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Man dies climbing Uluru

View from halfway up Uluru

An elderly Japanese tourist has died trying to climb Uluru.

The man, aged 76, collapsed on one of the steepest sections of the Uluru climb around 4:00pm yesterday. Park Rangers were first to arrive on the scene, performing CPR until SES crews arrived. Unfortunately without revival, the man was helicopter lifted to the nearby Yulara clinic where he was pronounced dead.

Records of deaths on Uluru have only been kept since the ‘50s, with the rock now claiming its 37th victim. This death on a sacred Aboriginal site happened just over a year prior to the total ban on climbing the rock which begins on the 26th of October, 2019.

Walking on Uluru will be banned in October 2019
Walking on Uluru will be banned in October 2019

Here at MR4X4 we can see why people might want to summit the monolith, and we are all against the nanny state keeping everyone safe. The rock is a major international tourist destination too. It’s a special place to a lot of people.

On the other hand, the traditional owners find climbing Uluru disrespectful, and any injury or death is taken personally by the traditional owners:
“We feel great sadness when a person dies or is hurt on our land. We worry about you and we worry about your family.”

See this website for information from the traditional owners.

Not your regular Sunday stroll, climbing Uluru is steep and strenuous
Not your regular Sunday stroll, climbing Uluru is steep and strenuous

It is a very physically demanding climb, at 348 metres high it’s taller than the Eiffel Tower, equating to a 95 story building…with no lift and no stairs. It can be blazingly hot and windy. You have to be fit to complete it, and remember, there are no toilets anywhere on the climb…

 

Have you climbed Uluru, and would you do it again, given the chance? Tell us in the comments below.

 

66 Comments

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  • Climbed the rock in 1980 about a week or two after Azaria was taken. Wouldn’t do it again. If the locals find it disrespectful because the rock is sacred to them, I don’t need to. Plenty of other things to do around there

  • Never climber it and never will. We had the honer of swing show around the rock by same traditional land owners. One of the comments made was how would catholic’s like people climbing the buildings of the Vatican, of any other relives site important to other Regina’s or races

  • I did the climb in 2014, I have every respect for the traditional owners but found that the experience was such that it made me appreciate how special a place it really is and maybe understand a little more why it is so special to them. I think it is an experience that should be open to everybody not just ‘a certain few’ I can understand the sadness of people getting hurt but everyone is responsible for their own actions.

  • I climbed Ayres Rock, as it was known then, in 1964. No chain to hang onto, no tourists apart from our group and no sign of any aborigines. I believe the rock art is so old at the rock that no-one is sure which tribe painted it so the present group claiming ownership may or may not have the right to stop people from climbing Uluru.

  • You don’t get around much do you? Europe: Only restrictions in most Catholic Cathedrals is no flash and to be silent during any time a service is on.. All throughout Germany Switzerland Luxembourg and Paris. It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are, what race you are or your personal convictions. Your statement does not hold water…sorry.

  • Completely irrelevant.
    The rock wasn’t built by them for the purpose of worship.
    The rock was there a few million years before they even knew about it.

  • Heading out to Ayres rock in September to climb really looking forward to seeing everything i believe the rock art is so old no tribe knows who the graffiti belongs to do therefore no tribe can claim ownership it belongs to all Australians

  • Climbed in April this year and it was amazing and everyone should be able to experience it! BUT there should be an age/height/fitness limit as the amount of ppl that either didn’t make it or turned around half way up or took there very young kids for the climb was just plain irresponsible. BUT again there is zero signage at the rock or information on the climb either on the internet or on site at the base b4 the climb which I also believe to be ridiculous so ppl cant even make an informed decision if they wanted to.

  • I suspect you go and hugs trees as well It was there many , many years before any one was a round. Funny they do not say why it is sacred to them. I have travelled around Australia and around the world been to the Vatican and had mass there I climb the Rock and found both up lifting FUNNY no body said I should not be in ether place so get your act together and enjoy OUR county

  • Yeah, i climbed the rock – would i do it again, sure. The Rock is for everyone – The so called rightful owners are human like everyone, they are no different, does the moon belong to USA just because they were the first there, of course not. I would agree it the so called traditional owners were not Human, but we are all Human and the earth belongs to us all….we are all earthlings.

  • visited Ayers Rock in 1966 when the roads were still all dirt . it was great we were the only ones there. went again in 2006 not the same with all the structures nearby and so many people and getting worse.

  • We climbed it in 2015 after being unable to climb it in 2012. Yes I would love to do it again, it was incredible!

  • Hey it’s my country too you know. You don’t realise how imposing Ayres Rock / Uluru is until you go there. It’s a great experience which is only complete if you get to the top – where you can see shrimps living in the rock pools hatched from eggs blown there by the desert winds.
    In the 60’s Traditional owners were proud to show you through all those sacred caves at the bottom – and to take you up the Olga’s / Kata Juta.
    It’s a great pity that the current generation and their NPWS friends have taken a dog in the manger attitude.
    It’s my country too – I was born here just like they were. I’m very sad and angry that I’m soon to be excluded.
    I would make it that you can climb it with an Aboriginal guide.

  • I climbed Ayres Rock in early 80s as an energetic teen. Ran up it, half way back down and then up again. Even got the T-Shirt from Myers Melbourne to prove it LOL.
    While I have great respect for Indiginous culture (work in an Aboriginal Corporation), I don’t agree the rock is theirs. It is a part of nature for all to share and care for.

  • Yeah I have climbed the rock. Would I do it again…? Sure I would. The Rock is here for everyone.
    The So called traditional owners are Humans like everyone else on this planet. They might have been the first here, but check their DNA….they are Human….like everybody else. We are all Human and we all live on Earth, it is our Planet, our Earth no one owns it or the natural wonders on it. Now, if they were not Human then that would be a different story.
    Just because the USA landed on the moon first does that mean they own the Moon…? Of course not.

  • Climbed it, loved it! The top is not sacred, only the sites around the bottom. People climb the Himalayas which are also sacred. Maybe we should charge a fee, I’d still climb it for a fee

  • I climbed it in 1974 with a school tour. Even then it was a hard slog and really the view is expansive yes, but you aren’t really looking at that much just a lot of nothing. When we went back in 2010 my wife and I elected not to climb it and instaed did a guided walk around the base which was far more informative and interesting. I would suggest that a chopper flight would give you a better view and not offend the traditional owners.

  • Totally agree with Trent S. I climbed the rock last year and enjoyed the experience. Common sense should be used with this demanding trek. I saw a guy with an artificial leg try, but only went up 100 meters and had a bigger problem coming back down.

  • The part of me that is not remotely spiritual or religious thinks the idea of a large rock being ‘sacred’ is about as preposterous as the concept of a god or an obese dude in a red suit travelling at relativistic speeds in a sleigh pulled by flying deer who breaks into your house one night a year and stares at your sleeping children before leaving gifts. The only main difference between Uluru and any other rock you pick up in the desert surrounding it is scale. I’m not saying build a hotel on top of it – just treat it like any other national park and let folk wonder around on it safely & responsibly.

    The part of me that thinks about the fact we were forcibly removing Australian Aboriginal children from their parents for 60 odd years, right up to the 70’s when I was born … as a parent I don’t know that can ever be forgiven. Imagine for a moment being in the birthing suite and some dudes walk up and say “Yeah … we’re taking that one off you. Soz.”

    If the first people to arrive on this island are so attached to Uluru, let them make it private property, in which case they can do whatever they like with it. It’s a big planet … plenty of other things to climb.

  • climbed it in 97. The scary bit was the number of tourists disgorged from buses at the bottom, who being on a limited time just pushed their way through those already climbing with the chain, with no respect to others’ safety.
    Made it back in 2014 but elected not to climb – but because I don’t have the level of fitness I once did, and is still needed to climb it, and had already done it (won’t have changed) . Hired bikes and rode around the base instead which I found more interesting really.

    But I see a piece of nature, for all peoples. Why did it *become* an important place to the first peoples, other than its uniqueness. Its not one of many – its the only rock like that so just as it was a draw card for them, so it is for us also. But they claim Uluru, Kata Juta, Kings Canyon, Karlu Karlu (Devils Marbles), etc – all unique, natural and special places, and places us white wanderers are also captivated by and respect. I don’t see too many claims on Western suburbs of Sydney or Melbourne. Just saying…

  • Our only visit to Uluru was in 2014 and were not permitted to climb it due to weather conditions. Would love to try again but won’t get the opportunity before the total ban. But with due respect to the traditional owners, I agree with most comments above that the ban is unfair. The rock is an iconic feature in our Australian natural landscape and belongs to all Australians. Surely the trek to the summit is not a sacred trek? We all feel for anyone who perishes doing what they love but that is life, no pun intended.

  • i climbed the rock in 1991 when i was 44 yr old, was hard but made it to the top though slower than my friends who climbed at the same time, one week later when we arrived in Darwin had a major heart
    attack . MAKE SURE YOU’RE FIT BWEFORE YOU CLIMB. Ironically there was a picture of Ularu hangind on the wall over my bed in Darwin Hospital.

  • I visited and climbed Uluru in 1996. Having reached the top I was aware of the request by the traditional owners not to go near the stone cairns marking burial sites and therefore sacred ground. Unfortunately, while I showed respect for this request many did not. The Rock was closed to climbers just after I ascended due to the high winds and the safety concerns with being blown off balance and off the Rock. Would I do it again? No, I would want to ensure that this sacred site is respected by all.
    Still plenty for tourists to do, walks, photography, King’s Canyon, the Kata Tjuta…

  • have climbed the Rock 3 times it is a very enlightening experience and everybody should have the chance to experience it.The way it is now with the so called owners and having to pay just to drive up to the Rock is ridiculous,i thought Australia belongs to all Australians.

  • We were there last year and I did want to do the climb but the weather conditions did not allow that. I spoke with one of the indigenous rangers about people climbing and he said it didn’t bother him apart from the safety of climbers.
    I.M.H.O its just a political power statement.

  • Ayers Rock, climbed it years ago, a memorable experience, pity about the pending closure, its been there a long time. Who is qualified to say they own it ? My opinion its there for anyone to climb if they wish. Our country is fastly developing into a massive nanny state. Any thing that becomes popular seems to become a sacred site. Its costing us a lot.

  • Too true. I climbed it in 1962 prior to the chain being installed — and I have a certificate to prove it! Few people there then, and no aborigines. Bill Harney had been the caretaker prior to that. No, I’m too old to climb it again — it was hard work when I was 18.

  • Climbed the rock in 2003. Did a lot of research and training before climbing it. I had gloves to put on in case I had to crawl and guess what it got so windy after the chain that I was on all fours sometimes. I passed people with bleeding hands as they griped the rock to stop the wind blowing them over. Went back in 2008 but was not as fit and tried to go up to where the chain ends and could not make it that far. It was a child hood dream that one day I would do this and I am so disappointed that they are stopping the climb. Also a lot of tourist will stop going to the rock as it is an attraction to climb it. My opinion on the band is that it will cost less to police when they bring it in. Shame on the people that decided to stop it. Another good tourist attraction lost to the select few that do not want it. We all work on this land does this mean we cannot walk on anything that is sacred ground, I think not.

  • Yes I’ve climbed Ularu it’s one of the most fantastic things I’ve ever done. I believe every Australian born citizen should be entitled to climb this unbelievable rock. We are all privileged to be Australians and to climb such a beautiful rock is truly tremendous. It took me one and a half hours and was so difficult to climb as I am disabled but I can proudly say I achieved it.

  • I was there as a kid in 86, but too young to climb it. Hope to get back and do the climb one day. Australia belongs to all Australians and should be enjoyed by all!

  • Ive been out to the rock 5 times, and climbed it 4 times. It is the icon of central australia and well worth the 400km drive in from the highway just to see how big it is! IS IT SAFE TO WALK UP! well if it was a ride at Dreamworld it wouldn’t tick any safety boxes[ except it doesn’t rely on pumps to work].
    I think stopping people from walking the rock has more to do with the safety aspect [public liability] than the spiritual aspect.
    Plus those of you that visited the rock years ago would only see aussies out there, but now its a major tourist attraction for visitors around the world. The NPWS do a great job to accommodate so many people, but would they be ever able to build a set of stairs and a handrail to the top of the rock? [ or even a toilet].
    The reality is it will close weather we like it or not! So if your like me, make sure you climb it before october 2019.

  • A mate and I climbed it in August 1960 [ I was 19 ] Bill Harney was the caretaker and there was a camp very close.. No chain, we were just shown where to start and left to it. I have photos of us at the top at the trig point. I, my wife and 2 daughters climbed it again in 1985. I couldn’t do it now, I am almost 78. All of us value the experience immensely . We have also climbed the Cologne Cathedral. Most of the freedoms we enjoyed when I was younger are gradually being taken away…

  • I have climbed Ayers Rock twice, but the third time i went back I was not fit enough ” and too old ” to climb, but if I was fitter and younger I would climb again.

  • I climbed the rock in 1993 and never planned to do it again, but now that climbing it is going to be banned from October next year, I’m going to do it one more time.

  • This whole thing is wonderful – it is either a basic marketing ploy or a symptom of our fantastic “weaponised offense” culture. You go Grrls ! I had the remarkable pleasure of visiting Uluru as part of a trip around Australia waaaay back in 1996. I was an indestructible 27 year old, budding mountaineer (some 25 kilos lighter) and proudly climbed it without the assistance of the chains going up or going back down. That was a serious point of honour! I marvelled at the ancient shield shrimps in the puddles on top, and the desert oak trees somehow surviving on the summit. I was dismayed at the amount of rubbish that people had left enroute, including quite a lot of used bog roll. The thing that shocked me the most though was finding a couple of used syringes up on the summit. There were warnings about not straying from the path, and a couple of horror stories about tourists who’d strayed chasing their hats and had taken the fast way down. I couldn’t imagine the horror of dealing with the remains of a human carcass after bouncing down ~1,000m of low-angled quartzite at high velocity. That being said, I am thoroughly disgusted that the trad owners have decided to completely banish climbing Uluru. Because of this, I will be out there shortly to climb it again and video the whole thing and publish it all on my YouTube channel for future generations. Damn this politically correct excrement. I’m climbing it again. As soon as I can. In my local area, the wonderful Aboriginal people made a successful claim for their traditional land, claiming all sorts of special connections and cultural “secret business”. Yet they sold it to developers as quickly as they possibly could, as soon as the ink had dried on the claim. Their special place is now high density housing. This is no different. See you there !

  • I climbed it in 1987 (was 28) with my younger cousin-(21) who ran up it, in a tour group.
    Walked around the base and flew around in a helicopter, saw sunset and sunrise.
    Most awed by climbing to the top and viewing our wonderful outback.
    Scary coming back down!
    Would love to do it again but now limited by arthritis
    Have walked Kokoda track too in 2013 with local porters – best solution would be to train the current aboriginal people to take people up safely and share their knowledge as our porters did in PNG.
    This rock does not belong to anyone one group of people.

  • We were there last year, I wanted to climb it but the weather conditions didn’t permit it. I spoke with one of the indigenous rangers about climbing and did it bother him. He said he was only concerned about the safety aspect.
    I.M.H.O closing it to climbing is a power trip by some individuals.

  • Beware, the closure of this so called ‘owned site’ won’t be the last. It’s a wonder Australia hasn’t been shut down in its entirety!

  • All thanks to Eddie mabo !!!
    and now you can expect more closures including the ones already closed down.
    And to think there wont be a full blood aborigine left in Australia in fifty years time !!!!

  • Yes, me too! It’s a great experience and I thoroughly recommend it to anyone fit enough to do it! Might even make another trip before October ‘19 just to do it again.
    No disrespect to anyone.

  • Strange how the traditional owners did not seem to find climbing the rock offensive in the 60’s.
    My father was a coach driver taking tours to the rock fortnightly through the 60’s and early 70’s and we went to the Rock dozens of times with him during those years.
    I remember fantastic and life long friendships with the local indigenous people who were more than happy to lead tours all over and around the Rock.
    There was never a hint that they did not want people exploring or climbing.
    I wonder why later generations of indigenous people now find it offensive?

  • Climbed “The Rock” in 2008 and thoroughly enjoyed it and only if my health would permit, I would do it again but alas the rigours of ageing have caught up with me ie. bad knees, heart and back surgery. I am certainly glad that I climbed it while health permitted. It is not until you reach the summit that you can embrace the enormity of the monolith. As stated by an earlier reviewer I am also an Australian therefore I should have the right to enjoy my country. I paid my entry fee. From what I have read there was a race of people here long before the Aborigines. Fare is fare I don’t get all of the concessions an aborigine receives.

  • Climbed it back in 2015 as I felt the closure of climbing would be coming.
    Would love to get back and climb a second time before the closure.
    The story of ancestral aborigines climbing the rock actually inspired me to do the climb out of respect.
    The fact the traditional owners are worried about deaths on the rock did not concern me as I take full responsibility for my own actions.
    I feel there are far riskier climbs in the world such as Mt Everest but we don’t see bans on climbing these peaks.
    I do feel that a lot of climbers would not be showing the respect to the rock with leaving of rubbish and so on but the day I climb there was 1 up and go carton at the top that I found and carried back to the base.
    Perhaps if the climbing is discontinued tourist numbers will decline and common sense will reopen the climb

  • My husband & I climbed “The Rock” two years ago. We are in our 50’s & 60’s and to us it was a bucket list item. Yes it is strenuous but wow so exhilarating. For those of us that don’t do stupid things and take risks on such a walk/climb it is going to be a sad day when banned. And respect goes both ways – as we were walking the path around the base with another family with young children, a young “indigenous” boy on a motorbike and doubling another young child came flying past us all several times almost running into one of the small children. Definitely no respect for others.

  • What was an elderly man doing? Attempting to climb the thing that is tough going for younger, and fitter, people.
    I have been there twice. I could not see the point of standing on the top of the very thing I came to look at.
    It is a special place for all who go there.

  • This marks the 17th death ON the Rock, the other 20 of those claimed have occurred elsewhere in the Park. For this century there have been 5 deaths in the Park. 3 ON the Rock and 2 at the KataTjuta Lookout. Are we closing that to? Arthur Groom best described the climb in 1947 when was guided to the Rock by Anangu man Tiger Tjalkalyrri as “nothing else but a strenuous and spectacular uphill walk”

    More Ayers Rock myths busted at https://righttoclimb.blogspot.com

  • My husband and I were there last week. During our visit we were told by many tour guides and signage about respecting the traditional owners. On one tour around the back of the of Uluru we noticed that the bush land had been burt. When we asked about the bush fires in the sacred areas the guide told us it was indegeous locals who live in the National Park that had purposely lit these fires. I was disheartened by this. Why should we be respectful when they don’t respect it themselves. On our drive into Ulara there are many old cars left on the side of the road that have been graffitied and windows smashed. This rock is a natural wonder and should belong to everyone.

  • The climbing the rock is not disrespectingvtraditional beliefs about it. That nonsense is a recenr invention by activists wanting to revise history and destroy any value of it to the nation and visitors coming to see it.
    There used to be aboriginal guides taking people up to the top,vfor goodness sake. All of these bleeding hearts wanting to ban us from climbing need to get a lifevof their own and stop meddling in ours

  • Your analogy is ridiculous. The rock is not a cathedral. It was never a place of worship, but of various ceremonies and shelter, like lots of other outcrops, rivers and caves. Aborigines used to act as guides for the climb. The whole disrespecting traditional values hype is nothing more than spin from racist activists wanting to divide us separate us based on skin colour and cultural identity. And they are ably supported by virtue-signalling bleeding hearts like you.

  • Lucky you. I have twice, once in 2013 – it had rained amd was closed. Again in 2015, this time too hot. I won’t get back there before climbing is banned.

  • Took my girlfriend to Ayers Rock in 1985. We started to climb on a beautiful sunny day to the top it was magnificent magical,steep absolutely stunning . My girlfriend was enjoying the climb but was starting to struggle as we reached the top. The view was amazing as l asked her. “ Will you Marry Me” she said who me l said well there is no one else up here .She said YES! Have been married 33 years have a girl and boy both have climbed the rock , have many great memories of the magnificent Uluru.

  • I’ve climbed it and would climb it again, a great experience. I lose interest in all the scared stuff when I see a sign on public toilets asking me to keep them clean because they are guess what ‘scared’

  • Hey Brett , back in the earlier days unwed mother’s had their newborns taken away without even seeing them ( white ), so it is not all about the stolen generation

  • I have climbed it twice and will again before it closes. I find the percentage of tourists climbing the rock an interesting argument. From memory more than 30% of visitors had to climb the rock or it would be closed. In my opinion the reason less than 30% of people climb the rock is because they seem to close it for safety reasons at the drop of a hat, it’s either too hot too windy or the chance of rain aaaggghhhh you just have to give up

  • Yes, just got home yesterday from climbing the Rock (17/7/18), we were told it was very hard, I did have a couple of stops up along the chain area however completed it fairly comfortably, not bad for a bloke into his sixties, and yes I would do it again, it was very enjoyable.

  • Climbed the rock in the mid 70’s – its the thing I remember most about the holiday we were on and will never forget it. Would love to do it again but by the sound of things it won’t be possible. I agree with most of the comments I’ve read – the rock is Australian and should be there for all Australians. People should be aware of the possible danger and decide for themselves if its for them – if not thats fine, but for those that want to take that risk – that should be fine also.

  • Yep I’ve climbed it. Back in 1980 while on a school trip. It was the highlight of our 2 weeks in a bus. We all got sucked in by a teacher that there was a solar powered drink machine at the top. (Solar power was the new thing back then)!!
    The bloody dingos around our camp site were scarier that climbing the rock. (A week later Azaria was taken).
    I would very much like to climb the rock again with my kids, but if the ban goes through,, that will be stuffed!!
    Let everyone use the rock with the respect it deserves, and let the locals keep their beliefs without predujice!!!

  • Wow, what a story. I hope
    your health has remained stable ever since. We did it yesterday. We couldn’t believe how dangerous it actually was and hard on your heart also

  • I climb the rock in 98 with my daughter who was 17yrs. This year in June I climb the rock again at 69yrs & enjoyed the climb & view from the top. Iam planning to climb it again before the closure to climbers. The rock is for all Australian to enjoy . Will be interesting to see how many tourist go to the rock after the closure date next year

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