A very contentious issue still plays out every day in the heart of Australia. Should the Uluru climb be closed to the public, should it remain a choice or it should it be continue as is?
My personal opinion is a firm and whole-hearted we shouldn’t climb it.
Even if you are pro-climb please hear (read) me out. It’s not about taking something away from the public or locking something up. It should of never been allowed in the first place. Respect for culture is a major player in the debate. However, we also need to look at this issue environmentally, the impact we are having on this sacred and wonderful place.
Travellers need to change their mind-set when planning their life-changing trip to Uluru. Instead of seeing it as something to conquer like climbing Mt Kosciusko or the Sydney Harbour Bridge, it needs to be seen as the natural and cultural wonder that it is. It needs to been something that is seen and felt.
Uluru has international attention as a holiday destination with the major sales point being to climb the world’s largest “ROCK”. It should be promoted world-wide as the magnificent wonder. Something to admire for its utter beauty. I’ve visited three times now and it still takes my breath away. I’ve seen people shed a tear when they see it for the first time. As a natural and cultural place it is amazing in itself. It doesn’t require a sales hook or to offer something for the thrill seekers. Not only is it of great cultural significance to Indigenious Australians but also to Australian’s as a whole. It really is the heart of this vast brown land and can still be a major draw card for tourists without the climb. Viewing these wonders, walking through and around Uluru and Kata-Tjuta is awe-inspiring. There are many other tourist attractions like the Sounds of Silence Dinner, camel treks and walking tours which are low impact on the environment and that are culturally appreciative.
The draw-card to Uluru is Uluru itself not the view of the surrounding area (as beautiful as it is). There are many tourist flight operators who can provide a birds-eye view. There is no point in climbing it other than the achievement of completing the climb. We should be impacting on the Rock as little as possible. I was disgusted to hear when speaking with a Park Ranger that the worst part of their job was removing rubbish from the top of the climb. Litter is bad but defecation and toilet paper is the majority of rubbish found! What is wrong with the general public? People have no respect and unfortunately this ruins it for others that are trying to do the right thing.
On a more somber note, to date 37 lives have been lost attempting to climb Uluru. This has led to the Coroner putting restrictions on when the climb can be opened. For example, if high winds or high temperatures are predicted for that day the climb is closed at 7am. This should only have a little impact on closing the climb. Yes, it is very sad but while it should contribute to the decision it should not be the major player. To preserve Uluru both culturally and environmentally is PARAMOUNT.
On a final note, I believe that a stronger promotion and education of Uluru has a natural and cultural wonder is key. If it is promoted in this light and tourists are educated they will make come to the decision themselves. So while I believe we shouldn’t climb it and wouldn’t support those who would go ahead and climb. I support the Park and the community with closing the climb. It all comes down to education prior to action.