Thursday, October 14, 2010

Wanyu Ulurunya tatintja wiyangku watima

Most visitors to Uluru are happy with a photo in front of the picturesque rock. However, there are those who arrive at this World Heritage site with the goal of conquering Mother Nature by climbing to the tip of the monolith. 
To bag the peak, trekers must follow the traditional route that is a Dreamtime track--a pathway used by the spiritual ancestors of the Anangu people. The route holds spiritual significance and it is for that reason that the Aboriginal owners ask visitors not to climb the Uluru. It is not illegal to climb the sandstone formation, and many people, ignoring the traditional owners' plea, make their way to the top anyway. 
Prior to my visit to Uluru I was unclear of why the traditional owners didn't just prohibit the climb. I have since learned that even though the land was returned to the Anangu in 1985, they have since leased the land back to the government for 99 years. The lease included a promise that climbing Uluru would be banned; however, the climb remains open. Each year tens of thousands of people make the ascent. Unfortunately, over 35 people have died making the dangerous climb.
When visiting Uluru, I found the legality of climbing Uluru irrelevant. Even though I am an avid peak bagger I felt that my respect for the local culture easily outweighed my desire to climb the monolith. 

1 comment:

  1. I must admit that if I were ever to visit Uluru, I'd be tempted to climb it. Which is why I've thought it best to not visit at all but, instead, just admire from afar via photos.