A climbing ban on the sacred Uluru rocks in Australia brought hundreds of people to get in one last climb before enforcement takes effect.
The ban, which was passed in 2017, recently went into effect after the Anangu aboriginal people claimed it was a sacred place for many thousands of years and should never have been considered a rock to climb. The problem began at the start of the early 20th century when more visitors came to the area.
The ban isn’t just about the sacrilegious nature; it’s also about keeping people safe. There have been more than a dozen deaths of people who climbed to the top of the formation with the most recent incident taking place in 2018. The most common causes of death are dehydration and slipping and falling while trying to climb the steep parts. The rock is 1,142-feet tall.
Maruku Arts General Manager, Clive Scollay said, “The Anangu have always been concerned about climbers’ safety and felt tremendous grief whenever one of them died in the climb…because the Anangu felt it was their duty to look at the dead’s souls.”
For years, the Anangu have tried to prevent climbing on Uluru and curb camping and illegal dumping on the land by posting signs about the spiritual importance of the area.
Officials have started closing Uluru’s entrance gate at 4 p.m. and they’ve removed the metal chain visitors had been using to climb the formation. According to an official with the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, they don’t believe the closure of the rock formation to climbers will have much of an impact on its visitor numbers because the rocks are still accessible to non-climbing tourists.
Written by contributor Susan Powell. Source: Travel and Leisure