Up early, and drove 100kms to Uluru, in order to make an early start on the climb.
At 7AM, there were already hordes of people on the climb, including many Japanese tourists. It proved to be a steep and quite exposed climb, albeit most of the way was protected by a large metal chain affixed to steel poles. In fact, it was easier to walk up the side of the path, thus avoiding the other climbers and also not having to lift the low hanging chain.
Inevitably, we met “Pete from Geelong” at the top of the chain section, and he looked somewhat knackered – 40 years of smoking, he explained. “Pete from Bangkok” was also struggling a bit from the after-effects of his chest infection. But, the views were stunning, and especially of “The Olgas” (Kata Tjuta) 40kms away to the west. The climb across the top of the rock to the summit itself was quite tiring, as one traversed a series of gullies. Anyway, we made it – and back down too!
We rewarded ourselves with a light lunch and coffee at the “village square” coffee shop in the Yulara resort. Pete struck up a conversation with some motorcyclists who were riding east to west across Australia. They droned on about scramblers, aspirated what-nots, blah-blah suspensions, .. that kind of thing. One guy, travelling at 95kph at the time , had hit a kangaroo which leapt into his bike. He was very lucky not to have a serious crash and managed to stay on the bike. The kangaroo was far less fortunate (RIP).
After lunch, we went west to “The Olgas” (Kata Tjuta), and photographed and viewed these beautiful, dome-shaped mountains (hills?) that appear purple in some lights. We decided not to photograph Uluru at sunset; it had already been a very long day. So, we returned post haste to Curtin Springs, and cooked ourselves an excellent steak dinner (arguably better than the one we had at King’s Canyon resort).
Guess you didn’t think you should respect the aboriginals’ wishes for people not to climb it then! Or have they changed their view on that?
The area around the bottom is fascinating. We did it with a ranger. Did you see that too?
I did think about it .. and in the end decided that it was a rock to climb. Yes, see separate post on walk .. frankly, I think I enjoyed the walk more .. made me think more about the aboriginals attachment to the rock.
Isn’t there a ban on climbing it coming into force soon?
Yes there is .. it is not entirely clear if the desire for this ban is coming from the traditional owners, or from the park management who are concerned with elf and safty issues. It is likely a bit of both. Personally, not sure climbing on something as big as Uluru is that disrespectful, and certainly the danger of the climb is a big draw for many. Is climbing on it any more disrespectful that whizzing round it on Segways?