Ayers/Uluru rock. Climb it or not


What did I know about Australia before my first trip to that country? It were only two things – Sydney Opera House and Ayers (Uluru) rock.

So I wanted to see both these landmarks and to climb to the top of the largest rock in the world. At least at that time I thought it is largest.

I saw Opera House on my first night I landed in Sydney, but it took more then 2 years till I get to Red Center.

I did probably all possible hikes around the Rock, but I wasn’t thinking about climb it anymore.

Uluru / Ayers Rock, Australia
Uluru / Ayers Rock, Australia

Why? I am keen hiker and for people who know me it could sound very strange decision. But after living for two years in Australia I heard so much controversial information about this climb.
“Uluru visitors face climbing ban for safety reasons”,  it was first news I heard. “Oh,no!”. I was very disappointed because of that. Of course this ban never was carried into effect, but then I read that safety was not primary reason for climb ban plans. It was more concern about cultural reasons.
So I started research this issue and find out that it is a really important sacred place for people and traditional owners ask people not to climb Uluru for cultural reasons – Wanyu Ulurunya tatintja wiyangku wantima – but there is no law that requires people to obey their wishes. So what should I do? It was dilemma for me.  But it didn’t take too long to make decision. I am tourist here and I must respect owners wishes. They don’t climb, why should I do that?
After all I was thinking Uluru was biggest rock in world and that was one of driving ideas to climb it.  I was wrong. As a lot of people are wrong too.  It was big discovery for me that in the Western Australia there is another rock – Mt. Augustus – twice and half times the size of famous Uluru.  Because it is so remote not so much people know it exists at all.  Then I thought, why should I climb most pretty rock (Uluru) then I still can climb largest rock in the world and don’t have to do any negotiations with my conscience? Decision was made and implemented. You can check this post how to reach Mt.Augustus and the trails there. For now enjoy the view of Uluru.

Should you climb it? It is up to you. My decision was  not to.

The climb to the top of Uluru rock is not prohibited as of January, 2013, but I think you just watch this video of the climb and don’t climb your self

I think a lot of people who decided to climb that rock underestimate their fitness.  It is tall rock and it is hot out there, so even if you take aside cultural reasons think twice before you start to climb it.

 


32 responses to “Ayers/Uluru rock. Climb it or not”

  1. Such an interesting dilemma, but it sounds like you made the right choice for you not to climb Uluru. I didn’t realize there were cultural associations with it.

  2. Honoring the wishes of the native people sounds like a very sensible thing to do. Lovely photo and will be interested to hear about your climb on the bigger rock.

  3. I visited Ayers Rock longer ago than I want to remember. I loved the area, and that time there was no restrictions or concerns about climbing. My reason for not climbing was that I was just getting over a bad bout of food poisoning. However, what I did do was take a small four seater plane on a tour of the area. I love it!!

    Thanks for joining Travel Photo Thursday.

  4. Five Stars for this post. A cultural/religious site shouldn’t be for anyone’s entertainment, whatever country it’s in. Thumbs/Tweets/Ping/Buzz/Linkedin/MySpace and Facebook at ya !

  5. Hi there, I’m an anthropologist who lives and works in outback Australia -often with the Yankunytjatjara people who are the Traditional Owners of Uluru.

    When working with them over the past few years, I’ve asked them what they think about people climbing Uluru. Most say that they don’t want people to climb. This is because:

    -there are a number of sacred sites on and around Uluru (contrary to popular belief, the entire Rock IS NOT a sacred site!). There is one on top, which in traditional law, only initiated male elders could visit

    -Aboriginal people in this part of Central Australia believe that they are responsible for all visitors to their land. This means that if something bad happens to you when you climb the Rock (like you have a heart attack and die), then they are responsible for this and they have been remiss in caring for you whilst you’re on their land. The consequences of this are that Aboriginal people will get sick and die -as a kind of punishment for not taking care of you properly.

    For this reason, visitor to Uluru are asked not to climb – however, it is not enforced, but left up to the individual to decide whether they climb or not.

    And no, I haven’t climbed it!

  6. @RyukyuMike, thanks for all diggs 🙂

    @Michael, I don’t feel bad I saw Uluru only after two years I landed in Sydney. It was part of plan. I didn’t want just to fly in/out to Uluru. I wanted to drive around Australia and a visit to Red Centre was part of that trip. So had enough time to learn about places I am planning to visit.

    @Amanda, thank you a lot for your input. It looks like I still don’t know everything about traditions of Aboriginals.

  7. I never made to Uluru, but I wouldn’t have climbed it either. If you know its a scared place, and you are aware that they don’t ask you to climb it. Then I think there is something seriously wrong with those people who still want to climb it anyway.

  8. Thanks for sharing the nice view of Uluru… I agree with your decision and would pass on climbing the rock as well. Hopefully many folks can enjoy this treasure from afar and respect all that it means for others.

  9. Hi,

    Just wanted to say, after reading your post,I agree with your decision not to climb. My wife, being of Aboriginal descent, also has strong feelings about areas where her people originally came from, here in Queensland.

    So, she and I appreciate your decision, and also the thoughtful people whose comments reflect respect for the Aboriginal people of this part of Australia.

    Thank you

  10. Respecting owner’s wishes and cultures of native people is very important while travelling. We are supposed to be “civilized” people after all!

  11. I think you did the correct thing by not climbing. There are certain natural wonders that we should just leave alone and enjoy from a distance. Looking forward to reading about Mt Augustus!

  12. Ayer’s Rock is run like a big theme park. I loved the rock, but hated the atmosphere around the hotels. We were much happier driving around on our own than doing the tours.

  13. Visited Ayers Rock today was extremely pissed off I couldn’t climb it! “Oh it’s too windy the locals don’t want you climbing it bla bla bla” get stuffed it’s meant to be a free country I pay more than my share of taxes get absolutely zero government hand outs but “oh you can’t climb our national icon” no one owns it! Wake up wankers n stop believing in dribbling shit seriously that fucken Rock was here before any bastard no one can claim it theres no damage in climbing it! Every other religion builds there churches n whatever and you are welcome to visit them! Wake up Australia stop being brainwashed by every wank. Oh aren’t I a racist pig with no heart get fucked ask every digger that’s fought for this country would you climb Ayers Rock? Fucken oath they would! Pull ya heads out of each other’s arses and use ya brains for fuck sake!

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