten, to some people.
I don't understand it, I guess it's a quirk or obsession in their psyche - and some of these people carry it to extremes, killing themselves in the process.

I like climbing high places when I was young and fit, and enjoyed a bit of a challenge - now I'm old and not so fit and able as I once was, I don't really care too much about climbing mountains or rocks, I guess I've scratched that itch.

I believe people should be allowed to climb the Rock if they so wish, but they should undergo a training and education session just to make them understand the risks and the exposure to the elements.
I'm sure a fee for climbing the Rock, that went towards buying new Tojo's for every Anangu, would soon sort out the superstitions.

Cheers, Ron.
AnswerID: 626078

Follow Up By: harryopal - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 13:36

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 13:36
In the sixties Aboriginal people had no "ownership"of anything and the administration of law was tough if you were black and administered more sympathetically if you were white. These were essentially an oppressed and powerless people and in no position to tell white visitors not to climb.

Ron makes this point. "I'm quite happy to have people believe in their superstitions and religious beliefs - provided they don't try to impose their beliefs on me, and seriously crimp my chosen lifestyle, which may go against their beliefs."

The difference is that this is now recognized by law as Aboriginal land and we are visitors. If we choose to enter the reserve we can't ignore the wishes of the owners' beliefs; religious, superstitious or otherwise.
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Follow Up By: Alloy c/t - Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 09:54

Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 09:54
Harryopal , the very basis of 'ownership' is the point of contention , the facts are that in Australian Aboriginal 'culture' there was never even the concept of land 'ownership' .....
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Follow Up By: OzzieCruiser - Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 10:19

Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 10:19
Of course they did, but it was at the clan/tribe level not at the individual level. Just look at the "tribal" map of Australia.
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 16:06

Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 16:06
News.com.au has weighed into the climb question with an article this morning, that comes down heavily on the side of the Aboriginal view.

Why you shouldn't climb Uluru - News.com.au

It's interesting to see that the management plan for the Rock settled on an agreement that the climb would be closed when less than 20% of the tourists were climbing the Rock - and that the majority of the tourists would be visiting for the "cultural and natural experiences".

Cheers, Ron.
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Follow Up By: nickb - Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 19:31

Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 19:31
Considering how often it is closed for various reasons, I would be surprised if 5% of people that actually wanted to climb it were allowed to!
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 19:56

Monday, Jun 10, 2019 at 19:56
They said they'd close it if less than 20% of visitors climbed. The fact that it seems to be closed more than it's open must skew the numbers down.
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 19:31

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 19:31
Disgusting how indigenous people use ("manipulate") our ("white man's") laws eh Ron? The whole history of land rights and struggles against discrimination/acceptance has sfa to do with "left wing lawyers".
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Reply By: Ken - Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 16:58

Saturday, Jun 08, 2019 at 16:58
For those labouring under recent cultural brainwashing have a look at this article for some relevant history.

https://quadrant.org.au/
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 19:40

Tuesday, Jun 18, 2019 at 19:40
Quadrant would be the last place anyone should look for a balanced view on any topic Ken. Its conservative bias and ignorance is a blight on reason.
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Reply By: Member - nickb "boab" - Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 08:57

Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 08:57
For me .. it's not about climbing The Rock but just its Majestic Beauty that has to be appreciated and not the fact that you climb ,i climbed it in the mid 70s when there was a camping ground near the rock as well the other facilities back then.. losing some appeal when they removed all that and built the ulara facility ....revisiting it in the 90s when a group of us rode our push bikes out their from Alice Springs but did not climb it again . Those who think they will reopen climbing the rock $$$ don't know Aboriginals that well imo
So Enjoy it for what it is .....
Cheers Nick b
VKS 737 ( 0915 )
Wish the missus was as dirty as the tailgate of my bukky ....

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Follow Up By: Members Pa & Ma. - Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 12:24

Sunday, Jun 09, 2019 at 12:24
As I said I didn't climb . I knew my limits but as Nick said, the beauty of the
Rock is well worth the trip
The texture and it's nooks & crannies are far better than even the best photos show us.
The Aganu people live in some of the prettiest country in Australia.

We went into the visitors centre to get a top up our supplies when we were coming back from Western Aus tralia.
The weather was extremely hot.
I think we were among approx. 6 Australians in there.

Take care, safe travels Ma.
Pa,Ma&Gus
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