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Uluru Climbing Ban, Tourists Scale Sacred Australian Rock For Final Time

BBC news reported that huge crowds have begun scrambling up Australia’s Uluru on the final day before the climb is banned. The giant monolith – once better known to visitors
25 Oct 2019 15:26
Uluru Climbing Ban, Tourists Scale Sacred Australian Rock For Final Time
Thousands of tourists have rushed to climb the rock before the activity is banned. Photo: BBC News/Supplied

BBC news reported that huge crowds have begun scrambling up Australia’s Uluru on the final day before the climb is banned.

The giant monolith – once better known to visitors as Ayers Rock – will be permanently off limits from Saturday.

Uluru is sacred to its indigenous custodians, the Anangu people, who have long implored tourists not to climb.

Only 16% of visitors went up in 2017 – when the ban was announced – but the climb has been packed in recent weeks.

On Friday, climbers faced a delayed start to the climb due to dangerously strong winds. After about three hours, park officials deemed the climb safe to open.

Photos of people in lines snaking up Uluru in past months have even drawn comparisons to recent scenes on Mount Everest.

 

One social media user posted a timelapse showing the massive queue at Uluru on Thursday.

 

The climb is to be shut down at 16:00 local time (06:30 GMT) on Friday.

A metal chain used as a climbing aid will then be immediately dismantled, officials say.

Why is the climb being closed?

In 2017, the board of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park voted unanimously to end the climb because of the spiritual significance of the site, as well as for safety and environmental reasons.

One Anangu man told the BBC that Uluru was a “very sacred place, [it’s] like our church”.

“People right around the world… they just come and climb it. They’ve got no respect,” said Rameth Thomas.

There are several signs at the base of Uluru that urge tourists not to climb because of the site’s sacred value.

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