We love climbing up mountains – we always have done. So as soon as the winds dropped and the path up Uluru reopened, we were quickly through the gate.
But we acknowledged this is not what the owners of the land – the Anangu Aboriginals – wanted us to do. For them Uluru is sacred. And it has to be said, they are asking us very nicely to respect their hospitality; the signs say “Please don’t climb”.
It took us just over an hour of hard climbing up the 60 degree slope, helped by a simple chain, to reach the summit marker. A Japanese lad climbing up with us, turned to Roger and said “Isn’t your wife strong?”.
When he left, we had the top to ourselves. Totally glorious, and the best place to see the rock’s huge footprint, its endlessly contorted features and its isolation in a sea of barren flatness.
So if the owners of the land don’t want us to climb up Uluru, why is the path still open? Apparently, it’s all to do with the tourist dollar and opposition from white Australians who see the rock as theirs as well. One Aussie told us, “It belongs to all Australians not just the Aboriginals. They didn’t build it”. But a young Australian actress, even though we were tourists, was very disappointed we had walked up.
Respect (or disrespect), guilt, belief, wonder – there’s a lot to this climb.