There’s a multitude of reasons why we shouldn’t irresponsibly catapult ourselves and envelope a 550-million-year-old site in sweat, thongs, stubbies and singlets.
Firstly, it’s sacred ground. Just as we don’t allow climbers to traipse, tramp and trudge along the gothic dome of the Vatican, we certainly shouldn’t consider it ‘far game’ in the spiritually important and sacred site of Uluru.
Secondly, it’s dangerous. This should and foremost prevent people, but alas, stupidity, arrogance and intrigue so often gets the better of us. The result? 30 plaques commemorating those who’ve died in pursuit are exhibited at the start of the track.
Climbing in Uluru will now be banned from 2019, after the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park’s Board of Management voted unanimously to end the activity.
To be honest, when I visited the site no one dared to trespass. The warning signs were blatant: climb and risk the possibility of death. There was no clear path, no rope and certainly no guide. It startled me that people would even contemplate ascending.
But, I am a product of my time. In the 80s, following the infamous shot of Diana and Charles’ descent – fellow Aussies were all too eager to join suit. My mum and dad were one of them.
They climbed the rock in 1988, in thongs, a T-shirt and a perm. They were part of a long line of fellow scantily clothed pilgrims levitating up the great mass of ochre rock.
The climbing of the rock has always been controversial. It is a sacred site to the Pitjantjatjara Anagu people, and they do request that visitors refrain from climbing it due to the path crossing, a sacred traditional Dreamtime track.
Visiting Uluru was an incredibly humbling experience. While I am Australian, I was aware that I was visiting an area of culture and spiritual significance for a race of people that had been undermined and thwarted by my own.
Ergo, I am overjoyed that we’ve finally come to our senses and formally banned people from climbing Uluru. Safety aside, it’s an innately important and sacred site for the Aboriginal people.
Be in awe of its magneticity, there’s just no need to climb it.